The new game “Practice Range” from the National Rifle Association is already generating a lot of controversy – as the current moral panic over gun continues to escalate nationwide.
Rather than getting caught up in emotionalism, let’s remember that any links between simulated violence and actual violence have proven tenuous at best, and that nations
around the world with plenty of violent entertainment do not share America’s tragic history, which itself becomes exaggerated by self-serving alarmists.
Everyday violence is a big problem and its heavily gendered character rarely gets addressed directly. And guns kill people like nothing else. But the NRA game is little more than a poorly timed and crassly advanced public relations effort. It’s not going to hurt anyone. As CBS reports about the game. Continue reading “On “Practice Range””
It’s no big secret that what people think has a lot to do with what they watch and read. While ideologies and other belief systems also underlie public opinion, there is no denying the role of “news” in shaping contemporary worldviews – sometimes in direct opposition to empirical data.
For example, while many parents now fear sending junior off to school each morning, the odds of a child being shot in Sandy Hook fashion stand at less than one in a million, as it has for decades. If anything, schools recently have been getting safer.
After reaching a high of 63 deaths in the 2006-2007 school year, the number of people killed in “school-associated” incidents dropped to 33 in 2009-2010 – the lowest in two decades, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Continue reading “What made the news”
Parents of children who commit crimes receive little support and are typically scorned or otherwised blame for the actions of their offspring.
This simple and tragic reality is discussed at length by Andrew Solomon in his book Far From the Tree in relation to the family of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold. Stunned by the actions of their son and his death, the Klebolds saw no memorials and received no sympathy, and instead were subjected to a decade of abuse and torment – which continues to this day. Today the LA Times reported a similar story beginning to unfold for the family of the young man who committed the Sandy Hook murders”
“The body of Newtown, Conn., shooter Adam Lanza was claimed by his father last week, a family spokesman said Monday. Continue reading “Adam Lanza’s body quietly claimed”
Of course the “media violence” debate will be revisited in coming weeks and months.
Below we see the introduction of “Game Theory” in the New York Times, a series primarily devoted to what games its reviewers like for their entertainment value. But the first “edition” of Game Theory ventures into the emotion-laden topic of game violence. Notable in the article, as in almost all of the discourse on media violence, is the absence of any empirical evidence to support alarmist arguments that young imitate in real-life what they play on their computers.
“Welcome to the first edition of Game Theory, a conversation about the year in video games. Some introductions for the uninitiated: Stephen Totilo is the editor in chief of the gaming news site Kotaku.com, and he also writes about video games for The New York Times; Kirk Hamilton is the features editor at Kotaku; and I’m the deputy editor of Yahoo News, and a writer of video game reviews for The Times. The three of us will be bickering — I mean, coming to a friendly consensus — about the year’s best games, the year’s worst games and about what 2012 indicated about the state and future of this creative medium. Continue reading “Game Theory?”
“Jihadi atrocities and mass murders in the West do not occur in different worlds,” writes Spengler in today’s Asia Times in a thoughtful consideration of murder-suicides around the globe. The author continues:
“Consider two situations. First, a madman kills 20 schoolchildren in America for unexplained reasons. Second, Muslim terrorists kill 22 children in Israel (at Ma’alot in 1974), or 186 children at Beslan in the Russian Caucusus in 2004, for clearly stated reasons. What do they have in common?
“The suicidal jihadi is the Doppelganger of the angst-ridden Westerner. The jihadi attempts to reconstruct a faux version of a Continue reading “Sandy Hook, Jihad, and The World”
Opponents of stricter regulation on gun ownership have accused their adversaries of politicizing a tragedy.
Poll analyst Nate Silver looks at the statistical aspects of gun discourse much with the same care and scrutiny he gave the recent presidential race. On his FiveThirtyEight site he states:
“Advocates of more sweeping gun control measures have argued that the Connecticut shootings are a
demonstration that laxer gun laws can have dire consequences. Let me sidestep the debate to pose a different question: How often are Americans talking about public policy toward guns? And what language are they using to frame their arguments? Continue reading “Nate Silver points to shifting gun discourse”
“When something momentous is unfolding—the Arab Spring, Hurricane Sandy, Friday’s horrific elementary school shooting in Connecticut—Twitter is the world’s fastest, most comprehensive, and least reliable source of breaking news.” Says Slate.com in a step-back piece on net-coverage of the recent tragedy. “
“If you were on the microblogging site Friday afternoon, you were among the first to hear the death toll, watch the devastated reactions, and delve into the personal details of the man the media initially identified as a killer. But there’s also a good chance you were taken in by some of the many falsehoods that were flying, like a letter one of the young victims purportedly wrote to his mother Continue reading “Accuracy, sensationalism, and new media”