On Saturday, August 3, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 20 people. Then mere hours later in the early morning of Sunday, August 4, another gunman killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio. As with most mass shootings, the incidents have caused debate as to what is to blame for these heinous acts of violence. Some politicians, including President Donald Trump, have pointed the finger at video games.
"We must stop the glorification of violence in our society," Trump said in a speech following the shootings. "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. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately."
Trump's comments that we need to "stop or substantially reduce this" have been taken as a call to action to regulate violence in video games and media in general. However, nothing concrete has been announced at the time of this writing.
This isn't the first time that the Trump administration has targeted video games in the wake of mass shooting incidents. A highlight reel of video game violence was actually shown to Trump, and he met with top video game executives to discuss violence in games just last year. No regulatory measures or any other kind of serious legislation came from the meetings.
Trump isn't the first politician to blame video games for the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick echoed similar ideas, saying that video games "teach young people to kill." Patrick also said "we no longer let our kids pray in schools" as a reason for why the shooting in El Paso happened.
The manifesto of the El Paso shooter expressed clear racist views against Hispanics and promoted white supremacist conspiracy theories. The shooter also shared many pro-Trump memes on social media, though noted that his views pre-dated Trump's presidential campaign. The El Paso shooter's manifesto also featured a single reference to Call of Duty. It is also worth pointing out that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has spent more money on Donald Trump than any other presidential candidate, having donated millions to his 2016 election effort.