Dr. Rachel Maddow, Phd, called it. National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre went before the press to defiantly blame violent video games, movies, the media, gun-free zones in schools and anything else he could find to blame for the shooting in Newton, Connecticut that left twenty children and six adults dead.
Pushing for a police state, LaPierre tapped former DEA Chief Asa Hutchinson to lead a push to get funding to place police officers in every school in the United States. He stated that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
LaPierre refused to take questions from the media.
Despite the number of guns in the United States, and the number of mass shootings, only a handful of incidents in the last decade have been ended by someone other than the shooter managing to get a shot in and kill the rampaging shooter. In the Aurora, CO shooting, such an action would have been impossible given that James Egan Holmes was covered head to foot in bullet resistant gear. There are also armed police in many middle and high schools. These are often called ‘resource officers’, and there is usually one across a building the size of a football field.
LaPierre also said “The National Rifle Association of America is made up of 4 million moms and dads, sons and daughters and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown. Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.”
It should be noted that there are some 211.5 million gamers in the United States. World of Warcraft, the largest Massive Multiplayer Online Role Play Game or MMO for short, has a world wide subscription base of 10 million with approximately 2 million of those being from North America. There are likely quite a number of NRA members in that 2 million.
At one point, a protester from Code Pink held up a sign in the middle of LaPierre’s statement saying “NRA Killing Our Kids”:
NRA stalwart and friend Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the Supreme Court opinion which struck down the California law about not selling children violent video games based upon the violence inherent in fairytales.
The NRA continues to push the myth that gamers are social misfits who lurk in their parent’s basement or garage. This certainly discounts the reality. LaPierre pointed to a ten year old well out of the mainstream web game as proof of how dangerous video games are. The rumor is that Adam Lanza played world of Warcraft. To give some idea of what the game is, here is a clip from a match between Acer.Scarlett and Dignitas.Bischu. Both are professional gamers. Scarlett is one of the few women pros on the circuit and comes form Canada. Bischu is from Sweden.
The match comes as part of the IPL Team League competitions, in this case between Acer and Dignitas. The winner of each match then goes on to play the next person on the roster for the opposing team and the first team to five victories wins the set.
Certainly intense, but not exactly the violence inducer that LaPierre thinks of. In fact, he thinks of these “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?”
Of course, a good question is, why would parents be buying those games for their children? The games listed, except for the ten year old online game, are rated M, which means that they’re not suppose to be sold to children under 18 any more than anyone under the age of 18 is suppose to watch an R rated movie like “American Psycho” or “Natural Born Killers”, which LaPierre also blamed.
In 1999, the now defunct Sci-Fi/Fantasy blog Sojourner interviewed numerous gamers attending DragonCon in Atlanta. What they found was that the vast majority of gamers use the games to socialize, network, and vent. This includes a lot of NRA members, incidentally.