Game Violence Critic Urges Schools to Impose 10-Day Ban on Video Games, TV

A prominent school safety speaker has advocated the imposition of a 10-day moratorium on video game play and television viewing by students, reports the Grand Forks Herald.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author, retired military man and longtime critic of video game violence, made the remarks during a keynote presentation to North Dakota school officials yesterday.

As he typically does in his speeches, Grossman linked violent video games with school shootings:

[Grossman] described, in chilling detail, school massacres at Columbine High… the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota and Virginia Tech. Just as graphically, he conjured the brutality of video games such as “Grand Theft Auto” and “Manhunt.”

Grossman, an expert on school violence, went on to trace a connection between the two, complete with brain scans and a study of juvenile murderers. And he pitched a singular idea to gathered educators – a 10-day television, movie and video game “detox”… 

“This is not business as usual,” he said. “This is our world coming unglued. This is our society coming unhinged.”

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. JustChris says:

    Here’s a thought that didn’t occur to me earlier….What is his opinion on Army recruitment stations using video simulators that kill virtual people in order to promote the enlistment of new recruits? Does he sees them as unnecessary things as well? He is an Army Lieutenant after all…I’d wonder how he’d react to apache and tank simulators showing up in the JROTC wing of my high school where students under 17 are allowed to play.


  2. TBoneTony says:

    Wow… there are 2 David Grossman’s.

    Just like there are two Jack Thompsons.

    I know of a Jack Thompson who is a well respected Australian Actor. Nothing to do with the other Jack Thompson.

    Also you guys might have to be careful about talking about Jack as in JT, because some people might mistake us talking trash about Justin Timberlake.


  3. MasterAssassin says:

    This is nothing more but irresponsible fear mongering and fails to address the real causes of school shootings and similar incidents. The sad thing is that people may actually take this guy seriously since he’s actually been in the military. He also fails to forget that most school shooters had a history of Depression and Mental Illness, why not instead try to find ways to help people who are depressed or mentally ill so they don’t feel the need to committ such an act. Grossman your a fraud, this is the same man who claimed that only 15% of American soldiers shot back durring World War 2, sadly some people are stupid enough to believe it.

  4. Austin_Lewis says:

    I’ve heard the man did research while in the Army.  I don’t know if he would have gotten his name on the research or not, or if it would ever have been published for peer-review outside the military.

  5. BearDogg-X says:

    Another good point and another reason why it’s doomed to fail.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  6. Avalongod says:

    Not to belabor the point but I just went on PsycINFO, pretty much the repisotory of psychological research.  There is a "David C. Grossman" in the database, but he’s a pediatrician and doesn’t do anything with video games.  So our "David Grossman" does not appear to have done any peer-reviewed research (nothing else really "counts" in a scientific sense).  He might be a psyche professor, but that honestly doesn’t make him a scientific "expert".

  7. Krono says:

    Also, with parents the way they are, that 10-day idea is totally stupid and doomed to failure from the outset.

    I find it more stupid from the standpoint that it’s essentially grounding a kid for absolutely no reason. Punishing a kid for doing nothing wrong is not going to help their behavior.


  8. Avalongod says:

    Actually might be too late to address this point but Ferguson (2008) addresses this very issue.  In fact the numbers are so low that even if you eliminate the older cases, they don’t change very much.


    Ferguson, C. J. (2008). The school shooting/violent video game link: Causal relationship or moral panic? Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 5, 25-37.

  9. Zalethon says:

    roflmao. Not JUST video games, not just TV, but movies? I’m surprised he didn’t go after the internet, (much more recent a development than TV or movies) but that would have just been greeted by guffaws of laughter.

  10. Andrew Eisen says:

    Fair enough.  Here are the incidents looked at and when they occured.  Of 37 total incidents, only eight happened before games really started getting a rap for being violent.

    1974 December 30
    1978 May 18, October 15
    1985 January 21
    1986 December 4
    1987 March 2
    1988 December 14
    1989 October 5
    1992 May 1, May 14, December 14
    1993 January 18, December 1
    1994 May 26, October 12, November 8
    1995 January 23, October 12, November 15
    1996 February 2, February 8, March 25, September 25
    1997 February 19, October 1, December 1, December 15
    1998 March 24, April 24, May 19, May 24
    1999 April 16, April 20, May 20, November 19, December 6
    2000 May 26


    Andrew Eisen

  11. Mad_Scientist says:

    "Now let’s look at the US Secret Service’s report.  Only 12% of the attackers showed an interest in violent video games compared to 27% with movies, 24% with books, and 37% with their own writings (poems, journal entries, etc.)."

