Gamers declare #VideoGamesAreNotToBlame after Trump calls industry ‘gruesome and grisly’

Gamers say President Trump is wrong for linking violence to video games. (Photo: Getty Images)
Gamers say President Trump is wrong for linking violence to video games. (Photo: Getty Images)

Gamers are discrediting President Trump’s assertion that video games contribute to mass shootings with the hashtag #VideoGamesAreNotToBlame.

On Monday, following two mass shootings —at Walmart in El Paso, Texas that left 22 people dead and in Dayton, Ohio that killed 9 people — the president said at the White House, "We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately.”

On Sunday, two politicians also appeared on Fox News Sunday linking video games to violence.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told Fox and Friends, “How long are we going to ignore— for example, at the federal level particularly — where they can do something about the video game industry. In this manifesto that we believe is from the shooter, this manifesto where he talks about living out his super-soldier fantasy on Call of Duty. We know the video game industry is bigger than the movie and music industry combined. And there have been studies that say it impacts people and studies that say it does not.

He said, “But I look at the common denominator...and what’s changed in this country? We’ve always had guns, we’ve always had evil, but what’s changed where we see this rash of shootings? And I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill...”

And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures, “The idea of these video games that dehumanize individuals to have a game of shooting individuals and others — I’ve always felt that is a problem for future generations and others. We’ve watched from studies shown before of what it does to individuals. When you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others.”

Esports consultant and competitive gamer Rod “Slasher” Breslau appeared on Fox News Monday for a rebuttal. He said the national conversation is “very frustrating” since video games are a worldwide past time, yet mass shootings are more prevalent in the United States.

Calling Patrick’s points “total nonsense,” “ridiculous,” and an excuse to blame the entertainment industry at large for societal crime, Breslau said, “To perpetuate that stereotype is hurting the entire discussion and is moving away from the real issues...namely guns and the access to guns...”

Breslau also squashed the stereotypical profile of a loner gunman sequestered in his bedroom playing video games. “For a lot of kids out there, playing games at home...with other people is what uplifted them into a new light when maybe they were in dark place...”

Gamer Pokimane, whose real name is Imane, also disagreed with Trump for blaming gaming on video games. "Ohhhh, and you know what's kinda troll too?" she said on a recent livestream. "That like, we've let Trump say and get away with so much s**t....and then he attacks... he attacks video games and we're like "RACISM! I can allow that! But video games? Uh-uh-uh!'"

And YouTuber and gamer who goes by the name “Boogie” tweeted, “Games are played worldwide. One country has this mass shooter problem.”

Using the hashtag #VideoGamesAreNotToBlame, Bernie Sanders wrote “President Trump faces a choice: bring the country together to pass commonsense gun safety measures—or blame the internet.”

And California Rep. Ted Lieu also wrote, “Our son plays video games like Fortnite & Overwatch. So I play them to be cool. No mentions anywhere of a Hispanic ‘invasion’; or Mexicans are ‘rapists’; or immigrants should ‘go back’ to where we came from.”

On Monday, The Entertainment Software Association announced, “Numerous scientific studies have established that there is no causal connection between video games and violence. More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S.”

We don’t know for certain whether or not video games actually cause violence — in 2015, the American Psychological Association noted, “Researchers have also continued to find that violent video game use is associated with decreases in socially desirable behavior such as prosocial behavior, empathy, and moral engagement.”

However, in 2018, according to CNN, sociology professor Whitney DeCamp of Western Michigan University said there is no or "insignificant" evidence to associate violence and gaming.

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