Football and baseball causes adults to behave violently, doesn’t it? Of course it doesn’t but if I was to look for an association I would definitely find it. On Friday 19th March in Stockholm, a group of football hooligans got together (40 of them) with baseball bats and painted the town red, literally since there were gallons of blood covering their path. They smashed windows and doors causing thousands of taxpayers’ money as well as of the pockets of local pub owners. Have you ever seen a group of gaming HALO nerds gather to smash things? No, because it is highly unlikely. Why isn’t anyone campaigning to forbid football in the world, since it has repeatedly been behind every street brawl every pub fight and occasionally a couple of murders while nobody has killed in the name of Resident Evil? It is because people realize that violent people who watch football would act just as violent watching any other sport, movie and even art. They do not need a trigger, they need a cause. Even if the statistics can clearly match football consumption (game practice, viewed games and overall football fascination) per country to increased violence statistics while in the case of gaming they can’t.
Venezuela is the first to forbid. Venezuela is ranked the 4th country in the world in terms of criminal violence. They are one of the countries that consume violent games the least, in fact they are in the bottom of the “consol ownership per capita” scale. Japan tops the list of violent games consumed and “consol ownership per capita” they rank on 60th place at the same crime-violence list. Are the Venezuelan people more impressible? In that case, baseball should be the leading cause because they consume the sport much higher than any other form of entertainment, why do they not forbid that? The Oxford handbook of public health practice clearly states; for a law and policy to be applied in a country e.g. gun control or in this case “law against violent games” one needs to asses.
1) Correlation through data gathering (statistics) to evaluate to what extent the issue (games) causes a particular public health problem (violence)
2) If there is ground to believe that the issue (games) are the cause of the problem (violence) a test implementation should be preformed (appointing objective scientists to evaluate the issue)
3) If the data shows no correlation, a policy (law) is not suitable but a lower grade action is appropriate (information campaign)
4) The champagne should be evaluated to see if it has been effective.
Now Switzerland had chosen to forbid, have they taken any of the proposed steps? I would guess not. I myself hate pure war games, I battle with the opinion that they send Swedish boys in to war because they would think it is fun. But would I ever dare to forbid that? Never! Because I am smart enough to know that the world isn’t as simple and as stupid as that, the same way I know that football and baseball is not the cause for that blood night in march. But what frightens me is that the people in charge, payed to think this way, do not.
When it comes to violence, another human is a much greater cause than any fictional one. I have already discuees disparity and economy as factors in THIS article, to sum up, those that commit violent crimes are rarely those that can even afford a console and those that do come from a very strained psychosocial environment with abuse. Games can pose as a trigger to a subrgoup of sensitive minds, a very microscopic and narrow subgroup which find violent things a trigger for violence, and we should put money on research to find, rehabilitate and protect these minds, not punish the majority of healthy and non-violent gamers. Violence is not a one way street, but it is always by a human hand, an very rarely a machine.