The US President has claimed that the United States of America must stop the “glorification” of violence in the video game industry, following a shooting in El Paso, Texas that saw 21 people killed.
The businessman turned politician suggested that the violence in video games is a problem that must be reduced in the future, during a speech on August 5.
These suggestions come just days after a 21 year-old white male was arrested at the scene of an attack in El Paso, near the US-Mexico border, where the gunman opened fire on a number of civilians in Walmart on August 3. There was also another attack a day later in Dayton, Ohio where nine people were shot dead in the Oregon District.
Fortnite Battle Royale is just one of many games that have faced scrutiny since the shootings in El Paso and Dayton.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” the President said in his speech. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”
He added: “It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves in a culture that celebrates violence. We should stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately.”
Now facing a potential death penalty, the attacker has been charged with capital murder and claims their actions were a response to the “the Hispanic invasion of Texas” – according to quotes from the BBC.
The President is not the only one to have turned their focus towards issues of video game violence since the news unfolded, though, with former FBI agent Maureen O’Connell claiming that perhaps popular games such as Fortnite Battle Royale could be part of the problem during an appearance on FOX News.
Fortnite Battle Royale was brought into the debate by O’Connell on Fox News.
She said: “If I were a betting man, I’d say that he probably logs six to eight hours a day playing one of those, you know, Fortnite or one of those video game where you’re doing nothing but dehumanising people by blowing their heads off one after another, after another.”
However, in response to these claims, esports consultant Rod Breslau took to Twitter to respond. “Fox News, others in the media, and politicians are already blaming specifically video games and FPS games including Fortnite of all things for yet another awful multiple mass shootings here in America,” he tweeted. “Video game guns don’t kill people, real guns do.”
Fox News, others in the media, and politicians are already blaming specifically video games and FPS games including FORTNITE of all things for yet another awful multiple mass shootings here in America, in Dayton and El Paso
video game guns don’t kill people, real guns do pic.twitter.com/Y5sq0nPH23
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) August 4, 2019
This sentiment was also echoed by the 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who refused to accept The President’ss comments following the shootings and instead appeared to identify guns as the problem.
“People suffer from mental illness in every other country on earth; people play video games in virtually every other country on earth,” she tweeted. “The difference is the guns.”
People suffer from mental illness in every other country on earth; people play video games in virtually every other country on earth.
The difference is the guns.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) Call of Duty.
“I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill,” he said, before suggesting that the country also turns a blind eye to violence on social media as well.
Time stamp at 1:34 for mobile readers.
House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy also echoed those thoughts on Fox, describing shooting games as “dehumanising” people as well.
Contrary to the alleged connection between violence and video games from politicians and commentators, though, a study published by the Oxford Internet Institute in February 2019 found that there was not a relationship between the two.
It states that researchers found “no relationship between aggressive behaviour in teenagers and the amount of time spent playing violent video games,” and this isn’t the only study to have came to the same conclusion.
The President made it very clear that work to stop or substantially reduce potential problems related to video game violence will begin immediately, but what that will look like in real terms remains to be seen.
Article last updated on August 5, 2019 at 13:47 (EST).