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Violent Video Games Did Not Cause The Columbine High School Shooting

1689 words - 7 pages

“I feel like getting a baseball bat, breaking it over his head, and then STABBING him with the broken end!!!!” vents Eric Harris about his local weatherman on his web page (Anton 5). Harris, being one of the killers in the Columbine High School shooting, was called a “die-hard gamer who loved the interactive bloodbath called DOOM” (Anton 2). Doom was thought to be one of the factors in Eric Harris’ violent tragedy. The question is: did playing Doom lead to him being a violent child, or did being a violent child lead him to playing Doom?

Proceeding my perusal of articles and research, written by authors with scientific credentials or otherwise, I have concluded that video games are no more to blame for the ebullition found in today’s society than any other possible cause. However, the incessant brouhaha as well as the negative notoriety surrounding media and video games refuses to cease or let up. These claims—for or against video games—are ultimately subjective and inconclusive and very little can be confidently derived from them. Granted, the violence found in our youth is growing rapidly, and there must be external reasons for that, but using video games as a scapegoat will not rectify anything.

Video games have been subjected to much finger pointing and blame for the too often seen violent tragedies as of late. David Grossman, a military psychologist that researches “killology,” is one of the many who provides his opinion against video games. Killology is a term he coined for the study of the methods and psychological effects of training army recruits to circumvent their natural inhibitions to killing fellow human beings (Grossman 1). By observing past wars (preceding killology), one can see how much people will go through to avoid killing other humans due to their “built-in aversion to killing one's own kind” (Grossman 2). By conditioning the soldiers, they are able to kill other humans with relative ease. “Just as the army is conditioning people to kill, we are indiscriminately doing the same thing to our children, but without the safeguards” (Grossman 2). Grossman claims that media desensitizes the children to violence, and kids often associate it with pleasurable things, making violence not so bad to them. However, as Michael Zarozinski puts it, “Any image that you are exposed to repeatedly will desensitize you to it. Simply being desensitized to violence will not lead to violent behavior. It simply makes one think less of violence when it does occur and can lead to people overestimating their chances of involvement in violence” (1). Regardless, Grossman continues by saying that “When people are frightened or angry, they will do what they have been conditioned to do” (4). He claims that by kids playing games, learning to repeatedly point and shoot, these children are being subjected to operant conditioning and will shoot others when cornered. Grossman gives the example of a murder case in South Carolina. A couple of...

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