Republicans Blame Video Games For Mass Shootings

Republicans have come up with a new target to blame mass shootings on, "violent video games."

Speaking on television on Sunday just hours after back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, two top Republican officials sought to shift blame for mass shooting events to violent video games:

Appearing on Fox & Friends on Sunday, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wanted to know when the federal government was going to take action against the video game industry, noting that the El Paso shooter’s anti-immigrant manifesto made a brief mention of a popular war-based game.

“How long are we going to ignore—at the federal level particularly—where they can do something about the video game industry,” Patrick told the Fox hosts. “In this manifesto that we believe is from the shooter, this manifesto where he talks about living out his super-soldier fantasy on Call of Duty. We know the video game industry is bigger than the movie and music industry combined.”

While noting that the El Paso shooting should be seen as a “hate crime” as the shooter was obviously targeting immigrants, the lieutenant governor continued to point the finger at both video games and the internet as root causes of these massacres while simultaneously dismissing the need for gun control.

“Why are we allowing young people or anyone to go to a website to learn and be killed and be praised to put this manifesto out,” he exclaimed. “Why are we allowing—90 percent of our children is the estimate, between the ages of 12 and 17—watching video games? Again, larger than the music industry and the movie industry combined.”

Patrick also suggested that it is the lack of God in Americans’ daily lives accounts for mass shootings, asking “what do we expect” when “we continue to only praise God and look at God on a Sunday morning and kick him out of the town square.”

Later on, during an appearance on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also ran with the narrative that video games were a major factor behind the mass shootings.

Bringing up Patrick’s remarks, host Maria Bartiromo asked McCarthy: “What are your thoughts on that, in terms of understanding that words matter, and that when we’re talking to each other on social media or looking at video games where they’re using videos of characters with these weapons, is there a conversation to be had about that, about the tone that this country is using?”

“The idea of these video games, they dehumanize individuals to have a game of shooting individuals and others,” the GOP leader replied. “I’ve always felt that is a problem for future generations and others. We’ve watched from studies shown before what it does to individuals. When you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others.”

Here are the remarks by Patrick and McCarthy respectively:

This focus on video games is hardly new for Republican politicians and public figures on the right, and in some sense, it has surpassed “mental health” as the first thing that many pundits on the right seek to blame in the wake of a mass shooting event. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012, the National Rifle Association sought to deflect the overwhelmingly negative coverage it was getting in the wake of the tragedy by bringing up the issue of violent video games, which spokesperson Wayne LaPierre said trained people to be violent killers. Additionally, and with no apparent sense of irony, LaPierre called the makers of these games “a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people.” Donald Trump, who at that point was just an angry old man with a Twitter account, agreed:

Notwithstanding the comments from Patrick and McCarthy and the earlier comments by LaPierre and Trump, there is no evidence of any connection between violent video games and these mass shooting events:

Studies have found a surprisingly clear link between violent media and real-world violence. But it’s not the link most people expect — for whatever reason, more people playing violent video games is consistently tied to fewer violent acts.

“What we find is pretty much no matter which way you cut it, there always ends up being this inverse relationship where when people are playing these violent video games or at least consuming them, we actually see dips in homicides and aggravated assaults,” said Villanova University professor Patrick Markey.

In their book Moral Combat: Why the War on Video Games Is Wrong, Markey and coauthor Christopher Ferguson lay out how researchers have approached this question from different angles.

What happens in the period after a hugely popular violent video game, such as a new Grand Theft Auto game is released? The rates of violent crime drop from what would be otherwise expected. When Google searches peak for walkthroughs of violent games — a sign that people are currently playing them — there is a corresponding drop in crime rates. You can look at countries where the most violent video games are sold, or seasons when they are most played, and if you’re going to see any link, it’s a negative one. Researchers have found similar inverse correlations when popular violent movies and TV shows have been released.

(…)

One of the more striking research findings outlined in Markey’s book is that school shooters are less likely to play violent video games than their peers, not more.

In 1998, the National Threat Assessment Center studied school shootings to create a profile of the killers. Researchers found only 12% of school shooters showed an interest in violent video games. A more recent analysis of the 10 most violent shootings on school campuses since 1998 by Peter Langman, who studies the psychology of school shooters, found that only 20% of the killers played violent video games with any regularity. This contrasts with about 70% of male high school students who play violent games.

In some ways, this makes sense. Research shows school shooters are more likely to display abnormal behavior, said Markey, and like it or not, violent video games are a normal peer activity.

