Rush Limbaugh Discounts Game Violence Angle in VA Tech Rampage

April 18, 2007 -
Conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh downplayed the video game violence angle while discussing the Virginia Tech tragedy with his radio audience yesterday.

The discussion began when a caller to Limbaugh's program said:
I'll bet my last dollar in my pocket, that this shooter will be found to have been a compulsive video gamer, and when people are living that kind of lifestyle - and college students do this a lot.

Limbaugh, however, nixed that idea at some length in his response and subsequent comments:
Not every video gamer goes out and murders 33 people on the college campus though.  There's more to this than that... it may desensitize people, but it doesn't turn everybody into mass murderers...

People have a tough time accepting a relatively simple explanation for something of this scale.  But how many people are playing video games out there? How many millions of people play video games, and how many millions of people have guns? 

If you start blaming the video games, you may as well demand video game control because it's the same thing when you start trying to blame guns for this.  You have here a sick individual, an evil individual who committed a random act.  But if you want to start blaming the video games, this guy was this or that, weeeeell, then you've gotta maybe talk about banning them because that's the same tack that's taken with guns. 

Full transcript here.

Comments

Well put Realist.

"...but the one thing that I find here in talking to people is that the last option people want to choose is, "This guy was a nut. He had mental issues. He was insane, and he engaged in a random act of violence." That's just too simple. It's just too simple. No, no, no! It's gotta be more to it. It's got to be video games. It's gotta be gun control! It's gotta be all these other things. Everybody wants to try to look at this -- not everybody, especially the media, though, they want to look at this -- through whatever political prism that they see life through, rather than seeing it for what it is. "

This argument as been debated more then once on GP, suprising to see this guy say this, finally! (It's on the link given by GP for the full transcript, a bit pass the middle of the page).

@monte-

NICS (sorry, typo before, in case you tried to google) checks for criminal convictions, restraining orders, dishonorable discharge from the military, immigration status, or whether a person has ever been judged mentally defective. Actual medical records are off limits due to privacy laws, but generally a judge or magistrate must commit someone involuntarily to a mental institution, so that should show up, in theory. I'm guessing the loony bin they took him to just didn't find he was crazy enough to commit.

@brokenscope

exactly. its not a gun issue here. im seeing alot of people who arnt from america claiming it is but in all senses, its not. if anything, its a mental health system issue because people cannot get the real treatment they need. they get pushed in and out of the system and are given quick-fix perscriptions that dont do jack shit. we have the power to do something about that but people are too caught up in the moment and are looking at things in the wrong perspective.

@ Realist

Before others flame you for your comments, I'd like to say I completely agree with you on this issue. Speaking as a political moderate and not a true Rush supporter, I've found the reaction here pretty closed minded and even ironic considering the gaming community's outcry against political officials and psychologists who have no evidence against video games and yet blame them for the ills of society anyway.

We're blasting ignorance and assumptions all the time when it suits us and yet we blatantly flaunt our own ignorance when it comes to understanding political figureheads we're supposed to hate.

They do a standard criminal background check. I seriously doubt they go into medical records, I seriously doubt they could legally check medical records.

So what should we do? Not allow anyone who has suffered from depression buy guns? Should people with ADD/ADHD not be allowed to buy guns? What if someone is iffy, one doc thinks they are nuts another doctor doesn't think they are nuts. What do you do then? Do we tell a former veteran with PTSD that he can't own a gun because of his mental state?

Does the government have the right to dig into your personal life to see if you can own a gun? I know the background checks for the internship I got this summer included a low level clearance, so the FBI has my internet records right now, they may have my library records, and my telephone records.

Does the government have the right to do something invasive like that when someone wants to exercise a right outlined in the constitution? I want that job, that job isn't a guaranteed right to me, I had to give them permission to snoop on me.

