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Anti-Game Crusader Doing More Harm than Good - OPINION

Filed under: Video Game Politics
Posted by Jeremy on December 19, 2005 10:31 AM
Comments (0) |

I came upon this article at Wired.com today and boy am I angry. The article details the career of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, an ex-Army Ranger and West Point psychology professor, who purports that, "violent media and video games are the largest single threat to modern civilization." Grossman is considered an expert on the subject, with a website killology, and his book, On Killing, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, required reading at the FBI Academy and top military schools. What makes me so angry is that Grossman travels the country 300 days of the year speaking, primarily, to police officers, filling their heads with misleading research and illogical arguments. The cops, they love him.

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And why wouldn't they? He is telling them what they want to hear; that society is not to blame, that you, as a parent are not to blame, that you, as a cop are not to blame, but the video game itself, yes, that is what to blame. (He is a pychology professor, afterall.)

Grossman packs the house and has spoken to literally thousands of officers.

"In October, Grossman spoke for four hours at the Utah Sheriffs' Association annual conference and "kept everyone glued to their seat," said a law-enforcement trade publication.

Two of those hours were spent discussing studies of the effects of violent video games on kids."

Going further, the national VP for the Fraternal Order of Police, David Hiller, "said...a lot of officers on the street are concerned that young people are emulating violent games.

"Remember, these kids are being rewarded for pulling the trigger and killing people," Hiller said. Hiller said some officers search for violent video games at crime scenes to present as evidence at trial."

This is very upsetting. Some officers search for violent video games at crime scenes? Are you kidding me? Do they also search for violent movies or books? Do they search for violent parents?

Nope, just the video games. An easy scapegoat.

The article continues, showing an alternative view to Grossman's assertations. Thomas J. Aveni, co-founder of The Police Policy Studies Council, said Grossman, "does perpetuate misconceptions among police."

"Aveni said the real causes of violence are upbringing, poverty and other social factors, and that Grossman's argument is "too simplistic" and "illogical."

"The vast majority of violent felony crimes ... are being committed by inner-city youths who don't have an Xbox, meaning they haven't been conditioned by violent video games.""

Nobody here at Lunabean is saying that kids should be playing violent video games. In fact, the ratings system that is in place is stricter and better enforced than the ratings system for music and movies. Kids shouldn't be getting their hands on these game at all.

The problem is that people like Grossman, Jack Thompson, Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, and Evan Bayh, are perpetuating a myth (for their own gain, be it financial or political) rather than addressing the core problem: poverty, upbringing, and other social factors, as Mr. Aveni pointed out in the article.

All of these people are trying to be on the "moral high ground" yet are deceiving the public in so doing. Not very moral if you ask me. In fact, it's downright lazy in the case of the Senators.

But, back to Grossman. He claims that First Person Shooters are "murder simulators". I don't dispute that. That's what they are in the same sense that driving games are "driving simulators" and flying games are "flight simulators".

What Grossman fails to recognize is that almost all First Person Shooters carry an "M" rating already and that, believe it or not, people are able to separate fiction from reality; the virtual world from the real world.

Read the entire article.






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