Video games being blamed for tragedies is nothing new to the industry. Ever since violence has existed in the video game world, which many contribute to classics such as Mortal Kombat and Doom, parents have been quick to cast blame on virtual pixels and plastic controllers. The moment news erupted that a shooting had occurred in a theater by a man assumed to be in his twenties it was only time before video games would once again get thrown into the negative spotlight.
CNN brought in criminal profiler Pat Brown to weigh in on what she thinks caused James Holmes to barge into a Colorado theater and shoot dozens of innocent men, women, and children. Right on cue, she pointed toward our favorite pastime, video games. She stated:
This has been something he has really been into. And now we’re going to find, probably on facebook or anybody who knows him will say, ‘Yeah, he did have a lot of interest in that. He was always playing the video games. And I’m not saying video games make you a killer. But if you’re a psychopath, video games help you get in the mode to do the killing. So it is a problem in our society with teenaged psychopaths, that they do get inspired by this and want to make it real.
Typically analytical statements like these shed blame completely on video games, but this time around they're only responsible for getting a killer "in the mode to do the killing". What has prompted this shift in blame is beyond my comprehension, but associating interactive media with murder is the last thing we need.
As with the emergence of discussion about banning firearms in the U.S. everyone seems to be forgetting that these are rare cases that are perpetrated by people with severe mental health issues. If they don't have video games to play there will always be movies, magazines, music, and many other forms of entertainment. Running around muffling everything that shows any sign of violence is the last thing our free society needs.