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Guns, Games And You…

Why does anybody need an assault rifle with a high capacity magazine?

Why does anybody need a video game where you can kill cops, steal cars and beat up and rob prostitutes of the money paid to them for services rendered?

There is a war going on in the United States and whether you know or care or not is irrelevant - the battle and its outcome will undoubtedly affect you. Maybe not today, or tomorrow...but in your lifetime, it will.

How many of you are Command & Conquer or other Real Time Strategy (RTS) gamers? If you have ever played these sorts of games online with multiple players, no doubt you have encountered the strategy or employed it yourself, whereby you allow two warring factions to fight their fight while depleting their resources before launching your own offensive against far weaker opponents who are unable to defend themselves, assuring your victory a majority of the time. It's a simple and effective tactic, but also an obvious one that nearly anybody watching should be able to observe or predict. Yet, surprisingly no one engaged in the battle ever seems to realize it's happening to them...until it's too late.

Whenever evil befalls our great nation the common response is to assign responsibility. Unfortunately, as is often the case, society tends to focus on everything but the real culprit. In the most recent mass shooting, video games and firearms came under fire and the only thing gamers, gun owners and those who oppose both agree on is that these senseless acts of violence are horrible, atrocious acts committed by a monster and should never be allowed to happen again. Some of the gun owners point to video games as the cause, and some of the gamers point to the guns. The gun owners offer up popular titles like Grand Theft Auto and obscure titles that nobody has heard of or plays, like Kindergarten Killers. Gamers respond using the buzzwords made popular by the media and question the need for assault rifles and high capacity magazines. When the dust settles and the gamers and gun owners have successfully beat each other up and exposed the dirty truth about the other. That's when those who oppose both will rally their forces and launch their attack. My guess is they'll go after the guns first, but eventually they'll turn to the mature and often violent content found in most of our video games.

Never mind the facts and statistics that prove neither is to blame. Never mind the fact that proposed legislation being considered to control and regulate either wouldn't necessarily prevent additional further acts of violence. Never mind the fact the Constitution of the United States protects our rights to both.

We live in a country where some states have legalized drugs the federal government still lists as illegal; where some states are working to lower the drinking age; where the number one killer of young people are vehicle accidents and suicides, yet we only get this public outcry whenever an isolated tragedy occurs and the media works everybody up into a fervor with their shoddy coverage that only proves their ignorance of both topics while offending those they misrepresent. Everyday thousands of gamers engage in violent activity found in mature rated games and every day thousands of legal, responsible gun owners carry, use and store their firearms without incident. And every day there are bad people who are going to wake up with evil in their hearts, who are going to disregard our laws and our rights...and they are going to try and hurt or kill us. There is nothing we can do to prevent it; about the only thing we can do is prepare for it. So, how do we prepare for it? Certainly I have my own thoughts on the matter, but would encourage you to think about yours.

Be Informed.

The media is corrupt. You can watch Fox News and get one perspective and MSNBC and get another, but what you seldom find is the truth. Nearly every station out there represents their own agenda while misrepresenting the others. You don't have to watch for very long to realize they know nothing about firearms, and even less about video games.

I'll give you an example of their misinformation.

Assault Rifles - What is an assault rifle? Who can tell me what an assault rifle is or why they are the target of nearly every gun control campaign when statistics show they are one of the least used weapons in gun crime and when the worst mass shooting in terms of loss of life in the United States was carried out with a handgun?

Are these assault rifles?

Is this an assault rifle?

Some facts about the pictures above. The guns that look like assault rifles with high capacity magazines have this in common - they all fire a relatively small caliber (.22) bullet. The .22 can certainly kill, but it is far less likely to do so. I don't know of any military or police force (or mass shooting) that has ever involved a .22 caliber weapon. Many of the weapons look like they have high capacity magazines when actually they hold 10 rounds; two of the weapons look like they have silencers, when really they are just shrouds made to look like silencers. The point is people who don't know guns see these and think they are assault weapons, but what is an assault weapon?

The second picture shows a fairly plain looking rifle, but don't be deceived by the wooden stock. This weapon fires a large caliber (7.62) bullet. Sure, it only has a 10 round magazine, but this round is very lethal - it can punch through body armor at close range and penetrate steel. Do you know how long it takes to change a magazine. If you've played Call of Duty you do...seconds.

The .22 is the little one to the left of the penny, the 7.62 is the one on the far right.

