Oslo 22.07.11 a crazed right-wing madman bombs government buildings and shoots close to a hundred innocent teenagers. Like most Norwegians I was glued to the TV for days trying to make sense of the senseless killings. The horrific acts of a coward, targeting youths with only one committed crime: They wanted to improve the Norwegian society. The senseless acts on Utøya and the bombings in Oslo the same day is nothing but terrorism. The goal of all terrorists is to incite fear and to change society into more control, less personal freedom and. The immediate reply from Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was "Our answer is more democracy, more openness and more humanity. But never nativity", although I voted for the other guy, I've never been so proud to be Norwegian. I challenge anyone to find any nation with a better response to terrorism.
Now for the part that affects gaming, and in it's turn relates to topics in my blog: The Coop Response. Coop is one of the biggest retail chains in Norway and Scandinavia. They have anything from grocery stores to construction materials. Of course this includes games. Guess who else mentioned games? That's right, the Norwegian terrorist claimed that he played Modern Warfare 2 and World of Warcraft. The immediate response from Coop Norway is to remove not only WOW and Modern Warfare 2, but in total 51 products from all their stores. Video games and toy guns. In effect they brand these as terrorist tools. Per definition all gamers who plays COD:MW2, or WOW are potential terrorists.
Gaming is a major part of me and who I am. Being labeled as a potential terrorist just because a terrorist used a game I've played for 6 years as a alibi, well, is not something I like. Read the manifesto, it's right there. The terrorist tells potential copycats that claiming to play games keeps friends off your back, giving you time to plan attacks. He goes on to say that MW2 is a good game to practice attacks. Well, when I was around 6, me and my friends ran around in the forest playing war, I guess it's time to ban sticks as well. After all we did pretty good war simulation with them. I'm of course choosing to bypass the super easy remove the bible as the terrorist it argument here, but you get my drift.
Facts about gaming and violence
- Clinical psychologist Christopher Ferguson, one of the world leaders when it comes to the link between violence and video games states that "Video games aren't to blame for this tragedy. Nor are games like Doom and Quake to blame for past U.S. massacres like Columbine." In fact, he believes placing the blame on video games whenever a white male is guilty of a killing spree is racist.
- The US supreme court debunked any relation between gaming and violence as 95% of young males actually have encountered a violent game. It's just statistically likely that a violent offender has played games because games are popular.
- The Virginia Tech shooter actually never played any games, making him a statistic anomaly when it comes to connecting games and violence.
“Linking the playing of violent video games to a mass homicide when the perpetrator is a young male is like blaming the killing on the fact that he was wearing sneakers [..] The base rate of that behavior is so common that it has no predictive value whatsoever.”
- Christopher Ferguson
These facts have also recently been backed up by one of the most extensive researches ever done on the link between violence and gaming. The report "Understanding the Effects of Violent Video Games on Violent Crime" by Scott Cunningham, Benjamin Engelstätter and Michael R. Ward published April 7, 2011 concludes that "Overall, violent video games lead to decreases in violent crime."
I challenge Coop to revert their decision, explain their reasoning and apologize to gamers world wide for making a wild correlation between gamers and terrorists. Until then I'm not spending .50 cent in any Coop store, and I appeal to anyone with the option to do the same to do so. I'm a proud gamer, and gamers are not terrorists.