Thursday, March 12, 2009

Video games, movies, and guns

By now I'd guess you've all heard about the man in Germany who took one of his father's guns (the one he'd practiced shooting) and 200-odd rounds of ammo for it and went to his old high school where he shot a number of people (almost all female), after which he hijacked a car and went to a town and shot more people.

This is a horrifying incident.

The police are investigating; on the guy's computer, they found that he'd played violent video games and a lot of horror movies, and they think that these led the guy to kill all of these people. I don't know - thinking about hurting people, watching gory movies, and playing violent video games don't necessarily add up to shooting a number of people. I guess that the games and movies, in combination with someone who is seriously disturbed in particular ways, could possibly desensitize that someone enough so that they could kill people. But if that were true, I'd think that there would be a lot more of this kind of massacre going on.

After all, I've seen a number of video games, both violent and otherwise, and I watch a LOT of  horror movies. And I've been pretty depressed with a good dose of self-hatred to go along with it. And I'm pretty sure that I'm not unusual in having fantasized about hurting someone when I was angry. I'm not alone in these things (although I'm in the minority in that I'm female) but most of these people don't just kill people... even if, deep inside, they want to. But I'd never, ever go out and massacre people - and neither would most people.
Aside from the fact that this fellow was seriously disturbed, I think the blame for this tragedy lies not on the movies he watched or the games he played, but squarely the guns he used in his house. Simply put, he had the access and the ability to use the guns; if he hadn't had either, this massacre might not have happened.

I know that "guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people" - but maybe it's time for people to not have quite so many guns. Especially in the US, but even in places like Germany and here in Canada. No disturbed teenager (and it must have been fairly obvious that he was disturbed) should have access to guns like he did.

No comments: