In the aftermath of mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, Republican politicians blamed violent video games for corrupting the nation’s youth.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” US president Donald Trump said in White House remarks Monday (Aug. 5). “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence.”
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, offered a similar assessment over the weekend, condemning a “video game industry that teaches young people to kill.” (This despite an absence of evidence linking video games and violent crime.)
Regardless of where you lay the blame, the GOP’s video game critique manifested itself in share prices Monday. Shares of video game companies are tanking while gunmakers continue to shoot up the charts, a phenomenon that repeats itself after every mass shooting, as fears of a tightening gun laws increase sales.
Activision Blizzard, publisher of the first-person shooter game series Call of Duty, lost almost 6% on the day, dropping to $46.10 per share. The company will report its second quarter earnings Thursday.
The urge to blame video games rather than, well, guns for America’s mass shootings seems more than a little ridiculous to many. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nominee, said as much on Twitter:
People suffer from mental illness in every other country on earth; people play video games in virtually every other country on earth.
The difference is the guns.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 5, 2019
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