Published On: Mon, Feb 11th, 2013

Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun

Jacob Gelt Dekker“ Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun,” says National Rifle Association executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre.
In public debates, the NRA man pounds in his emphatic Hitlaresque style, on the threat of violence as entertainment.
“Shootings by the deranged, like school shootings, are from desensitization caused by television programs and violent video games. Children born today will witness 200,000 acts of violence on television by the time they are 18 years of age.” Violent video games lead to “the undue exploitation or glorification of horror, cruelty or violence,” to obscenity and “makes children more likely to commit violent acts in real life.”
A link exists between violence in the media and violence by children according to the American Academy for Pediatrics, American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Many scientific articles state that these violent video games invite players “to engage instinctively with the violent actions, to disengage critical norm and value faculties and to take pleasure in gratuitous violence and cruelties.”
Video games are more than just entertainment, they have become a very influential form of edutainment--- education and entertainment. Players adopt game rules in real life and the lines between virtual and real life are ever more blurred.

In violent video games, problems are right or wrong, black or white. The message is, violence is useful and an appropriate way of solving problems. All problems can be solved quickly by eliminating, killing or even “fragmenting” opponents, using multiple weapons and unlimited amounts of ammunition. The manufacturers rules of the game are assumed without questioning, instinctual reactions rather than thoughtful responsible behavior are strongly encouraged.
All kinds of theories try to explain the working of violent video games. The activation and stimulus theories state that the games increase chances of players to react with violence. Imitation and (anti)social learning theories turn violent games into pure role models with desensitized dangerous actors.
On the positive site some claim, somewhat obscurely, that the games stimulate cognitive rehabilitation, eye-brain-hand coordination, fast decision making and computer skills.

If LaPierre gets his way, every teacher in every classroom would carry a gun. More moderates argue that children should be taught media literacy skills. The gamers should realize that they are being exploited by games manufacturers for profit. They should know that real life violence has very severe consequences. To outlaw violent video games on a global internet is no longer feasible. Much like pornography, hate literature and excessive violence in movies, the children should learn to value the material rather than being absorb, consumed and manipulated by it.

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