Recently I revisited an old video game from my childhood. That game? Doom. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Doom sees you make your way through level after level of demon-filled landscapes, slaughtering them, lest they slaughter you. It’s a bloodthirsty, gory, intense ride, and one that first discovered when I was about 12. Back then, the laws regarding age restrictions on games virtually didn’t exist, and I am pretty sure a lot of my generation indulged in various violent games. This triggered discussions about whether or not gaming could instil violent tendencies, but que surprise, I no more became a violent killer playing Doom than I became a legendary footballer playing FIFA. Funny that.
Yet the narrative has once again been trotted out by conservative elements of America to suggest, yet again, that anything but the widespread ease of access to deadly weapons is the cause of mass shootings. Mental illness is once again another source of blame, which once again unfairly demeans people with mental health issues and convieniently forgets that people with mental health problems exist in various countries, yet they do not go on killing sprees.
Couple of interesting tweets for you:
In Japan, 40% of the people are atheists.
We have a gun homicide rate 200x higher than theirs.
— Peter Kaufman (@inklake) August 4, 2019
All the facts, all the numbers, they are out there and require only simple Google searches for anyone willing to educate themselves. Video games are not the problem. Mental health is certainly not the problem. Making it easy for anyone to get hold of multiple firearms is the problem. And to anyone reading this that wants to respond with kneejerk reactions like ‘we have the right to bear arms!’… I get it. There is a Constitutional right to have guns. That double was written in the 18th century, reflecting a very different era. It also spoke of a ‘well-regulated militia’, not an unregulated one. Many countries have gun ownership and yet have nowhere near the rate of gun violence seen in the US. Instead of fear-mongering over ‘tyranny’, take meaningful steps to protect people.
For those who say ‘but people go on mass stabbing sprees or use vehicles in other countries’, yes, this happens, but compared to mass shootings in the US, these events are extremely rare. Such a comparison is to compare chalk to cheese. And please, try to understand as well, because I know some anti-gun control folk will say this – we are not choosing between 100% effectiveness or else we don’t try. Nothing is 100% effective, but if we reduced the scale of any given problem by even half, is, that not worth it?