Gamers association asks Biden not to blame video games for Connecticut shooting

Open letter from gaming consumer group to US vice president asks that government and public stop blaming video games for real-world violence.

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The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has written a public letter to US Vice President Joe Biden asking him not to blame video games for last month's mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Biden will meet with leaders of the game industry this month in Washington, DC to discuss the role of violent games as part of a wider task force looking into the role of violent media in mass shootings.

ECA vice president and general counsel Jennifer Mercurio urged Biden to support the public's "constitutional right" to access and buy games and to not blame media for the recent tragedy.

"With the recent tragedy on everyone's minds, some people are looking for a cause and culprit other than the shooter," Mercurio said in the open letter. "Unfortunately some are blaming media, including video games, for violent behavior in individuals. We know this isn't the case; banning or regulating media content even more won't solve the issue."

The ECA is a non-profit membership organization representing consumer affairs in interactive entertainment in the United States and Canada. According to Mercurio, the ECA serves to give gamers a collective voice and address issues relating directly to them.

In the letter, Mercurio also referenced a study by Christopher J. Ferguson of Texas A&M International University, which found no link between violent games and real-world violence.

"While video game sales have increased, violent crime has been steadily decreasing according to FBI statistics. In 2011, video game sales increased to over $27 billion dollars and violent crimes nationwide decreased 3.8 percent from 2010. Since 2002, violent crime has decreased 15.5 percent. This is all during the time when games like Call of Duty and Halo have dominated sales."

Mercurio ended the letter by stating the ECA's willingness to meet with Biden to further discuss the issue.

Earlier today, the International Game Developers Association issued a similar statement to Biden, urging him to steer clear of any action that could result in the censorship of video games.

Discussion

217 comments
digitaldevil624
digitaldevil624

blame mental illness and the asshole that did it, but don't mention his name that's what he wants.

slainta
slainta

And what syllogism is that? I said that if more psychopaths were to outlet their frustration with videogames there would probably be less shootings. How you came out with the deduction "all people playing videogames are psychopaths" is out of my comprehension. 

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

If a politician comes up with a stupid idea and that is everyday then why is it our job to try to get them to do their job? What is it congress or VP even does exactly besides make our lives harder and waste/embezzle all our money?

legolas506
legolas506

"While video game sales have increased, violent crime has been steadily decreasing according to FBI statistics. In 2011, video game sales increased to over $27 billion dollars and violent crimes nationwide decreased 3.8 percent from 2010. Since 2002, violent crime has decreased 15.5 percent. This is all during the time when games like Call of Duty and Halo have dominated sales."

Says it all.

bad_fur_day
bad_fur_day

Proof that vice presidents don't take actual facts and logic into consideration before making decisions.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

If video games caused people to kill other people with guns, you'd have millions of deaths per year by guns, because there are millions of gamers out there.  So, to all who say video games cause gun deaths, or violence in general, please STFU.  You're wrong, and you know it.  Stop trolling.  People on drugs and alcohol, and mental defectives cause gun deaths, not the games, nor the movies.

Quandry
Quandry

Gun's allow paranoid people to feel secure. But ultimately the lure of a gun allows the ego to create a fallacy that they themselves wield great power. The term guns don't kill people people kill people is ultimately overlooked by the one simple fact. Guns serve no other purpose but to kill. Don't blame video games Blame fragile minds who are easily manipulated into believing the gun they hold allows them to hold a sense of godly power.But nothing is farther then the truth. The power to wield a gun comes with great responsibility and wisdom to use under the strictest of guidelines. I believe that power should be held to only a few.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

We need to understand what forces made these people into killers. We need to reach out to those in similar predicaments and convince them there are better ways to break free than killing others or themselves.

I suppose there will always be a few who "just want to see the world burn." I don't see how censoring popular media will accomplish anything in their case.

Ultra_Taco
Ultra_Taco

At least someone important in this world isn't an idiot. Thank you Jennifer Mercurio!

sullyliam
sullyliam

Mental health issues and to some extent gun control are the main issues they should look at.But its prob cheaper to just blame games that way the arms business doesnt lose money and the idiots in the NRA are kept happy.

kalpesh_78
kalpesh_78

It is so easy for these fa**ots to pick on the game devs whenever a shootout happens.... why the f**k can't you grow some b*lls and stand up against the NRA for making arms and ammunition so easily available!! Or be ignorant and pick on the easier targets like the game devs.... lets stop producing action movies as well... only romantic ones... and the world will be a shootout free world with guns in everyones hand! *sigh... that is such a beautiful thought*

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

if video games made bad people do what they do it would be easy to eliminate violence from real live but it is not video games. these people are evil or sometimes they are just psychos either way they need to be kept away from normal people trying to get on with or enjoy life. if video games were the cause of violence then what was Hitlers excuse for committing mass genocide?

