Entertainment Weekly has reported that United States President Donald Trump is planning to meet with video game publishers and studio heads about the violent content in games. A week ago, Trump announced his intention to investigate video games in their relation to gun violence, and it seems he’s finally decided to follow through on that, despite some serious flip-floppping on the issue. You know, considering he talked about just “taking guns away” and “ignoring due process” just yesterday. The gun control debate was re-ignited in America after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida last month.
As EW reports:
On Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders revealed that the meeting will take place next week. “This is going to be an ongoing process and something that we don’t expect to happen overnight,” she stated. “But something that we’re going to be engaged in and continue to look for the best ways possible to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect schools across the country,”
While we can argue about Trump’s inability to stick to one plan for longer than it takes his twitter feed to refresh, the video games and violence argument has been brewing for decades. The argument became a major fallback of the ultra-conservative right wing since the Columbine massacre in 1999. Ever since then, any time a (usually white) male enters a public space with a gun and shoots several people, entertainment media is held up as a convenient scapegoat.
First person shooters are often blamed for “teaching” shooters how to commit their crimes. Targets of that hate often include the Call of Duty franchise, but also extend to DOOM and Halo despite the fact that both of those franchises deal with shooting non-human enemies. Or that most of those don’t include realistic depictions of gun violence.
And if you’re hoping for science to chime in, well, we have plenty of psychological studies to point to, but many of those are flawed studies performed by figures who are notably anti-video game. If you don’t see how an anti-video game organization paying for anti-video game research is a major conflict of interest, then I really don’t know what to tell you. The ones that remain are pretty much divided on the subject.
So the truth is that Americans just cannot talk rationally about gun control. We love our guns, the church, and the NRA far too much to ever discuss the problem realistically. We’d rather arm teachers or blame video games so we can go back to our lives of not thinking critically of the children dying every year to protect our right to own semi-automatic rifles without regulation.