Video games make it harder to stop real rampages

“He was definitely into video games – shooters,” a classmate observed of the Buffalo grocery store mass murderer.

A British tabloid reported this truth about the tragic massacre, while America’s liberal media hid this crucial detail from their one-sided stories. His classmates confirm his dedication to streaming online video games, but internet trolls were quick to shout at anyone who suggested the link. Even a former Green Bay Packers lineman was forced to delete a tweet pointing out the obvious similarity between what happened in Buffalo and shooting video games.

In a rare split a decade ago between Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito, Scalia argued that violent video games are free speech fully protected by the First Amendment. Only two members of that 5-4 majority creating that constitutional right remain on the field, one of whom, Elena Kagan, has since publicly doubted her support for that bad move.

Judge Alito did not endorse the First Amendment right to train teenagers to maim and kill, as many video games do. Nor would Judges Thomas and Roberts, and they would likely curb the video game industry’s exploitation of $60 billion.

By comparison, the film industry had box office receipts of just $11 billion at its peak in 2019 before the Covid pandemic led to a sharp drop in cinema revenue. Meanwhile, the video game industry has increased its revenue during the pandemic as more and more teenagers have stayed in their bedrooms playing these games for many hours each day.

Video gaming is up 14% from its already high levels in 2020, so the average gamer loses almost 8.5 hours per week on video games. A quarter of all gamers spend more than 12 hours a week on these games, which is enough time to work a part-time job or learn a useful skill instead.

The next time you’re endlessly waiting for customer service, you might wonder if the workers aren’t playing video games. A survey found that 14% of respondents played video games daily during work hours.

Binge gaming, which can be a key driver of mass shootings, has also increased by 13% since 2020. A third of gamers say they sometimes play for five hours straight, further desensitizing them to the depravity of killing someone .

Few people doubt Hollywood’s enormous influence on culture and politics, but the video game industry is much bigger and more consequential. In video games, viewers don’t just watch while eating popcorn, but are drawn into the game as participants who win or lose based on how many people they kill.

Accused upstate New York gunman Payton Gendron, just 18, dressed up as a violent video game character that millions of teenagers are addicted to. He wore camouflage and a helmet as seen in images from “Call of Duty”, one of the most popular shooter games with billions of dollars in sales.

He has no military training and yet kills ruthlessly with horrific efficiency, just like a “gamer” is trained to do by these shooters.

Getting shot by a security guard didn’t faze him, as these games train players to keep shooting fast in order to score as many points as possible.

The deadly skills developed and fostered by playing thousands of hours of shooting games make it harder to stop a player when they’re on the loose. The heroic security guard at the Buffalo grocery store, a retired police officer, repeatedly shot the intruder only to be killed by the teenager trained in shooting video games to retaliate quickly.

Young 18-year-old men should learn skills to become productive members of society. Gendron apparently comes from a strong family whose parents are civil engineers, so the familiar arguments about broken families leading to crime don’t explain this shooting by a privileged young man.

It wasn’t the only mass shooting over the weekend. In Milwaukee, gunmen opened fire on a crowd of 300 to 500 people after Game 6 of the NBA playoffs between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics.

Police complained of a lack of personnel to handle such violence in a rowdy crowd, which resulted in the deaths of 17 people, none of whom were killed. But the understaffing of the urban police does not correspond to the liberal discourse either.

Republicans are obviously not responsible for these mass shootings and should lead to addressing the contributing causes of addictive violent video games and understaffed police departments. The demagoguery of the Democrats in exploiting these tragedies does not help to prevent them.

John and Andy Schlafly are the sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations.

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