I’m breaking the silence because the non-sense has to stop. In the minutes following the news of the horrible shooting in at an elementary school in Newtown Connecticut where 20 children were shot by a nutcase who, as they always do, turned the gun on himself, my Twitter feed was flooded by comments debating guns and laws in the US and in Canada. With no respect for the victims and their families, with no time to digest the news of this horrific event, people were jumping on the occasion to push their personal agenda, their vendetta against guns in general.
A day or two later, I made a comment that drew a few sarcastic, even slashing remarks when I pointed to the fact that while the US does need to address its gun control policies, perhaps the desensitization to violence created by blood sheds in today’s video games should also be looked at as part of the problem on hand, and needing just as much attention in the search for a solution to this problem. As expected, stupid comments like relating to Super Mario and other innocent games popped up, but also non-rational comments from otherwise very reasonable people were being made.
Some were claiming that I had no proof for what I was suggesting, in spite of different researches conducted time, and time and time again proving otherwise. Heck, just a quick search on Google will reveal the pros and cons of video games on our society.
It is wrong for the US National Rifle Association (NRA) to use this catastrophe as a way to promote the use of guns to defend one self, but it’s just as wrong to point the finger at guns solely in the shootings that we’ve seen both in the US and in Canada in recent years. It’s like blaming the spoon for the obesity problems in North America. In spite of what some seem to claim, guns do not kill people. People kill people and the individuals committing such disgraceful and coward acts are very much disturbed and sick individuals. How did they get the gun(s)? Maybe they weren’t so wacko when they acquired them… maybe they were. As someone who strongly frowns at generalization, I like to think that those events should be evaluated on a case by case basis.
I would like to see the US crack down on military-style and machine guns as I see absolutely no purpose for them and, as we know too well, the risk of mass murders is way too high. While I’ll agree that one lost life is one too many, seeing those individuals armed like Rambo sends shivers down my spine, like all of you. But when you look at the amount of guns on the market in the US and in Canada, and you consider the percentage of such crimes, you’ll have to admit that the number of cases of mass murder is a small percentage, much smaller than, let’s say, motor vehicle deaths. We’re not going to get rid of cars now, are we?
Something needs to be done to better protect the society both in the US and in Canada, no doubt about it. But pointing to gun control alone will not solve the issue. More studies and perhaps stiffer laws about violent video games, a continued focus on stopping or controlling bullying in school, along with anything else relevant to the psychological state of those individuals needs to be addressed. No stone should remain unturned as it’s people’s lives that we’re talking about.
I’m not as stupid as I look or sound. I know why people are offended at the mention of video games perhaps playing a role. Off the group responding to Twitter and to blogs like this one, there are a hell of a lot more people playing those games as there are people owning guns and that’s where the uproar is from. Just like I know that it’s a very small percentage of people who will be affected by those games to the point of going on a rampage and kill people, it’s also true that it’s a very small percentage of people who own guns who will do the same. Let’s stop kidding ourselves and let’s look at the problem as a whole, not just a small piece of it. Let’s take a few steps back and recognize the forest from the tree. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to the victims of such crimes and to their families.