As for the larger link between violent games and a drop in real violence, Markey’s theory is simply these video games have become so popular that more people are indoors playing them, rather than outside interacting with other people. In other words, people are committing fewer violent acts because they’re busy playing video games instead.

“It’s not a very sexy explanation, but it’s probably the one that makes the most sense,” he said.

Perhaps the best argument against the idea that violent video games lead to mass shootings is the fact that there only seems to be one country where the later is a problem. Video games like Call of Duty are just as popular in other nations around the world as they are in the United States, perhaps even more so, and yet these nations do not have the same levels of mass violence that we have in

Based on this research, one might even argue that we should be encouraging people to play violent video games if we want to reduce violence in public. Even without going that far, though, it’s rather obvious that the conservative effort to blame video games for mass shootings is an effort to deflect attention from other issues and to avoid having to answer questions about gun control and the fact that Congress and the White House have utterly failed to act even on sensible things such as expanded background checks or raising the age at which one can legally purchase rifles and other “long guns.” measures which polling has shown are widely popular among the public as a whole, including self-identified Republicans and gun owners..

Video games aren’t responsible for what happened in El Paso and Dayton this weekend, and the conservative efforts to shift the blame on to them is disingenuous. This is especially true of the El Paso attack, which is clearly motivated by the same white nationalist racism that the President of the United States continues to stoke for his political advantage. As I said yesterday, this doesn’t mean that Trump is responsible for the shooting, but it does mean that he is to blame for stoking the fires of hate and making it socially acceptable to express the kind of white supremacist hatred that motivated the El Paso shooter. And, regardless of what he might say in the wake of the shootings this weekend, it’s clear that he’ll continue doing so in the future because he clearly believes that it helps him politically. In that sense, he is morally responsible for the climate of hate that makes these events possible.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Guns and Gun Control, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jc says:

    Agnostic with thousands of kills in Call of Duty. Never shot a real gun, no desire to do so, and no desire to harm another human being after years of playing those games. Just saying.

    Note the man who killed people at a Madden video game tournament last year (non violent game, mind you)….what he did have was a documented history of mental illness and the ability to freely purchase firearms at any time without any restrictions

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  2. Mikey says:

    Because apparently there’s no other developed nation on Earth that has video games.

    What horseshit. These gun-humpers will say any garbage to avoid addressing the actual issue.

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  3. Kathy says:

    Does the GOP and their sympathizers have access to games like “Hispanic Invasion!” “Dirty Jews,” “Black Terrorist,” or “Islamic Supremacy”?

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  4. Scott F. says:

    And God, Doug, don’t forget God. The same crowd who would have me believe that Donald Trump is God’s vessel on Earth wants me to believe that allowing school prayer would return our country to a more civil time.

    Yet, these two clowns got to go on TV and spout this hypocritical BS about video games and God, while you and I didn’t get to go on and laugh in their faces.

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  5. mattbernius says:

    Related to this topic, remember when video games and Marilyn Manson were cited as motivating the Columbine Massacre?

    What wasn’t mentioned then — and something I only learned about this weekend — both shooters embrace of White Nationalism. See tweet thread here for the receipts from a Historian:

    https://twitter.com/drewmckevitt/status/1156939354453004288

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  6. Guarneri says:

    “A more recent analysis of the 10 most violent shootings on school campuses since 1998 by Peter Langman, who studies the psychology of school shooters, found that only 20% of the killers played violent video games with any regularity. This contrasts with about 70% of male high school students who play violent games.”

    You do realize that the exact same argument can be used by the other side. A vanishingly tiny minority of gun owners or sportsman kill people. Criminals and the profoundly disturbed kill people. Just as video games are not the culprit, neither are guns. Grasping at guns and gun laws is an ideological notion, not one rooted in efficacy.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: So let’s focus on AR-15s, AK-47s, etc. Let’s focus on expanded magazines. Will that stop mass shootings? No, but it will reduce the number killed and wounded.

    That’s a start, isn’t it?

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  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:

    Just as video games are not the culprit, neither are guns.

    Well, half of this sentence is true…a record for you, Drew.

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  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    There’s been, as always, a lot of talk about mental illness being the problem and not guns.
    And while statistically that is nonsensical…we have no more mental illness than other countries, we just have ready access to killing machines…there is now a new angle to this that must be considered.
    The POTUS is mentally ill, and he spends huge portions of his time stoking racism and violence in his followers who, by definition, are mentally ill.
    If we are going to address mental illness and domestic terrorism, let’s start in The People’s House.

