Politicians Once Again Blame Video Games After Deadly Shootings

Not even a day after one mass shooting claimed 20 lives in El Paso, Texas and another resulted in nine dead in a Dayton, Ohio bar, lawmakers have quickly taken to mainstream news outlets in hopes of pinning the blame on video games. Approximately 15 hours after the first shots were fired in an El Paso Walmart, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) appeared as a guest on Fox News' Fox & Friends and inquired what the federal government had planned to do "about the video game industry."

"How long are we going let, for example, and ignore at the federal level particularly, where they can do something about the video game industry," Patrick asked. The politician then references an apparent manifesto that surfaced online minutes before the attack in which the alleged shooter spewed anti-immigration ideologies while mentioning the Call of Duty franchise. Authorities have yet to confirm the manifesto is linked to the El Paso shooter.

"In this manifesto that we believe is from the shooter … he talks about living out his super soldier fantasy on 'Call of Duty,'" continued Patrick. "We've always had guns. We've always had evil. But what's changed where we see this rash of shooting?"

Patrick then mentioned that video games seem to be the "common denominator" amongst mass shooters. "I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill," he said. The Lt. Governor isn't the only right-leaning politician to lean into the ide since the shootings. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also appeared on Fox News and was sure to bring up violent video games in his interview.

"The idea of these video games, they dehumanize individuals to have a game of shooting individuals and others," McCarthy said. "When you look at these photos of how [the El Paso shooting] took place, you can see the actions within video games and others."

Despite McCarthy's claims, researchers at England's University of Oxford published a study earlier this year that violent video games don't have an influence on the aggressive behavior of teens.

"The idea that violent video games drive real-world aggression is a popular one, but it hasn't tested very well over time," study lead Professor Andrew Przybylski said at the time. "Despite interest in the topic by parents and policy-makers, the research has not demonstrated that there is cause for concern."

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Since the first of the year, 252 mass shootings have been recorded with upwards of 282 killed between all incidents.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Mario Tama / Staff