Video Game Violence and the Mass Media

This is a discussion on Video Game Violence and the Mass Media within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...-2002Oct8.html Wow, it only took a week or so to connect the MAryland sniper to video games. Way to go, ...

  1. #1
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Video Game Violence and the Mass Media

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...-2002Oct8.html

    Wow, it only took a week or so to connect the MAryland sniper to video games. Way to go, Washington Post! "It could be anyone from a local video arcade"?!?! Gimme a break. Merely driving down the road has made me feel way more violent than video games ever have.

    Also, like I said in an earlier discussion about this - why do they always use DOOM? We've got way more realistic ways of killing virtual people now.

    Well, it's time for me to go lord over the planet I've created in my closet. Thanks to Black and White for inspiration.

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    Lead Moderator kermi3's Avatar
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    Where to start with all that I think is wrong with this article...

    First of all this guy is NOT a terrorist, or someone who is upset with some massive public policy issue. If he were upset with something like that he would be doing one of two things (if not both):

    One: Making it known to the press what he was upset about. He would be taking advantage of the attention to get his message out.

    Two: He would be targeting people that have to do with that issue. This includes certain people. One could of course argue that this means he has a grudge against Michael's Craft stores or gas stations but I don't think this is true.

    First the second incident at Michael's was really at a Home Depot, Michael's was just nearby. Secondly, His first shot was at a Michael's Craft store however, his first shot that was aimed at a person, or at least that hit someone was at a grocery store. If he had a grudge against Michael's I think he would have made that first kill @ Michael's, even if he had to go to another one at another time. Shots 4, 6, 10, and 11 were all at gas stations. All of them killed their target. However we can't forget that gas stations are wonderful places to get targets, but I'll return to that in a moment.

    The next thing to do is to get into the mind of the killer. The professional profiler's have pointed out that he is probably a man who is single, has a relationship with someone but it is in trouble, the woman is probably mad at him, judging by the times of the shootings he works nights, and/or weekends, and he has psychological issues particularly concerning self-esteem and power. He wants power; he needs to feel that he is in control. This is highlighted by the "I am God" note. His desire to be the one in charge and prove that he "is God" is highlighted by the school shooting. It was very shortly after a public official declared that all schools and children at school were totally safe that the shooter targeted a child at a school. He has not targeted one since. It was a challenge to him. He needs the power over others; he needs people, through their fear, to acknowledge him as great and powerful.

    Now I'm going to take this thought back to the gas stations. A gas station is a "target rich" environment with many people coming and going. When they come they get out of their car, stand a while waiting, get back in and leave. Now imagine the sniper's mind. He has an easy shot, an important point I'll return to in a moment, and he can set his sights on a person and then get the "godly high" of saying I could kill you right now. After "taunting" several targets he shoots one, leaves.

    The fact that his targets are standing still is very important. In all likelihood this is not a "professional" sniper. There are several reasons for that. First of all ordinarily soldiers in the US Army must be proficient at hitting targets from 50-300 meters away to qualify on the M-16 unscoped. This man is probably shooting with a scope. Second of all US Army requires all of it's snipers to be proficient at hitting targets, one shot one kill, at ranges from 400-700 meters to qualify, and a operational range of 800 meters. All estimates I have heard place this shooter at around 100 yards from his target. Well below even the unscoped soldier. The "sniper's" shooting ability, as has been pointed out in several places in the media, is easily obtainable with a few hours at a shooting range or just lots of hunting experience using a gun and scope off the shelf at Wal-Mart. Don't believe me? The second time I ever picked up a gun at a range personally was an M-16 shooting 10 rounds at 200 meters. On a weapon that was not sighted for me at all, I hit the target 8/10 times, though not well grouped at all . This man is not a professional sniper.

    Now I will address the claims about video games and media violence. While this is certainly an issue, it is not the only issue here. The first point the article makes is

    The Washington area's killer could have learned his technique from "any video arcade," said Derrick Bartlett, president of the American Sniper Association and executive director of Snipercraft Inc., a Florida firm that trains police snipers.

    "There's games -- one in particular is called 'Silent Scope' -- and other home computer video games that simulate police officers or military personnel on missions . . . and a sniper weapon is included in those as well," he said. "They could give you a feel for tracking moving targets. They could desensitize you to the idea of killing a human being."
    Parts of this are absolutely ludicrous. I have shot an M-16 and other guns both in video games, including the "most realistic made" and in real life. They are nothing alike. It is one thing to master a technique with a mouse, to do so with an 8+lb weapon held extended in front of you is something totally different. The breathing control, the subtle movements, the trigger squeeze cannot be learned through a computer game. Heck, most computer games are counter productive to this. Many games encourage "Spraying" techniques where you just fire pointing in the direction of your opponent, often while moving extremely quickly. This is of course impossible in real life, and the rapid, and hard, clicking of the mouse is the exact opposite of what you should do with a real weapon. The article points to the Michael Carneal case, saying he learned to shoot from video games, what it does not say is that Michael was no more than seven yards from his targets and they were not concealed by any cover. While one may acquire some knowledge of how to shoot a gun from video games, such knowledge is also taught to kids who learn to hunt, or even watch a lot of movies every day. Games aren't the only problem.