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  10. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I need a 100-round drum magazine. What if the entire roster of the Cincinnati Bengals tries to home-invasion me??? You libtarts aren’t living in Reality.

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  11. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Is it going to take one of these MAGAts figuring out how to kill 3000 people, a la 9/11, before we actually do anything?

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  12. Slugger says:

    Gun control legislation appears to have had favorable results in Australia and even in Brazil.
    https://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/gov-gun-control-lessons.html
    I’d be willing to try it in ten random states with video game laws in another ten as a control.

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  13. @Guarneri:

    “A more recent analysis of the 10 most violent shootings on school campuses since 1998 by Peter Langman, who studies the psychology of school shooters, found that only 20% of the killers played violent video games with any regularity. This contrasts with about 70% of male high school students who play violent games.”

    You do realize that the exact same argument can be used by the other side. A vanishingly tiny minority of gun owners or sportsman kill people.

    Nops, this is not “exact same argument” – they are not saying that the school shooters are a minority of players of violent videogames; they are saying that players of violent videogames are a minority of school shooters (less than in the general population). “Exact the same argument” will be saying that only a small minority of school shooters are gun owners (which I doubt very much – I suspect that almost 100% of school shooters are, or gun owners, or sons of gun owners).

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I have told the story before (maybe here, if so I apologize for repeating myself) of sitting in the chair at the local barber shop while 2 guys waiting for their turn were discussing guns:

    Gun Guy #1: “I don’t understand why they want to ban expanded magazines.”

    G G #2: “Yeah, you know how long it takes me to change a magazine?”

    Me: “Long enough to stop Jared Loughner.”

    GG #1: silence

    GG #2: silence

    GG #1: “How ’bout them Cards?”

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  15. michael reynolds says:

    Trying to cast the blame on video games is so utterly without foundation only the most nakedly dishonest people can advance the notion. Dishonest and corrupt. You know, Republicans.

    It’s so easy being a Republican pol. They don’t have to put any effort into their lies. There’s literally nothing a Republican won’t believe so long as it’s pro-gun, anti-woman and racist.

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  16. Kathy says:

    What percentage of people who play Madden NFL become football players in real life? Or football coaches?

    Back in the late 90s I played a lot of Roller Coaster Tycoon. I didn’t go on to design amusement parks or even roller coasters.

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  17. Kylopod says:

    My favorite example along these lines came last November, shortly after the Pittsburgh massacre, when Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky blamed the violence on, get ready… zombie shows.

    @mattbernius: Thanks, that’s fascinating, I never knew that (or perhaps I forgot). What I do remember is that, despite wild and sensationalistic rumors to the contrary, it turned out the kids were not even fans of Marilyn Manson.

    Of course, even if killers claim inspiration from some song, that doesn’t mean it should be held responsible for their act. Probably the most famous example is the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” being cited by the other Manson as the inspiration for his massacre. The problem is, you have to be literally insane to read any sort of malevolent intent into that song (which was in fact named for a theme-park ride).

    The other example that comes to mind is the unsuccessful lawsuits against Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest for teen suicides. The JP case was particularly ludicrous as it was based on a claim that their songs contained hidden, subliminal messages. Ozzy has said the song “Suicide Solution” that was the basis for the lawsuit against him was in fact about the death of AC/DC frontman Bon Scott (this has been disputed, but there’s little doubt the song is about alcohol and/or drug addiction, not a call for teens to put a bullet in their head).

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  18. Kylopod says:

    Please rescue my comment from moderation (which contained only two links).

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod:

    Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky blamed the violence on, get ready… zombie shows.

    I know I blame Woody Harrelson and Simon Pegg.

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  20. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well he said shows. For all I know he might be perfectly okay with zombie movies.

    On that note, I can’t help posting this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xyhVO-SWfM

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  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Maybe my age is showing. I remember when going to the show meant a movie theater.

    Love that clip. I once got pulled over by a cop for DWB. I wonder if I could pass well enough to survive the Suburban Zombie Apocolypse?

