I’m Not One Of Your Statistics… - subsaint Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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I’m Not One Of Your Statistics…

I'm really trying to move past all this talk of gun violence and video game violence but it seems like every time I turn around I see something else on the subject. One of the most troubling statements I saw recently was from Brian Kolb, Assembly Republican Leader, New York Assembly (and for the record I am a Republican so I'm not being biased, just disappointed).

"When we desensitize with video games are we contributing to these young people that have issues differentiating between real and unreal violence..."

I've been a gamer a long time; longer than some of you have been alive. I've played all sorts of games, violent and not, for my whole life - from childhood to present. It's funny, because I've never really made a distinction between which ones were violent and which ones weren't. I just played them. They were (and still are) a big part of my life growing up.

My brother and I were home alone often, and not allowed to go outside (so the neighbors wouldn't call the cops for us being unattended). We would resort to playing video games to occupy our time. We played whatever we could get our hands on. I don't even remember where we got them from, I certainly never remember my parents (which were split up by the way) buying them, and Al Gore hadn't invented the Internet yet for us to download them. But we had them.

At a very young age, my brother and I were frequently dropped off at the local arcade for hours at a time with a little bit of money and we would stay there until around midnight. The arcade would close and we'd be stuck outside waiting for my mom to show up to retrieve us. This was like an every Friday and/or Saturday night event. I can remember spending all my money within the first 2 hours (or 20 minutes) and then spend the remainder of the night just hanging out, searching all the coin returns in the various machines for a token somebody missed.

Well, I don't want to sit here and bore you all with the specifics of my childhood, and I'm not going to detail all of the errors my parents made raising my brother and I. We didn't have it as rough as some, but I certainly wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth either. I think I turned out okay.

One of the things I've battled with my entire life though is the "statistics" of what I'm at risk of...a lot of it based solely on the behavior of my family, or friends, or like-minded people who are categorized because they engage in similar activities.

Siblings and parents are role models for children. If a child's parents smoke they are three times more likely to smoke themselves.

Experts say if you're parents smoke, drink, do drugs, use foul language, are abusive or engage in all sorts of other unsavory behavior...then you are at a higher risk of following in their footsteps and engaging in the same sort of behavior. Whether this is true or not, is irrelevant to me, because it isn't true for me. I am none of those things.

Because some young adults who just so happened to play video games in their life decided to be evil or were always evil does not indicate there is a link between video games anymore then it proves that these games somehow blurred the line between knowing right from wrong.

Frankly, I find this talk of desensitization and not being able to differentiate between real and unreal violence ridiculous and borderline offensive. We have overreacted to the point of absurdity and are subjecting our kids to outrageous reactionary behavior that avoids identifying the real cause.

"A 5-year-old girl was suspended from school earlier this week after she made what the school called a "terrorist threat." Her weapon of choice? A small, Hello Kitty automatic bubble blower. The kindergartner, who attends Mount Carmel Area Elementary School in Pennsylvania, caught administrators' attention after suggesting she and a classmate should shoot each other with bubbles. The kindergartner was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation during her 10-day suspension, which was later reduced to two days." (Full Story here)

I grew up in a somewhat violent home, although the violence wasn't directed at me. We had many guns available and I saw my stepfather on more than one occasion use one to threaten people. Sure, they were being jerks, but they probably didn't deserve to have their life threatened. I had access to those guns, especially since I was home alone so often. I never needed anybody to tell me playing with them was wrong, or dangerous. I could play violent video games for hours on end, and when I put the controller down at the end of the day, I still knew the difference between right and wrong, just like I knew those guns in the next room over had the capability of killing. My level of reasoning, even as a young kid, wasn't diminished from playing video games.

Somebody could argue games from back then weren't as real or violent as they are now, and I'd agree the graphics have certainly come along way...but as I grew older and the games evolved, I also had a family of my own. My kids from a very young age played games that would probably cause most mothers in the PTA to cringe and Mr. Kolb to condemn my parenting technique. But I've done what I've seen so many other parents fail to do, and that is raise all of my kids to adulthood without the problems that many of them faced...heck, that I faced...as a kid growing up...all while playing video games as an everyday part of their life. Violent video games even.

(Daddy's Little Girl - Shoots Guns, Plays Violent Video Games - knows the difference)

I'm a grown man now, as if you couldn't have guessed. I've been in the military a long time and travelled the world over, including a lovely trip to Iraq. I've seen the worst this world has to offer, but I've also seen the best. And through it all, I've been a gamer the whole time...and to this day, I'm still amazed that video games tug at my heart and are able to touch me emotionally the way they do - the sign of a great game if you ask me.

I've been known to get emotional with events most would characterize as silly, like the time in Red Dead Redemption when I was trying to assist a lawman being attacked by bandits who turned on me and shot my horse dead. That broke my heart. He was my favorite horse that I had since I started the game. Heck, in Minecraft I usually grow wheat to make bread for food, because I don't like killing the cows and pigs for food. Even I think that one is ridiculous...but they are so cute I just can't bring myself to strike them down. I've even played video games with strong content that really kind of grieved my spirit. It did anything but confuse the line between real and fake...in fact, it reminded me of the sanctity of life and how to preserve it. Games like Spec Ops The Line, Call of Duty, Battlefield and Dead Space all had moments that really stopped me in my tracks because of the brutality displayed in the game. It reminded me to appreciate life and amplified the difference between right and wrong.

If you ask me, these games have the opposite affect that many of the politicians and those against them seem to think they do. Instead of desensitizing us, how about evaluating whether they sharpen the level of sensitivity we feel when we play these types of games.

I am proof your statistics are skewed, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

 

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