As Americans reel from the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, The Inquisitr reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick insist that — despite evidence to the contrary — video games are to blame for the horrific actions of the shooters.
Now, The Independent reports that President Donald Trump is echoing McCarthy and Patrick. Although Trump has been criticized for fueling the anti-immigration rhetoric contained in Patrick Crusius’ manifesto, the President claims that video games are also partly to blame. He said that games that “celebrate violence” should be both discouraged and made more difficult to purchase.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” he said during a speech after the shootings. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.
“It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately.”
But researchers have failed to make a significant connection between violent video games and real-world violence and aggression.
“The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn’t tested very well over time,” said Andrew Przybylski, lead researcher of one of the most comprehensive studies on the connection between video games and violence that was published in Royal Society Open Science back in February. It found no connection.
Per Buzzfeed News, the book Moral Combat: Why the War on Video Games Is Wrong, written by Villanova University professor Patrick Markey and coauthor Christopher Ferguson, suggests that after the release of a popular violent video game — such as Grand Theft Auto— the rates of violent crime actually drop. According to the book, this pattern can be observed in all countries where the most violent video games are sold or during seasons when they are the most-played.
Interestingly, the same inverse correlation has been observed by researchers for the release of popular violent movies and TV shows.
Despite the research, many politicians continue to suggest that video games and movies cause violence — often without citing data or research.
“I think there is, yes,” said Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in response to the question of whether video games caused violence. “That’s just from my gut.”
Republican Senator Ted Cruz said that he believes video games desensitize people to violence, although he was not supportive of regulating video games, citing the First Amendment.