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Blaming video games for violence makes me… violent

It had to happen. No sooner had the horror of this week's campus shooting in Virgina sunk in, than 'experts', media whores and rent-a-quotes everywhere jumped gleefully aboard the bandwagon and blamed the shootings on the use of violent computer games. Bah.

US TV 'personalities', lawyers and politicians queued up to blame gaming for the fact that Seung-Hui Cho killed 33 people including himself. US TV psychiatrist Dr Phil was prominent among the fame-hungry crew who were quick to speak and slow to... er... what's that now... think. But here's the scoop, there is exactly no evidence that Cho even played Pong, never mind a violent game. No evidence at all.

The only aspect of this issue that actually creates any violence is the rage such ill-informed idiots provoke in me.

This week has also seen the unedifying spectacle that is the British tabloids slavering at the thought that a violent film might have 'driven' Cho to his miserable end. A cynical person might suggest that using stills from the film 'Oldboy' and comparing them with shots of Cho sells newspapers. Here's a thing - I'm cynical and that's exactly what I think.

Cho was a deeply unhappy, depressed and, frankly, ill kid. Without intervention he would have come to a sticky end - regardless of what films, music and, yes, games he was exposed to. Indeed, his creative writing was so bleak that his teachers referred it to the school counsellor - should creative writing be blamed?

And yet Dr Phil is convinced: "If these kids are playing video games, where they're on a mass killing spree in a video game, it's glamorised on the big screen, it's become part of the fibre of our society," he opined from the comfort of TV-world.

"You take that and mix it with a psychopath, a sociopath or someone suffering from mental illness and add in a dose of rage, the suggestibility is too high."

It is, of course, possible that Cho got some of his 'ideas' from violent films, if not games. But before people rush to blame the media that provides the 'inspiration', they ought to think hard about how Cho got hold of the means. Take guns out of the equation, and kids can play safely (at incredibly violent video games) with no fear or danger. I've got a crazy point of view - could guns cause violence?

Violence is fun, say gamers

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