I Couldn’t Pull The Trigger

I read an article today from christianpost.com that quoted a Fox reporter who was discussing the Connecticut shooting and the possible cultural influences at work:

Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst, also raised concerns about violence in games and movies. “We also need to try to find out, as best we can, what influences within the culture … may have helped to create this wave of violence,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Perhaps there has been a desensitization to violence.”

The word that jumped out at me was “perhaps.”

Perhaps there has been a desensitization to violence?

Perhaps???

PERHAPS????

PERHAPS??????

I’m not a big gamer, per se, but I do play video games from time to time with my son. My younger brothers are pretty big gamers so I am able to keep up with the gaming world vicariously through them (whether I like it or not). One of them showed me a game that came out not too long ago. In it, you were a CIA agent forced to infiltrate a terrorist group. You had to become one of them; get them to trust you. But to do that, you had to take part in some of their terrorist acts.In one particular level, you had to walk through an airport and gun down innocent civilians to prove your loyalty. The level was downright disturbing. In fact, the creators knew how disturbing it would be, so they gave you the option of skipping the level altogether if you chose to do so.

I tried to play the level. I could not pull the trigger. I failed. It’s just a game, obviously, but there was something in me that just refused to allow me to shoot an innocent civilian even in a completely make-believe world. And the detailed graphics made it all the more real.

I wanted to post a screen pic of the game here, but honestly, the ones I found were too horrifying to even post in light of recent events.

Yet, around the world, teenagers—and even tweens—are pulling that trigger countless times.

Every night.

Several hours a night.

My generation began the gaming revolution. But when I was young, games consisted of square heads and grainy bad guys. Now everything looks and feels real. And developers continue to push the envelope. People get lost in entire gaming worlds. They begin to find their identity in the game. And in this game, life need not be valued, because there’s no punishment or consequences for taking life. In fact, it’s part of the process. To win, life must be taken—even innocent life.

People shouted about violence in video games when I was younger. I laughed it off as a kid. But now, I can’t laugh it off. I KNOW it makes a difference. I know I couldn’t pull that trigger, and if I had forced myself to do so it would have been a conscious decision toward desensitization. And were I to do that over and over and over again, well… isn’t it obvious?

I in no way intend to blame video games for the great tragedy we have seen. So many things come into play for something like that to happen. And millions of people who will NEVER commit a heinous crime play these games daily. All I know is—I could NOT pull that trigger, but hundreds of thousands of kids do it…

Every. Single. Day.

PERHAPS we have a problem. If you’re a parent, PERHAPS you should pay attention to what’s happening on the screens in your home. PERHAPS we should take a look at how desensitized we are MAKING our children. PERHAPS our lack of oversight is part of the problem.

PERHAPS it’s time to take our children’s mental and emotional development out of the hands of media, marketing, and gaming, and put it back where it belongs…WITH MOM, DAD, and GOD.

Perhaps.

If you want to know more about the game, click here.

And it seems I’m not the only one with this opinion. Check out this article reporting that those investigating the Newtown shootings believe video games inspired the killer.

6 thoughts on “I Couldn’t Pull The Trigger

  1. Great post! We would not let our children play games that simulated sex, would we? Why do we let them play games that simulate murder? Sin is sin.”So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence.” As it was in the days of Noah…

  2. One of the longtime gaming rules in our house is “If it is against the law in the real world, it’s not welcome here.”
    “But, mom it’s just running from the cops in a car chase.” (with a stolen vehicle) Just that plea alone shook me. And in what world, real or not, is that ever okay? We respond with reality, “And son, should you ever do that I would gladly hand you over for a long prison sentence.”
    Our home has justified the “killing” of bad guys by Spiderman, Batman, making bad Lego people explode into a million little Lego pieces (which can be found in real life all over the floor of my kids’ bedrooms). Some might argue that even killing Lego Darth Vader is a desensitization to the destruction of a being. This is where real-life, aggressive, effective parenting comes in. I’m not anti-gaming, obviously, however my job and responsibility is to unplug my children and give them more real-world experiences that show love, humility, and obedience to God than what the gaming world has to offer. Be the louder voice, the bigger presence.

  3. Good thoughts. Perhaps the church needs to take a closer look at our own insensitivity to the violence around us and offer an alternative community of love and peace.

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