Violent Video Games Could Fuel More Mass Shootings Say Politicians

August 5, 2019 Updated: August 5, 2019

Two elected representatives warn violent video games would only fuel more mass shootings in the future on August 4.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has concerns about possible subliminal factors in video games. Those subconscious factors may make it more appealing to resolve personal problems through a mass shooting.

“Video games dehumanize individuals to have a game of shooting individuals or others,” McCarthy said in a televised interview on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures program. “We watched from studies shown before, of what it does to individuals. When you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games.”

The congressman is concerned the games are setting a bad example for younger Americans.

“I have always felt that is a problem for future generations and others,” McCarthy said.

He suggested it would be worth investigating whether social media monitoring could identify potential mass shootings before the condition of potential suspects escalates to dangerous levels.

“This may be a place where you could find this [risk of a mass shooting] ahead of time and maybe a place of what [history is] being written could be changed and could be an indication of when an individual needs the help of others,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy made the remarks after two mass shootings within 24 hours. The shooting at the El Paso Walmart in Texas killed 20 people and injured 26 while the Dayton shooting in Ohio killed at least nine and injured 27 according to USA Today.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R) shares McCarthy’s concerns and urges authorities to “condemn” video games for the “evil” it propagates.

“How long are we going to let, for example, and ignore at the federal level particularly where they can do something about the video game industry?” Patrick said on Fox & Friends.

The alleged El Paso shooter has released a manifesto on the internet that discusses his desire to live out his “super-soldier fantasy,” according to Patrick.

“What are we as a nation to say—that we’re going to tolerate and allow a website that lets killers post their manifesto before—and to be posted after the act?” he said. “We have to take a long look at who we are as a nation and where we want to go and what we’re going to tolerate from social media and from video games.”

He does not believe the guns themselves are evil and suggests violent video games are spreading a kind of demonic force.

“This was maybe a video to this evil demon—a video game to him,” he said. “We’ve always had guns; we’ve always had evil … I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill.”

The New York Times has been critical of any such connection between mass shootings and video games. The paper often refers to an essay written by the University of Southern California’s Professor Henry Jenkins back in 2005. He claimed that juvenile crime is at its lowest levels seen since three decades ago.

“Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes, than the average person in the general population,” Jenkins said according to the paper. “The overwhelming majority of kids who play do not commit antisocial acts.”

A 2015 study from the Pew Research Center found nearly half of American adults play video games either on a computer, TV, gaming console or mobile device.