Yes, Video Games Affect People, But That Doesn’t Give Guns a Free Pass

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In an effort to not be constantly branded as That Guy when the violence in video games conversation crops up, I’d initially just rolled my eyes at the comments from U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) yesterday morning in regards to video games and guns. We’ve had this discussion over and over, and it’s one worth having if we’re actually going to talk about the issues at hand, but Alexander instead opted to make a laughably meaningless statement about the nature of video games and how they’re a bigger problem than guns. Sigh. Okay, I guess we’re doing this, then.

Check out Alexander’s comments, after he was asked about background checks, during this segment on NBC News:

Here’s what he said for those that don’t feel up to listening to the man’s inane ramblings:

[…] I think video games is a bigger problem than guns, because video games affect people. But the First Amendment limits what we can do about video games, the Second Amendment to the Constitution limits what we can do about guns.

A lot of folks have taken Alexander to task for the “video games affect people” snippet, but that’s not where he’s off the mark. Video games do affect people! They affect people both positively and negatively, that’s not what’s silly here. Is it a mostly pointless remark? Yes, absolutely, but he’s not wrong. What’s really bizarre is that this man, a U.S. Senator, seems to genuinely believe that video games are a bigger issue than guns.

Let’s call it like it is: Video games are a relatively young medium, and the culture is slow to accept such things. If we were to replace “video games” with “film” or “television,” people would be even more dismissive of Alexander’s comments. We all know these things affect us, but saying they’re a bigger problem than weapons that are actively used to harm other people? To kill other people? It’s not like guns were made to plant crops, or something equally as mundane.

Misdirection, as usual, is a tool that politicians know all too well.

(via Ars Technica, image via Sam Howzit)

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