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  22. Teve says:

    According to genius Ohio State Representative Candice Keller, a republican obvi, the causes of the shootings are:

    Transgender people
    Gay marriage
    Drag queens
    “Fatherlessness”
    Violent video games
    Open borders
    Marijuana
    Parents who don’t discipline their kids
    People who disrespect cops (“thank you, Obama”)
    People who disrespect the military
    Athletes who protest during the National Anthem
    Anti-Semitic Democrats
    A godless culture
    Politicians who don’t know the Second Amendment
    People who “can’t accept” Donald Trump

    linky

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  23. Kathy says:

    Over the years, traffic fatalities have been trending downwards. This is due to safer cars, but also to traffic laws, anti drunk driving campaigns, seat belt laws, etc.

    This progress would have never taken place, if there was a widespread consensus that cars and traffic laws and drivers had nothing to do with traffic fatalities, blaming it all on mental health, and car-racing video games.

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  24. KM says:

    Not only does this prove conservatives have no new ideas and just recycle past targets for blame, it shows how utterly out of touch they are with current America. The idea that video games is the province of the young is seriously out of date. Nintendo has been selling things in America since the 90’s, so that means that if you were in your mid-20’s when the SNES came out you are in your 50s now. Parents played with kids back then, just as adults play now. The percentage of adults in America who actively play some form of video game (online, mobile, PC, console or otherwise) is pretty damn high and only getting higher. In fact, it’s getting harder to find someone who *hasn’t* played some sort of video game in their life and most of them are either elderly or too poor to afford the systems in question.

    Anyone who’s played a game with even the slightest bit of violence is looking at this excuse with askance. The GOP is trying to tell a sizable portion of the population one of their favorite past-times is making them into killers…. and it’s pretty clear they’re full of shit. Even if you single out CoD and other heavily-violent games, it’s still incredibly likely you know (or are) someone who plays these games and can see this for the BS it is.

    They might as well have blamed avocado or lattes or millennials – it would have sounded just as “old man yelling at cloud” and still be pointless virtue signalling.

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  25. Kylopod says:

    @KM:

    Not only does this prove conservatives have no new ideas and just recycle past targets for blame, it shows how utterly out of touch they are with current America.

    I frankly do not think most of the conservatives making these arguments are arguing in good faith at this point. Look at the list from that state representative mentioned by @Teve earlier. It’s pure Gish Gallop, just throwing out targets hoping something will stick. We’ve entered a weird post-modern age where even the right has grown conscious of its own absurdity and is now interested purely in staking out territory through its internal shibboleths. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone outside their camp as long as it “owns the libs” and establishes one’s right-wing bona fides.

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  26. KM says:

    @Kylopod:
    Normally I’d agree but conservatives have hitched their wagon to troll / internet culture recently and that’s a population heavily into video games. It’s not owning the libs to talk shit about CoD or Fornite. The people that are pushing the memes and “own the lib” culture aren’t likely to take kindly to having something that defines them be the new boogieman. It will be a generational divide between the younger 8-chan trolls and the dumb, middle-aged sheep who suck up the Facebook posts the 8-chan crew create. Yeah, Russia’s got it’s finger in the pie but things like QAnon and meme-warfare are coming from the Millenials and younger so they’re going to likely nix this one quickly.

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  27. michaeel reynolds says:

    There is zero correlation between video games and murder. Zero. What’s the murder rate in game-obsessed South Korea? A bit more than 10% of ours. How about game-obsessed Japan? .2. Ours is 5.3.

    You have to be either special needs or an abject liar to believe this. But again, what won’t a Trumpaloon believe so long as it’s pro-gun, anti-woman and racist?

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  28. @Guarneri:

    Grasping at guns and gun laws is an ideological notion, not one rooted in efficacy.

    Except for all the empirical evidence from around the world, you have a point.

    All of your arguments pretend like the rest of the world doesn’t exist and that other developed industrialized countries don’t have this problem.

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  29. Alex Hamilton says:

    Screw it, let’s make a deal. Ban or heavily restrict M rated video games in exchange for mandatory background checks and lifting the restriction on studying gun violence.

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  30. PJ says:

    @KM:
    This.

    Since I doubt that, at this time, anything will done that actually matters, I would really hope that Trump and the GOP will push hard against violent games. Trump blamed video games last year too and did nothing beyond that. So, lets hope that they actually try to do something this time, and that the Democrats refuse to give it any kind of support.

    Lets have red states implement bans and censorship violent games. Lets have Trump and GOP in Congress push for national bans.

    I might help to erode Republican support and elect people who will be willing to do things that actually matters.

