Sen. Lamar Alexander: Games are a Bigger Problem Than Guns

In a discussion about gun violence and gun control, Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) says that games are way more problematic than weapons because "they affect people." Weapons apparently don't affect people, except the fact that they put holes in them where blood can leak out… Speaking today on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd, Alexander said video games are a greater societal threat than guns.

"I think video games is a bigger problem than guns," he said. "Because video games affect people. But the First Amendment limits what we can do about video games and the Second Amendment to the constitution limits what we can do about guns."

Republican politicians and the National Rifle Association are trying to drive the narrative away from gun control and towards problems with violent culture. Democrats seem to be content to point several fingers at guns, violent video games and other forms of media, and a lack of availability of mental health services.

All of this talk was sparked by the December 14 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. While video games have been mentioned, there's no evidence that the shooter played video games regularly beyond a few UK tabloid reports..

You can check out the entire show to your left or visit MSNBC directly…

Source: GameSpot


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  1. MechaTama31 says:

    That's not at all what that comment means.  I'm saying that failing to address those issues is a real contributor to violence, not that all violence will magically disappear if we do try to tackle them.  Even if that had been what I was saying, I don't see what basis you have to assume it's a specifically Christian philosophy, as opposed to any other feel-good, everybody-love-each-other philosophy.

    Quoting the bible at me is pointless because, as I said, I'm not Christian and I am not making some Christian point.  That's your baggage and what you are reading into it.  It's nothing to do with what I said or why I said it.

    Yes, lots of Christians own guns.  Lots don't.  I'm not saying that none do, I'm saying it's absurd for you to talk about them as if they all do.

    For your next comment, holy crap.  Give me a break.  First of all, no, protection is not the same thing as killing.  It boggles my mind that I even need to point that out.  Second of all, who said protection is the only reason one could want a gun?  I sure didn't.  I didn't mention protection at all, as a matter of fact.  And as for it being in conflict with the Christian faith, I dunno.  I'm not Christian.  But I can either take your word for it, or I can look at the evidence of so many gun-owning Christians and figure that the faith itself is pretty conflicted on that point.

    This strawman bullshit is getting pretty tiresome.  Maybe in the future, when you want to argue against a certain viewpoint, you could find somebody who actually expresses the viewpoint that you want to argue against, and have it out with them instead?

  2. Andrew Eisen says:

    Well, yeah.  It goes without saying that if you replace the gun with some other potentially lethal projectile weapon (and you aren't too picky about the trigger pulling part of my scenario) the same thing can happen with varying degrees of success.  But that's because it's part of the cause/effect chain.  Remove that part of the chain and no one gets hurt.

    With the internet cafe, games are not part of the cause/effect chain.  They can be there or not be there.  The result is the same either way.  Hell, replace them with a gun.  In that case, the gun would have nothing to do with the death.

    Here's the thing: guns can be used to kill people very easily.  Video games cannot.  Plug a video game into the first cause/effect chain and no one dies.

    But yeah, I'm with you on the blaming guns thing.  It's dumb.  Guns don't hurt anybody unless someone misuses them.


    Andrew Eisen

  3. Imautobot says:

    I wasn't reaching, nor trolling.  You said…

    "To do that, you would have to start looking at real problems, like the socioeconomic conditions that lead to violence, care for the mentally ill, etc."

    This comment basically says if you care for people they don't kill people.  A very Christian ideology.

    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” —Matthew 25: 41-46

    There are a lot of Christians who own guns (I know plenty), and to own one for "protection" is inherently owning one for the purpose of killing, which is in conflict with the faith.  Which in case you're wondering, I do not practice that faith, but I am also not a gun owner either.  Though I have plenty of violent video games and a clean rap sheet.

    But your right, technically you did not bring religion into this, my bad.  I apologize for that.

  4. MechaTama31 says:

    That's a bit dishonest.  You list a bunch of related distractions that could take the place of games, but you list completely unrelated objects to replace the gun with.  How about a knife, bow and arrow, blunt object, or other weapon?  In the case of the internet cafes, it just happened to be a game and not one of the other distractions you mentioned.  And in the case of killings, it just happens to be a gun and not one of the other weapons I mentioned.  I don't think it's fair to blame one particular circumstance and not the other.  The underlying problem in either case is not the game or the gun, it's the disregard for one's own health, or the desire to kill another person.  I don't see a way to justify blaming guns but not games (or blaming games but not guns).  Personally, I don't place the blame on either, but even if you blamed both, that would at least be self-consistent.

