FBI Profilers Don't Believe Violent Video Games Cause Violence

FBI profilers don't view video games as a cause of shootings and other violent crime, a former profile said yesterday morning on CBS' Face the Nation.

Profilers still include an interest in games when making their threat assessment of whether a person is at risk to act out violently, Mary Ellen O'Toole (above) told the public affairs show. Profilers also examine if an offender used video games as a kind of planning tool for carrying out an attack. However, "We don't see these as the cause of violence," she said. "We see them as sources of fueling ideation that's already there."

O'Toole's remarks align with the finding of another study performed by the US Secret Service, albeit 10 years ago, which found that 12 per cent of those who had committed violent crimes at a school had an interest in violent video games. More of them — 37 per cent — wrote things that expressed an interest in violence.

Christopher Ferguson, the professor of psychology at Texas A&M International and a critic of those who blame video games for violent crime, also appeared on the panel, warning against the "moral panic" that scapegoats new media for societal ills. Ferguson repeated the oft-cited statistic that violent crime among youths has actually receded to its lowest point in 40 years, despite games becoming more sophisticated and ostensibly more violent over that span.

I'm still cynical that any of this moves the needle on the actual policy debate, however. Once politicians have identified what they think is the cause of a problem, it's difficult to budge them off it, especially if it involves a wedge issue such as gun control.

"We're in a mode of worry about — or panicking about this type of media," Ferguson cautioned. "We may do some putting the cart before the horse, and we may see some people sort of starting with a conclusion and trying to assemble data in a very selective way to try to support that conclusion." I think that's exactly what we've seen.

Former FBI-profiler: "Video games do not cause violence" [The Raw Story]


    Nah - This "research" business is stupid. OBVIOUSLY these right-wing fascists have an agenda, what with their science and all!

    I'll stick to my mis-informed, over-biased and lie-ridden Fox News thank-you-very-much!

      No no, we need to constantly demand more research while disregarding the existing studies. That way we never have to actually take a stance one way or another.

    After playing the sims 2 and being a parent to a sim child, I felt the overwhelming urge to have a child and be a good parent in real life.

    Couldn't there be a study on that in some way?

    This just in - Violent people who play games are just as violent as violent people who don't!

      wait, that's not true, look at adolf hitler...oh wait.

    I've read some pretty negative things about profiling/profilers. There are plenty of criticisms about the practice.

    I agree this is just another moral panic/scapegoat tactic. I'm sure in a few years we'll all look back and laugh at how silly this all is.

    I REALLY enjoy sneaking up on someone and getting a perfect knife kill!!! That sweet headshot 'ting' sound!! Of course the next logical step is to go out and do it real life......yeah right!!
    Perhaps a study on direct correlation to watching news reports and media covering the shootings/violence to the amount viewed by the offenders prior to their actions would provide better info.....tax dollars hard at work again I see.

      I know I am more violent after watching Fox news

    "O’Toole’s remarks align with the finding of another study performed by the US Secret Service, albeit 10 years ago, which found that 12 per cent of those who had committed violent crimes at a school had an interest in violent video games. More of them — 37 per cent — wrote things that expressed an interest in violence."

    Did you know that 99% of those who committed violent crimes at school wear shoes??? It's true, wearing shoes is highly correlated with murder!!!

    See the problem with people who don't actually know how to work with statistics using statistics to mislead people who have even less idea how statistics work? It's like watching a 3 year old try and dice tomatoes, it's painful to watch, is likely painful for them, and it's really just going to end up a bloody mess.
    Funny how we tend to avoid letting 3 year olds dice tomatoes...

    Who are you going to believe:

    1. People trained in profiling crime; or
    2. People outraged at the injustice of violence without any specific profiling training.

      I'll believe the ones who back up my existing prejudices by telling me what I want to hear, thus saving me from the intellectual effort required to honestly reassess my position on any issue, thanks very much.

    Video games don't cause people to be violent. You can however learn how to get fit, learn how to cook, learn how to play an instrument, improve your memory and I.Q.
    Video games can do all of that and more but they can't teach violence.

      Teaching violence and becoming more violent are completely different things which you seem to have confused here.
      I've learned about 6 different ways to kill someone with a knife from Far Cry 3. I don't feel any more or less inclined to kill someone with a knife in real life from learning them though.

        I agree that violent games don't create violent individuals. Games are no more influentual than TV. Watching the first 48 has shown me how to get away with murder and Border Security has shown me how to smuggle drugs. If we want to believe that video games can teach us good things and make us feel good things we have to accept that the opposite is possible.

          I don't think anyone is arguing that games don't teach us things, and that some of those things might be negative - whether it's different ways to commit crimes, do violence or just new swear words.

          The argument is that games don't change your capacity for violence, or provoke you to commit violence or emulate any of the actions you see on screen.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now