The shocking truth is most assault style weapons aren't used by the bad guys because they are too expensive. The Bushmaster that many are talking about and so opposed to used to cost around $1,000 but I've heard now go for up to $2500. The above gun can be found in abundant supply for a mere few hundred dollars. It's also a semi-automatic. They all are.

How does banning a weapon based on cosmetic looks and the fact it holds more rounds make anybody any safer? It doesn't. And banning the video games for the person operating this weapon doesn't make you any safer either.

If we're truly concerned about our schools and children, how come the college kid in Wyoming who recently committed a murder suicide in his classroom isn't ever discussed? Is it because he is rumored to have used a crossbow and that isn't as glamorous as an assault rifle. Even the recent shooting at the school in California didn't receive that much media attention. Was it because it was a shotgun or the fact nobody died? Aren't people concerned how he made it into school with a firearm? But that story was put to rest the day after it happened. If anything, some people almost seemed remorseful since the shooter had been bullied and was targeting the students responsible for treating him so bad.

The media doesn't even know how to respond to video games because it doesn't understand them. They throw out useless information indicating many of these perpetrators played violent video games, but with such a large percentage of the population being gamers now, is the fact that somebody played a video game even a relevant statistic anymore - it's like saying they watch TV or wear pants. Tell us something worthwhile.

If video games are so bad and cause our young people to be violent, how come the military / government paid for a First Person Shooter called America's Army as a promotional / recruiting tool to spark interest in joining the military? This game that has you shooting bad guys and is rated T - Teen for blood and violence. How many politicians and citizens do you think are aware the Vice President might just say that video games are part of the problem in his report to the President and not have any idea there is a video game available today endorsing the U.S. Army that you can download for free and shoot these horrible assault rifles?

What's even more maddening is these same politicians and media outlets fail to realize who among them are gamers. They prop up former military and law enforcement personnel as a potential solution to the problem as experienced handlers of weapons in one breath while condemning video games in the other, yet they fail to make the connection that many of us are both; that many of us grew up with guns and games our entire life and are now serving or have served...supporting the very Constitution they're now working to undo.

Be Responsible.

If you own guns, lock them up when you're not using them. If you play violent video games, think about who is present while you play. This is especially true if you have kids. It doesn't matter how well you think you know your kids, they observe everything you do. Hiding your gun under your mattress if you have little kids is not responsible. How many of us have seen parents at Game Stop just letting their kids pick any game they want off the shelf and then purchasing it for them without so much as looking at the ESRB rating? Being a responsible gun owner and/or gamer is not hard, but it is effective.

Be Involved.

Sitting on the sidelines will result in whatever happens, happens. If you care about your rights or if you're interested in voting on legislation to ban guns or censor video games (or not ban guns or censor video games), you have to be pro-active. Research the facts and statistics online and participate in polls voicing your opinion. Most government officials are very active on Twitter now and it's extremely easy to let your representatives know where you stand on important issues. Obviously one of the biggest actions you can take is to vote on representatives that support your interests.

Some of us are torn because we have allegiances to both Amendments of the Constitution and engage in both activities under attack.

As gamers, it's easy to question why someone feels the need to own an assault rifle with high capacity magazines but how would you feel if an organization lobbied to ban the sale of a particular game, something that routinely happens in other countries around the globe.

As gun owners, it's easy to question why someone would want a video game that allows the player to engage in illegal activity like murder, sexual assault, larceny or other unlawful conduct, but fail to realize that just because you can do something wrong doesn't mean you have to...and that most of us are able to separate the difference between right and wrong and real life and video games.

Gamers could argue the difference being guns are the mechanism or tool with a propensity to kill, but gun owners would just counter-argue that video games have affected the mental capacity of the person pulling the trigger. Both arguments are without merit for those of us who engage in these activities as law abiding citizens.

Ben Franklin said, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Those who would advocate the rights of others to be infringed upon will almost certainly have their own rights eroded away.

Why does anybody need an assault rifle with a high capacity magazine?

Why does anybody need a video game where you can kill cops, steal cars and beat up and rob prostitutes of the money paid to them for services rendered?

The answer is simple, it's called freedom.

NOTE: As if it wasn't obvious, the thoughts and opinions in this blog represent me and in no way are trying to represent gun owners or gamers as a whole. I'm not trying to persuade anybody into agreeing with me, only to make informed decisions.

 

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