In the end what it boils down to is your view on human life. Your view on what a human has the right to do in relation to him/herself. Your view on the governments role in a persons life. Your view on safety versus liberty. The fact of the matter is were not going to change each other opinions. You think the US has a backwards system of gun ownership, I see Europe's gun laws as a violation of inherent liberties. It boils down to the fact that I have a different point of view, one that will most likely never change.

Some quotes....

"Rush Limbaugh was the last person I was expecting to hear a reasoned, sensible and reserved opinion from on anything, let alone this kind of thing."

"Im shocked…maybe he is only 99.5% scum after all..."

"I never expected to think something “positive” about Rush Limbaugh…"

etc, etc...

You people are so close minded. You say this and think this stuff about Rush, but I would be willing to bet that you have never listened to one of his shows. You hear from someone that he is a right wing moron, and that's all you think you know about him or his views.

Actually listen to him and you will realize most of what he says is logical. You lefties will never grasp logic, so maybe it's pointless. It's just like what Rush is saying about VT. People always look for something or someone to blame, and they never come to the realization that the actual source is to blame. Liberals always try to make the crimal the victim is some way.

"Liberals always try to make the crimal the victim is some way."

Meant to say....

Liberals always try to find a way to make the criminal the victim.

@illspirit
"He passed the full NCIS/FBI background check to buy the Glock."

Question: what is involved in the NCIS/FBI background check? is it just a check to see his recond for past criminal activity, or does it dig deep into his background, like his life and mental state?

The thing is, there are some things popping up in reports that sounds like, as Thad pointing out, would have set off some red flags and mae the seeler think twice about selling him the gun. Certain things like one story that says that he was admitted breifly to a mental institute about 2 years ago under the count of being possibly suicidal... Another talks about the destrubing works of writing he made... and while a sane person can write such things, given somekind of background check on him or mental test on him, this guy probably would have set off a few flags that says he shouldn't be given a weapon...

So do those NCIS/FBI background checks take that all into account, and thus at the time he did prove himself stable and sane enough to own a firearm, or do they do just a background check for past crime, of which in my opinion, does not really suffice to say one is responcible/sane enough to own a firearm

its more of a criminal background check.

@BmK

I think Libertarians are excellent on social issues, but I'm also a fan of the whole safety net idea. Furthermore, I think true laissez-faire capitalism is a bad idea that ultimately leads to the erosion of the middle class in favor of a few rich people.

In summary:

Republicans are way too in the pocket of the Christian Right and big corporations.

Libertarians have some nice-sounding ideas which in practice are economically harmful (although I'd vote Libertarian over Republican).

The Green Party... slavery reparations. Once again, sounds very sweet, but it's a bad idea on all sorts of levels.

The Democrats are complicated... on the downside some of the major contenders (like Hillary especially) are the worst sort of panderers, constantly trying to woo social conservatives by vilifying movies and video games. They also tend to buddy up with the RIAA (although Republicans do a lot of that too). But there's a big grassroots movement within the Democratic party to take the party back from the panderers and start working on real reform, and I'd like to see where that goes before I jump ship.

Just because someone is conservative doesn't mean they will be against video games, in fact I play games almost everyday and I'm still relatively conservative person. But Limbaugh wasn't so much defending video games as much as he tried to point out the fact that it's people who are responsible for crimes, not video games or guns (even though his comparison of video games with guns might seem offensive, it has some merit - just like no sane person buys a video game out of desire to kill someone, most people who buy guns would rather never use them on people) - it's the lefties who usually say "what that murderer did wasn't his fault, something else drove him towards it". From throughout the whole known history, every society had its share of violence and murders - it is (unfortunately) part of human nature.

To add some sarcasm, now I hear that the murderer commited VA Tech massacre because his girlfriend dumped him. So let's ban, or at least legislate love relationships.

@illspirit

another good angle to bring up that proves my point that these "safety nets" are not failsafe. people fall through the cracks. its a part of life that people are just going to have to eventually accept.

Not every video gamer goes out and murders 33 people on the college campus though.


