Are violent, first-person shooter video games a cause of school attacks? (NO)

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Video games are misconceived to be the cause of many horrifying recent mass shootings, murders, and other acts of violence.

This idea hides the true reason why kids are becoming more violent. Mental illnesses and childhood trauma from bullying are the main reasons why shooters take the lives of so many people.

There has been a total of 289 mass shootings in America since the beginning of 2019. In these shootings, 313 people have died and 1,209 were injured, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit founded in 2013 that provides public access to gun-related violence.

In “Mass Violence in America” written by The National Council, it is shown that more than 4 percent of mass shootings in the US are because of mental illness and the other 96 percent of violence is because of living in poverty, child abuse, abuse in general, altercations with the criminal justice system, and antisocial behavior starting at an early age.

None of these statistics indicate that violence is caused by playing video games.

Going into specifics, 16 categories were listed when discussing possible factors as to why people in society commit mass violence. These categories include abuse of substances, marital problems, and death of family members. Nowhere in this list is video games stated as a reason for this sort of violence.

Most cases of mass shootings involve people with untreated mental illnesses who often show signs of delusional thinking, according to the Heritage Foundation.

These people often show signs of schizophrenia and psychosis. There is no proof that violent video games cause mental illnesses or are the reason behind mass shootings.

A recent NBC Bay Area article discussed a teenager named Mohammad Othman, who was shot and killed in an elementary school parking lot in Belmont, California. The shooter’s reason was personal and not due to violence induced from playing video games.

In a shooting last month at the Jackson County Nightclub in Kansas, five people were injured. As reported by the Kansas City Star, the reason for the shooting was a personal argument that broke out between parties involved.

Once again, this reason has nothing to do with video games and everything to do with other factors.

Nikolas Cruz, the shooter who took the lives of 17 people in Parkland, Florida., in February of 2018, was reported to be a disturbed man who provided little motive as to why he shot up his old high school.

When asked why he did it, Cruz, who had been expelled from Majory Stoneman Douglas High, reportedly said, “Telling me I’m an idiot and a dumb ass…in real life you’re all the dumb asses,” implying that bullying could have been the primary cause of the attack.

Because of his sadistic attitude toward the killings, and the humor found in it, mental illness could also have been the cause. But there is no indication that video games contributed to his horrid actions.

Many other cases like these have varying reasons why  shooters attacked innocent victims, but not one could be blamed on video games.

Instead of focusing on video games as the primary cause for violence, the focus should be on other factors. Personal motives, mental illness and early childhood abuse are much more valid reasons for violence displayed by these shooters.