US shootings, video games used as scapegoats according to research

US shootings, video games

That of the mass shootings in the United States is a real social emergency that caused not a few discussions during the summer, also bringing President Donald Trump to express his views on this and blaming (partly) even on violent video games. But will it really be like this?

In the past few hours, the American journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture has published a research conducted by the psychologist Patrick Markey at the University of Villanova (Pennsylvania) discovering how video games are actually used as a scapegoat during mass shootings mainly in the case of serials white killers, while in the case of massacres carried out by people of color the games the accusations to video games are sensibly reduced.

The study was conducted by reading over 200,000 articles on 204 mass shootings in the United States over the past 40 years. In the event that the perpetrator of the massacre is a white male, video games have a probability of eight times greater than being considered the triggering cause of the gesture.

What may seem like just a coincidence has been verified by Professor Patrick Markey with the help of 169 students, who have been subjected to a false article of a mass shooting by an eighteen-year-old, with a photo of a boy for a sample of students and a black boy for a second sample. The result? The students who read the article with the photo of the white killer pointed to video games as the main cause of the shootings while in the other case electronic games were only minimally mentioned.

According to Markey, the study states that when mass shootings are performed by individuals who do not fit into the stereotype of many violent people, they tend to find an external factor to justify violence. A stereotype that leads the majority of the population to think that people of color are more prone to violence than a white teenage boy.

Video games, the psychologist concludes, are thus used by politicians and the press to distract the opinion of the general public on the real reasons that lead to such brutal violence, as if blaming videogames was, in fact, the best possible way not to go to tarnish American culture, which has always been strongly linked to the use of weapons.