Tell me about it. most murderers probably don't even know what videogames are!

Well said.

@Thad-

"It could NOT have happened without guns being involved."

Is that so?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster

The Bath School disaster is the name given to three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, USA, on May 18, 1927, which killed 45 people and injured 58. Most of the victims were children in second to sixth grades attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest act of mass murder in a school in U.S. history.


"I know new facts in this case are still coming to light, but from what I understand, this guy should have set off some red flags. Had a full background check been performed, he may not have been allowed to purchase those guns."

He passed the full NCIS/FBI background check to buy the Glock.

I tend to like Limbaugh a lot of the time, and agree with a good amount of what he says. I've gotten tired of listening to him, but that doesn't mean I disagree. I'm actually flabbergasted that people are apparently assuming he'd be against individual rights of the consumer... since that's more or less been one of the hot topics he's always put forth. I'd expect nothing less than him discrediting blaming some external entity for the acts of a single, random, mentally-disturbed individual. Limbaugh tends to want to draw focus more on individual responsibility and action, rather than blanket governmental control. He does tend to favor the idea of smaller government, not larger government, after all.

[...] Rush Limbaugh Not Always Full of Shit: Downplays Role of Game Violence in VA Tech Rampage 18 04 2007 - [ Credit for this story goes to http://www.destructoid.com/prepare-to-agree-with-rush-limbaugh-31059.phtml#comments and http://gamepolitics.com/2007/04/18/rush-limbaugh-pooh-poohs-video-games-involvement-in-va-tech-rampage/ ] [...]

@thad

how can you do background checks on metally deranged when most of the people who are mentally deranged go undiagnosed in this country? you want your source problem thats it right there. people cant get the help they need because people who have power to give it too them are too out of touch with reality.

Wow, he's lost weight. And he's making sense. Bizarre.

I've read nothing about any games being found in this guy's place. Someone should debate that a *lack* of videogames precipitated this.

another thing thad,

if we had a working mental health system that people could get not only treated but actually afford without insurance and all that crap, then there wouldnt BE as many mentally deranged people that do these things.

its not a video game issue, its not a gun control issue, its a mental health system issue. and frankly, ours sucks. teen suicide and depression rates are off the charts and none of them get properly treated because there is no treatment available to them when they need it. this shooter, like most others, commited suicide in the end. a sane, normal minded person would never think of such a thing. they get put in the system as just another number and loaded up with the cheapest perscription drug avalible and never get look upon at an invidual basis like they truly need to be. this guy apparently had serious anger towards women and rich people. guns and games are not a root factor of where that anger came from, its obviously from some serious experiences this guy had been through at some point in his life that created such anger. guns and videogame are irrelevant on this issue. you ban either or both of them and this problem is still going to be here. the sad thing is, is that no one seems to realize this or even worse, admit it.

@Thad

Do tell, how would banning guns - and actually getting it to the point where this guy couldn't get ahold of one - keep this lunatic from killing some number of people?

The problem is this guy decided he was going to take his hate out on other people. Changing the method he used is only going to change the number of injured and dead up or down. The real problem is that he chose to go out and kill people.

Yes, and I fail to see your point.

I was making a point about unjustified hatred. I was not comparing anyone to a nazi.

Rush just earned some cool points from me.

Look, I own an M1 carbine, two shotguns, a .9mm, and I play 'Gears of War' at least three hours every day, yet I have NEVER been tempted to go out and snuff out a human life. The media and politicos are not a second too late on scapegoating inanimate objects for the crimes of one hate-filled lunatic. Just watch, this'll be like the Columbine aftermath all over again: more government intervention in our private lives, blaming games and movies, stripping the law-abiding people of their basic right to self defense, etc. 1999 was a bad year for us gamers but my gut tells me this is going to be worse, even if it can be proven that Cho was not into video games.

