Violent video games are not causing mass shootings

Protesters at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington D.C. on March 24, 2018

Katelyn Vargas

Protesters at the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington D.C. on March 24, 2018

Katelyn Vargas, Contributing Writer

The frequent occurrences of mass shootings in the United States have many citizens wanting answers as to why these horrible events keep occurring. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 312 mass shootings in the United States in 2019 alone. This means that there have been more mass shootings than days passed in 2019. With this alarming information, it is understandable why people want an immediate answer to this growing issue.

One of the alleged reasons that seem to be trending among Americans are violent video games. The El Paso shooter of 2019 also referenced the popular video game Call of Duty in his manifesto.

In a press conference on Aug. 5, President Donald Trump commented on the supposed relationship between video games and mass shootings.

“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence,” Trump said.

While this conclusion seems logical at first glance, there have been many studies that suggest otherwise.

A 2012 study performed by Whitney D. Gunter and Kevin Daly used a statistical matching technique that attempted to estimate the effect of a treatment and detangle the relationship between violent video games and violent behavior. The study had both 8th grade boys and girls report whether or not they had played violent or non-violent video games within the last six months. After answering that portion, they had to report if they had engaged in any violent behaviors, such as carrying a gun or other weapon to school.

The results of the study showed that “4.7 percent of males and 2.8 percent of females have taken a weapon to school,” and “6.7 percent and 2.5 percent have carried a gun.”

These low percentages prove that “that assumptions made by the popular media and by policy-makers may be exaggerated at best and erroneous at worst.”

As the accusations that violent video games are the root of the issue continue to rise, more studies are conducted to prove the opposite.

Organizations such as Sandy Hook Promise, Moms Demand Action, March for Our Lives and individual activists have been fighting to help prevent and stop mass shootings in America. We may not know the exact thought process behind each gunman, but we do know that mass shootings need to end. Shootings occur so often that it has become the new-normal in the United States, which only allows the issue to grow.

As citizens of the United States, we must band together in order to find the true root of the problem and end the issue of gun violence.