There were two tragic shootings that happened in Georgia and Colorado in March 2021. One that dealt the death of eight people, most of them being Asian American women and one happening at a Supermarket. We have seen these incidents occur many times and less and less solutions are being agreed upon to help fix or at least curb these horrific acts. You might think this is going to be about violent video games but in reality, it’s something that’s puzzled me for a while.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. I feel that news organizations, outside companies that don’t solely focus on video games, tend to cover these tragic shootings unfairly. We know that once it breaks, the story continues to develop as new information is released. Different correspondents come together to offer an opinion to the coverage.
If you haven’t guess by now, violent video games never plays a part in the discussion when it comes to older adults in mass shootings. Outside of domestic terrorism, gun laws, and the search for a motive, why don’t investigators examine the gaming history of adult mass shooters, specifically their experience with M-Rated games? A stretch? Maybe. It matters to me because, as horrible these acts are, when teens commit a shooting, gaming becomes the number one perceived motive. If pundits believe in that connection, how come its never used for adults?
I have come to the conclusion that journalist and correspondents won’t do research for facts to apply the violent game theory on their story because the narrative may not fit. If it is a child or teenager, the gaming topic comes to the forefront due to age. Adults though? Total silence.
Maybe that is the reason for the silence on adult violence. When it comes to a mass shooting with an adult involved, they feel M-Rated games don’t play a part. See, the reporting needs a narrative. The narrative needs to be persuasive for viewers to engage in. No need to have a debate or defend the topic. Just enough to make the story plausible and convincing. Look at all the shootings that happen at schools and how games were used. Compare that to all the violent behavior of adults and see in the search engine, what games trained them for combat.
Could we blame the media for this cycle? To a degree. Some will say Fox News is the worst. Others may say CNN or MSNBC. Seeing this from the sideline, most of these reporters and correspondents don’t have a history with gaming. No “what we been playing” section at the end of their shows. Nothing about their plans to attend E3 or Pax. Let alone, an understanding of the technological side of modern gaming.
The adult behavior they report on tends to fall on the way side and comes off less sympathetic, depending on how it is handled. We know news travel fast and a lot of it has to be covered in a reasonable time frame. Not everything will have time devoted to bring a in-depth conversation. Whether that be about mental health, ideology, or that person or group history.
As viewers, there’s a level of sympathy we reach when we react to these horrendous acts. Instead of having the violent video games vs. the 2nd Amendment discussion, we should take some time to mourn, show empathy to those who lost someone, and not give power to the ones who committed the situation. We tune into the news to be inform. To be able to take action when needed. To be emotional and supportive. To reach out to the officials we elected to make decisions that will stop these situations from happening.
With no work being done, the silence on adult violence will just become bigger, where people will feel defeated because they know or expect nothing will be done. No meaningful stance will be taken from those in power. The people will take it, and the media will be there to cover it. Once again, to inform or create a narrative around it.
Before I conclude this article, I want to take a look at how two deadly shootings were covered. A warning in advance: This may trigger you, so if you want to skip further down, please do. First video, The Sandy Hook Shooting.
“Why did he go to the school with so much intensity” ask Chris Cuomo
CBS reported that one of the motives could have been violent video games. At this time, the video is only viewable on YouTube, but they reported saying “he spent countless hours in a basement alone,” and that he saw the killings as a “score”. Most of this is speculation, and more factors were theorized in the reporting.
Here is a final video reporting on the story.
“They were unable to determine the motive,” reported Brian Ross.
Now, let us look at the Las Vegas shooting that took place.
“The worst mass shooting in modern American history,” reports Joe Fryer
Here’s video about searching for a motive.
“The Police are no closer to a motive on why the man went on a killing spree,” reports Miguel Almaguer
This is the final result of the Las Vegas Shooter.
After 10 months of investigations, still no motive.
Both of these stories are hard hitting. Depending on how you accept it, these stories contain three things: a arsenal of range weapons used, innocent lives taken, and the investigation for motive differed. This still has affected us all.
I wish there was more thorough discussion and investigation on why these keep happening. We get more research on video game violence and the connection to violent behavior more than once per year, and the result from those studies show no connection to the cause. We don’t get that with adults, and not many TV journalist report on it. There needs to be a better way.
I hope the silence on adult violence is broken, and we can address the problems that need attention. Violent video games have been proven time and time again to play no factor, but there is something deeper. If the media could cover that, bring a fair narrative to the stories, and inform people about the research and results, maybe it could be a first step to solving the real obstacles. I for one, would tune in.
How should adult violence be covered in the news? Should video games be brought into the reporting? Share your perspectives in the comment section below.