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Senator Murphy Calls For More Data From Violent Game Studies

They're just not going to let this go, are they?

The Sandy Hook elementary school shooting tragedy that left 26 people dead (20 of whom were children) rocked a nation. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before so-called authorities started to blame violent video games. It was inevitable.

With little to nothing in the way of evidence to support the claim, sources began calling disturbed mass murderer Adam Lanza a "deranged gamer," which of course opened the floodgates. President Barack Obama ordered more research to be conducted to determine if there is a link between virtual and real-world violence. Other lawmakers called for extra taxes on violent games. As for Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), he supports Obama's research plan and he spoke further on the subject during a recent Google Hangout. He first says they "know" Lanza "spent a lot of time playing violent video games."

Thankfully, he did add this:

"What we admittedly don't have…is any peer-reviewed studies or research that tell us that there is a definitive link between exposure to violent video games and violence. Now, nobody can sit here for certain and say that without any one of those things; without the powerful weapons, without the mental illness, without the exposure to video games, this wouldn't have happened. We can't put ourselves in his mind. But we do see a trend where some of these shooters do have exposure to these video games."

He said it's important to have the data they need before pursuing any legislation that affects violent games, which is correct. However, one of these days, they're going to have to accept that violence of all forms is all around us. If Lanza had a TV and a DVD player (and a modern game console is a DVD player), he would've been exposed to violence in three different forms. Unfortunately, violence is just unavoidable in this society and if one is already mentally ill...

Tags: sandy hook shooting, violent video games, senator chris murphy

6/25/2013 10:39:56 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (29 posts)

telly
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 11:35:58 AM
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I'm all for scientific research on pretty much everything imaginable. I just wish more of our public servants seemed to understand correlation is hardly causation.

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matt99
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 7:39:08 PM

Exactly!

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TheWuziMu
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 11:38:59 AM
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Lanza had access to violent video games, so that must be the link to his violent behavior.

...it couldn't have been his access to guns, and movies, and TV, and the internet, and a violent society, and...

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KidPresentable
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 11:40:58 AM
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These guys know they can't do anything about guns so they want to use this tragedy to bully around the games industry. This is not about helping people. It's about getting another piece of society under the control of the machine, so they can have a reason to fill another office building with a bunch of overpaid do-nothings.

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Miister47
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 12:11:50 PM
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i've noticed that every murderers eats pizza...They should look into this as well...

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Underdog15
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 12:16:23 PM
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Lol

How many mass murderers are linked to having played some kind of sport or music at some point? What about how many watched seaseme street at impressionable ages?

Lol just because theres correlation, that doesn't mean there's any causation there.

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MyWorstNightmar
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 1:01:05 PM

What sport have you heard of that encourages murder? I don't get your point.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 1:11:43 PM

Every sport I played in Junior High encouraged murder.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 8:49:03 PM

lol World. haha. Oddly enough, even in volleyball I had coaches who taught about "killer instinct" and not letting them back in the game by saying, "when you've got them, twist the knife boys. Twist the knife."

@MyWorstNightmare
I'm not sure how you missed my point, but I'm sure it was from the way I worded it.

My point is, just because mass murderers have played video games (correlation) doesn't mean they made them or encouraged them to murder (causation). My point is that I'm sure many mass murders have also played sports... watched sesame street as a child... (again, correlation). Just because all many mass murders have something in common (especially an activity enjoyed by millions upon millions of other people) doesn't mean that commonality is what caused them to commit murder.

In reality, mental health is the only real indicator of causation at this point. Combined with opportunity, of course.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 12:30:26 PM
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Isn't their argument delineating between violent TV and violent games in that of interaction? Where in TV you're passively involved watching the story unfold where as in games you're actively causing the death to happen, usually from the 1st person looking through the site of a gun.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 6/25/2013 12:32:30 PM

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matt99
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 7:43:30 PM

Well, that's the only semi-intelligent argument out there but every study that has been conducted has shown that violent games do not make people violent. Also, If it did we'd be seeing an increase in violent people as gaming becomes more and more popular.

