Following last month’s tragic school shooting one cannot turn on any media outlet without witnessing a raging debate about guns and violent video games.
Unfortunately, and quite shamefully, the whole discussion has become a giant media circus used to boost TV and radio ratings on all sides of the spectrum. We are left with a senseless media spectacle while the real issues regarding gun control and violent video games are completely ignored.
The perfect example of this is a recent interview where CNN talk show host Piers Morgan interviewed radio host Alex Jones. The ensuing interview made headlines all over the country as Jones, a ridiculous conspiracy theorist who tries to pass himself off as a libertarian, went on a crazed and frankly bizarre rant ranging from guns, to the new world order and the whole shopping list of conspiracy theorist talking points (or in this case shouting points).
Piers Morgan, who is ardently anti-gun, lengthened the interview with Jones so as not to miss out on the rating boost that followed. It is clear that Piers Morgan has no interest in having a constructive dialogue about guns. If he was interested in such a conversation rather than inviting a crazed, fringe, lunatic who obviously does not represent the views of mainstream people who are opposed to increased gun regulation, he would invite someone less controversial who actually has some respectable credentials.
Another group that is of course in the spotlight is the National Rifle Association (NRA). It has blamed violent video games for the tragedy in what seems to be a way of changing the subject.
This is completely ridiculous and if the NRA had done any research they would see that violent crime rates have been dropping steadily for the past 20 years despite more and more violent video games. Also they would have found a recent study by the University of Texas which finds that violent video games actually decrease violent crime.
In the midst of this ongoing debate it has become very clear that there is a need for gun control and there is a need to rein in the proliferation of violent video games.
Now, for those of you who know that I am an anarchist, this stance may come as a surprise. But after a careful evaluation of this issue it is quite clear this is necessary for the preservation of society.
Unfortunately, the measures I have in mind are not even mentioned in any way by the mainstream media. However, a quick examination of some facts will demonstrate this need.
Dr. R.J. Rummel, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, reports that in the 20th century alone not counting war itself, governments around the world have been responsible for the murder of approximately 262,000,000 people. According to him, to put this in perspective if these dead bodies were stacked head to toe they would circle the globe ten times.
These statistics, which do not even count people killed in regular warfare, are truly mind blowing. One is not even capable of fathoming how many people that is. There is clearly a need for increased gun control of governments all over the world. The evidence is overwhelming. Yet where is the discussion about this? Where is the debate about the children killed by governments?
Unfortunately rather than focusing on this larger issue, the Piers Morgans of the world, who claim to care about innocent people being killed, argue instead solely about domestic gun ownership. The number of people killed domestically, by any means, pales in comparison to the vast ocean of death governments are responsible for.
Yet there is no discussion about this.
Of course, this is not to take away from the tragedy of the Newtown massacre; however, it is hard to accept people’s intentions as honest when they address the loss of innocent life only when it is convenient for political posturing or headlines.
What is even worse is the nauseating hypocrisy of so many people involved in this debate. When President Obama addressed the nation about this tragedy he shed tears over this loss of so many young lives that were senselessly taken. Young lives that had so many years ahead of them.
Yet this same man who one moment sheds tears for lives taken in the innocence of youth, is in the next moment authorizing drone strikes to terrorize the Pakistani and Yemeni countryside. In the first eight days of 2013 alone, drone strikes have killed 35 people in Pakistan.
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, nearly 200 children have been killed by drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Forgive me if I question the sincerity of a man who cries for children one moment and then the next is blowing them up when cameras are not looking.
If there is to be a conversation about violent video games, America’s drone war is clearly the place to start. Soldiers sit at screens with controllers in their hands and blow things up on the other side of the world then go home to their families.
If this is not dehumanizing death I don’t know what is.
When I play Call of Duty I realize there is a large difference between killing someone in a game and actually killing someone. But thanks to the military the line between fiction and reality is becoming blurred and, as Der Spiegel reports, this is having a toll on the mental health of drone operators.
It is clear that few parties actually care at all about the victims of Newton. Rather this tragedy is being used for selfish political reasons by politicians and is being used by media personalities to boost ratings.
If people wish to speak about gun control but do not address the torrents of innocent blood spilled by governments it is clear that they do not care about innocent deaths at all. Furthermore, until people address the real violent video game that is the drone war, it is equally clear they do not really want to address the problem either.
This political and media farce is being run by hypocrites and charlatans and is a disgrace to the memories of the victims of this tragedy. Rather than causing some sort of positive change to honor the innocent lives taken that day we have nothing but a national shame.
Rather than further dishonor the victims of the tragedy by participating in this political and media circus I urge those of you who truly do care about the loss of innocent lives to honor their memory by working towards building an actual dialogue regarding ways to stop the loss of innocent life everywhere. Not just in situations where it can be used for personal or political gain.