Following the mass shootings that took place in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, the debate surrounding gun control and whether video games cause violence once again rose up. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and President Donald Trump both fingered video games as a cause of recent mass shootings, with the ESA issuing an official response to Trump's claims. And in turn, so has the Internet.
There's no doubting the power of a good meme, a language that the Internet itself is fluent in. Memes are created for various reasons, from mocking Belle Delphine's bathwater stunt and raiding Area 51 jokes to semi-serious criticisms over the 30-50 feral hogs argument, and the latest debate over whether video games cause violence has inspired an older format to take a new approach.
Combining the pop culture of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, the internet's love for cats, and beloved and innocuous activities that occur in video games, these latest memes make a subtle, yet effective, argument against the idea that video games cause violence. The idea behind the meme is that the media, or those claiming that video games cause violence, is the image of Taylor Armstrong who is seemingly attacking a cat for no reason.
The cat represents gamers, who are caught off-guard and surprised by the attack, while doing something completely innocuous such as building a house for adopted children in Skyrim, having tea with Dimitri in Fire Emblem, restarting a game after a dialogue choice negatively affects a companion, or simply plowing fields in Farming Simulator. Here are some golden memes of this template for example:
As many gamers believe, the meme ultimately insinuates that the blame for mass shootings and gun violence is being misplaced. The same belief has led to the #boycottwalmart trend after the major retail company started removing marketing displays for 'violent' video games, but it continued to sell guns. Dialogue about the causes of mass shootings and how to stop them is incredibly important, but it's important that the dialogue focuses on real issues, not scapegoats, which is how many in the gaming industry feel it is treated frequently.