Why blame video games for violence?

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HAVE you watched the news recently? You can’t have failed to notice the unfortunate shooting in Tucson, Arizona of a federal judge, a senator, a nine year old girl and numerous other victims.

An arrest was quickly made and the long process to trial, conviction and imprisonment has started.

In the meantime the news media has to keep the story fresh and exciting so what should they do? They start interviewing old classmates, friends, associates and the bloke that saw him across the street once. Then out comes the same story. He played video games.

I am in no way justifying what was a truly horrific crime committed by someone who clearly has serious mental health issues, but why do video games always have to take the blame? I, like many other people (an estimated 24 million in the UK based on console sales), enjoy video games and play them frequently but I am not one to suddenly think that because I can do it in a game means I can go out and do it in reality. There are issues, people who are bitter about losing do a variety of things. Some are gracious in defeat. Some just swear constantly across their microphones about how they had a bad game or the other team cheated, although some people take it too far. Back in 2005 a man in China murdered a fellow player in reality after a dispute about an event online.

Video games do have other features aside from entertainment though. Video games have been proven to help improve memory, reflexes, decision-making and dexterity.

These skills can be transferred into real life. Research has shown that some surgeons have increased dexterity that they attribute to games which in turn has helped them perform faster and with fewer mistakes. It has also shown that video games have helped drivers perform better due to their increased awareness and quickened decision-making.

Video games make people happy, because for a half hour or so they can step out of their shoes and into a role where they can be anything. They can obtain a great sense of achievement. They can be part of a team working towards a common objective. They can learn. The possibilities are endless, but unfortunately whenever a barbaric act such as the one recently in America happens again it will be video games that are the culprit.