Are video games behind violent domestic acts?

It’s the one subject matter people all hate to even think about. The one people all try to forget.

McCovey Staples, Staff Writer

Photo by Florian Olivo
A player is focused on winning the video game.

It is the one subject matter that people hate to even think about. The one people all try to forget.

Regardless of someone’s political beliefs, regardless of their economic standing, people turn on the nightly news or read the morning paper and see that yet again, another shooting has taken place in this nation. People would like to think these events are happening in a far distant land, but this is far from the case.

In the state of California, on November 14, two people were gunned down by a teenage assailant in Santa Clarita. In San Diego County alone, there was a threat made against Rancho Bernardo High School back in 2018. Whether those claims were faked or not, it prompts Americans to question their safety, not just for themselves, but more importantly, for the world they are leaving to the next generation. 

People want answers. How could events like these be occurring in this country? How could young Americans commit such atrocities? This, sadly, is where the issue becomes factionalized. This is where the safety of Americans has been pushed aside for petty politics and red tape. Policymakers claim to be working on the problem, but the continued airing of “tragic news” headlines shows how the system is broken. 

In recent months, a new opinion on the issue has arisen. Most notably argued by President Trump himself, many particularly older politicians are pointing the finger at the video game industry. Rather than formulate a working policy on firearms and safety, one that both political parties could agree on, they scapegoat video gaming. 

Now, at first glance, the argument is somewhat believable. Gamers don’t like losing. And yes, when countless hours are spent progressing into something like video gaming, being angry is a normal reaction to losing all of that progress in seconds.

This anger, according to a 2007 Texas A&M study by Christopher John Ferguson, is only short-term. Furthermore, people have been trying to scapegoat video games for decades. In 1976, the National Safety Council panicked over the arcade game Death Race, submitting formal complaints to the producers and pushing for it to be banned from production. Back then, video games were nothing more than black and white hyper-pixilated figures on a screen, nothing compared to today’s games. Politicians reacted similarly when the first Mortal Kombat was released into the U.S. market. America loves its games, but it is not number one in gaming consumption. According to, China has the highest amount of revenue from video game usage. Yet, according to the article “Gun Violence: How The US Compares With Other Countries,” the homicide rate attributed to gun violence per 100,000 people in 2016 was much lower in China. This shows that it’s not the amusement of gaming that has led to more shootings.   

This argument that video game entertainment is leading American teenagers to become hot-tempered, bloodthirsty killers is just not reasonable when the facts are evaluated. It’s time to let go of this outdated, unsupported scapegoat and focus on a national discussion about how the country can better protect its people, and leave its posterity with a safe world to come into. So let them keep their controllers.