Yes, let's just have more government intervention in our lives, more Gestapo "law enforcement", and less personal freedom. That'll make everything better (sarcasm mode off).

No, you don't, most of these nut jobs view it as personal, they want to see the faces of those they punish. However, if you take away guns, I'm very sure the next kid who decides his peers need to be punished won't mind using a bomb.

He could kill more people with homemade explosives.

He could have also have been stopped a by a single armed and trained student, or teacher. However, once again laws designed to protect people from the evil guns created an imbalanced playing field. The only person with the gun was the criminal.


Hitler hated Jewish people, I wonder what Eli Wiesel and Co. Will have to say.
Oh... wait.... sorry, I forgot that irrational hatred existed.

Please note I am in no way comparing Eli Wiesel to Thompson. Wiesel has my deepest respect.

@jonc2006 and brokenscope: Yeah, because of all those school bombings we're always hearing about.

@brokenscope: Ever hear of Godwin's Law?

@thad

he could easily kill thirty, if not more, with a bomb.

Even though I disagree with RL often, I always found him amusing: He likes to revel in his own conservatism.

On another note, some of the recent chatter suggests the letter left by the gunman stated anger and fustration over Christianity. I wonder what JT & co will have to say about that if it turns out to be true.

...Video games are the same as guns? What?

This massacre could have happened without video games being involved. (In fact, I don't think there's any evidence that video games WERE involved.)

It could NOT have happened without guns being involved.

I understand the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument, and I understand personal responsibility and responsible gun use. But let's be honest, guys, this could not have happened if the killer hadn't had a gun. He couldn't have killed thirty people with a knife. He sure as hell couldn't have killed thirty people with a PlayStation.

I'm not suggesting guns should be banned. If you're a responsible gun owner, hey, great. But if you're mentally deranged, there should be background checks.

I know new facts in this case are still coming to light, but from what I understand, this guy should have set off some red flags. Had a full background check been performed, he may not have been allowed to purchase those guns. He still would have been crazy, but he would have been a crazy guy WITHOUT a gun. A crazy guy without a gun is a lot less dangerous than a crazy guy WITH a gun.

Again, I'm not saying ban guns. However, I AM saying it's perfectly reasonable not to sell them to mentally ill people who show a strong likelihood of endangering themselves and others.

I see that as simple and straightforward. Can someone please explain to me what I'm missing?

RL is not the unreasonable vampire that people make him out to be. He has is agendas and biases like anyone else, but at least he is HONEST about them. He doesn't go around saying, "I'm not a Conservative!" while shilling for Conservatism. He's conservative and tells you to your face. I have a lot more respect for that kind of person than I do for the other kind... You know, the kind that says "I'm not a liberal!" while donating every penny they have to moveon.org, calling for banning guns and video games, firing Don Imus, telling everyone that the US should be run by the United Nations, and claiming scientific 'consensus' for Global Warming. :) I bet 99% of the people that 'hate' Rush would be shocked at just how much they agreed with him if they actually listened to his show once in a while. He's a grandstander and a blowhard but what talk show host isn't?

Well, that's it. That's the sign.

Everyone, heads between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye, the apocalypse is nigh.

Amazingly enough that the search warrant doesn't list a single video game console found or taken from his dorm either. Of course it does say various software CDs were found ad he had a computer... So Jack, et al, will probably jump at that.

do you guys realize that its the people who use the guns for cold blooded murder that are dangerous and not the gun itself? can you seriously tell me that you would plead for you life a with gun rather than the person threating you with it. a gun is a soulless, mindless object with no thinking skills of its own. a tool. nothing more. videogames fall under that too. they are used for entertaiment. if someone uses it to "train", if that is possible to begin with, then that is the fault of the user, not the game. im not a gun enthusiest or whatever but i do have some common sense to know that a gun is not going to decide for itself if it will kill you, the person in control of it however will. if someone has murderous intentions, do you think they care about how or what they do it with? suicide bombers are highly effective killers, probably moreso then shooters who use firearms, they dont seem to care about guns. you take away guns or ban people from getting ahold to them, people will just use the next method in line, then you have a new method to worry about.