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  31. Hal_10000 says:

    I am skeptical of gun control, a y’all know. But blaming video games is an incredibly deep level of foolishness. There is zero evidence that they cause violence. There is, in fact, some weak evidence that may decrease it by giving people an outlet for violent tendencies. There is no evidence that prayer in schools or mental health or anything else is driving this.

    Tom Nichols, who supports banning assault weapons, had a good thread this morning pointing out that many countries have lots of guns and sky-high murder rates. But this business of walking into a bar and blowing away lots of strangers, trying to maximize the body count, is unique to the US (and, to a lesser extent Europe). Something is going on — not just guns or mental health or even online radicalization. And focusing on video games is the biggest stupidest distraction I can imagine.

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  32. wr says:

    The real problem with blaming video games is not that it’s absurd, or provably wrong, or even that it’s useless. It’s that they’ve done this one before. We had our little moral panic over video games 20 years ago and got past it, so that even those who love guns and look for any excuse can’t take this one seriously. They might as well have been blaming horror comics or Captain Billy’s Whiz-Bang.

    To me this is evidence that the NRA is really on the ropes — they used to be much better than this And if you’ve seen the footage of that huge crowd in Ohio chanting “do something” at their governor who tried offering thoughts-n-prayers, you might get the feeling that something is about to break…

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  33. Gustopher says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Something is going on — not just guns or mental health or even online radicalization. And focusing on video games is the biggest stupidest distraction I can imagine.

    Every country has crazy people, but show me another country that has our availability of automatic weapons, and our pretty radical free speech laws that protect everything up to, but not including, an explicit call to violence.

    And if the video game argument is the biggest distraction you can think of, it is doing its job.

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  34. Gustopher says:

    @wr: I don’t think they care that it’s dumb or repetitive. It gives them something to say, so they can take up space. It limits the airtime given to reasonable views, and that is a goal in itself.

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  35. David S. says:

    I was really curious about exactly what the “Call of Duty” reference actually was, so I went and found this manifesto. Here’s the relevant sentence:

    Don’t attack heavily guarded areas to fulfill your super soldier COD fantasy.

    That’s it. That’s the entire reference: a casual dismissal of videogames as an unrealistic power fantasy.

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  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mikey: Exactly. While I was in Korea, even pre-schoolers who were brought to PC arcades by their moms, dads, and grandmothers (!!!) played shooting games. On any given day I was in a PC room, I was the only person there who wasn’t playing shooting games.

    What a hell hole it was. All day and all night, gangs of Korean children were roaming the streets shooting random people, stealing cars, and burning down buildings. I don’t know why I stayed for 8 years!

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  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: No, no, no!!! You’re supposed to be focusing on the fact that black people commit crimes! We’re you paying any attention in the previous post at all??? C’mon! Get your head in the game!! Jeez!

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  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: There’s also this… (h/t: to Isaac Bretz one of my supervising teachers at Woosong University.)

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  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, but remember that back in the day, conservatives were against seat belts, mandatory seat belt laws, safer cars, and DUI checkpoints, too. We only got the things we have because more of us were willing to tell conservatives to STFU than to let them have their way–which, arguably, would have led to less expensive cars for people who were willing to trade price for safety and greater liberty for people who go out clubbing on the weekends.

    I wonder why we aren’t doing the same thing in this case?

    ETA: @KM: I was going to say Boomers for lattes, but I thought about it and realized that my stepdaughter was drinking spros long before my ex-wife and I started.

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  40. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:
    The common thread is white men and guns. I have a theory, one I started worrying about 30 years ago: the obsolescence of the human male.

    At the level of biology the job of a human male is to inseminate, then feed and protect the mother and child through the uniquely long human gestation and maturation periods. Over time as natural predators disappeared, males functioned largely to defend breeding females from other humans. Many iterations of this basic dynamic run through various cultures, but all are now coming up against that fact that we have, in the developed world, built a civilization where there is no function unique to males aside from insemination – and that’s teetering on the edge.

    Outside of professional sports, name a single occupation that is unique to males. Not police, not fire fighters, not soldiers. There is literally no such thing as a man’s job anymore. It is undeniable that over the last few decades there’s been a monumental power shift away from men, to women.

    The US is often the leading edge on large cultural shifts and we are in this area, with the added problem that unlike Europeans generally, American men are still wreathed in hero fantasies. That’s why the quasi-sexual obsession with guns, they act as symbols of masculinity. And it’s why, I think, we’re seeing a male panic.

