It’s no secret that most politicians are against violent video games
As part of their larger effort to address mass shootings in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. politicians everywhere have been proposing the use of federal dollars for scientific research on the “relationship between popular culture and gun violence.” It all started when President Obama allotted $10 million to the CDC for research of the effects of violent video games, now there are a bunch of proposed bans, lawmakers in several states are fighting to levy a tax on such games, one senator even said that video games are worse than guns. However, one politician in particular, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking female politician in American history, has come out to defend violent video games, and says that they are not the cause of violence in America.
Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Fox’s Sunday-morning interview program, host Chris Wallace talked to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) about her defense of video games against the accusation that they produce violence in society.
“As part of your plan, you call for more scientific research on the connection between popular culture and violence. We don’t need another study, respectfully,” said Wallace. “We know that these games where people have their heads splattered, these movies, these TV shows… why don’t you go to your friends in Hollywood and challenge… shame them and say ‘knock it off?’”
Wallace never actually finished his thought about violent video games, so the world may (tragically) never hear what the anchor “knows” about them.
Pelosi responded with a common talking point that gamers use frequently, but it’s not one we’ve heard from many politicians.
“I understand what you’re saying” Pelosi said “I’m a mother, I’m a grandmother, but the evidence says that, in Japan for example, they have [as many violent video games as any other country] and the lowest mortality from guns. I don’t know what the explanation is for that, except they might have good gun laws.”
Max Fisher at the Washington Post recently examined the point that the countries with the largest video game markets appear to have no statistical correlation between video game consumption and gun-related killings. In fact some of this data proved that “countries where video games are popular also tend to be some of the world’s safest (probably because these countries are stable and developed, not because they have video games).”
Here’s the data Fisher found for video game spending per capita and gun-related homicides in the world’s 10 largest video game markets:
So what exactly do these statistics mean? Well in short, there doesn’t seem to be much correlation between video game consumption and gun-related murders. In fact if there was any correlation the chart would have an upward trend but it doesn’t. However it is plain to see that the United States does stand way out, so there obviously is some problem but perhaps we should focus the blame off of video games and other pop culture media and focus on figuring out where we are really going wrong.
You can see Fishers study in its entirety over on the Washington Post.