Video-game makers kept silent today as the head of the National Rifle Association lashed out in a vitriolic rant charging that video games, along with national media and the entertainment industry in general, are to be blamed for the school shooting last week in Newtown, Conn.
Several major game publishers, including Activision, EA, and Microsoft declined to comment on NRA Exec VP Wayne LaPierre’s remarks, and referred questions to the Entertainment Software Association. ESA, the trade association for the video-game industry in the U.S., also declined to comment. In the U.S., video games took in $17 billion total in revenue in 2011, according to NPD Group.
Mr. LaPierre said during a press conference, “There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like ‘Bullet Storm,’ ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Mortal Combat,’ and ‘Splatterhouse.'”
It’s not the first time video games have been blamed for violence, of course. Almost every mass shooting in recent history, including those at Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Oslo, Norway, have brought out critics who point to violent video games. And it’s already happened with Sandy Hook. Earlier this week, Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller introduced a bill to have the National Academy of Sciences study the impact of violent video games on children who play them.