Aramantha
Aramantha

Wow im sick of people blaming video games, e.g. can CoD teach you to shoot an assualt rifle in real life? No 

Wish people would get proof and information on this issue instead of people who most likely havnt even touched a video game going on a modern day witch hunt

Takeno456
Takeno456

The good old government that just loves to shift blame around. Plain and simple society, upbringing and mental illness are the major contributing factors of violence. The government should worry about those three issues before they concern themselves with video games. I get tired of the Washington blame game. 

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

20-30 years from now, I'm so glad our generation will be running things... My god... It makes me sick sometimes when I hear people in their 40s and 50s speak...

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

Violent games create a much needed outlet for a world filled with overwhelming frustration and problems. 


People get violent, it happens. (Some are literally CRAZY and take it out on a classroom full of kids)


However, having a HEALTHY outlet such as hitting a heavy bag, excersice, or oh... I don't know... Offing a whole city block of pedestrians in GTA.... 


It lets you get rid of that anger, frustration, and rage. 

I know if I couldn't pull the trigger in max payne untill I hear 3-4 clicks... I would be a much more frustrated person.... I work in fast food for F sake...

theaznfish
theaznfish

Gamers Association should be asking Biden to sit down and shut his mouth.

jake44
jake44

Can we just blame the shooter for once and be done with it?  I know everyone is still angry but why take it out on different forms of media?  It wasn't games, music, books, or movies...so can we just move on?

kyphe
kyphe

I's there any evidence what so ever that this kid was a gamer? we know his mum and dad were nutjobs why do they need to look for another reason.

DbzJohno
DbzJohno

violent video games are the reason why there was a shooting.................. and people wonder why are country is in bad shape. Stupid government people who run this country who say these idiotic quotes.

ccgod
ccgod

OMG what is wrong with people these days the guy was well documented as being mentally ill and unstable and who's bat crazy mother taught him how to shoot and use guns and kept them around him.

jackfruitchips
jackfruitchips

JDWolfie, I agree. Countries like UK  virtually doesn;t have mass shootings like US although there are millions of UK gamers play violent games. So violent games are not the cause. Some shooters play games, some  dont. Mental illness is the real culprit.

JDWolfie
JDWolfie

It's just easier to pick on violent video games because there is no constituional amendment saying you have a right to play violent video games as opposed to owning a gun. There isn't a single study that suggests violent video game influences violent behavior. Other countries have violent video games and they don't have mass shootings like we do. You really just have to look at mental health.

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

there is impact but its no worse than watching a cartoon with wiley coyote dropping an anvil on himself, thats violence why arent kids dropping anvils on eachother the world over... fact is sane people even from a very very young age know how to distinguish between fake and real...

that bein said we dont need more open conversation about game violence, its like every politician is avoiding the elephant in the room...GUNS....perhaps because its armed to the teeth and lines their wallets with incentive money, their is no attempt of even considering a ban on weaponry meant to shred other soldiers in armor, let alone kids in clothes, its another scapegoat diversionary tactic by anybody who has $ or political incentive to keep making weapons

ikcizokm
ikcizokm

Anyone who thinks entertainment does not influence a person's state of mind, impulses and desires is ignorant, because it absolutely does. But the concern here is not that games cause people to go out and shoot up schools. The concern is that developers continue to create more realistic and gratuitously violent games instead of innovating new concepts and original stories. 

When 8 of the top 10 games of 2012 were violent shooters, the industry is clearly showing its obsession with violence, leaving consumers little choice. Even gamers are tired of being spoon fed yet another Call of Battle - Modern Evil 27: The Assassin's Halo. 

Granted, some of these games are great, in their own context. But there's an obvious imbalance in the industry, and I think that's what Biden's meeting is about. Gamers, and parents of gamers, deserve more choices for non-violent games. And we need stricter controls in place to prevent kids from accessing M-rated titles, including better education for parents about the content of those games. 

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

I can use a gun to shoot non-living targets.  You're wrong, please exit via the side door so as to not troll.

Venge-VS
Venge-VS

@Quandry Gun violence has dropped significantly in the past 20 years, as has school violence. It has dropped despite the liberalization of gun laws across the nation and even more guns being available. Mass shootings are not increasing, in fact the data is so erratic that mass shootings supposedly peaked in 1929. 

