Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is in the news because of comments he made in an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd.
“I think video games is a bigger problem than guns ’cause video games affect people.”
—Senator Lamar Alexander, Idiot
Poor grammar aside, Senator Alexander’s argument is severely flawed in several ways. First of all, the notion that video games are somehow a bigger problem than guns is laughable. Playing video games leads to 13-year-olds shouting homophobic and racial slurs over their headsets on Xbox Live (LINK WARNING: Naughty language). If you’ve got a moment, and want to see exactly what an average shoot-’em-up game is like, I’d encourage you to click on that link. It goes quite well with the argument I am about to make – that video games are no more an issue for adolescents with aggressive personality disorders than a game of dodgeball or checkers. The problem isn’t video games, the problem is children whose parents don’t keep them in check. These are kids who would cause issues anyway, regardless of the venue. Video games are like any other form of media; either you can make the clear distinction between make-believe and reality, or you can’t.
To conclude the first point, it’s important to note that the simple act of playing a video game has never, in itself, killed anyone. Video games, when operated to their exact specifications (i.e. not in a bathtub), will not and have never caused anyone, anywhere, any measurable amount of physical harm. Okay, maybe repetitive strain injury, but that’s it. Okay, fine, blisters on the thumbs as well. Now you’re just splitting hairs — my point still stands. But while we’re debating over whether or not thumb blisters are a minor risk, firearms on the other hand, when operated to their exact specifications, can cause harm and even death. You could be the best marksman in the world, and a freak accident like a ricocheting bullet or thinking your friend is a bird can turn a great day of shooting into a really bad one. And so, Senator Alexander, I can assure you that guns do, in fact, affect people.
Now, before you go thinking I’m some crazy liberal who wants to take away all your guns, let me point you to this article that I wrote just a day or so after the Newtown shooting. I don’t believe that the answer to this problem lies with stricter gun laws. In all of these instances wherein children have carried guns to school and picked off their classmates and teachers (which really are the only ones the media and the public seem to care about), the guns were all purchased legally (by the assailants’ parents, usually) and none of them were automatic weapons, so mandatory background checks, and a ban on assault rifles aren’t going to do jack. I’ll leave the church shootings out of this because, as I’m sure we’re all aware, these shootings only happen because of the godless heathens that don’t allow prayer in schools — the church shootings must be an anomaly.
So we’ve established that video games aren’t a problem, and we’ve established that guns are a problem with a certain amount of risk that won’t be resolved by the proposed legislation. Well, why not enact that legislation anyway? Because it doesn’t actually address the problem. When you examine the attackers’ behavior, and their history, you start to see an underlying pattern of mental illness or poor upbringing. Until we can allow ourselves to provide adequate and affordable care for these individuals, without the added societal injury of making them feel like lepers, we’re going to continue to endure this problem.
So what to do? First of all, let’s remove Lamar Alexander from office — he’s obviously not fit for it if he’s infatuated enough with the 2nd Amendment to where he would throw the 1st Amendment under the bus. Then, let’s pass an actual universal health care mandate that provides free coverage for everybody, that way the cost of therapy and counseling are a non-issue. Then, let’s invest in better social services programs in which the goal isn’t to necessarily take children away from crummy parents, but to educate them on how to actually parent. Oh, and let’s nip this bullying thing in the bud.
Man, I really should get into government.