Sandy Hook TV Pundits Torn About Whether Violent Video Games Are A Problem

We've yet to see signs that Sandy Hook murderer Adam Lanza was a hardcore gamer, let alone a fan of shooter video games, but TV pundits continue to discuss the role violent video games play in the coarsening of our society.

On Friday, we presented one pundit's rapid dot-connecting of mass shootings and violent video games. Since then, a lot of information has come out about Lanza's familiarity with guns, his mother's ownership of the assault rifle he used, possible mental illness and a tiny bit about his interest in LAN gaming parties.

On Sunday night, President Barack Obama called for action, alluding loosely and indirectly to the prospect of new efforts involving gun control and mental illness. That same day, the man who helped him get elected fretted over a video game commercial and "marketing murder as a game".

Today, we shared two very different reactions about the shootings, one by an enemy of video games the other by a gamer calling for a "ceasefire" in online shooter games, to convey a sense that gamers give a damn enough to give themselves a day of peace and reflection.

Above you'll see how games keep getting woven into the debate, sometimes by people who seem to have no idea what they're talking about and other times by people who do.


    Hasn't gaming become so ubiquitous that nearly all mass murderers are gamers?

      That was brought up when the Norway shootings happened.

      To say that a young male is a gamer is like saying he wears sneakers. It has no meaning whatsoever.

      Good comment, I agree. These days it's a bit like saying they were exposed to violence on television.

    My soul died a little watching this. Thank you dr phil for at least pointing out that there would have to already underling problems before hand and not just go right for the pan this sick filth approach

    I'm tired of seeing these moron "Experts" give their colluded opinions on how games cause tragedies like this. Dr. Phil was the only person that was thinking and spoke as a REALIST, understanding that there is an issue with somebody that commits an act like this and it has NOTHING to do with the games they play; there is something mentally or whatever that causes them to act in this manner before gaming. I've been playing games, violent ones as well, since I was 11 and I've ALWAYS understood the difference between the game and real life. The REAL responsibility falls on PARENTS to EDUCATE their children. There are rating systems for games for a reason...if a parent buys their child a game rated Mature or higher and lets them play it if they are 13, that's irresponsibility on THEIR end. Using gaming and Hollywood as a scapegoat for these tragedies needs to STOP. Americans need to get off their high horses and come back to reality...all those "politicians" need to wake up and make some damn change instead of being so pig headed. Their Constitution was made in 1792 or's 2012 now times have changed. Get off the whole "Americans have the right to bear arms" crap. They don't need any damn assault rifles in their basements if they aren't military personnel.

    Some might suggest a a cynical, biased, sensationalist 24/7 news cycle with agendas might be contributing to the coarsening of society.

    Last edited 18/12/12 2:00 pm

      People are always going to need something to blame though. It's human instinct to try and make sense of such a senseless tragedy. The "news" people know this and will forever offer up scapegoats to ease the public conscience. Because if it's games or that rock music to blame, then nobody has to feel like there's something they could have done.

    They are straight faced liars. The Onion News Network is more thoughtful and to the point - and they are satirical. The problem in the USA, is the ease at which people can obtain guns, but the American media likes to whitewash that point.

    Whitewash: To gloss over or cover up vices, crimes or scandals or to exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data. (Wikipedia)

    At this point I just don't care what they say any more. There's a sector of the population which has their minds made up on video games and are just waiting for something, anything, to happen to point fingers.

    They're like cartoon characters. I'm reminded of this character on Speed Racer who hated cars, went around in a horse and made an army of small cars that latched under real cars and remote controlled them to prove to everybody that cars were evil. That's what they look like to me.

    There's some interesting, but sad, articles on the subject. It seems that the key cause is mental health issues, and access to guns. Pretty undeniable that those issues are the root causes. Focusing on games is pointless.

    wow its bad when doctor phil looks like the only Sane person in the video lol

    even if videogames were a factor how can you not see guns and mental illness as the two biggest factors? its a fucking joke because its easy to ban video games but hard to ban guns and even harder to fix the treatment of mental health

      I agree with Starchild_killer: easy access to powerful guns and the current state of mental health care are the problem, but video games are the scapegoat simply because it's easier to bitch about video games than it is to make real changes.

      I also think it's disgusting for people to be pushing their ill-informed anti-gaming bull at a time like this. So many innocent lives have been lost, and many more ruined by one sick individual with a gun (ok, a couple of guns), and instead of focusing on the facts people are trying to make a few tenuious links to gaming to further their own agender. Talk about low.

