Lets start with some honesty, games are violent and most journalistic media outside of specialist press, hates games. They’re corrupting the youth of today, pushing their minds to think and then later act out despicable things. In a recent school shooting in Germany, Far Cry 2 has received blame for being the root of the problem. Apparently 17 year old Tim Kretschmer spent two hours and ten minutes playing the shooter on the night before his rampage in which 15 people were killed with his ‘Fathers‘ Beretta pistol. This is of course after he spent his evenings in chatrooms talking about school shootings under the guise of “JawsPredator1” and he most likely spent time downloading bondage based pornography, He was seventeen.
I have to admit, yes, there are violent games on the market. Yes there are games in which YOU, the person “in real life” are asked to shoot, stab and kill in a “virtual” world. So, through our XBOX’s and PlayStations we are going to war, exacting revenge and assassinating and declaring it a hobby or pastime. It’s true that violent games are beginning to out weigh other genres in the industry.
But let’s look at other childhood pastimes throughout the years. Spudguns, plastic M16s and bow and arrows, toys all designed to allow children to “play war” There is nobody who can defend these toys as being non-violent. Plastic swords emulate real swords that are and were used to kill or maim people in horrific ways. For generations of children these toys have been enjoyed, but is this not a similar act to using a virtual sword to vanquish enemies. When you were playing out on the local green, even without toys, were you not pointing out two fingers in the shape of a gun and “killing” your friends?
This form of entertainment has been with us for centuries, violence is a part of society and it’s the elders of this society that should teach the truths behind war and violence. Even as a child, whilst making an unconvincing machine gun sound while my friends clutched their chests and fell to the ground, I knew the real outcome of violence. Taught to me by my Mother.
It’s quite obvious that the media is constantly looking for scapegoats in these situations. It’s terribly easy to blame a videogame or movie or piece of music for polluting our children’s minds rather than blaming parents for not cleansing said minds. The thousands of Daily Mail readers can shake their heads and tut quietly whilst accusing videogame makers for creating Manhunt or Far Cry 2, all the while forgetting their own teenage years. The times that they gathered round someone’s house to watch the latest horror movie or experiment with drugs and casual sex.
Let’s look at Kretschmer and his disgusting actions that would make even the most hardened Christian doubt Gods plans. Kretschmer kitted himself out in black camouflage gear, bought from a store I would assume. Picked up his Fathers Beretta, from the unlocked gun cabinet and Hijacked a car whilst aiming the gun at the drivers head. All of these actions ARE featured in Far Cry 2, but are they not ALL featured in many movies nowadays?
Was it not down to the shopkeeper to refuse service to a 17 year old child and not sell him camo gear? Was it not the Fathers responsibilities to teach gun usage and keep them hidden away? Let’s also look at the fact that Kretschmer had recently been rejected by a girl he obviously cared for. But let’s also look at the fact that he had as little as 200 porn images on his computer, 120 of which were of female bondage. Oh and please don’t forget the fact that he roamed chat rooms openly discussing school shootings.
Regardless of any games that this boy played, he may have had an underlying mental health problem that adjusted his views on reality. This again is another stigma of society, anyone who has no control over their thoughts are swept under the rug and zipped up, never to be seen again. So why would the papers print the headline, “Boy of 17 guns down 15, but he had mental health issues, access to guns, a penchant to violent porn and was just rejected by a girl who he may have loved”
The argument of violence in games will carry on until the media realises that parents need to be just that, parents. As a father of three girls I would never allow my children to grow up and not know the consequences of violence, war and other harmful elements of this world. Is that not my job?
I’ll leave you with the words of someone who seems to have their head screwed on, Walter Hollstein, a sociologist working with the Council of Europe, disagreed. “It’s nonsense to assume they turn adolescents into school shooters,” he said.
“A variety of factors, such as helplessness, anger and loss of control, must come together for them to become the trigger, but the games themselves don’t make anyone a killer.”