Ever since the tragic shooting in Newtown, it seems that everyone has been doing their damndest to put the blame on video games, that video games prompted Adam Lanza to go on a mass shooting spree in an elementary school. Just when the topic seems to die down, something else brings it back up again. Most recently, the Hartford Couranr ran an article about Lanza, claiming that police believed he was trying to emulate a video game due to the fact they found thousands of dollars of video games belonging to him.
While some reports have said this theory is unlikely, one expert, Christopher J. Ferguson, chair of the psychology and communication department at Texas A&M International University, has informed CNN—flat out, no less—that video games did not cause the Newtown shootings.
"The reality is that there is no evidence linking violent games to mass shootings," Ferguson said. "We tend to return to this particular element, and it's interesting to see how quickly people like to latch on to this noncorrelation as if it were truly meaningful. The notion that mass homicides are linked to violent media was debunked as far back as 2002 by the U.S. Secret Service, which found that school shooters didn't consume high levels of violent media.
"But as a society we tend to focus on video games because it's easy to do so."
Ferguson goes on to cite even more heinous public shootings and how they have never been linked to video games, and even recent public shootings that have not been linked to games because the shooters were elderly men. He also points out how other forms of geek culture have been cited as causes of problems, including psychiatrists blaming comic books for homosexuality in the 1950s.
"We want to control the uncontrollable, predict the unpredictable," Ferguson concluded. "We want to understand why an impossible to understand event happened and give ourselves some illusion of control. If violent video games were some small but critical component of Lanza's motivation, why we could just get rid of such games and make this whole problem go away."
While I doubt this one expert's opinion will do much in swaying the mass majority, it's always nice to see experts take a more educational approach toward the video game and violence correlation.