    I grant the fact that video games can desensitize kids to things, however, I think movies with their realistic images and people surviving horrible events that they would never survive in real life are more responsible. There is however another issue that I believe to be much more responsible for shootings like this, the destruction of the family. In the last 20 years there has been massive declines in family actives:

    Household conversations (100% decrease)
    Family dinners (33% decrease in families who say they have them regularly)
    Vacations (28% decrease in number of families taking one)

    (http://www.familylife1st.org/html/research.html)

    This decline in family time and proper upbringing I believe to be much more responsible for the increase in crime. Which has many causes ranging from economics to marital status, to TV and other "digital babysitters." I would write more on this but I've been going for over a 1/2 hour now, and I doubt anyone is reading anymore anyway so....


    A work in progress...
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    >This decline in family time and proper upbringing I believe to be much more responsible for the increase in crime. I would write more on this but I've been going for over a 1/2 hour now, and I doubt anyone is reading anymore anyway so....<

    Well done kirmi well done.
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    Lead Moderator kermi3's Avatar
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    First thanks, seoncd a slight edit...

    This decline in family time and proper upbringing I believe to be much more responsible for the increase in crime. Which has many causes ranging from economics to marital status, to TV and other "digital babysitters."...

    I guess I could've just edited it on there eh? Oh well, I did both.
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    I can hit someone from as far away as need be with a rail gun or sniper rifle in games. In no way do I feel like a trained sniper, maybe these people should speak to the games playing public. Next thing you know they'll be blaming car theft on GTA.

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    Confused Magos's Avatar
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    Nice analysis, Kermi. I read about 2/3, but then I got tired .
    Perhaps you should take over the investigation .
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    Lead Moderator kermi3's Avatar
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    I'm not saying that games aren't totally innocent. No one who has played a lot of first person shooters hasn't walked into a room of people, prehaps after playing for an hour or so, and thought of how the people there would be easy targets in the game. This thought maybe minor and fleeting, I know i quickly dismiss it as ludacrus and flat out wrong. But it's there, and as the article points out:

    "Kids have been playing video games for as long as video games have been in existence, and 99.9 percent of them are going to play them and not be affected by them," Bartlett said. But "there's always that one-tenth of 1 percent that this is the thing that hones that homicidal edge."
    there is that one person in 10,000 who doesn't dismiss that thought so easily. I'm not saying games are horrible and are the cause of it all. Absolutly not, I love them for one thing. However, along with other factors, like media and the decline of the "healthy" family, they don't help. I think the family and media issues are much more dangerous, and it is certainly insane to think that you cna learn to really shoot with a game, but games do take some of the blame in my mind.


    _______________________

    Nice analysis, Kermi. I read about 2/3, but then I got tired .
    Perhaps you should take over the investigation .
    Thanks hehe...but I got my start from the man who taught all of the FBI profiler's on Dateline NBC , they talked some about the issues of his personal life, ie single, relationship problems, I don't have enough knowlage or info to do that stuff, the rest is me heh, though I'm sure the cops know all of that and more...if not they should come read this .

    Oh...and I told ya you'd stop reading it
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  8. #8
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    Gimme a break. Merely driving down the road has made me feel way more violent than video games ever have.
    Ditto with school. I mean if your influenced by a video game then your too unstable to be playing it, and i feel defending our games is a waste of breath.

    The media will always try to rid them, and we will continue to create and play them.

  9. #9
    Lead Moderator kermi3's Avatar
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    I absolutely disagree with you. I site http://www.apa.org/releases/videogames.html and the study that is linked to it. Video games do increase agressive behavior and thought. There are other psychological studies to prove it.

    This issue is not about increases aggressive behavior due to violent games. There is no doubt that occurs. Just like people who spend time with pets, a relaxing activity, are more relaxed generally, or people who speak in public often are more confident talking to people every day. The issue is whether those video games are responsible for an increase in actual violence, and I don't think that is true.

    I think that the increase in violence is partially due to the increase the video games. It is also due the media, and perhaps most importantly due to to the decrease in family and nieghborhood. I'm not saying that families should be perfect nuclear familes of the 50's. Nor am I saying that everyone must have a "soccer mom" who drives them to 8 practices for 3 diffrent things every week. The opposite. Kids need more free time at home in their nieghborhood. They need to learn to play togeagher at a young age. Through play like this kids learn to settle arguements and put anger aside. My view on this is best expressed by this example perhaps:

    I saw a 20/20 program on "Travel Ball." Travel ball is a "new" kind of little league. It can cost parents thousands a year as kids from ages 9-14 travel around the country playing baseball. They practice 6 days a week, up to 10 hours a day. They only learn sports in highly structured man. They learn only to win. They call little league teams, even the Little League World Champions bad teams. They call Little League the lowest form of baseball.

