This past weekend, multiple mass shootings occurred in the communities of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. At least 31 people were killed in both shootings and a number injured.
What is really astonishing is that rather than look at the cases and individuals, discuss how they obtained these weapons, whether there were warning signs or clues, politicians have once again put their sights on the video game industry.
President Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California commented that violent video games are part of the cause of these mass shootings. Trump’s comment focused on the “glorification of violence” in America. McCarthy suggested that these games have dehumanized individuals to where killing another human being is part of a game.
According to an article by Dr. Art Markman of Psychology Today, the link between mass shootings and video games is practically nonexistent. In several studies conducted on video games and an increase in aggressive behavior, a meta-analysis of the data shows that while video games may increase aggressive reactions, the effects are small. This idea was also addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 as it ruled that research did not find a clear connection between violent video games and aggressive behavior.
Mental health, bullying and other aspects may have contributed to the shooters’ motives. While the police will have an opportunity to find motive with the shooter in El Paso, the Dayton shooter’s motive will have to be pieced together.
We need to stop blaming what is perceived to be low-hanging fruit. Legislators need to look at the topic with open eyes, ears and minds when deciding the next steps in preventing another atrocity like this past weekend from happening.