Yesterday the Washington area witnessed a terrible tragedy unfold as a gunman killed 13 people. However, The Telegraph is running an exclusive story saying that the gunman’s friends believe time spent playing violent video games could have pushed him over the edge into becoming a mass murderer.
The darker side to Alexis’s character saw him playing violent “zombie” video games in his room, sometimes from 12.30pm until 4.30am. Mr Suthamtewakul said: “He could be in the game all day and all night. I think games might be what pushed him that way. He always had this fear people would steal his stuff so that’s why he would carry his gun all the time. He would carry it when he was helping out in the restaurant which scared my customers.”
While government officials, police and media try to piece together what led up to the mass shooting, it is unfortunate and unfair that a newspaper with such prestige as The Telegraph is remotely considering putting a heavy burden of blame on violent video games. It has been proven time and time again through studies that there is no link between video game violence and real life gun violence. The paper implies that the darker side of the gunman’s actions was playing violent video games, not for PTSD-esque behavior as hinted by the people who spoke to The Telegraph.
Furthermore, what the paper is doing is putting the responsibility for making the claim on others, saying, “friends believe it could have pushed him towards becoming a mass murderer.” They are deflecting the responsibility for implying a connection between violent video games and the tragedy to the people the paper spoke two, all the while running with connection in both the headline and the page url.
Running the story could not have come at a better time for the paper, as Grand Theft Auto V is released today. Don’t be surprised more of these stories linking violent video games to real life violence start popping up in the weeks ahead.