06 August 2019

Video games?

We've just been through three mass shootings in just a few days (don't forget Gilroy CA) and the wingnuts have been out in force blaming the murders on violent video games (Trump himself has repeatedly said this), gay marriage, "ignoring God", and various other right-wing bogeymen (this nutcase basically posted a laundry list of everything she doesn't like and blamed all of it for the shootings, without any hint of an actual causative mechanism).  The despotic mind-set never lets a good crisis go to waste, and they can't pass up the chance to exploit these murders in an effort, however forlorn, to turn people against the things they wish they could ban.

But their proposed hypothesis does not fit the data.  Most of western Europe has gay marriage and is far more secular than the US, yet rarely suffers from such large-scale murders (and in the few cases where it has, such as the Charlie Hebdo shooting and the Paris attacks of 2015, the perpetrators were most often religious fanatics with roots outside Europe).  Violent video games exist in many countries which suffer far less real-life violence than the US.  Japan has more violent and creepy imagery in its pop culture than any other country, but its murder rate is among the lowest in the world.

Conversely, in the Middle East, religion has a much more dominant role than in the US, there is no separation of religion and state, mass culture and entertainment are censored in ways similar to what the Christian Right and assorted control freaks would like to impose here, homosexuality is illegal in most countries and punishable by death in several, and gay marriage is unthinkable.  And mass killings of dozens of people at a time in public places occur with a frequency comparable to the US.  (They're usually carried out by car bombings or suicide bombings, not guns, but that's a trivial point -- dead is dead, and I can't imagine the choice of weapon makes much difference to the victims.)  Almost all of these attacks are carried out by religious fanatics targeting groups who belong to a different sect or have associated with foreigners or violated some taboo -- just as many of the mass killings in the US have targeted groups such as gays, Jews, or Hispanics who have traditionally been objects of bigotry.

Some mass killings in the US have been carried out by young men who felt alienated and resentful for various reasons and were lashing out almost blindly, but actually a lot of Middle Eastern terrorist bombers fit the same profile -- it's just that the nature of Middle Eastern culture makes it far more likely that such alienation and resentment will get channeled into religious intolerance.

There is a secularization process which happens in societies as they become more modern and economically developed, including growing acceptance of a variety of subcultures within society.  In Europe the process is nearly complete; the US lags behind Europe, Latin America is somewhat further behind, and the Middle East still more so, though progress is happening there too.  Spasms of mass violence seem to be endemic to cultures where the process is still under way, and dominant religious or ethnic groups feel under siege and are trying to re-assert supremacy by terrorizing groups they feel should be subordinate or absent.  I know much less about India, but it at least looks like the murderous riots against the Muslim minority in recent years, and the election of an openly Hindu-nationalist government out to re-assert the supremacy of the Hindu majority, could represent the same sort of backlash against a pluralistic and officially secular society.

But video games aren't the problem.


Blogger Infidel753 said...

PS: If you want to ignore what I wrote and just talk about gun control, please take it elsewhere. The entire left-wing internet is already awash in that. I'm making a different point.

06 August, 2019 00:52  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

The idiot repugs are grasping at straws because it obvious that cheeto’s Rhetorical bullshit is goading more and more white nationalists to come forward with a repetition rifle blazing. The connection between these last shootings and Cheeto is clearer than any connections to video games, drag queens, gay marriage or Obama (that Ohio cow should be deposed, btw).
I agree with you that highly religious or religion- oriented countries tend to use violence to silence dissent much more often, in America the religulous are fearful of Cheeto leaving power cause without him, (and Pence) their crazy doesn’t stick.


PS. You should post about gun control. I’d love to read what you have to say about that.

06 August, 2019 06:44  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I definitely understand what you are writing about here totally. This is much deeper than just those folks that think banning guns will be a fix all ... it's very deep. Our societies, and frankly even how our so called capitalism worx has an impact, religions, racism, homophobia, etc, and everything that you wrote about. I have noticed that too, as far as looking at mass killings and video games ... there are violent shoot em up video games in every country, and Japan has more shit than you can shake a stick at (I like the Japanese folks too, pretty kinky {:-). Then as you mentioned ... when folks are alienated, financially drained, pumped up on religion, mad at their spouse, or a shitload of other reasons to have the red- ass ... if they want to kill folks ... they'll use other methods ... wouldn't surprise me if they try using drones next to take out top leaders, aristocrats even. I didn't even hear, I don't think about the 3rd shooting, all I heard about was Dayton and El Paso ... to many to keep up with these dayz. The black market is also full of guns and many folks are building them themselves now too. I'm sure as I write this, there are a handful of folks already planning the next shootings.

