Inordinate Ordnance: Video Game Violence? STFU.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Written by Chris Carr

I've spent the better part of the last 48 hours stealing cars, shooting gang-bangers, divulging in prostitution and investigating the merits of flammable and inflammable materials (they seem to mean the same thing). Today, I went to class, to work and was a normal member of society.

Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV) was released Tuesday, September 17, and yes, that's at fault for my aforementioned debauchery.

With each instalment of the crime simulator, a fresh batch of ignorant mothers and removed fathers look up from their iPhones long enough to cry, “These games promote violence!” or “I don't want my kids to see such things!” If only to fill their obligation to “parent” for that that week, this year.

I'm going to explain it plainly: If your children are being exposed to a game not made for them, you need to reevaluate your parenting tactics. These games are not made for people under the age of 18, just like pornography, horror movies and Paula Deen. So why do parents think its okay for their children to be left to the Los Santos underworld for moral guidance?

The average gamer is around 30-years-old and male. And as any demographically-motivated company will do the same, their product is geared toward the most-common denominator. Kevin, your 13-year-old son who begs for the game? That little whiner doesn't make the cut. When he's 18, something more ruthless will be out and his play-doe mind will be able to handle it then.

Letting your kid play GTAV is the equivalent of renting them a copy of Deepthroat and leaving them alone for a week. It's bad parenting. So every time I see the legion of militants parents marching for the censorship of a game not even meant for them, I feel relieved.

Yes, relieved. That are sending up flags so the rest of us—the responsible, sound-minded—so we can clearly and distinctly see the people who should be disregarded.

Now, on to the next people who need to STFU: those advocating that video games promote violence in adults. This is not a ridiculous notion in itself, at its surface. The Aurora massacre from last year saw James Eagan Holmes fatally shoot 12 people while dressed as The Joker for the Dark knight trilogy. This has acted as a lightening rod for advocates against violence in media.

But that's like banning sharp edges because someone got stabbed, once.

As mentioned above, my character in GTAV, controlled by me, took part in a wide range of horrible acts, with my grinning face reflected in the warm glow of the TV. Am I a bad person? Nope. Will I ever highjack a military helicopter and use it to smuggle guns over the border? Probably not. If anything, I would say the escapism of the game inhibits these attributes in a lot of people. It's the reason people own stress balls and play contact sports: it's merely a way to vent.

I have this theory: the people who say violent media causes violent people are fighting their own personal violent inklings. Just like anti-gay-rights senators who are found loving the same men they write policies against. Like a meth-addicted DEA agent, these people have their own problems they feel will be unhinged if given the opportunity. But that's just an aside.

Simply, there may be a few people who take violence in media too far. They idolize these characters and people get hurt because of their actions. However, this kind of thing can never be stopped. Holmes is the modern version of Mark David Chapman, who read Catcher in the Rye then decided to shoot John Lennon. Where does it stop? Do we ban ancient cave drawings so people aren't encouraged to start a loin-cloth spear war?

The media—video games, movies and books—are not at fault here. Is it the parents of badly-reared children? Could be. Certainly letting them kill prostitute after prostitute in GTA, without parental intervention or explanation might have some mental ramifications.

Violence in people is not going to stop because of a lack of inspiration. If anything, the lack of media would make me more violent, from entertainment-deficiency. Censorship, artistic license, haven't even been discussed, but would certainly lend themselves to the defence of the producers of these medias.

Violent games don't make people violent. It's just that simple.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pick up a kilo of black-tar heroine from some Mexican cartel down south before I drive my mother to her weekly knitting circle.  

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