Texas Officials Disregard Scientific Research, Blame Uvalde Shooting On Violent Video Games

Texas officials have been blaming the recent school shooting in Uvalde on violent video games even despite several decades worth of scientific research to the contrary. The debate stretches back to the school shooting in Columbine, Colorado that took place on April 20, 1999.

While speaking at the annual convention of the National Rifle Association, Republican Senator Ted Cruz claimed that school shootings were a direct result of absent fathers, declining church attendance, and of course video games. “Tragedies like the events of this week are a mirror forcing us to ask hard questions, demanding that we see where our culture is failing, looking at broken families, absent fathers, declining church attendance, social media bullying, violent online content, desensitizing the act of murder in video games, chronic isolation.” The politician has made similar comments in the past.

The remarks made by Cruz were later mirrored by Department of Public Security Director Steven McGraw. Talking about the motives behind the shooting, McCraw said that “we haven’t gotten into the why. We know the individual was also into cyber gaming in that regard and group gaming.” The official was apparently referring to multiplayer video games.

The connection between video games and violent behavior has never been convincingly demonstrated. The debate began shortly after the school shooting in Columbine back in 1999. Republican Senator Jeff Sessions described at the time how the shooters were “able to hook into the internet and play video games that are extraordinarily violent, cause the blood pressure to rise, and the adrenaline level to go up. Games that cause people to be killed and the players to die themselves.”

Politicians have repeatedly pointed to video games over the years to explain violent behavior, but scientists have never accepted the idea that video games are capable of producing violence in the real world. Several decades worth of research into the matter has led the American Psychological Association to the conclusion that no such connection even exists. The organization describes how “scant evidence has emerged that makes any causal or correlational connection between playing violent video games and actually committing violent activities."

The discourse in question falls into a wider debate about gun culture. While pointing out that a connection between video games and violent behavior has never been proven to exist remains an easy path to take, some have noted that while video games may not produce violence in the real world, they still contribute to a cultural fascination with violence that shows no signs of changing any time soon.

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