Aug 5, 2019

Violent video games don't cause mass shootings

Violent video games — as well as television and movies — have been a frequent scapegoat for acts of real-world violence.

Reality check: It's hard to ignore the fact that video games are popular all over the world, yet mass shootings aren't common in most of those places. Naturally, that was the case put forth by the Entertainment Software Association, the video game industry's trade group.

  • "Violent crime has been decreasing in our country at the very time that video games have been increasing in popularity," the group said in a statement. "And other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S."

The same case is also backed up by academic research.

  • "Study after study has established that there is no causal link between video games and real world violence," the ESA said.

The other side: That's not to say there aren't voices making such a connection, including House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who argued as much on Fox News on Sunday. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also laid the blame on video games, pointing to the shooter's references to Call of Duty in his manifesto. (Patrick has also blamed video games in the past.)

My thought bubble: At most, one could argue that games contribute to a world in which we are desensitized to such violence. And that may be true. But you know what else makes people numb to mass shootings? Reading about a new one practically every day.

Go deeper: America's hate problem

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Walmart removes signs and displays with depictions of violence

Texas State Troopers keep watch at the makeshift memorial for El Paso shooting victims. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Walmart has instructed employees to remove "any signing or displays that contain violent images or aggressive behavior," including those marketing violent video games, after recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, the AP reports.

Reality check: No scientific study has shown a connection between violent video games and gun violence. "Scant evidence has emerged that makes any causal or correlational connection between playing violent video games and actually committing violent activities," according to the American Psychological Association.

Go deeperArrowAug 9, 2019

"Hate has no place in America": Trump addresses nation after mass shootings

Screenshot via whitehouse.gov

President Trump condemned racism and white supremacy Monday during an address to the nation after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend.

"In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul."
Go deeperArrowAug 5, 2019

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Guns surge to top of national conversation

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

After the mass shootings last weekend, gun violence has displaced immigration as the most-talked about news topic on social media for the first time since May, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: The emotional intensity of gun violence makes it a topic that generates ferocious debate and calls for action on social media after a high-profile event. Yet the activism is cyclical, and the issue has yet to be a defining issue in elections.

Go deeperArrowAug 7, 2019