Violent gaming debates reignited by Sandy Hook tragedy

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 00:11 GMT By Brenna Hillier

It’s hard to know what to say in the wake of the appalling loss of seven adults and 20 children in a shooting spree in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, but there’s no denying that violence in games is back in the mainstream media spotlight.

I feel like I can’t ignore these headlines from around the gaming press, but it seems disrespectful to the victims of this tragedy to post multiple articles as I normally would. Instead, I’ve collated a number of stories related to the massacre below.

Shooter Adam Lanza’s interest in games has been cited by many mainstream publications as somehow explanatory or motivational of his bizarre act of mass violence. Destructoid found a particularly egregious example in which the Express said Lanza’s favourite game was “a shockingly violent fantasy war game called Dynasty Warriors which is thought to have given him inspiration to act on his darkest thoughts”.

Polygon highlighted a saner response from the Washington Post, which cites actual facts in pointing out there is no correlation between national spend on games and national incidence of firearm crime.

Also on Polygon, we learn that a group of gamers has called for a “24 hour online ceasefire” – not because of any perceived link between shooter games and real world violence, but as a show of support, sympathy and solidarity for all effected by this genuine horror.

Finally, notorious anti-games campaigner Jack Thompson is back in the spotlight. GamePolitics reports that the former Florida attorney, now disbarred, left a voice message with Entertainment Consumers Association president Hal Halpin, noting that Thompson had “tried to prevent” such events.

The ECA responded with an extended statement on the matter.

“Regarding media requests for a statement about what role violent media (movies, music, games, etc.) has played, I’d simply and respectfully point to the lack of evidence to support any causal link,” Halpin said.

As I’m personally deeply uncomfortable with the thought of leveraging this weekend’s events for traffic, I’ll be updating this article with any further reports of note which surface today.