Artist Uses GTA 5 To Explore American Gun Violence

Artist Uses GTA 5 To Explore American Gun Violence

Abertay University professor and artist Joseph DeLappe is using Grand Theft Auto 5 in his latest digital art piece about gun violence in America. Elegy: GTA USA Gun Homicides was created by the Scottish professor and launched on 4 July 2018.

The piece is designed to show the victims of gun violence in the United States in a “literal, graphic way”. For the next year, every night at midnight CT (3PM AEST), the automated game will restart on Twitch, using in-game dead bodies show how many Americans have died due to gun violence since 1 January 2018.

It isn’t controlled by a player; instead it is updated automatically every night using data scraped from the Gun Violence Archive.

DeLappe describes the way he is using GTA 5 as “essentially a game as a data visualizer”. In the background, DeLappe has added “God Bless America” on loop.

As for why he has decided to use a video game like GTA 5 for this project about gun violence, it seems to be based on the often said NRA and conservative media quote that “Guns don’t kill people, video games do”.

Artist Uses GTA 5 To Explore American Gun Violence

This isn’t the first time DeLappe has used videos games to create art. In 2003 he and some friends used text chat in Quake 3 Arena to act out an episode of Friends. In 2006 he started a project, dead-in-iraq, that used the popular shooter America’s Army. He used the text chat in the game to manually list every American casualty from the war.

Elegy: GTA USA Gun Homicides was created using a PC copy of GTA 5 that has been slightly modified using custom code created by Albert Elwin. The project is currently planned to continue streaming daily on Twitch until 4 July 2019.


  • Inevitably this will result in greater critique of violent video games than lax gun control. His message is DoA.

    How about a version for tobacco related deaths? Opiods? Junk food?

    • Whataboutism is a bullshit argument, you cant expect every single artist to ckver every single topic

      Plenty of artists DO Do pieces about opiods or alcoholism

      You whataboutist insinscere fuck, because you dont actually give a fuck about any of these issues, you just want to deflect attention from the gun violence epidemic

      • Lol, take a deep breath maybe? I’m merely suggesting that using a violent video game to highlight gun violence is probably futile because the message will be lost in the chorus of anti-video game cries from the hysterical idiots.

  • The piece is designed to show the victims of gun violence in the United States in a “literal, graphic way”. For the next year, every night at midnight CT (3PM AEST), the automated game will restart on Twitch, using in-game dead bodies show how many Americans have died due to gun violence since 1 January 2018.

    I don’t think a graphic way of showing this is needed. Anyone with more than 1/5th of a heart would shudder at the idea of kids not being safe in their own freaking schools.

    Granted, the matter is not as simple as just removing guns from the equation. Even here in Australia there were side effects – though not the hyperbolic kind the NRA tried to use.

    But at the same time, it should not even have to come to this.

    Something should have been done decades ago.

    The right to bare arms is a relic from centuries long ago and in the very least needs long over due review.

  • Guns aren’t the issue it’s American culture, countries with access to similar guns and countries with a high percentage of gun ownership have less gun crime comparable to the US.

    • Yes as outliers and they dont have americas problem with GUN CULTURE

      Because every other country that has reasonable sane limits on firearms the same way they exist for motor vehicles has dramatically less gun deaths with or without a prevalent gun culture

      Just look at australia, they looovvveeeedd their guns, they had the cowboy with a big gun bullshit culture going just as strong

      Now a mass shooting a decade, not 3 times a year, even accounting for population density thats much much lower

      They arent illegal, they are just regulated, like cars are, and nobody is freaking out about registering your car and needing to go get a license for one and needing to take a test to drive one

    • You’ve presented a cause but not a solution. What would be your solution to the problem them?

      i think legislation such as not allowing the mentally unstable or people with criminal records in things such as DV, the ability to legally purchase guns is perfectly fine.

      Americans sitting on their hands and pretending everything is fine and not attempting anything to solve the problem cause “Muh freedums” is not solving the problem. Its making it worse.

      • I believe that’s the case in most states already, I just think if someone couldn’t get a hold of a gun they would find some other way to kill people.

        Honestly my solution would be America changing its ideals and philosophy at its core. An old phrase “demanding satisfaction ” comes to mind, they seem to be slighted easily hold grudges and tend to value human life less.

