I just heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. They’re saying 27 are dead, including 18 children. The one known shooter, who is dead, was 24 and carrying 4 weapons. Some of these numbers may be modified as the story develops.
I suspect over the next few days we’ll be treated to even more rants about guns. A couple of weeks ago, Bob Costas used his time during an NFL broadcast to give an anti-gun lecture in the wake of Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide. This will undoubtedly stoke the fires of that debate.
Here’s what I don’t understand:
Why aren’t people screaming about the video game industry? I’ve never been a gamer, but I see the new games being advertised on TV, especially during this Christmas season. Have you seen the commercials? So many of these games are all about killing. And not just killing. They’re about slaughtering. They’re about shooting, cutting, slashing, and bombing as many people as possible. And the graphics…they are stunningly real.
When I was a kid, our game of choice was Strat-O-Matic Baseball. Or maybe Monopoly. But mostly, we wanted to be outside playing baseball or basketball. Nowadays kids sit inside with headphones on (effectively shutting out the real world) and kill as many people as possible as fast as possible for as long as possible.
Call me crazy, but I think this is part of why we’re seeing so many public shootings and massacres. A big part. We are raising up a generation of kids that have been completely desensitized to violence. We do it by making violence a game. We think that because it’s just a game controller the kid is holding and not a real gun, that it doesn’t count…that it’s all harmless.
I find it interesting that the shooter in this Connecticut massacre was 24. I have no way of knowing, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t a gamer during his teen years.
Let me be clear. I don’t think a problem like this wave of public violence should be oversimplified. There are surely many factors that are contributing to it. But our video game culture is one I never hear people talking about. It’s so much easier to argue about an inanimate object (a gun) than to address the deeper and more complex issue of how we’re shaping the minds of the younger generation. The gun discussion is just politics; the mind discussion will have far-reaching ramifications that, frankly, I don’t think most people have the courage to face.
Please join me in praying for the victims and their families. And for our country.