Video Games and Gun Violence: You’re kidding Me

Tru TV: Caught My Attention

On Saturday Morning I came into the kitchen and Harlan had this on the tv:

As a working mom, a full-time professional voice over actor, and a functioning human being, I was blown away. Like most of you, I never in my worst night mares thought I would have to talk about code yellows or drills with my kids where they practice being locked in closets by their teachers. So when those in charge of our policies choose not to create legislation that will protect those most precious to us, and instead publicly speak out again video games, I have a problem with that. Many in my industry will not ever speak of politics or publicly take a side, and I understand their valid concerns. In this moment, my hope is that whatever side of the political spectrum you are on, as artists and creatives we can stand together and say the gun control problem is out of hand. This is not on us as creatives fulfilling our life-ling dreams and providing for our families; instead, this is the government’s weak effort to punt and fail to come up with a reasonable solution to a problem that is growing disproportionately. And while I do not hide that I am liberal at present, I grew up in a conservative state and loved shooting rifles at camp, so I do not have a limited perspective. I will try, as both a mom and a working voice actor, and someone who enjoys and supports video games, to flesh this out a little more.

In the above TruTV clip, Adam and his team chronicles the history of violent games since before I was born! Adam mentions mortal combat. The funny thing is, I have really happy memories of this game. Long before my career in voiceovers, growing up in Philly, my friends and I used to hang out in an arcade and pool hall called Pete Fusco’s. I have no idea if it is still there. The boys in my peer group loved this game. I stood around and watched them play. How did I turn out? I’m super liberal, do not own a gun, and went to an ivy league school for college and graduate school. The countless hours I spent around the video games in no way corrupted me or anyone else in my social circle. My friends went on to become doctors, lawyers, and financial advisors. All of us are non-violent, and if we represent a microcosm of our generation, we were just normal kids, hanging out, playing games.

Jack and WWII

As a parent, my husband and I never thought our son would play with guns. Even though I enjoyed the sport of shooting them, the world has changed and I wanted something different for my own children. Well I will say there was a lot that I did not anticipate.

First, I did not anticipate that my son would love military History, especially that of World War II. Since he was quite young, he made set ups all over our playroom with army miniatures. Where the guns and weapons? Yes. Did he pretend they were firing and shooting? Yes. How else can you re-enact D-Day?  Is Jack a violent person who has or wants a real gun now? No.

Next, he loves video games. He has a PS4 and he lays on the sofa under cozy blankets. He LOVES to play “Call of Duty.” There is a lot of shooting. When I am in my studio he has to put it on mute. But, the flip side is that as a mom who works from home, if he is playing games, he is about four feet from me while I work, and frankly I love that. So yes, he is playing a violent game, but he is right near me and he is relaxed and de-funking from his very over-scheduled life, so it is really quite pleasant. If you had asked me when he was a toddler if I would want him to play such a game I’m sure I would have been horrified, but in truth at almost 17 I don’t mind. And again, is Jack violent? No.

President Trump’s Remarks

Instead of leading our country towards legislative initiatives that would end gun violence, and speaking out against the sale of automatic and semi automatic weapons, President Trump made these remarks: “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now common place. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence.”

This speech was made after the tragic shooting in El Paso. As a mother and a working creative, I strongly feel that this as a vast over-simplification of the present scenario. In lieu of taking responsibility for a failure to regulate guns, it is easier to blame the work of creatives.  Are the games violent? Yes. Do they portray women in ways that I do not like? Yes. If we put the video games aside, I feel that politicians, the President included, are making a huge leap when they skip over all of the legislative and educational opportunities and focus on video games.  It is an absurd travesty.

Let’s look at some hard facts to better understand what is going on:

  • According to game shift, there are 1181019 video games.
  • The top 50 selling games contain violence according to videogames.procon.com
  • According to the Pew Center, violent crime rates are  falling
  • Even though over-all crime is down, mass shootings increase in last 20 years

US Mass Shootings, 1982-2019: Data From Mother Jones’ Investigation

Conclusions:

As the amount of video games increase exponentially, and the industry as a whole booms, the overall crime rates has plummeted. In the United States, we have a specific problem with mass shootings that has gotten markedly worse.

I am proud to thrive in a creative industry, and I celebrate every single booking. The amazing talents who act in our video games are doing an incredible job. To place the blame of this huge problem on the creatives who work in the gaming industry is lunacy.

Let’s take this a step further. When I think about this as a mom in the entertainment industry and I consider who hard I work to help support my family and set a good example for my kids, it would be like saying that for every role I voice I am limiting what other women, including my daughter, can be instead of raising their potential.  If I voice a mermaid, am I telling my daughter this is the height of what she can be or am I fulfilling my creative ambitions as a working artist? I believe it is the latter and I am extremely proud of the roles I have booked. I very much resent the President’s

over-simplifications so he doesn’t have to deal with the real issues that are extremely dangerous for all of us today.