    I disagree, I think it is the second to highest level of baseball in the world. There is only one higher. Sandlot - the highest form of baseball.


    - I realize I've gone way off topic perhaps, but I think that it is actually right on topic. No one things leads to violent behavior in kids, it takes many things on top of each other, and video games are on the top of the stack. It's the bottom of the of the stack we must look at. Why do kids, especially young ones, pre-teen, play video games?
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    This is great:

    >>Coronado said the single gunshots fired with precision appear the result of military training.

    Oh wow! An expert opinion! Oh, wait: ""My best guess is it's because Bush wants to go to war with Iraq," said Coronado, 26, who was unloading kegs from a Miller Lite truck yesterday afternoon"

    Jesus Christ - who cares what he thinks.


    Heh - by the way, by playing "Pacman" I have since gained a ravenous appetite and eat small pellets wherever I find them laying on the ground.

  11. #11
    Shadow12345
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    I don't see why they analyze this so much. Some people do crazy things.


    Some things crazy people do.

    Do crazy things some people;

    People do some things crazy.

    Things do people crazy some.

    Is that enough of an analysis?

    Oh and as a side note I hope this guy gets shot to death himself.

    EDIT:
    I just read in Newsweek that this guy couldn't possibly be a real sniper because he always shot people in the chest and real snipers go for the head. That isn't true! I've always read that real snipers always go for the chest! Too easy to miss the head! If they're going to make an argument they might as well get their god damn facts straight.
    Last edited by Shadow12345; 10-15-2002 at 05:21 PM.

  12. #12
    Lead Moderator kermi3's Avatar
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    I just read in Newsweek that this guy couldn't possibly be a real sniper because he always shot people in the chest and real snipers go for the head. That isn't true! I've always read that real snipers always go for the chest! Too easy to miss the head! If they're going to make an argument they might as well get their god damn facts straight.
    I'm not 100% positive but I'm pretty sure real snipers go for a triangle formed by the bottom of the collor bone (I assume low enough to hit the heart) and the bridge of the nose (right between the eyes)

    I don't see why they analyze this so much. Some people do crazy things.
    This is true, but it is a fact that there has been an increase of "crazy things" in recent (20-30 years) and don't you think it's worth finding the reason why? Especially if it can be helped?
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  13. #13
    Sir Mister Insane Sako Klinerr1's Avatar
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    video games teaching kids ot fire guns is a biuch of BS. who came up with this ****? ive always played fps style games, in all kinda of realism difficulties. Theyve taught me nothing on how to fire a gun, ive fired a shotgun, and a hand gun (at fake people) yes my aiming is very lousy. its abvoius this kid has some sort of natural talent for aiming and shooting.

    and acorse now all fps games are atleats teen, some are reated mature for violence/guns. chould they start rating ads (have you all seen the shoot sadan add on the boards?)
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  14. #14
    Peace
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    RE: Kermi3s link (and argument)

    >>VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES CAN INCREASE AGGRESSION

    Notice the operative word: CAN. But it all boils down to total (er... think Pg-13...) Bullspit (as they say on TV). Reading further into the article we notice that it refers to people with "habitually aggressive" tendancies becoming more aggressive. Gee, that must be the video game. If someone is already screwed up mentally, you can't logically blame something that might enhance their disorder. They're unstable to begin with.

    If I'm sitting on my roof and place a feather beside me, whos to blame when it blows away? The wind or me? I'd like to blame the wind; It draws attention away from the fact that I'm dumb enough to have set it there.

    We cant pad the walls of society just because the lemmings keep running into them.
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  15. #15
    Lead Moderator kermi3's Avatar
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    I agree, well some. I think that video games, and realistic media to cause increase in agression, and of course it does so more in some people than others, just like say, alchohal causes some to be more "drunk" than others. In no way do propose that we "pad the walls" and elimate games. I love them hehe. However, there are other fundamental things that our society needs to look at. Like the drive or need for superiority that we are developing. Allow me to clarify...In today's world it seems that "average" is disappearing. You are either the best, the top 10% so you can say your the best, or your the worst. There is no second place. ( www.hyper-parentying.com for more, though not all)

    That's one thing, there are many that we have to look at I think, and it's not something there's any kind of quick fix for. No one thing we can change. It's a whole lot of things. The world has changed more in the last hundred years than it has in the past 1000, that's a lot for our society to adapt for in a pretty quick time. Of course there's problems, a lot of them. No quick fixes, and video games may be part of the problem, but they're only one part, I think there's a lot more we have to look at for causes of this increase in violence.
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