sure, guns are designed to inflict harm on someone, but it is the user who is in control over if it is used for something like cold-blooded murder, as in this school shooting case, or if it is used to protect, like the millions of troops fighting in war and the thousands of law enforcement officers that put their lives on the line every day to protect people from insane people like this person was. you may not like guns, i really dont care for them either, but i know the fact that a gun has no mind of its own, no reasoning power or logic whatsoever. it is in control by whoever is holding it. they decide, not the gun. trying to reason with a gun is like trying to reason with a brick wall.

@Lendrick

If you hate the Republicans and are disenfranchised by the Democrats then vote Libertarian. Personally i hate the Democrats know, they have become this socialist nanny-state party that wants to regulate every aspect of our lives.

........wow.
You know, as much as I disagree with the guy, I have to give him kudos for this- defending video games and rational thought in the same breath. True he used it as segway to talk about gun control, but meh, he's paid to talk.

DrXym Says:
I have yet to see any mention at all that this guy played video games, let alone that he was addicted to them, or that the games were violent.

That's the most frustrating this about this media Blame Game, it's ENTIRELY hypothetical.

Wow... I guess even a stopped clock is right twice a day. :)

That said, as a Democrat it really pisses me off that (some) Democrats are really the ones taking the hard-line anti video game stance. Even counting that, I have a lot more reason to vote Democrat than Republican, but it still irks me to no end. How do you go about fixing problems within your own party?

Werid.....Okay

If he wants to bleed for the cause, then fine.

Why is this so strange to some? Yes, Limbaugh is a pompous asshat but gun rights advocates have been fighting the blame-everything-except-the-criminal crowd for decades before video games were an issue. Pretty much everything that's said about video games has been used against guns.

For instance, since the early '90s Clinton and company have bleated that guns, like video games now, are causing violent crime to rise (even though crime has been decreasing). The shrill voices have claimed that guns, like video games, will, magically and without fail, cause their owners to kill (even though there are just as many gun owners as gamers who don't hurt anybody).

As such, no, this isn't a case of some sort of reverse, hidden agenda. It's simply a case of 'been there, done that, heard it all before.' With the exception of a few wingnuts like Stearns and Upton, most of the right's position on games and guns is consistent and simple: Hold criminals personally responsible for their own actions and quit pointing fingers at inanimate objects.

It's just too bad the religious fundamentalists have such a stranglehold on the right these days...

/Libertarian, with a big L

Welcome to the same fight gun owners, rap affectionados, heavy metal fans, and so many others have been fighting for decades- People are responsible for their actions. To say otherwise is simply the pro-criminal climate that permeates many schools of thought.

They believe that anyone who commits a crime is simply a victim of scoiety. Anyone who screws up their life is a victim. By removing responsibility from the individual, the path is clear for a government to take control of the personal lives of citizens. Hence the so-called "need" for a nanny state.

So, the best way to make Rush reasonable in his arguments is to make sure he has his own selfish reasons for doing so! He's afraid of attacking video games because it could lead to an attack on gun sales? Fine, I'll take that to have one less influential voice in the stupid rhetoric.

My god rush is making sense for once!! see if you stay off the drugs you will get better :X

The world is coming to an end....

My feelings...are very mixed about what he says.

Why can't we blame the person who did it rather than what he did in his spare time for it. People want to run out and blame the influences rather than the actual choice the person made to commit the act. This guy chose to go out and kill people period.

"No no, it wasnt *him*, the video games made him do it" Please...

Rush is an imbecile.

But even imbeciles guess correctly sometimes.

I'm not to happy to see that the video game card has been played by some, but at least this guy has the sense to outright say it isn't black and white when it comes to a cause, and I'm very hapy to hear him say video games don't make mass murderers.
 
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