Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock.
WASHINGTON – As the nation continues to mourn the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said on Friday that one of the underlying reasons for that attack and others like this was violence in the media, specifically video games.
Host Rob Sachs spoke with Polygon.com deputy news editor Griffin McElroy and Geekosystem.com managing editor Rollin Bishop to discuss the role of video games in spreading and glorifying violence.
As the nation continues to mourn the massacre that occurred a week ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School, NRA executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre spoke out today against what he saw as one of the underlying reasons for that attack and others like it – violence in the media, and he singled out video games.
There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and stows violence against its own people through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse.
We want to talk more about the role of video games in spreading and glorifying violence, so we’ve called Griffin McElroy, he’s deputy news editor for Polygon, that’s a new gaming website, part of Vox Media. Also on the line is Rollin Bishop, he’s managing editor for geekosystem.com, that’s the guide to tech and internet culture. Welcome both of you!
You both blogged about the NRA speech today, what do you make of Mr. LaPierre’s comments?
Grifiin McElroy: For anyone, who was been following the use of video games, it is clear that there’s no direct connection. If they want to have a conversation about violence and video games, it’s silly to turn a conversation to a game that almost nobody has played – Kindergarten Killer is a flash game made maybe in 30 minutes, which was unknown to the general public before he mentioned it.
Rollin, NRA also linked gaming with “filthiest porn of pornography”. What do you make of that?
Rollin Bishop: I think he’s conflating two different ideas. Let’s go back to the 1980s and look at the movies Taxi Driver or the Catcher in the Rye. They’re obviously trying to say that this thing is disgusting and wrong. We shouldn’t link this.
Is it wrong for a kid who hasn’t yet developed the distinction between right and wrong to play these games? And at what age, do you think, it is appropriate for someone to play the first-shooter-type game?
Rollin Bishop: The age is at debate right now. And in the conversation of whether or not games are becoming too violent nothing definitive ever was found. I think it depends on the amount of violence and where we’re going with that. If that’s just for glorification of violence – that’s one thing, if there’s a deeper message – then it’s the other. Then I think it’s justified.
I wanted to ask you about morality in games. There’re certain games where you’re playing U.S. marine shooting the bad guys – does it matter what side you’re on?
Griffin McElroy: That’s kind of a tricky conversation. In either situation it’s still shooting and killing people.
Rollin Bishop: Just because you watched Scarface, you don’t necessarily want to become a mobster. I think it’s complicated because the question shouldn’t be whether it’s ok to kill bad guys, but whether all this killing is ok at all. I think, as an industry, we’re kind of moving away from that kind of thing.
Griffin McElroy: I think video games will become less violent. But I don’t think it’s going to come from politicizing a tragedy like this, I don’t think it’s going to come from the NRA trying to move the conversation away from “Why guns designed for military use are being sold to non-military personnel?”
Voice of Russia American Edition takes a fresh look at breaking news in the US and throughout the world, hosting talk programs and weekly shows to keep you entertained and up to date. Tune in and get the latest on news of the day.
All rights reserved. Fully or partially reproduced material must be attributed to the Voice of Russia and linked to Voice of Russia. The service may be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org. The portal has been developed with the help of Stack Telecom, Ltd.