People often point to a country like the UK as an example of good gun laws. However the UK is one of the most violent countries, there were 1600 violent crimes per 100K people in the UK, in the US there were about 450 per 100K. 

Too many times emotions and assumptions get caught up in these debates. What we need to look at are the facts. 

If you want to address the issue of gun violence in the US, then you need to end the drug war as that is responsible for the majority of violent crime and gun crime. Not trivial things like an "Assault Weapons Ban" that even the DoJ says would have a tiny effect, perhaps too small to even measure. 

nurnberg
nurnberg

@VenkmanPHD The thing is that many people change their minds as they get older, so a new generation taking over doesn't necessarily mean change.

96augment
96augment

@VenkmanPHD Oh, god, I share your pain. 4 years and counting. No end in sight. Just thinking about it makes me want to take out my GTA game and run over some people..

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

@jake44 HERE HERE!


Games don't kill people.


PSYCHOPATHS kill people... that's why we call them psychopaths.

nurnberg
nurnberg

@kyphe The thing is that like 90% of men under 25 are gamers.  So basically, each time a man under 25 commits a murder, it is video games fault?  That logic is retarded.  Basically, every time a murder will be committed by a young man, they will blame video games.

GreggD
GreggD

@kyphe I'm pretty sure it got shot down fairly quickly. Same thing with the Virginia Tech shooter. They tried to pin it on games then, and nope. No such evidence.

surferosh
surferosh

@jackfruitchips 

also dont forget that the UK has a very robust mental health system that works in close liaison with the forensic service and has good risk assessment tools that makes it possible for early identification of problems. ofcourse no system is 100% foolproof but i think we have succeeded in keeping incidents like this to as little as possible..

JDWolfie
JDWolfie

@killerzboy010 Yes, we are. We're good at waging war but when it comes to calculate how much these wars cost or just look at where we stand compared to other countries in reading and math - MASSIVE BRAIN FART!!

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

Ignorant consumers have little choice. Every other consumer has a wide variety of choice, going from a wide range of brilliant, innovative, non-violent games to brilliant, innovative violent games, and everything in-between including dumb, bland, violent games. Some of the best games of all times are indeed violent, but stand out with their story elements, the lore and the world and the gameplay. Games like Baldur's Gate, Deus Ex, Half-life, Dishonored, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout. All of those game series have always been and remain among the top games. That said, gratuitously violent games have little impact on normal, sane people. The ridiculous amount of violence in video games I've been exposed to as growing up hasn't made me into a violent individual. You know why ? I make the difference between video games and the real world.

YYankee
YYankee

@ikcizokm Biden's meeting is clearly not about the imbalance in the industry. Biden's meeting is a response to the Sandy Hook tragedy. Do you really think that he would be having this meeting if it wasn't for the shootings? Don't fool yourself into thinking he gives a shit about the "imbalance in the industry" because he doesn't. He does care about wasting time and money though. He is doing a lot of that with this meeting.

We already have the stricter controls you mentioned, they are called CONDOMS/BIRTH CONTROL. Don't have a kid unless you are able to be responsible enough to monitor what they are doing and teach them basic morals and what is real/fake.

hunter8man
hunter8man

@ikcizokm I can agree with your assessment. However, is this due to many of those games being sequels of already established m-rated franchises, or simply the violence in the game? Personally, I think the games you mentioned fall into the former instead of the latter.

I will disagree with including better education for parents. They already have a rating on the box with the content that is included in the game on the back. If parents would just read what is there like they would for an R-rated film, then they can make the decision whether or not they want their children playing those kinds of games. Also, parents can choose to lock down the consoles to not play M-rated games. I think the industry has done a fine job with assisting parents in this regard.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

@ikcizokm Nice to see somebody is able to reason without letting their love for video games influence them overmuch. A fair assessment and a well-worded post, which is pretty rare here.

Arcturuss
Arcturuss

@ikcizokm No link has ever been shown between gun violence and videogames.

You just need to look at other countries.  Like my home country of iceland..  Almost every guy i know plays FPS games..  Gun related deaths in the country?   0

Fucking 0.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

@Arcturuss You missed his point. He was saying that it doesn't cause people to go out and shoot people, but he was just making a fair point that the industry has an unhealthy obsession with violence in games.

Apastron
Apastron

@Arcturuss

If you ignore the one in every 100 000 that shoots someone dead, although that person is the one holding the gun in the first place.