The National Rifle Association has a long history of blaming video games for gun-related violence in American society, most especially mass shootings.
At its annual conference over the weekend, one of the NRA’s leading proponents once again weighed into games, blaming popular entertainment for the thousands of murders perpetrated each year by firearms.
Dave Grossman is a former U.S. Army Ranger, and the author of numerous books on the psychology of killing. He is a regular speaker at NRA events, and a proponent of mass-ownership of firearms. He is also the author of a 1999 book, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill. In a speech to the NRA this weekend, he said that games and violent entertainment are creating a generation of “sick, sick kids.”
“This stuff is worldwide. Folks, I want you to understand this is not business as usual,” he told attendants, according to a report in ThinkProgress. “Around the planet, children are committing crimes like no one’s ever seen before in human history. It’s not about the guns, the guns have always been there. It’s the sick movies and the sick TV shows and especially the sick video games around the planet that are creating sick, sick kids.”
Grossman is a well-known figure in the realm of gun violence. He is reported as training police officers to be less hesitant to use lethal force in the course of their work.
He is also a repeated commentator on the evils of video games, despite scant evidence connecting games with mass murderers. In a 2014 opinion piece for Variety, he wrote that games are “murder simulators that train kids to kill.”
In as post-presentation interview with ThinkProgress writer Luke Barnes, Grossman continued on his theme. “What we’ve got is this dynamic of that sick media,” Grossman said. “It’s our export to the world. This media violence creates a twisted representation that it’s a mean world out there and I gotta go out there and get mine.
“You gotta ask yourself what’s the new factor,” he added. “It’s not exporting our military, it’s exporting our sick movies and our sick TV shows and especially our sick video games.”
You can find out more about the links between recent mass shooters, games and gun culture here.