The argument that violent video games create violent people has reemerged recently. Many remember back to July 22, 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik brutally murdered 77 innocent civilians in Norway. He has admitted to the crime, and it is apparent that he is not your average citizen.
According to a recent article posted on CNN.com, Breivik testified that he “used the video game'Modern Warfare 2'as training for his shooting spree.”
Here we go again — mothers will destroy Xbox’s and sell their children’s games with this news. That is what the crazy ones will do. Normal and sane citizens know that violent video games do not foster realistic violent action. They give people a way to take their anger out on non-existent people.
The fact that Breivik played Call of Duty does not mean that game is what made him violent. He very well could have played FIFA or Madden, but he is not a professional athlete.
Dating back to the first violent video games, parents and public figures alike have claimed that violent video games ruin and corrupt the youth of our society. Many scientific studies have even proven that playing these games makes you more violent.
I am not denying scientific studies. I am saying if a person is prone toward violence, they will eventually enact violence. Whether it is sparked from a video game, movie or real life experiences — it will happen.
I play games such as the Grand Theft Auto, Halo and Call of Duty franchises. The only effect they have on me is as a release. If I am stressed out, playing these games helps me get rid of that stress. When I am done playing the games, I have no wish to go massacre an entire city.
The main argument a researcher will use against violent video games is that they make the user more aggressive. This may be true for some people. I can only hope these scientists tested for aggressive tendencies before and after the video games, and the effects of other types of violent media.
Being aggressive is not necessarily a bad thing. When playing sports, aggression allows you to be successful. Aggression also does not directly lead to violence. Before violence occurs there needs to be another event on top of the aggression.
I only ask that before immediately criticizing the video game industry for creating these games, play them yourself. Tell me if you feel more violent. Tell me if playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto makes you want to go steal a car and go on a rampage across Pullman.
Disclaimer: Don't actually do that. Turn yourself in if you do have those tendencies.
I am willing to bet it will not, and you may even feel more relaxed. A famous quote says, “don’t knock it till you try it,” and that is all I am asking.
People are too quick to judge these days and need to step back and take a chill pill. What other people do is not your problem. Let people be themselves. If they find violent video games fun, then let them have their fun. Raining on someone’s parade is never a good idea.
Breivik had violent tendencies before he started to play these games. He claimed to train on these games. The video game training was not effective, as he got caught and said himself that he did not expect to survive the day.