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Akuma07
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 8:11:38 PM

Recent data actually shows the crime rate in the US is down to its lowest levels in years.

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FatherSun
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 11:20:28 PM

Justice for all those video game characters that I have killed over the years. Due process? Can I go to jail? I wonder, do they have funerals for in game enemies? It is fantasy. These politicians are just looking for a scapegoat. They will only succeed if we allow it. Music and movies have been there. Now it's the gaming industries turn. Growing pains.

@akuma07, Lowest crimes rates in years, hmmm, Meanwhile gaming is at its highest popularity ever. Could it be that games actually deter people from committing acts of violence?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 1:10:59 PM
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And you'll never put yourself into the mind of a nut. These studies are a waste of money.

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Knightzane
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 2:01:31 PM
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Homeless people, jobless people, murderers, all kinds of stuff. Should we try and fix those things? Nope. Instead lets spend lots of time and money where it doesn't matter.

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ProfPlayStation
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 5:54:43 PM
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While all this hyperbole about "lul lul killers drink water so water is to blame" is nice and comical, the fact is that this Senator is not wrong. We need more data. Going off your gut with nothing to back it up is how we end up with people like Jack Thompson. There is almost no data to prove a nut like him right or wrong, because people are afraid to approach the issue. Simply brushing away tough subjects because they might somehow impact something you're involved with in some unknown way is sheer stupidity.

If seriously looking into the matter causes some game developers to rethink how they approach things, leading to even one less life lost, I'd say that's worth trading an extra blood spurt or two from an FPS. I doubt people would be so flippant on the matter if it was their own son or mother who lost their life amongst a wash of ignorant handwringing.

This is not a subject of "omg teh game bans!" There needs to be an examination of how we are now approaching things, or else this debate will keep happening over and over and over again, with no resolution. More data, yes!

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Underdog15
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 8:53:49 PM

There are literally mountains of research already done on this topic by credible institutions. We know that there is correlation, but no causation. We know that children can be adversely affected to a chronic degree when regularly subjected to overly violent and gratuitous images. Adults respond much less, and while there can be measured levels of aggression during the gaming activity, it essentially resets to near zero mere moments after playing. (This is, of course, in mentally sound individuals)

Most have determined that violent media should be left to adults and not children. More research -IS- needed to fully understand the effects on children, unfortunately, these studies don't pass ethical standards as one of the ethical guidelines in psychology is to ensure there is no harm. In order to really measure effectively, you would have to potentially put children under possible psychological harm.

Adults, on the other hand, have been measured extensively. And like I said, study after study has shown absolutely NO causation. Some have seen correlation, but that's all.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 6/25/2013 8:54:07 PM

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tes37
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 8:03:48 PM
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What are they going to do, monitor someone for ten or more years while they play games? Oooh, oooh look he's fixing to .... oh he's just scratching his butt.

For people who don't mind tracking devices embedded in their skin, this would be a perfect experiment for them.

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Akuma07
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 8:06:18 PM
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If they start trying to draw a link between violent games and violent people, then they need to start doing the same for every single other thing that person does.

This is stupid, I'm sorry my US friends, but you guys don't make sense. You allow the legal sale of just about any kind of weapon, then blame video games for your mass murders?

You know, there is one thing I have noticed about every single massacre you guys have ever had, and I can say with a high degree of certainty that it is the major cause of them, each of the massacres involved the person having access to firearms. See what I mean?

Last edited by Akuma07 on 6/25/2013 8:10:31 PM

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tes37
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 8:20:48 PM

A woman in the US beat a child to death, that she was babysitting, with an extension cord. The lack of a gun didn't stop her from committing murder.

The problem lies within people, it's not an external influence like games, movies, books, etc. Throwing pharmaceuticals at them is all the worthless help they ever get.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 8:54:53 PM

*facepalm*

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Jawknee
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 9:56:51 PM

The ones with firearms are the only ones that get reported. The same weekend of Sanyhook a crazy man drove his truck into a crowed of people killing 14. Why didn't that make national news? Because it doesn't fit the media's anti gun narrative.