    To be fair, though, that report studied cases going back before video games even existed, and I can’t remember if they accounted for that or not. Even if they did, I doubt they took into account when video games in general became about as popular as other forms of entertainment. I’m guessing that if you only included cases after video games became popular, then the percentages would be quite different. Violent video games and violent movies would probably be close to each other, though video games might be the highest just because I think video games in general are actually more popular than movies now (not totally sure.)

    Regardless, you main point still stands. An interest in violent media of any sort, video game or otherwise, was only one of many common factors found, and was not the most common. Depression, and even suicidal thoughts, were the the greatest common factors, if I remember correctly.

  12. Austin_Lewis says:

    Yeah, he did do research at one point.  He also taught Psychology at West Point.  Sadly, right now, he’s more interested in creating business than in telling the truth or producing credible research.

  13. Austin_Lewis says:

    Lt.Col. Dave Grossman (UsArmy, Retired), was an Army Ranger.  He also taught Psychology at West Point.  Upon retiring from the UsArmy, he formed the Killology Research Group.

    His group does two things.  The first, it does well; it teaches and lectures LEO’s about how to improve the outcome of combat situations, as well as lecturing on things like combat mentality (see his famous wolf, sheep, and shephard speech concerning CCW’s).  The second, it does poorly; tries to create more work for itself by suggesting (often moronic) ways to ‘reduce violence’. 

  14. Avalongod says:

    Basically, no he’s not an expert in the scientific sense.  He’s never done any actual scientific studies.  He did publish a well-selling book (full of his opinions and nothing more), but in fairness news outlets regularly consider book authors "experts" even if they’ve never published a single scientific study.

  15. Wormdundee says:

    Grossman, an expert on school violence

    Ok, what exactly does this mean? Many news outlets refer to people that they interview or cover as experts in blahblahblah. What do you have to do to be considered an expert? Did this guy go to school for in-depth study on school violence? Has he conducted studies or scientific research on school violence? Does he actually know shit-all about school violence?

    From what I understand, he’s just a retired military man who wrote a book and can now be considered an expert on his book’s topic. Hell, I could do that, but I sure am not an expert on violence of any kind. I think we all know how often JT was called a ‘first amendment expert’ when he really has no idea what the first amendment is about.

    I wish these people would get speakers that actually have qualifications instead of ‘random dude with a bone to pick’. 

  16. JustChris says:

    What does he even mean by a withdrawal of 10 days? Is this on a student-by-student basis, or are the 10 days imposed on everyone starting on the same day? What is the diagnosis needed to administer the 10 day treatment? He’s giving us a 12 step program without describing what the steps are.


  17. JustChris says:

    That’s pretty much it. Far reaching advances in telecommunications made us think that our world has become more dangerous, instead of learning that our world was always very dangerous and we are now getting to know more of it.

    Similarly, we know more about our universe because of space travel and more advanced telescopes. Our universe did not suddenly grow from one galaxy to millions in the course of a century.


  18. JustChris says:

    As two reserachers that appeared on Penn & Teller’s BS point out, video games are a common item in many households with kids, so it’s ridiculous to make a connection between common things and uncommon events.

    So we have people that say it produces aggressive behavior, but in tests, this aggressive behavior is often on the line of blowing airhorns at people or punching rubber inflatable stand-up figures. That is the information they keep from people. Maybe games do get you pumped enough that you can release your energy on hitting a bouncy toy…

  19. Alyric says:

    The Columbine killers were not bullied.

    Remember that the media jumped on the Columbine shootings while they were still happening, and began forming a narrative (Trenchcoat Mafia, bullied kids, targeting jocks/ethnicities, hit lists, etc.) that has persisted to this day – now over ten years later.

    The problem? This entire narrative was formed before there were any facts. It was a shameful display of yellow journalism at its worst.

    For more information (including the FBI’s conclusion after an exhaustive 4 year study), check out this link:

    Or, pick up the book Columbine by Dave Cullen.

  20. hellfire7885 says:

    Heh, if you ask me, a school’s involvement in a person’s life ends when they step off campus for the day, and ends for good when they leave high school or college.

    Not only is this ban unenforcable, but would likely leave kids with nothing to do for ten days is jsut asking for trouble, especially with so many venues for kids to hang out either shut down or in complete disrepair, or if there was nothing to do to begin with, meaning all there is to do is cause trouble.

    Makes me think of an episode of King of the Hill where when talking to soem new people i nthe neighborhood, they mentioned that all the venues for kids to hang out at had been shut down, and al lthey had to do was get drunk and smahs bottles in a store parking lot.


    And detox? Isn’t that reserved for substances IN the body, not things that are outside the body and not even substances?