As far as Candice Keller, this did not even faze me what she said, it's not at all shocking to me ... because I know that there are thousands that think exactly like her. They even preach it in basic fundamoralist churches (not in your big establishment churches) ... but there are many many churches in communities all over the country where this is growing ... they just think like "f*ck it ... we're in the last dayz, and we're all gonna die anywayz, and God will then judge us" ... some of them will take out anyone they can ... like a suicide mission and think nothing of it ... some don't fear death at all, or even incarceration, and are already over the deep end psychologically with religious programming. And frankly, some of us on the left, may have to arm ourselves, whether you like guns or not, just to for self defense when they attack you ... it's a matter of kill or be killed.

07 August, 2019 07:13  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Sixpence: Moscow Mitch is already talking about legislation to regulate video games. I guess the First Amendment is less sacrosanct than the Second.

When Trump leaves office, the Evangelicals will lose the political power they gained by association, but they'll still be tarred by their hypocrisy in supporting him.

I don't have any plans to post about gun control in the near future, but you might be interested in these earlier posts:

psychology of intimidation

armed security

gun control in Britain

gun cultism

gun prohibitionism

Ranch: Ultimately it's a cultural problem, and culture can be changed, but not easily. That's an interesting point about drones. The Middle East has mass killings similar to the US, just by bombs instead of guns, but it's basically the same thing. So changes in choice of weapon are definitely possible.

I once knew a woman who was much more left-wing than me and owned a gun. She was from a rural background. Guns seem a lot more accepted in rural areas.

Keller was just being mentally lazy. Hell, I hate tattoos, cigarette smoke, and the way those flaky bits in popcorn always get stuck in your teeth. So I guess I'll blame those things for mass shootings. It makes as much sense as Keller's random list.

07 August, 2019 17:42  
Blogger Professor Chaos said...

It doesn't matter if it's video games, atheism, or gay marriage. The point is that gun violence is the fault of something - anything - other than the guns.

08 August, 2019 08:42  
Blogger applequeen said...

I have been hearing this video games BS since my son was a baby & he's 26 now. He's always played video games. The first game I remember him playing was this James Bond golden gun game & he always killed me off easily & complained about what a terrible player I was. He was only 5 at the time. At that time, I lived in the country & hunted & fished & I taught him how to handle firearms & took him hunting with me. He's never had much interest in actual guns but he likes to fish. But he's always liked video games. He's bought & sold several gaming systems & hundreds of games. If violent video games makes a kid into a killer, it didn't work with my kid. BTW, I sold all my guns a few years ago. I no longer want to have anything to do with any kind of firearm whatsoever anymore.

No, what makes a kid into a killer is the rhetoric of hatred. There's a commonality of this in all the mass killings we are witnessing. Nobody wants to talk about this. The more we do not talk about this, the more it is going to happen. & it's ALWAYS a white male. Never a woman. Never a person of color. Always white supremacy hatred of others. There's a cure for this but again, nobody wants to talk about it & nobody wants to do a fucking thing. So it's going to happen again & again & again. Because let's face it ... this is state-sanctioned terror.

09 August, 2019 03:14  
Blogger RO said...

I suck at playing video games despite my son trying to teach me years ago when he was a teenager, and he's 35 now. He tried to teach me how to play the famous Madden football game. His gaming consisted of basketball, track and football, and he wasn't allowed to play any of the violent stuff, and he's still a sports buff to this day. As an advocate of victims/survivors of domestic violence, we may never know every single reason why people display violent behavior and are committed to hurting and/or killing others with hatchets, guns, knives, poison, baseball bats, lamps and goodness knows what else. I just wish I was Bewitched or could blink my way out of a I Dream of RO bottle and make it all go away. As always, love seeing your point of view and sending lots of hugs across the way. RO

09 August, 2019 03:55  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Professor: It's actually the fault of the murderers, just like murder with car bombs or whatever else.

Applequeen: Good example (though the fish might argue he'd become a serial killer🙂). If it's a matter of hateful rhetoric -- and I think that's a big part of it -- then we can expect things to keep getting worse while Trump is in office, because he's giving that rhetoric a platform and legitimacy it hadn't had before. Of course there's a lot of hateful rhetoric circulating in the Middle East too, and the frequency of similar mass killings there seems pretty obviously tied to that.

RO: Unfortunately violent impulses are a deeply-rooted part of human nature (and primate nature generally -- people don't realize what a spectacular job civilization has done of taming them. Unfortunately some people, for whatever reason, grow up less civilized than others.

09 August, 2019 11:58  

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