You claim the common cause of all these mass murders is guns(not entirely true given the example above shows) the REAL commonality is all these nutters were doped up on psychotropic drugs.

I had a discussion with my very liberal father and he said these spree killings didn't happen nearly as often when he was a kid. You know why? His generation wasn't doped up on psychotropics every time a boy acted like a boy.

Last edited by Jawknee on 6/25/2013 10:12:07 PM

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White_Mocha
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 9:01:45 PM
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this is dumb. I don't know why they're looking into it AGAIN. I understand that this will never stop being debated, but i remember seeing something about how crime rates and whatnot are the lowest since whenever they were super high. i may be missing the point, but these senators should know by now they won't find any link.

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Reccaman18
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 10:26:45 PM
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So, who was to blame when people didn't have video games? Was Hitler playing CoD in his room? These debates are useless because they solve nothing. We all know that violent video games are not to blame, but there has to be some type of whipping boy. Before video games, they found something else to blame. "Hey, I didn't mean to kill all those innocent people, the devil made me do it!"

I listen to bands like Slayer. I play games like God of War. I watch movies like Ichi the Killer. But guess what? I'm not deranged. I am well spoken, intelligent, polite, outgoing, and am capable of rational conversation. And on top of that, I became a Buddhist. What do these "experts" have to say about that?

I have no desire to harm anyone. Sure, I get mad from time to time, but that's human nature. Maybe we need to start blaming the individual that committed the atrocity instead of putting it off on some inanimate object. People need to take responsibility for their own actions.

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FatherSun
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 @ 11:09:35 PM
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How many PS3s sold? Over 70 million. How many 360s? Also over 70 million. How many Wiis, Wii-Us, PS1s PS2s and all other game consoles? Id say there a quite alot of games consoles out there. Ok, it may be only a percentage of gamers that play violent games but I would still say that they are in the millions. With that said, wouldn't we be seeing alot more murderers and committers of violent crimes out there?

This witch hunt is absurd. I've played violent games all my life. I have not killed anyone. I have not committed any violent crimes and I have no desire to do so. Does that count for anything? I am actually offended by these individuals making these claims. Do all the research you want. Get it over with already. Then please get back to business. Don't these politicians have better things to do? I feel there should be a law that penalizes politicians that waste precious time, effort and tax payer dollars on unsubstantiated accusations and correlations between violence and video games. God Bless America!

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PC_Max
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 @ 5:51:13 PM
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Again... and again... and again.... games are only one component out in this world that influence us. Well, those that play games. I 've seen people get angry over Monopoly... don't worry I don't play it anymore.

Its called pop-culture. Games are just one element in that mix. Games do influence, whether long or short term depends on how long once exposes themselves gaming. I would like to think MOST, hopefully, have other sources of entertainment be it movies, books, comics, music, sports, etc. etc. Now I would be worried if someone like ONLY guts, gore and guns. If I knew or met someone like that I would wonder if any cats have gone missing in the neighbourhood.

Focussing on a single source of entertainment whether you are trying to prove or disprove its influence is pointless. If they broaden it to pop-culture then they may, I said MAY, find something.

Who knows, maybe they will find we are all powder kegs ready to explode... just need to find ourselves what it is that would put us over the edge, medical or otherwise. Again... I stopped playing Monopoly. :)

Keep Playing!... have fun... no your limits.

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bamf
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 @ 9:09:06 PM
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All i know is that a guy with mental illness with a video game is likely to do less harm than a guy with mental illness holding a loaded gun. It didn't need scientists to work that out.

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bamf
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 @ 9:14:45 PM
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Locally here we've had the moores murderers and shipman who has killed over 250+ of his own patients. i don't think they touched video games

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manofchao5
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 12:27:04 AM
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I like the fact that he did not just jump into the whole "blame it on" situation and instead said they need more evidence to back it up, shows some real intelligence

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