      Anyway, my heart goes out to the victims and their families.

    "Death should not be the by-product of our entertainment". Solemn words, but so completely misplaced.

    If a child plays CoD and kills 1,000 on screen characters, not a single person in real life dies. Not one.

    Someone only dies if that child has serious mental issues and access to guns, and has essentially been, or at least feels, neglected and unsupported by society.

      If a child plays CoD and kills 1,000 on screen characters, not a single person in real life dies. Not one.

      No, but my faith in humanity does if a parent is neglectful enough to think a game like Call of Duty is ok for their child to play.

        Not to be argumentative, but that child could be 17....

          Well, some would say a lot of 17 year olds playing CoD have the mind of a child :P

        I could extend the thought further. If an adult kills 1,000 on screen....

        Or even, if an adult that possesses fire arms kills 1,000 on screen...,

        Point is, playing games doesn't kill anyone. Never has, likely never will.

        If a child, or adult, that has serious mental health issues, particularly psychosis, is not given adequate support or medication, and has access to guns, and has a serious psychotic episode, then maybe someone will die, and that would be whether or not the killer was a fan of gaming - violent or otherwise - I believe. If those in the media know me to be wrong then can they please provide the evidence to indicate as such, or simply let go of this unjustified vilification of the gaming industry and start focusing on the real issues at hand.

    Is there any point to getting upset about these stories anymore? They're not trying to change anyone's mind, just pandering to those who already think that. News is as ratings dependant as any other show.

    Tightening up of gun ownership is the real way to fix this problem, his mum owned two semi-auto pistols and a semi-auto rifle, she would have easily passed the background checks and was no threat to people with those weapons.

    The problem was her son should never have had easy access to those weapons, if Americans are so damned determined to keep assault rifles for hunting and semi-auto handguns for self defense it's time we take a new approach to preventing gun crime. Every bullet costs $5000 thank you Chris Rock

    Removing semi-auto guns won't stop the gun violence, seriously it won't but it's going to lower the amount of casualties when your limited to a bolt action rifles or revolver. There needs to be laws in place for the storage of guns, for the storage and amount of ammunition you can get, and you need to start taking note of who buys ammo and when. If it set off an alarm when you went to store A purchased some bullets than went to store B to get more it would sure help stop these monthly shootings in America. Yeah this one is first graders that's why it made the news but the others we don't even report on anymore.

    As for the Violent Video game aspect of this, it's just not true if it was then young men and teenagers all over the world would be arming themselves and tearing cities apart. Why is this problem not happening in Canada where they love guns as much as Americans? Where they play the same Violent Video Games the rest of the world is playing?

    And finally in this age of high speed internet why would somebody who had trouble socialising with others choose to go to a Lan Party where they need to be in the same place as other people to play games rather than just sit at home on a high speed connection.

    So all this whinging about the gun shooting, Wheres the news on the Chinese school killing spree that happened on Friday? Oh that's right it didn't happen in your beloved homeland. Hypocrites

      As awful as that was, no one actually died in that incident (that I'm aware of). Probably due to the fact that the offender didn't have access to a gun.

      Yes, even China has better gun control than the US.

      Last edited 18/12/12 4:57 pm

    Restrict guns. There is ZERO need for semi automatic weapons. Restriction is needed. People may kill people, but a gun sure helps. Gun control is the way.

      Yep, but extremely difficult to put that in place in the US. They love their guns and are paranoid about being able to protect themselves from the government.

    I now like Dr. Phil. FOX News doesn't count in any way, everybody knows that.

    I've played all kinds of violent games since I was a little kid until now (27 years of age) and I'm not thinking of killing anyone, and my son can play them too when he's old enough.

    It's the just a herd mentality, all these people want a slice of the "listen to me!!!" pie. They want to be liked so they choose the opinion of the herd. Jesus. I hate it when people say 'Amen like that too, like they are looking for some kindred spirit of confirmation they were right, and in gods name too. Whoever that might be.

    Ugh, I hate people. But that doesn't mean I'm going to kill them.

    Guns don't kill people, bullets do! Let Americans have access to their guns but make bullets very expensive...

      Of course its the video games that cause people to kill.
      That's why every country in the world frequently has gun massacres....
      Oh wait. No they don't. It only the US where everyone has bloody GUNS!

    Are video games the cause? No. Are they an ingredient, maybe. We play violent games all day in Australia but we don't have school massacres.

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