  21. DraginHikari says:

    It’s an issue of prespection due to an increased flow of information.   In today’s age, we tend to know almost everything that is going on at any time, almost instantly, therefore we hear more and more about these things while in the past there wasn’t quite as much as a continously news flow as it is today.

    So in other words, it APPEARS worse because we hear more about it.

  22. Avalongod says:

    To respond to a few people who have asked about youth violence rates.

    In fact, in most industrialized nations, youth violence rates are at their lowest levels since the 1960s.  I don’t know how he can claim they are "skyrocketing."  The data on youth (and adult) violence is consistent whether you look at arrest records or victimization rates…both are down worldwide (well non-industrialized nations don’t keep great records, then again I doubt Xbox 360s are widespread there either).

    Check out for US data…2007 data, the most recent on record is also the lowest on record (since the 1980s in this data set).  FBI uniform crime reports say the say, as do official records of the UK home office and other government agencies worldwide.

    See also: 

    van Dijk, J., van Kesteren, J., & Smit, P. (2007). Criminal victimization in international perspective. The Hague: United Nations Office on Drug and Crime.


  23. Buckeye531 says:

    This just in to our newsroom…The world has ben unhinged for…welll…since the dawn of time.

    Nice try, Mr. Grossman.

    BTW, how do you plan to get schools to impose these bans?

  24. Andrew Eisen says:

    Damn, Spell Check failed me again!  Still, "collage" is a word so I guess I have to cut it a little slack for not catching my typo.


    Andrew Eisen

  25. Austin_Lewis says:

    Andrew, I was making a joke about your spelling of college wrong in your comment.  I knew you went to college.

  26. Adamas Draconis says:

    And then arrest them for criminal tresspass, breaking and entering, and possibly assault.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  27. Andrew Eisen says:

    Yeah, graduated in 2001 with a B.S. in Electronics Engineering Technology.


    Andrew Eisen

  28. Austin_Lewis says:

    Andrew, I was unaware you attended collage. 

    But yea, I read his book, and it’s basically garbage.  It’s almost as bad as JT’s book, which, with its obvious narcissism and self-masturbatory tone, I could only read about 10 pages at a time.

  29. Brokenscope says:

    Videogames were not a major factor in the columbine shooting.

    However people who have looked back on the incident and have gone beyond media controversy have decided that bullying wasn’t a major factor either.

  30. gamadaya says:

    Thought the same thing. I can just imagine if I was in high school, and my principal or vice principal (racist pricks) burst into my room and turned off my Gamecube. There would definitely be some video game inspired violence in that situation.


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it!


    -Glenn Beck

  31. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Somewhere in Miami (a McDonald´s)…

    Jack: Damn you, Grossman! You are stealing my attention!

    Manager: Shut up, Jack! Now bring here those Happy Meals here!

    Jack: Don´t hurt me!


    So Grossman wants another five minutes of attention from the media. That´s a comeback I really didn´t wanted. Maybe they should invite him to G4 or something.


    The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship):

  32. mdo7 says:


    Oh god not this shit again. I’ll have to tell them that the school shooting are not caused by video game.

    Red Lake school massacre: the guy was looking at Neo-Nazi website, and not playing violent video game.

    Colombine: It wasn’t video game.  These 2 were bullied and they end up shooting and killing people because of that.

    Virginia Tech: Cho said on the video he hated people and that’s why he killed a lot of people not because of fuckin Counterstrike.


    When will these dumbasses learn VG are not behind this. 

  33. Vordus says:

     Good lord, man, you’re saying our kids are muderous… and then you want to keep them out on the street with nothing to do for 10 days?!

  34. cppcrusader says:

    Ugh, there are few people in the world who irritate me more than Grossman.  Honestly he may be at the top of the list.  At least other critics have the advantage of being ignorant, even willfully so, of the topic.  However, when Grossman starts spouting his nonsense about how the military uses games to train soldiers to kill he flat out knows he’s lying, and that just plain pisses me off.

    And now he equates unarmed security guards to Wal-mart greeters?  Fantastic, that’s now TWO of my professions this man has managed to crap all over.  I honestly don’t think I could loathe him more, but I’m sure he’s going to give me a reason to.

  35. Andrew Eisen says:

    Columbine, Red Lake, and Virginia Tech: three incidents that had zero to do with video games.

    "He cited a FBI consultant’s study of 19 juvenile mass murderers that found violent video games were the only thing the teens had in common."

    Let’s look at the actual FBI’s report.  A "fascination with violence-filled entertainment" was one of nearly 30 common personality traits and as the report itself warns: "No one or two traits or characteristics should be considered in isolation or given more weight than the others."

    Now let’s look at the US Secret Service’s report.  Only 12% of the attackers showed an interest in violent video games compared to 27% with movies, 24% with books, and 37% with their own writings (poems, journal entries, etc.).