    Middle-aged men with fading testosterone (Las Vegas), and twenty-something incels (El Paso and Toledo, er, Dayton). Two groups denied the final uniquely male job of insemination. Men are panicking. The older guys have images of themselves as John Wayne, but their hero moment never came. The young ones can’t get a date, let alone play hero.

    Now, mix racism, economic insecurity and a whole hell of a lot of people-killing tools ready at hand, and you get what we’ve got: white males committing mass murder, choosing to obliterate themselves and punish others for not appreciating their special wonderfulness.

    You see the same thing at work in guys like @Guarneri. Old, not likely to reproduce, his status draining away, his longed-for moment to be the hero long gone. So he latches onto that orange parody of masculinity and performs an intellectual auto-castration, the gunless version of obliterating the self, while spewing venom at all the others who denied him his importance in the world.

    We can either find a way to convince a whole lot of men to adapt to the new reality, or we take away their guns until they do.

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  41. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I started drinking cappuccinos waaaay back in the late 70s, when we went out to eat to an Italian restaurant that served them (they had the monstrously big brass espresso machine). When the coffee houses began to spring up int he 90s, milk and espresso drinks were old hat to me.

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  42. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Yeah, but remember that back in the day, conservatives were against seat belts, mandatory seat belt laws, safer cars, and DUI checkpoints, too. We only got the things we have because more of us were willing to tell conservatives to STFU than to let them have their way–

    I remember that. The first time I heard of “Big Brother” was in relation to seat belt laws.

    But other were other differences. For one thing, no one denied that traffic fatalities were related to cars. Nor was there a civil association of car owners “fighting” for their right to drive and own cars, like the NRA does for guns. Nor did anyone mount a scare campaign that the government was going to take your car away.

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  43. Gustopher says:

    @David S.:

    I was really curious about exactly what the “Call of Duty” reference actually was, so I went and found this manifesto. Here’s the relevant sentence:

    Don’t attack heavily guarded areas to fulfill your super soldier COD fantasy.

    Are we sure he wasn’t discussing the fish? And using all caps for emphasis?

    We will never really know what his motivation was. It’s not like he spelled out “I meant the video game, not the fish” in guns and posted a photo of that to his Facebook page.

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  44. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: I don’t think you’re completely wrong, but I think you’re focusing too much on the mass murder — the changing roles of men affects and embitters a lot of men who don’t go on to kill, they just vote for Trump.

    Look at the reaction to Brie Larson as Captain Marvel — countless crying manchildren (manchilds? Manchildren seems too nice) whining about SJWs, just because they made a superhero movie with a woman. One out of about 30.

    Or look at Gamergate. (Hmm. I might be ok with banning violent video games, just because of the alt-right gamergate connection…)

    And that’s just nerd shit.

    The resentment and feeling of emasculation is much more widespread, and a larger problem than a handful of mass murders (at least in terms of total body count) as it gets tied into so much of the right’s agenda.

    We see it on the left too (Gillibrand is reviled for “taking down” Franken, while the many men who called for his resignation are ignored), but not to the same extent.

    If women start eating hot wings and laughing at each other’s farts, there will be no uniquely male spaces left.

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  45. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    I don’t think I suggested this phenomenon was solely about mass murder, the question was how to explain mass murderers.

    I’ve been immunized a bit from the anxiety of lost masculinity by my misanthropy and indifference to social connection – I never felt as if, nor could I tolerate feeling as if, I was part of some larger group. I’ve never thought of myself as ‘a man’ always as ‘Michael,’ even when I was Alex, Carter, Frank or David. That’s not even getting into pseudonyms – I’ve still written more pages ostensibly as a woman than I have as a man.

    I see these guys and have to suppress a desire (or not) to point and laugh. They got so hung up on this one paradigm that they can’t adapt without having a crisis of some sort? Gotta gobble the Fentanyl and stroke your gun while indulging in violent hero fantasies? WTF, boys, how’d you let yourselves walk into that cul-de-sac?

    I think a lot of people have self and expression of self as both being fixed. That’s just some bad evolutionary adaptation, there. It’s the strength of the eggshell – tremendous so long as you don’t tap it with a spoon. The self may be quite stable, but the expression of self has to have enough room to adapt. Pretty sure I figured this out during the 10 years in 9 schools of my education. New school, same me, with an adjusted expression of self.

