In just 20 weeks there have been 23 school shootings, a shocking statistic by a supposed ‘first’ world country.
The American public has become accustomed to the stories of losing their children, lives lost that now out do their own military.
That’s right, it’s safer for American parents to send their children to the military than it is to send them to school.
But in a twisted attempt of trying to divert blame, the politicians (the so-called voices of the American public) came out in force to not denounce their own shocking policies which have left the US public in shatters but that of…video games.
Not the appalling medical system which leaves the mentally ill in a tangled web of bureaucracy, not the militarization of police that for some reason is funded by the states and leaves them exposed to systematic racial injustice and underfunding, not the social welfare system that makes it hard for any person to navigate, not the poorly funded education system that leaves students and teachers exhausted….no…video games.
When the Columbine high school massacre occurred in 1999, Marilyn Manson’s music was blamed for affecting the minds of the students that took out their fellow school attendees.
But what this showed then and is relevant to the ‘game-blame’ now, is rather the psychology of how quick people are to absolve collective responsibility and attach blame to something they deem ‘controllable’ without first discovering if there is any truth to it.
Marilyn Manson’s concerts were protested, for no other reason than to see someone pay.
Problem was that the high school killers weren’t even fans of Marilyn Manson’s, they didn’t even like his songs and the blame music for the state of one’s mind was quickly ridiculed.
Music is listened to, more often than not, due to an expression of one’s emotional state.
Gaming is often used to escape the world, not be a part of it.
While both gaming and music can be influential to a degree, outside influences, such as social interactions, family life, friends, are more likely to influence a person to action.
Both Good or Bad.
The brain acts a certain way to prevent you from taking someone’s life.
Its wired to be compassionate and empathetic, it’s why you humanize another human being, but you can also use a certain part of your brain (called the called the lingual gyrus) to morally justify the deaths of others and make you feel less guilt.
And its that part of the brain that activates, that a killer processes their thoughts and emotions to distance themselves from potential victims.
So in order for you to kill someone in a such a way as a high school shooting, the killer/s have had to have preplanned it to an extent.
They would have had to have justified it to themselves to distance themselves from their intended victims so that they felt no guilt and this would have been a process that took a while to achieve.
Regardless of how many video games or the type of music you listen to…they won’t make you go through that thinking process and the extent of gaming doesn’t make a person more likely to use their lingual gyrus to the point that its the only functioning part of the brain.
So why do people blame games?
Gaming which makes the brain release an endorphin to make you enjoy the game (and the stopping of which can also be the reason why someone gets depressed) is one of the reasons.
Research suggests that gaming can cause depression through pathological gaming and it’s a wide held belief that depression is one of the mental states that a killer goes through to commit murder.
Depression, however, is more likely to kill yourself than someone else, and along with all things, even this process of suicide requires other factors to make a person reach that decision.
So why do people kill?
That’s the answer most psychologists want to answer and if they knew, they would be developing preventative ways.
However in America outside influences such as easy access to guns, bullying, victim blaming, a societal acceptance for rage and looking out for number one, family, social and even economic impact can all come together to create a deadly combination for someone who is unable to process their feelings in a healthy way – all of these factors come to a conclusion at some stage.
A conclusion with deadly and tragic consequences.
To blame games, or music or one source is an irrational blame game, if you really want someone to blame, then take a good hard look at yourself and the society you perpetuate…and make a change.
Charis McAwesome, co-founder and manager of hashtagme.co.nz – Charis has worked in digital for over 10yrs specialising in digital management, analytics, digital advertising, social media, digital pathways, and CRM services.
She’s also most likely to call bullshit and get Hashtag in the shit.