In the Game of Life, There are No Continues
It was July when Charles Whitman, who was 24, killed both his wife and mother. He then took a “footlocker full of ammunition, shotguns, rifles, Spam sandwiches and water” to a clock tower at the University of Texas. In the next hour and half, he shot 46 people, killing 16 of them before finally being shot to death by police. Charles Starkweather was 19 when he led Caril Fugate, 14, on a “weeklong killing spree across Nebraska and Wyoming in which 11 people were shot, stabbed, and strangled to death.” Before this, however, Caril had shot her mother to death with a shotgun for threatening Charles (Lovinger 18,19).
Are these the newest acts in a seemingly endless rash of teen violence? Were these teens influenced to kill by Marilyn Manson, violent video games, or R rated movies? The answer is a sound “No!” These acts occurred before the advent of violent media. According to Lovinger, Whitman killed all those people in the summer of 1966, while the killing spree of Starkweather and Fugate happened during the year of 1958 (18). Violence has always been among the population. Violent video games do not encourage nor induce our kids to commit acts of brutality. People have been killing each other since the dawn of time. Society cannot use violent video games as a scapegoat for its ills. Violent video games do not cause violent behavior in today’s youth, contrary to popular belief.
One of the biggest arguments against the selling and creating of violent video games is that kids are not able to distinguish between fantasy and reality, that by picking up a fake gun and shooting at pixels and animation that flies across the screen, the game is teaching kids to kill in real life. People argue that these games cause kids to become a “video gamer trained to kill efficiently by the hyperviolent games he played” (Thompson 36). If these games are really teaching kids to become violently trained weapons of destruction, then society should be seeing a lot more violent acts then it does. According to Joshua Quittner of Time magazine, video games are a 5.5 billion dollar industry, beating out even movies. They have also become the “second-most popular form of home entertainment after TV.” On top of this, Quittner also points out, “9 out of 10 U.S. households with children have rented or owned a video or computer game.” He also goes on to point out that almost a third of the top games in 1999 had some violent content (50). It should be mentioned here however, that “Doom” and “Quake”, two games known for their violent content, have a combined sale of only 4.7 million copies. Take a look at “Myst” and “Riven,” both very non-violent, they have combined sales of 5.5 million copies (Miller 3). So while a third of the 100 games are violent, the top sellers are not. This does not mean that they are not being sold, just not in the ludicrous amounts that the media leads people to believe....