    It’s one of the reasons I think identity politics is an intellectual dead-end. People want the freedom to alter their expressions of self then promptly sort themselves right back into boxes. Out of big catch-all boxes into smaller boxes. Why people want to do that just baffles me. We are individuals, not a collective. I have my interests, which include a concern for others, but those others in turn have their own concerns, which are not mine. We are alone in our heads, alone in our perceptions. Looks like cosplay to me, intellectual dress-up. I’m this, I’m that, I’m part of…shudder.

    And yes, I am a wee bit high.

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  46. An Interested Party says:

    Has there ever been a society in history like ours, where the dominant ethnic group/sex slowly but surely loses its power to other groups (to the extent that it is happening here)…considering how strong the desire to hold onto power is, I suspect things will get worse before they get better…

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  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Accchhh…., Silly me, I’ll try to better tomorrow.

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  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher:

    The resentment and feeling of emasculation is much more widespread, and a larger problem than a handful of mass murders (at least in terms of total body count) as it gets tied into so much of the right’s agenda.

    I come at this from a perspective that finds this whole dynamic utterly foreign, to such an extent that all I can think of to say is, “Man the fuck up.” I just don’t get it. Nobody is taking away any man’s ability to be manly. If it’s that important to them they are free to take up marathon running or rock climbing or duck hunting or whatever manly pursuit they like.

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  49. Guarneri says:

    The following link to a study on the linkage of desensitizing violence and subsequent commitment of violence (courtesy of Dave Schuler’s place) is a worthwhile read.

    Far better than the infantile commentary of some bloggers, commenters, media pundits and politicians.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4539292/

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  50. An Interested Party says:

    I wonder if the following can be considered to be “infantile commentary”…

    Late in his disorderly presentation, as he discussed the work of Border Patrol officers, he raised, and then dismissed, the idea of allowing them to use violence against migrants.

    “And don’t forget—we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons,” he said. “We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people? You can’t. There’s—”

    It was then that he was interrupted by a woman in the crowd. “Shoot them!” she yelled.

    The president found this funny, as did his audience. “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that stuff.” He stopped for a moment to take in the crowd’s roaring approval. “Only in the Panhandle!” he repeated.

    It is worth pausing on the choice that was available to the president at that moment. Trump was faced by a person in the crowd who argued for the murder of immigrants. He could have, in the manner of John McCain, used a foul moment to teach a lesson about the moral necessity of nonviolence and rhetorical restraint. But he is in many ways McCain’s characterological opposite, and so he encouraged—in the greasy, joking-not-joking style he has perfected—the normalization of violence.

    I watched the video recording of the rally in Panama City shortly after reading the El Paso killer’s so-called manifesto. It is a document littered with phrases and rhetorical devices injected into mainstream discourse by the president and his supporters—talk of a “Hispanic invasion,” accusations that Democrats support “open borders,” and the like. As Trump faces the possibility that he will lose the presidency next year, he may become more enraged, and more willing to deploy the rhetoric of violence as a way to keep his followers properly motivated. The Panama City speech was an important moment in Trump’s ongoing effort to make the American presidency a vehicle in the cause of marginalizing and frightening racial minorities; the killings are a possible (and predictable) consequence of such rhetoric.

    Video games mean nothing when you have the president of the United States encouraging and promoting violence…

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  51. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    For one thing, no one denied that traffic fatalities were related to cars.

    Actually, yes, the big three automakers very definitely denied that, very loudly and with a lot of campaign donations attached. They lobbied for years against making seatbelts standard equipment in cars and instead spent money on driving safety courses and advertising.

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  52. MarkedMan says:

    @Guarneri: Ah yes, cite one largely discredited paper while ignoring the dozens of well researched papers that found the exact opposite. Typical Republican fact shopping. This is an example of why a modern Republican can’t be trusted with anything.

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  53. Monala says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: thank you!

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  54. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: Except there was that doofus Congresswoman from some Midwestern state who made such a stink about seat belts impinging on her freedom, similarly about requiring helmets for motorcycle riders (impingement on mah FREEDUMB!)

    It was karmic justice that she died in a car crash, IIRC…..

    (My view is simple: you want to ride a motorcycle without a helmet? Fine. Post a bond of $5000 which will get paid out to whoever gets to scrub your brains off the road. Sign a contract allowing the state to euthanise you if your inevitable accident results with you in a coma. And make sure you have sufficient health insurance, because otherwise we’ll just dump you on your nearest and dearest and have them take care of you. You want to be stupid, take responsibility for the consequences.)

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  55. rachel says:

    @grumpy realist: A friend of mine who used to work at a transplant bank told me that after the helmet laws were enacted in California, the largest source of young, healthy organs dried up overnight.

