Perhaps tired of always using Grand Theft Auto as the lone scapegoat, traditional media outlets have now added Dark Souls to the list of games supposedly inspiring young kids to go on murder rampages. Because, why the hell not?
A new report from UK newspaper Daily Mail implies that "online video games" are to blame in the stabbing of 61-year-old teacher Ann Maguire by a 15-year-old. The headline reads: "Schoolboy, 15, accused of stabbing teacher was 'loner' who played online video games Dark Souls and Grand Theft Auto."
Honestly, I could stop right there because despite absolutely no proof linking video game playing with violent behavior, headlines like this are common among traditional outlets looking for a scapegoat. The article describes the teenage as a "depressed introvert who spent long periods online playing video games." Ah yes, we all know that playing video games for long periods make you want to stab your teacher (that's sarcasm, by the way).
The paper even does some hard-hitting investigative journalism, uncovering that the boy "posted about Dark Souls and Grand Theft Auto games" on his Google+ and YouTube profiles.
In response to this poor attempt at linking video games to an unnecessary murder, the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, the company which represents the video game industry in the UK, offered the following response to Eurogamer.
The killing of Ann Maguire is both incredibly shocking and tragic. Our sympathy goes out to the families involved and words are never enough on these occasions and thus we can only offer my heartfelt condolences to Mrs Maguire's family and friends.
There is, however, no evidence that links video games with violence, no matter what publications such as The Daily Mail, a newspaper published in the UK, may infer.
From their report, The Daily Mail cite drink, drugs and bullying to be factors in the life of the 15-year-old boy accused of the killing. It must also be pointed out that these are observations and allegations attributed to fellow classmates of the accused.
As Eurogamer points out, this isn't the first time UK publications have blamed video games for violence. In December 2012, The Sun and The Daily Express blamed Call of Duty and Dynasty Warriors respectively for the Sandy Hook school massacre that occured in the United States. Here in America, the NRA blamed Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat for the incident. In September 2013, Fox News also blamed "violent" video games for the Navy Yard shooting.
Blaming "violent" video games is nothing new for the media, but it's this type of irresponsible, shallow reporting by the Daily Mail that never ceases to amaze it.