Is Violent Media The Culprit Behind Gun Violence?

Violence in the MediaMarilyn Mason And Columbine

Marilyn Manson used to be the problem with violence.  Remember columbine?  All that outrage at his music and the graphic content in his videos.  Who among us has not listened to a Marilyn Manson song and felt a Dexter like rage that can only be quelled by a massacre.  Pay no attention to the fact your average Marilyn Manson fan at the time would have been incapable of inflicting a concussion against a high school jock, let alone take out 12 students and injure an additional 21 without the right weaponry at hand.  It’s not that Marilyn Manson fans are necessarily bad fighters, but skinny jeans restrict mobility.

Probably Porn Is A Problem Too

Now the concern is with violence in video games and movies.  Probably porn too.  Not the good stuff, but maybe you downloaded what you thought to be a German hardcore porn film and it was nothing more than a bobbing man ass with elevator music in the background.  It’s not hard to draw causation between that experience and the need to inflict harm on your fellow Man.

Are Gamers And Movie Goers Sleeper Agents Destined To Psychopathy?

But let’s focus on the true threat; Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, or of course Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, Django Unhcanged.   Have you ever been to one of those cyber cafes, you know the ones where there are forty people ranging from 12 to 50 years of age are all hopped up on energy drinks and candy bars.  It’s a frightening environment, thinking that each time another bot, or fellow player dies at the mere click of a mouse button, the gamer is further reinforcing the inevitable fallout of committing a tragic mass shooting.

Think about your own experience in playing games.  That’s always a good start; introspection.   Imagine playing Assassin’s Creed II and finishing the game.  What’s next?  We’re always thrill seeking, looking for that next hit that dwarfs the last.  Do you feel a compulsion to put on a cloak and treat your town like a shoot em’ up sandbox game?

Japan:  How Can They Survive Without A Second Coman – I  Mean Amendment?

Japan is one of the leaders in video game pioneering.  Though oddly, it seems the risk of dying due to neglect of ones body during a video game binge poses a larger threat than gun violence in the country.  I mean, there are 125 million people there, more than a third of the US population, and there’s, hold on, I need a calculator.  OK, I’ve done the math and it appears there are 10 gun homicides per year there on average.

I checked for a quick search, and it indicated over 30,000 gun related deaths occurred in 2011 in the USA alone.  I thought that seemed high – I recall hearing a figure over 10,000 parroted about in the media, so I checked another site,, which was centred around the mass shooting in Aurora Colorado.  This article indicates there are 87 gun deaths a day.  It’s a good thing I got my calculator before, because if I times that by 365 days, I get 31,755.  But let’s just go with 10,000 a year, it’s a round number, and it’s horrifying nonetheless.

There’s incredibly strict gun control in Japan, so I used my deductive reasoning to tell me there’s something more than violent video games and movies at play here.  I can’t help but wonder if the Japanese had around 125 million guns in circulation if the fatality count might be just a bit higher than 10 a year.  I know it seems a stretch to reach that conclusion, but there’s logic for you.

Beware The Mustachio

It would be easy to draw a correlation between violent media and gun violence.  But I can also draw you a correlation between mustachios and mass murderers on the scale of Hitler and Stalin.  They both had mustachios after all.  What I promise you though is I can’t draw a causal link between sporting a mustachio and being responsible for death tolls in the millions.

The correlation between violent media and gun violence is a little less absurd, but not at all compelling.  It is quite possible that those with violent inclinations might find violent video games and movies to be attractive to their sensibilities.  I would wager that many a would be violent criminal has instead enveloped themselves in a world where they can work a mundane job to secure enough money to enjoy as much internet pirating of violent media as they could want in a thousand life times.

What scientists have not proven is a casual link of any significant value between violent media and gun violence.  There’s no compelling evidence to show that an otherwise non violent individual is more likely to shoot up a school after finishing a stint of a Counter Strike marathon, than someone who just finished reading the bible.

Everybody Loves Wayne LaPierre!  You Know He Wants Only To Protect Our Freedom.  Swell Guy

Why then do questions about violent media pop up every time there’s a mass shooting?  It’s a distraction, of course.  NRA spokesman, Wayne LaPierre – fun name for the head gun enthusiast –  will shamelessly stand before the cameras and point the finger at violent media and mental illness, while in the same breath insisting if we only had more guns around there would be less violence.

“Don’t make me angryYou wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” – Hulk

Have you ever been pissed off at someone before?  Really mad, mad enough to wish they were dead.  Without a gun around, that usually results in a few pushes, a head lock, a punch or two to the face which results in a broken nose, and a broken hand of the person who threw the punch.  What follows is typically beer, cigarettes, and a male bonding experience.  What if there was a gun holstered to your hip at the time of your emotional surge of hate.  Maybe the weapon wouldn’t make an appearance in the scuffle, but I don’t need my calculator to figure out the odds of it turning into a gun related homicide go dramatically up, in consideration of studies on the issue, as an example gives below.

From the New England Journal of Medicine

“But research has shown that a gun kept in the home is 43 times more likely to kill a member of the household, or friend, than an intruder.(Arthur Kellermann and Donald Reay. “Protection or Peril? An Analysis of Firearm Related Deaths in the Home.” The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 314, no. 24, June 1986, pp. 1557-60.):”

The Dark Days, Before TV, Video Games And Internet. What Of Gun Violence Then?

I have but one more argument, if you would indulge, before you return to playing Medal of Honor.   There was a time, ancient history really, prior to violent media.  It’s hard to imagine that in the absence of such troubling content perverting our society that violence could have come about, but one only need open a history book to allow me the luxury of not fleshing out an inherently obvious point.  Violence is intrinsic in nature, and none on Earth are more adept at it than humans.  With the advent of the gun, and the advancement in that field of technology, it became easier to kill people in the dozens.  Before that you needed either Legolas or Conan to achieve the same carnage.

The Moral Of the Story Is To Enjoy Your Violent Media Preferences, And Don’t Pull Any Stunt To Give Gamers A Bad Name

Keep watching cool movies and playing awesome video games.  You’ll make friends of similar interest, develop quicker reaction times and increased hand eye coordination.  Enjoy yourself and give yourself and the guy next to you at the cyber cafe a little credit and take no fear, unless they’re sporting a mustachio and have a rifle strapped across their back.


1 thought on “Is Violent Media The Culprit Behind Gun Violence?”

  1. Hello.
    I would like to say that video games are definitely not the problem. Like you said, before video games and movies violence was still outrageous in Native American tribes that we know of and there is a lot of genocide throughout history. Violent movies are not the problem.

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.