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  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Actually there were 2–you’re forgetting Wonder Woman (3 if you count the Justice League movie). And they also had the audacity to hire a foreign woman to play the role when they had that nice Germanic-looking Adrianne Palicki available to play the role. (Actually casting Gal Gadot to play the role ended up with the character making far more sense than a comic book character deserves, but that’s a different issue.) I was a little surprised that there was so little push back. I guess a lot of the acceptance had to do with who Wonder Woman is and how well Gal Gadot fit the image.

    Still, Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers caused a big dust up. Both in the movie and, IIRC, when they took the character off the Marvel roster and reintroduced the title with a female Captain Marvel. Many readers complained that Ms. Marvel had made more sense. There was even some “a woman can’t be a Captain” jive going on at the time.

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  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist: My mother worked Neuro ICU for years. It was filled with comatose helmetless motorcyclists.

    @Monala: Your welcome. There is one little problem tho, so many of these manly pursuits are populated with women now! Who told that woman she could go rock climbing? She’s better than 98% of the men!

    Back in the ’70s when I started in the trades it was a very manly profession filled with manly men. When I finally retired a few years back, I was working around women on almost every job site! Female electricians are a dime a dozen now, same for pipefitters and tinners. Why I even had a woman in the union carpenter rigging certification class I took 13 years ago! If these women had any respect for the manly pursuits, they’d stay in the kitchen where God birthed them!

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  58. Guarneri says:

    @MarkedMan:

    NEWS ITEM

    “An exhaustive new study from the CDC reveals that the leading cause of gun violence in America is your political opponents. Researchers looked at a number of potential causes of gun violence such as mental health, family situation, cultural shifts, gun laws, rap music, videogames, sugar consumption, and the actual gunman, but by and large, the most prominent cause of gun violence was what most already suspected. The fault lies with those who you disagree with politically.”

    A survey of the comments section at the OTB blog and the current set of Democrat presidential candidates confirmed the study’s results.

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  59. @Guarneri: It is nice to see how seriously you take mass murder.

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  60. (It isn’t even a good retort to MaskedMan’s comment)

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  61. Guarneri says:

    As seriously as the public discourse, and your reflexive need to criticize.

    BTW – do you disagree with the point, made through sarcasm, of the horrifically lightweight nature of the public discourse. I would include rather dumb notions that but for Indiana Chicago would be a gun free zone.

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  62. @Guarneri:

    I would include rather dumb notions that but for Indiana Chicago would be a gun free zone.

    No one claimed that. The point was that it is impossible to draw conclusions about Chicago/Illinois’ gun rules (as you glibly did earlier) due to the proximity of other states.

    You are now doubling down on baseless claims by offering up strawmen examples of what others have said.

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  63. @Steven L. Taylor:

    do you disagree with the point, made through sarcasm, of the horrifically lightweight nature of the public discourse.

    Discourse can always be improved. You might would to engage in some self-reflection on that count.

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  64. Kathy says:

    FWIW, Dr. novella looks at Video Game Violence (VGV) in his blog.

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  65. mattbernius says:

    @MarkedMan:

    cite one largely discredited paper

    Call… I can’t find anything discrediting that paper.

    Though the larger point is that with quant social research, it’s far more important to look at meta analysis. This is the most recent comprehensive meta analysis of US focused studies:

    https://www.pnas.org/content/115/40/9882

    Scientific american has a pretty good write up of it:
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/yes-violent-video-games-trigger-aggression-but-debate-lingers/

    Of particular interest:

    Hull and his colleagues also found evidence ethnicity shapes the relationship between violent video games and aggression. White players seem more susceptible to the games’ putative effects on behavior than do Hispanic and Asian players. Hull isn’t sure why, but he suspects the games’ varying impact relates to how much kids are influenced by the norms of American culture, which, he says, are rooted in rugged individualism and a warriorlike mentality that may incite video game players to identify with aggressors rather than victims. It might “dampen sympathy toward their virtual victims,” he and his co-authors wrote, “with consequences for their values and behavior outside the game.”

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  66. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Discourse can always be improved. You might would to engage in some self-reflection on that count.

    Yeah, frankly a shit poster who rarely responds and then typically blames the “mean libs” for his lack of discourse and internal inconsistencies (not to mention is more interested in scoring points than agreeing to base facts) isn’t someone to lecture on this particular topic.

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