The Same Never Changes

25 May

“If the media had given the Progress Party a fair chance without demonizing them before an election, then I wouldn’t have carried out the attacks,” Breivik told defense attorney Vibeke Hein Baera.

The 33-year-old said he practised his shot using a “holographic aiming device” on the war simulation game, which he said is used by armies around the world for training.

Again for the second time this week an article on CNN has caused me to want to put my head through a wall.  This is conclusive proof that news does cause violence!  Okay I’m being sarcastic, but in the many year of my life I’ve seen this topic come up too many times.  Let’s just go to what the article says:

Young men — who play video games and use porn the most — are being digitally rewired in a totally new way that demands constant stimulation. And those delicate, developing brains are being catered to by video games and porn-on-demand, with a click of the mouse, in endless variety.

Fair Warning: I am not going to deal with Porn, because Porn was invented yesterday.

When I was growing up my Dad did a number of things, one was eating an orange.  Another was to watch nightly news at 6 pm on the dot, he enjoyed reading books and he liked to smoke a lot.  Also growing up I was always exposed to some family member at a reunion or wedding getting drunk.

Now sitting here typing this as an adult I must confess the harshest of truths!  I do not do any of the above.  One could argue that it is because of what I saw growing up I chose not to do those things.  For one I am not one who likes to do what I think is the norm.  This is not because it is the cool, rebellious thing to do but because I am a person who likes to taste and try many things.   For example, as a board gamer, I try to play anything and everything put before me.  If you tried to pin me down to saying what my favorite game is, it would have be dependent on the season of my life.

My life is a contradiction of what these studies say.  I should be a smoker, watch nightly news and probably drink.  I would venture it was probably because of over-exposure that caused me not to want any part of those activities.  For one I never liked when my Dad would start to cough from his body trying to expel the smoke from his lungs.  Thinking your Dad was going to keel over and die at a young age is never a fun experience.  Also seeing a person at a wedding get his head split open because he was drunk probably helped my teetotalism.  Even when I finally was able to try drinking, I did and never found it to my liking.  And I’m not talking about that get drunk trial period, I’m talking drinking one beer.  It’s just not my thing.

And because of these stances I don’t think I’m abnormal in the choices I made, or it makes me superior to others that chose different routes in life.  But maybe it does make me superior and maybe I should go on a crusade to rid the world of the evils of drinking!  That’s the ticket I’ll go on a crusade telling the world that drinking causes violence and….

Someone: Kevin!

Me: Yes.

Someone: Stop It!

Me: okay

One of the things that is disheartening, reading these articles and studies is how much it seems the same flawed, common sense, facts are treated as filthy lies.  One of the reason I feel like banging my head is because in over a decade of reading these studies and conclusions, even after proven wrong, they still persist with their claim that they have some miraculous way to ensure children will not become violent.  It is like those studies that said playing Classical Music will make your child become smarter.  It was flawed because truth be told (boy do I hate that cliché) there is no one set path to a child becoming anything.

Well actually there is, control.

Over a decade ago, I remember watching a programs on TV about MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and how it needed to be stopped because it was too violent.  What was interesting was how some things were glossed over, while critics wanted to say MMA was nothing but the Roman Coliseum come true in modern day society, Boxing was given the free pass.  It was interesting to see that MMA had rules to keep people from being beat senseless, while Boxing was the opposite.  It was also pointed out that people who opposed MMA and tried to get it outlawed were big supporters of Boxing.  A simple truth came to me that day, question everything.

I am not going to sit here and argue that all children should be exposed to hours of violent media.  I could do my own studies and prove this a good thing.    I once joked many moons ago, that I could do a study proving teaching a two year old how to use a shotgun would benefit society.  I have since learned I could.  A good study will lead to more questions, because there are no easy answers to life.  In addition, we as humans need to fail and learn from mistakes to grow.  When I read studies that say just remove this one thing and all will be better, I get scared because answers are never that easy, because these studies and conclusions tend to gloss over a lot data to get to their answer.

Moreover, questions that arise are never answered, or key information is left out.  Such was the case with the people who said video games caused Breivik to kill.  Sure he played Call of Duty and trained on it, so naturally we can conclude that there are millions of killers in waiting because of this epidemic, right?  Because a game that is played by millions means that there is an army being trained right now.  I actually don’t know if this is a bad thing, because glossing over which of the many Call of Duty game (this a multi-game franchise) one can’t tell which plot he was training for.  Was he training to stop Hitler, or was he training to stop some mad man who wanted to start nuclear war?  Is this a bad thing?

On the other hand, can we deal with the reality that Breivik had to use a device to turn the game into a true simulator?  Probably not because that would defeat the purpose of these studies, that there are many factors that come into play when real life violence happens.  Breivik also wrote a manifesto, he also read book, do we need laws to prevent the dangers of reading and writing?  Do we need to go on crusades to stop the “future” violence that can occur.

I think Penn & Teller summed up the real issues with this kind of thinking:

WARNING: This has some language

There is one last take away from these kinds of articles; Fear.  I have to say that I do not believe all the people who do these studies are “evil” and trying to manipulate people.  Yes there are some who do, but I believe most of the time these studies are a quest to find answers to problems in society.  However, an undercurrent in most of these studies is fear.  That is what is not understood must be the problem, or simple put we judge the front of the book too quickly.

This is no different then what people do when they play sports.  You know the stories of sports players who will not wash their hat because they’ve just won 20 games in a row.  Somehow that hat is the reason for the wins, so if the hat changes therefore the team will lose.  I see this done so many times in these studies, the new factors are treated as the cause of the problem and then the root is never looked at.  Just like the player who doesn’t wash his hat never looks at the reason for the wins, the raw talent of the players assembled, so do these studies gloss over root causes to get the quick and easy answer.

It would have been so easy to say Columbine happened because two people played a violent video game and watched a violent movie.  However, to get to that point you have to gloss the research they did to construct bombs, learn how to fire guns.  In addition, you have to gloss over the journals they wrote and then the therapy the killers got for their depression.  Moreover, when you think about it why were these things glossed over: Why wasn’t writing the problem?  Why wasn’t reading the problem?  Why wasn’t the drugs prescribed the problem?  And finally why wasn’t the Psychologists the problem?

Could it be that it’s easy to blame things that we don’t personally like and have no care if they go away.

Nah, how ludicrous for me thinking such a thing…

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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Gaming


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