        There 2nd omendment is totally bullshit though, the right to bear arms is ridiculous. It was written when America still didn’t have a proper army,
        a millita was thought to be the only way to repel a invasion by having a large amount of citizens armed and ready.

        Back when they thought the British might try to retake the country or try to overthrow the government. When the most sophisticated weapons of the day were the musket.

        The question I ask people saying 2nd amendment bullshit is,
        1) do you think a tyrannical government is even possible today?

        2) if so do you think the military, which is comprised of American citizens would support such a government?

        3)if the army did support the government what chance do you have with your shitty AR15 against a drone or aircraft carrier?

        If you need a gun for protection because you pissed someone off enough they are trying to kill you, then you probably have little chance of survival, they will just cap you when you go to check the mail or some shit.

        The only legitimate reason to own a gun if your not a farmer or a hunter. Is a perfect quote from Jim Jeffery’s “Fuck off I like guns” “it might not be a good excuse but it’s the only one they got”

        • I believe that’s the case in most states already,

          Not since trump came in.

          Obama had passed legislation that banned the sale of guns to people who were mentally unstable. But trump reversed it because the NRA chucked a sooky la la.

          • The NRA. Where the mentally unstable having access to firearms is more important than the lives of your children.

          • That’s not exactly true.
            @almightysparrow is correct, there are already established laws in place forbidding those with certain mental instabilities and histories from owning guns, this has not been changed.
            The rule Obama passed did not restrict the sale of guns to anybody, it only changed how the existing system already worked and removing barriers of access to previously private records.

            To be honest, the entire legislation and its inevitable repeal was just too damn convenient, a clay pigeon to be shot down.

          • The laws might exist.

            But them being enforced or people being able to enforce them is another matter. That legilsation by obama was an attempt to change that. But oh no. NRA wants to keep guns in the hands of the mentally ill.

          • Not sure I follow, are you saying the current laws can’t be or aren’t being enforced?
            (They most certainly are if that’s the case)
            I also get the impression your confusing the existing legislation and Obamas addition to that law as the same thing.

            Look I could write a book on why the rule wasn’t worth the printer ink, but to put it simply it was an absolute dud of a rule, it was last minute rush job that sounded good but didn’t provide a single example or idea of how it could be achieved.
            Once you begin looking at how it was going supposed to work it fell apart.
            You have to wonder why it’s being so badly misrepresented by media from both arms of the argument.

            It’s why I called it a clay pigeon, it had two functions in being launched up and shot down.
            Like or hate the two men, it did the same thing, framed Obama as pursuing gun control and Trump as opposing it
            (Obama actually did a pretty solid job of relaxing gun control in his legacy and Trump is now floating the same damn rule in a fancy new hat, it’s insane)

        • *Looks around Australia*

          *runs the numbers*

          yeah, nah mate. Thanks for the libertarian talking points though.

      • I personally wouldn’t have a clue on how America could solve its issue with guns.

        I watched an interesting video from Barack Obama how he was talking about gun legislation. He states an example that cars, vehicles used to drive from A to B, transporting people or other goods, need a license to legally operate. That means if you want to legally drive a car, you need to spend a certain amount of time training (learning) to drive a car, learning the rules of the road etc. and then eventually, you take a driver’s test by a qualified individual in a competency based test of pass or fail. If you pass, congratulations, you can legally drive a car, if you fail, you’ll need to try again later and can’t legally drive a car just yet.

        Why not the same for guns?

        To own a gun, you should be required to spend a certain amount of time training to use a firearm, learning and understanding the gun and then eventually, take a competency based pass/fail examination under the eye of a qualified professional. Background checks for past crime as well as mental health, vision etc. should also be taken into account.

        You want to own a gun? Then prove you can safely operate one and tell us you can take care of it and others, just like a car.

        The second amendment stating that civilians have the right to bear arms is kinda silly nowadays, and is always used as an excuse because it’s apparently “our God given right” to own guns. It’s already been stated here in the comments section, but the second amendment was written during a time in which America did not have an army and their government was pretty much just starting out. Things have changed… a lot. There is no way a civilian militia could survive against the American military, if they decided to revolt or something. Apparently, the second amendment can’t be re-written, because that’s just the way it is? :/

        • The fact it’s an amendment is lost on a lot of Americans, like its literally the meaning of the word you can change/update it.

