By Tom Z
11:26 AM EST, January 31, 2013
You know, we haven’t had a mass shooting in nearly 18 hours, so there’s no better time for someone to come out and say that guns are harmless and that video games are society’s real culprit. Fortunately Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander stepped up to the plate on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown. Here’s what he said (via The Escapist):
"I think videogames [sic] is a bigger problem than guns, because videogames affect people," he said. "But the First Amendment limits what we can do about videogames and the Second Amendment to the Constitution limits what we can do about guns."
I won’t be too harsh on Sen. Alexander, because he was asked his opinion and he responded in a straightforward, respectful way. (Unlike, say, that guy from the NRA.) Bottom line, he’s wrong. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. I logged 1800 hours playing Street Fighter as a kid and I’ve never once taken out a co-worker with a sonic boom. Meanwhile gun-wielding maniacs are killing people left and right. Notice how the critics of video games are always old guys who grew up in a time when people were dying of dysentery. Not in Oregon Trail, in real life. They don’t think kids can handle a violent video game because they’ve never experienced it themselves. I, on the other hand, grew up playing video games and shooting .22s, so I realize that neither guns nor games can corrupt a person who is of sound mental health. The one difference between guns and video games is that when I fire a video game into your head, it kinda stings for a minute. If only older folks could understand this, I think they’d change their attitudes. That’s why I’ve started Hadoukens Not Guns, a non-profit focused on raising awareness about how violent video games are actually a lot of fun. We encourage at-risk youth to achieve a victory over their opponents on the screen, not in the streets. In fact we’re holding our first national conference later this month. It will be held in my parents’ basement, and Jean-Claude Van Damme will be the keynote speaker. The price of admission is a bag of Doritos and a Pepsi. And of course everyone gets a plus-1. Although, no one ever seems to use it.
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