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EDITORIAL: Blaming video games and mental illness just a sorry excuse

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

MORE MASS SHOOTINGS, so common place nowadays, took a terrible toll on the weekend.

There were some gun incidents in Canada but in the U.S., 22 are dead in an El Paso Walmart. Ten dead in Dayton, Ohio.

Where does Donald Trump place blame for this? Video games and mental illness.

So, the solution must be to take away video games — at least the ones involving the violent use of guns. Heaven forbid we should take away the guns themselves — the weapons actually used in the kilings.

Video games have been a scapegoat for gun protectionists for years. The theory goes that exposure to games of war in particular make the player aggressive towards others and more likely to commit violent crimes.

Yet studies have consistently discredited this notion; some have even shown that games involving guns and violence make players less likely to be violent themselves because they understand the real-life consequences of gun violence and stick to “pretend.”

Considering the millions of these video games sold around the world, one would think there would be mass shootings everywhere, yet most happen in the U.S.

There’s a much more likely connection to lax gun laws that allow the legal acquisition of assault rifles.

As for mental health, it’s true these horrific mass shootings are sometimes carried out by nutbars who have lost the capacity to tell right from wrong. But generalizations are a disservice to the millions who suffer from mental health issues and who bravely live with those illnesses and live productive, non-violent lives.

Racism, white supremacy and hatred are not necessarily connected to mental illness.

Blaming video games and mental illness is nothing more than a sorry excuse for not dealing with the real causes of gun violence.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6932 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL: Blaming video games and mental illness just a sorry excuse

  1. Marcus Lowe // August 6, 2019 at 8:02 PM // Reply

    Proper research has concluded that specific video games (not Tetris) improve mental function over time permanently. This is useful, if you believe it.

  2. John Noakes // August 6, 2019 at 9:49 AM // Reply

    Wouldn’t it be something if the very man pictured here fuelled the fire of hatred which erupted in the mass shooting in El Paso?

  3. David Goar // August 6, 2019 at 9:02 AM // Reply

    You hit the nail on the head. There are deep social, racial divisions and a huge socioeconomic gulf in the U.S. and mixed with a proclivity to violence, it is a potentially and actually disastrous cocktail. Add a leader that gives it licence, and the results are what we see.

  4. But we know all too well it is not about the “ common good”…powerful, behind the scene “lobbyists” are the one driving the agenda, in the US, in Canada and even in our little tranquil town.
    But I fundamentally agree them leaders should do something about it.

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