        • Yeah. The American military has drones and fighter jets. How is some loon with several guns gonna stop the government. One missile and he is gone.

      • Slowly replace the Americans with immigrants that have better respect for guns!

      • Targeted laws on their own don’t work, you need across the board universal purchase controls, licensing and limits on what is available for who. The Australian model, as a basic start.

    • There are no countries with similar ownership.
      America has 101 guns per 100 people.
      Serbia is second with 58 per 100 that’s almost half and no where near similar.

      • But most of the guns are owned by a small percentage of the population there are a lot of Americans that own dozens of firearms, only around a third of Americans actually own a gun.

        Watching doomsday peppers on Netflix recently one man owned almost 200 guns ranging from old
        .22 derringers to AR15s, not hard to imagine thousands of people like him that own the majority of the guns.

        I think at one point even NZ had a very high percentage of ownership, mainly thanks to farmers, and I believe Switzerland has a high percentage of ownership but not one of total guns, most of them had one gun.

        • Americans treat Guns as a right. Other countries like canada and NZ treat it as a privledge. And thats the problem with America. They dont have any respect for such a mass murder tool. They just treat it as something they have a right to own. Leading to people using it how they want without thinking of the consequences.

          Other countries own lots of guns, Yet why is the USA the only one where we have school shootings every week?

          • Which isn’t necessary a problem with guns per se but a problem with them and there attitudes.

            Even without the guns I think they would still have the same attitudes, and instead of a mass shooting we would see a Nice (France) style attack instead, or chemical/ecplosive.

    • It may not be the underlying issue as their gun from far outweighs other nations disproportionately, but it’s a good start as most people own them for completely illogical reasons.

    • Just out of curiosity which countries have higher gun ownership percentiles? From what I can find America still has the highest, also in terms of gun ownership the closest I can think of is Switzerland and even then they control the kinds of guns that you can own. I guess you could make the argument that Russia allows for a while array of weapons so long as you have owned specific guns for years before hand and hold the correct licencing. While the American culture around guns is shit, gun reform is still desperately needed.

      • Only said high percentage of gun owners not higher than the US.

        One article on Switzerland:

        Kind of explains why they have less shootings, gun ownership is mainly due to national service.

        Here is one on ownership in America 3% own more than half of the guns, with less than a third owning a gun.

        There really isn’t enough data to see how many gun owners there are in each country, just number per 100 citizens.

        When you look at US 101 guns per 100 people and 3% own half those the numbers look really skewed

        • But in Switzerland you are still restricted on the kinds of guns available to you. Having a lot of guns doesn’t matter when you really only need a couple of bad eggs with guns that have a high capability for killing people in mass. The difference with the states is thar outside of the minority blue state implementations it is pretty much anything goes.

          • Don’t think the type of gun matters, a lot of mass shottings have been with handguns, 60% or greater of homicide involving a firearm has been with a handgun.

            If you look at the total gun deaths in the states 2/3 are suicide, a great number are gang related or a single person being killed. Usually the victim knows who killed them.

            Look at deaths in Australia where a man has killed his spouse, still high numbers without guns apply that same scenario to the states where a gun is easy to obtain. Guns just make it easier.

            I do agree on stricter controls as well as more training and education around guns is important.

            Here is another interesting read:


            America has to change fundementaly, I see guns as a tool people are using to enact revenge or settle a score or whatever there reasoning for killing is, take away the guns and I just believe they will find another way to kill.

          • Yes, but any reduction in death is better than what they have now. If you are experiencing more murders than any other 1st world country you have to look at the reasons why this is occuring. One of the reasons is because acquiring guns is not that hard, even in states that do have stringent laws like California due to guns travelling across state lines.

            Sure a culture change would help, NT has a lot of guns shared across wildly different demographics, but does not experience nearly the same amount of murders (though the amount of stabbings is absurdly high in comparison to other states). In what scenario would adding a concealable handgun, a tube fed shotgun or an AR make sense for personal use?

          • Having a reduction in those types of weapons would certainly help, but a society like America needs more than gun reform to change.

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