    In college, I read and wrote a report on Grossman’s book (Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill).  Here’s an excerpt:

    Throughout their book, Dave Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano argue that, without a doubt, violent media including TV, movies, and video games are directly responsible for corrupting children and turning them into violent, unfeeling monsters.  They conclude with a chapter that warns parents that if entertainment technology is a child’s only teacher and source of information that they will grow up maladjusted and aggressive and serve only to add to and exacerbate the problems in our society.

    “Until the entertainment industry gets it, either by legislative force, parental pressure, or some epiphany on their part, it’s basically up to us to set boundaries for our children concerning violent entertainment.

    Honestly, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  What they’re basically saying is that since it is nearly unfeasible to remove violent entertainment, we are going to have to parent our kids ourselves.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what we should have been doing in the first place?  Hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no matter how wrong it may be, but if you are going to argue for something, then use logic and accurate facts to support your stance.


    Andrew Eisen

  36. Cheater87 says:

    Is is another anti violent video game person who says the army trains people on video games and that kids will become killing machines that do not feel love and only the lust to kill after playing shooters.

  37. BearDogg-X says:

    Yet another pile of B.S. from a man that would win a Forrest Gump lookalike contest.

    Grossman knows damn well that a blue ribbon panel commissioned by the governor of Virginia himself found that video games had absolutely nothing to do with Virginia Tech, so he flatout lied.

    Also, with parents the way they are, that 10-day idea is totally stupid and doomed to failure from the outset.

    Our society is hardly becoming "unhinged", except by retards like Grossman, the Metropolitian Moron of Miami, and the Parent Trash Cult.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  38. Grifter_tm says:

    Considering that the "Columbine and Virginia Tech Shooters video games made me do it" theory has been definitively busted, I’d say he makes a really solid point…

  39. FlakAttack says:

    These idiots have it all wrong. Kids just need something to do is all. Anything is better than nothing, because nothing = boredom and boredom is the number one cause of anything I or anyone I know doing something stupid.

  40. Nocturne says:

    I get the feeling Grossman is the sort of guy who would have made arguments about getting kids off the streets to decrease teen violence in the past… now the answer is to get them on the streets to reduce violence? This is going to end with Grossman wanting kids stored in boxes until they’re 21

  41. Duffy says:

    Don’t forget to cross reference the number of kids actually in school over time, and of course cross reference with all crime propogated by children. Hmm depending how far you go back you might just have to adjust for life expectancy and change in economic situations over the last 100 years…

    Bah, screw it.

    Video games are making child killers!!!! Kill them all before it’s too late!!!!

  42. Flamespeak says:

    I have often been curious if School shootings are up or if there is just more media coverage over the incidents when they occur. If I were to go by Wikipedia, then the bulk of school shootings have occured since 1990, but I can gurantee there have been far more than those that are listed before that period of time.

  43. mogbert says:

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

    Seriously? "…our society coming unhinged"? Hasn’t this been the call of so many for so long? As I recall, Elvis shaking his hips on national TV was our society coming unhinged. It would be different if these people had a different song and dance every 20 years, but the fact that they keep saying the same thing over and over and so few people catch on…

    It isn’t the world that is coming unglued. It’s YOUR world. Your little world where you can reach up, touch the painted sky, and stop the paper mache sun from setting.

  44. Vake Xeacons says:

    Well, with JT starting to fade, thanks to his disbarrment, repeated bill failures, and even anti-gamers getting tired of him, Grossman’s becoming (at long last) the primary "murder simulator" fear-monger once again. We’re seeing more and more of him as we see less and less of JT.

  45. black manta says:

    So, Grossman pokes out from under his rock again?  Yeah, somehow I don’t think you’re going to find many schools willing to clamp down on games or TV for 10 days like it’s Lent or something, Dave.  You’d have better luck going after JT for him stealing your whole "murder simulator" rap from you.

    And is it me, or is Grossman also starting to ape JT as he’s sounding a lot more "prophet of doom"-ish than usual?  Sounds to me like Grossman’s the one becoming unhinged.

  46. Cheater87 says:

    LOL Grossman. I was in a video game club in my high school and was allowed to play many a violent game and nothing bad happened.

  47. DeeJay says:

    “This is not business as usual,” he said. “This is our world coming unglued. This is our society coming unhinged.”

    If you replace the words ‘our world’ and ‘our society’ with ‘my mind’, he’s actually right for once.

  48. grey_poet says:

    The statistics on youth violence, do they support your theory Mr. Grossman?  Youth violence is way up thanks to the corrupting influence of "murder simulators", correct?

Comments are closed.