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A gamer's response to today's National Rifle Association press release

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In case you’ve been living under a rock today, which would likely be a horrible place to hide since, you know, today is the end of the world, the ever-so entertaining National Rifle Association (NRA) released a thorough press release in response to last week’s horrific, chilling elementary school shooting that took place in Connecticut. The organization, which is currently feeling pressure from Congress for gun control, quickly turned its “conversation” into a laughable, irresponsible attack on video games and the very media that covers them.

The press release got the ball rolling quite hilariously when the group stated, "This is the beginning of a serious conversation. We won't be taking any questions,” which, you know, is how conversations work. Chief executive officer for the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, then kicked off the presser expectedly by announcing their grievances for the Sandy Hook families and how tragic this incident was – up until this point the group had my respect. Things began to turn, though, as LaPierre spoke of the “real” problems with school safety and guns in America, which eventually turned into a rant that eventually highlighted the NRA’s believed culprit behind the attack: video games.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

And here's another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people.

Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here’s one: it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?

NRA

Yes, you heard right; instead of simply calling out video games as factor behind the trigger, the NRA blasted the entire video game, media industry calling it a “corrupting shadow industry,” that’s only goal is to sell violence to people. LaPierre then went on, as you read, to pull out a few names from our industry including Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, and Mortal Kombat. Interestingly enough, he also spoke on and old school indie game, Kindergarten Killers.

This wasn’t enough for the NRA, however, as the chief executive officer went on to pose a staggering question – one that certainly was spoken out of arrogance – a sentence that can only be quoted from its original context:

Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?

Ouch. As a gamer, doesn’t that get you fired up, as it did for me? I’d certainly hope so. I quickly turned to Twitter to blast the organization (though they certainly don’t care). Though this isn’t the first time the group has called out video games has “demonizing” to our country, this is the first time we’ve seen the argument taken to an extreme. You see, the NRA wasn’t just calling video games and other media types a factor of this incident. Oh no, these words were of an organization saying that video games were the defining cause behind Adam Lanza’s attack. This made me pose a few questions, questions I think we need to answer to those who believe we’re wasting away our mental capacities with fantasy lands and military shooters.

First off, we know little to nothing behind Adam Lanza’s gaming history. A plumber that worked on the Lanza home reported that Lanza would spend hours playing games like StarCraft II, but what plumber spends hours at a home? And when did StarCraft II become a violent game with real-life weapons? Better yet, it’s been affirmed by the family and Adam Lanza himself (before the atrocity) that his favorite game was none other than, you guessed it, Dance Dance Revolution. Is the NRA really prepared to make the jump and say that DDR is a “violent video game?” It seems so.

DDR

And then there’s the NRA’s examples used in the presser. Two of the games, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse, don’t even feature guns (at least not prominently in-game). I read a hilarious tweet today that stated, “Mortal Kombat really is the problem. This year alone, 1 out of every 4 Americans was assaulted by a ninja who shoots ice from its hands.” It’s funny to read, but this is exactly how the NRA is picturing what games are doing to our country’s youth and adults. Better yet, the group didn’t even mention military games such as Black Ops II or Medal of Honor: Warfighter that feature real-life weapons that can be obtained in many stores across the country. And what about that Kindergarten Killers game? It’s a 2002 web-based Flash game from indie developer Zsoa. It features a crudely drawn janitor shooting kids who are also armed and firing back at the player. The game, being indie, isn’t owned by any corporation for media “flashiness,” and has certainly not received any sort of media spotlight – until today, ironically. 

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Tate Steinlage I write words about video games and sports. Hope you like them.
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