Think About the Scope

I might as well weigh in on this.

History is littered with murderers inspired by art: Charles Manson believed the lyrics to the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” were a prophecy that ignited a killing spree. John Lennon assassin Mark David Chapman was obsessed with the book “Catcher in the Rye.”

For Anders Behring Breivik, like Columbine High School shooter Eric Harris, it was video games.

Breivik revealed to an Oslo court on Thursday that the popular military game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” and the online role-playing game “World of Warcraft” helped condition him for his bombing and shooting rampage that left 77 people dead last summer in Oslo and at a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya island.

Think for a second what you’re saying. How many people have read “Catcher in the Rye”? Seriously I would even bet that most people read the book under duress by their school literature teacher.

Of those people how many have gone on to assassinate a public figure? Since schools have pumped Salinger into the water supply I’m sure a few future gang-bangers who have done time for murder or assault have probably read that book, but we’re talking maybe a few hundred people VERY loosely connected, and likely heavily motivated by stronger factors (like maybe mental illness, or social culture driven by the prohibition of drugs) vs. literally MILLIONS of people who have read this book.

Video games? These days Nursing homes have a Wii in the common room, and the generation that grew up with the Nintendo Entertainment System in the 80s (which was probably the first commonplace gaming system) never really put down the controller. EVERYBODY plays video games, of that near total sample size much of the male population, and an ever-growing female part (even more when you consider MMOs like World or Warcraft which really seems to have snared the elusive female market) play what would be considered “Violent Video Games”.

I won’t get into the long-history of this bullshit, Tam did that, and did it well.

I’m just pointing out the numbers.

If video games, or books, or Facebook or whatnot create mass murder, really that’s all we’d ever do. Meanwhile we can demonstrably show that some people are bugfuck nuts. We all know somebody who has mental illness or mental disability, and while their affliction makes them different, unless they are totally gone, they do a LOT of things everybody else dose. They may play video games, they may read books, they may watch TV, they may ride their bike.

The same thing goes with Organic food. Most people don’t bother with the stuff, some people attempt to go pure Organic all the time, and some do a mixture of the two when convenient. Science has been doing all sorts of crazy statistical somersaults to show a difference between the sample groups. Overall its tough.

Meanwhile show me somebody who smokes a pack of cigarets a day, or drinks a 30-pack of beer a week for any length of time who’s health ISN’T negatively impacted. That’s causation, the rest is intellectual masturbation. Same goes for immunization and Autism. Almost everybody gets vaccines, some people have Autism. Even before you get into the constantly debated definition of “Autism” or even people arguing if “Autism” is a disease, or a group of diseases that may be unrelated that are lumped into one psychological pile. The numbers just don’t add up.

Still doesn’t stop self-important people from demanding we ban, restrict, or abstain from various things because they’re “Dangerous”. Just point and laugh. Generally these are the people who got degrees that didn’t force them to take math or statistics classes.

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0 Responses to Think About the Scope

  1. Tam says:

    the generation that grew up with the Nintendo Entertainment System in the 80s (which was probably the first commonplace gaming system)


    While various “Pong”-type games preceded it, the 2600 was probably the first one I’d call “commonplace”.

    And don’t forget the Intellivision and the Colecovision, both with sales in the millions of units…

    • Jack says:

      Yeah, the NES didn’t popularize videogames so much in the US as repopularize them after a massive crash.

      Course for our aspiring journalist history is just another icky thing like math. Facts and correlations (causation is too much to hope for)? Please, they’ve got a public to inform!

    • Weerd Beard says:

      I had one of thems with the wood paneling and the toggle switches.

      Also the 7800 was my first Electronic love. That being said a few of my friends in school had an Atari, or a ColecoVision, or Intellivision.

      Still it wasn’t until the NES came out did it seem that almost every home had some video game system. Some people just had the Super Mario Brothers cartridge the system shipped with, others like me had an extensive library. But there were only a few kids who didn’t have one, and that was the thing they wanted to do when they came to a house that had one.

      Its all gilding of the lily, as whenever an old system gets replaced by a newer one, people buy the old stock used or in a clearance sale. Also things like the lowly iPhone or a personal computer is as much of a “Gaming System” as an X-Box, or Playstation is.

      • Archer says:

        Also things like the lowly iPhone or a personal computer is as much of a “Gaming System” as an X-Box, or Playstation is.

        Excellent point. Clearly we need to ban Solitaire, since the King of Hearts putting the sword through his head is obviously suggesting to impressionable youth that they need to commit suicide. Still wouldn’t be a “Gun Death”, so no need for any candles….

        I read Catcher in the Rye voluntarily. I wanted to see what all the hype was about and had an old copy (really old, with the “famous” plain-text cover) lying around. Truth be told, I was down-right disappointed. The plot plodded, the protagonist was unidentifiable, and the overall message I got was, “Don’t waste your life being an idiot.” Like I needed the Catcher in the Rye to tell me that, growing up in the public school system. There were plenty of live examples around! 😉

  2. Daniel in Brookline says:

    I forget who said it, but once upon a time it was seriously said that violence on television contributed to violence in the streets. Someone retorted, “There’s comedy on television too. Does that cause comedy in the streets?”

  3. Rob Crawford says:

    The supposed conservatives at PJMedia have been driving me nuts with this. They hired a fresh-out-of-college journalism major to be their “cultural” reporter, and he repeated Breivik’s BS credulously. Today he hared off after “Game of Thrones” because a pay-cable show based on a sex-laden, violent book series has lots of sex and violence!

    Bah. People make their own choices, regardless of what they use to kill time, regardless of whatever culture they’re in.

    (And Breivik’s in the “say anything” phase of his insanity. He’s saying whatever he thinks the interrogators want to hear, playing to their prejudices to make himself more important to them.)

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