Emotional knee jerk responses are plenty after such tragedies. People jump to conclusions with little to no evidence. People think that since it was a crime committed with a gun that the response is to disarm all of the people in the United States (forgetting the fact criminals who murder people will still have guns). Of course, you never see anyone advocating that cars be outlawed when someone decides to kill someone with one.
Another favorite target of well-meaning parents and scapegoating politicians is violent video games. For some reason people feel that a video games that simulates violence must automatically lead to violence. As if somehow clicking a mouse to fire pixelated bullets at fictional zombies will somehow encourage a child to grab a gun and start shooting teachers and little kids. It takes a very disturbed individual to not be able to see the difference between a mouse click and pixels, and taking the lives of twenty people and shooting themselves in the head.
Having done some significant academic research on the topic, it’s debatable whether violent video games actually promote violence. I’m not advocating giving inappropriate video games to children because it’s probably not the best thing for them, at least not without their parents discussing why violence is bad (and not monitoring their child for disturbed behavior). Then again, that’s why the are rated M for Mature. An often over looked, and plausible counterargument is that violent video games allow people to get out their aggression in a video game instead of the real world. This is something I can attest to not only from my own experiences but those of my friends (I’ve been leading a Christian gaming clan for over 7 years and have tons of anecdotal evidence of it being a stress reliever.) I’ve played violent video games for well over a decade and I have yet to have the urge to go on a killing spree.
Parental Discretion is Advised
Obviously, some discretion needs to be taken. Even though I may play Team Fortress 2, Battlefield series, and even Left 4 Dead 2 doesn’t mean games like Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row (where you get points for terrorizing innocent people) is a positive influence. But to jump to the conclusion that a violent video game causes the real-world act is silly. Have you considered that maybe people who are mentally disturbed may be more likely to play these violent video games? Maybe it’s not the video game causing the disturbance, but simply a result of said illness (I’m not saying everyone who plays violent video games is disturbed). Saying video games cause shootings is like saying drunk driving is caused by cars—both are a symptom of a deeper problem.
Sandy Hook was about a man who had a mental illness. Our mental health system is a disgrace. As a person who has had to take care of a person with a severe mental illness, it’s a LIVING NIGHTMARE. The system doesn’t work like anyone would think. Until someone has actually hurt someone the government, police, and even psychiatric doctors won’t force a person to get help. It’s is next to impossible to get a person involuntarily committed even if they have a history of commitments.
You can try to remove the violent video games and you can try to remove all of the guns, but, as long as our mental health system, and ultimately, the moral fabric of our society continues to unravel, senseless violence will continue until we go to the root cause of our problem and that is indeed a lack of an Almighty Lawgiver.