The events of the Newtown, Conn. shooting has once again brought up the long-debated issue of violence in video games, as several media and government officials have linked shooter Adam Lanza with the popular online game Call of Duty. According to the UK’s Sun publication, Lanza spent many hours playing the first-person shooter while tucked away in his basement room, surrounded by images of military weaponry.
After this connection was brought to light, video game developer and publisher Electronic Arts removed a feature from the company’s Medal of Honor: Warfighter website that allowed gamers to browse and purchase the real-life version of guns used in the game. The feature had already caused controversy when it was announced earlier this year, and a company spokesman simply stated that the company “felt it was inappropriate and took the links down.” Manufacturer names and promotional videos have not been removed, however.
EA is certainly not the first to respond to these events. Vice President Joe Biden is currently in the process of holding a discussion dedicated to investigating gun violence in the media including movies, television, and video games. Industry analyst Michael Pachter has defended video games, stating:
“I think that Vice President Biden’s panel will conclude that games are free speech (consistent with the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. EMA), and that they will result in little or no change in government oversight of games… I agree that distasteful games such as Kindergarten Killers should be vilified, but their lack of commercial success is punishment enough. I don’t think that Call of Duty encourages anyone to go on a killing rampage, any more than actual military training causes people to commit random acts of violence.”
Linking Adam Lanza’s events with Call of Duty has caused an outrage among gamers, many of whom feel it is unfair to blame a single person’s actions on a game that is played by millions. The New York Daily News has reported that Lanza had several mental and emotional issues and that he was “a ticking time bomb.”
The real focus should not be on violence in video games, but on how a mentally unstable person was able to acquire such high-power weaponry, or even firearms in general. What’s your opinion, ScienceFiction.com reader? Sound off in the comments below.