Trump Blames Video Games For Mass Shootings; Industry Responds

"We must stop the glorification of violence in our society."

In the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend in the US, which together left more than 30 people dead and over 50 injured, President Trump has blamed social media, mental illness, and video games for the numbers of similar tragedies that have gripped the country in recent months and years.

"We must stop the glorification of violence in our society," the president said. "This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately."

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In response, industry body the Entertainment Software Association has disputed the claim that video games contribute to real-world violence. "As we shared at the White House video game meeting in March 2018, numerous scientific studies have established that there is no causal connection between video games and violence," the organization told GameSpot. "More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the US."

The shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio took place over the weekend. They killed 22 and nine people, respectively. Prior to his attack, which took place in a Walmart store, the suspected Texas shooter Patrick Crusius reportedly wrote: "Don't attack heavily guarded areas to fulfill your super-soldier CoD fantasy. Attack low-security targets."

Prior to Trump's comments, the International Game Developers Association and its affiliated Foundation issued a joint statement distancing video games from the latest attacks. "Our deepest condolences and hearts go out to the victims and families affected by the tragic events in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas," the two organizations wrote. "Society has endured too many senseless acts of violence and horrific mass shootings. Blaming video games distracts from the broader issues at hand. There is an overwhelming amount of research that finds there is no evidence linking video games to violence. Video games do not cause violence, and we support efforts to discontinue this misguided information."

As CBS News points out, there have been more mass shootings than days in the US this year, leaving 8,796 people dead from gun wounds in 2019 alone. While Trump was quick to blame social media, mental illness, and video games, all three are found across the world with far fewer shooting incidents elsewhere. More firearms are found per resident in the US--where there are 1.2 guns per person--than in any other country.

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