  5. MechaTama31 says:

    Wow, uh… Nice straw man?  I'm not Christian and didn't say anything remotely religious, so…  wtf?

    But to address your "conundrum", it is only a conundrum if the only reason anybody wants a gun is so they can shoot people with it.  That is obviously false, if not completely absurd, and your conundrum simply doesn't exist.

    The rest of your post paints in such broad strokes (Christians are all gun-toting conservatives?  what a sad trope), I'd suspect you of simply being a troll if I hadn't seen other, more well thought out posts from you on other articles.  If you've got beef with gun-toting Christian conservatives, fine.  Go find one of them to argue with.  Don't drag that baggage around and dump it on everybody you come across who supports gun rights.

  6. Neeneko says:

    Oddly enough, people who spend decades researching and learning about the interconnections between economics and social effects actually do know more then random individuals with no training in the field.

    I can understand being skeptical of government and its priorities, and there are some stupid people in the institutions.. but to believe that you personally have a better understanding of such systems is not only amazingly arrogant but really devalues other's people's skill sets.

    It is fair to have an opinion and have a voice, but do not confuse opinion with domain knowledge.  I am sure you have, at some point, been pissed off at some micro managing executive who thinks they know your job better then you because what you do must be so easy… same basic behavior.

  7. Imautobot says:

    "If I broke into your house and stole your tv, would it make you happy to know that I donated it to an orphanage?"

    If everyone were Christ-like you wouldn't break into my house or steal my TV.  But, if someone did steal my TV, and it was given to an orphanage, it would please me to know it was not taken for a selfish cause.  

    I completely understand your point though.  But let's be fair.  If tomorrow all taxes were abolished, how many people would spend that extra money on distribution to Nobel causes?  I have a feeling that in many cases that money would be spent in the service to the self.  I wish I could believe otherwise, but the evidence of greed has becoming overwhelming in these past few decades.  Which probably brings us right back to the socioeconomic issues the OP mentioned.

  8. Neeneko says:

    I am not sure where you are getting that reading.  I do not see anything anti-second-ammednement in this piece.  And this is coming from a life long gun owner and gun owner's rights supporter.

    Sorry, I just do not see the bais here.

  9. E. Zachary Knight says:

    "Of course, if everyone was Christ-like they wouldn't balk at contributing to services that help their fellow neighbor."

    If I broke into your house and stole your tv, would it make you happy to know that I donated it to an orphanage?

    What Christians like me have an issue with is the idea that you know better how to spend my money than I do. If I want to donate money to a charitable cause, I want to choose which cause gets my money. If I want to save for retirement, I want to choose how my retirement savings are stored and invested. I don't need some government busy body telling me they know better and steal my money as a result.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  10. Imautobot says:

    Your first paragraph could be prefaced by saying, if you treat everyone the way Christ would treat everyone, we wouldn't have a violence problem.  But if we did that, we'd have no need for guns, and wouldn't that be a conundrum?  

    Of course, if everyone was Christ-like they wouldn't balk at contributing to services that help their fellow neighbor.  The irony is that those who profess to be Christ-like don't want to pay for those services, nor do they want to give up their guns.  Maybe it's just me, but there would seem to be a conflict of interest there.  I would totally understand an atheist wanting guns, but Christians?  That's a real head scratcher.

  11. Andrew Eisen says:

    Snark or not, I don't agree that the number of video game deaths is not zero.

    With a gun, you have a series of cause and effects: asswipe points a loaded gun at someone and pulls the trigger, gun hurls a hunk of metal at a high velocity, hunk of metal tears through person, person dies from blood loss, organ trauma and/or the like.

    With the internet cafe deaths, it goes like this: asswipe chooses not to eat, sleep or manage a preexisting medical condition, asswipe dies from exhaustion, malnutrition and/or preexisting medical condition.  Video games have nothing to do with it.  You can replace video games with a bunch of other stuff (watching TV, reading books, meditating) and have the same result.  Not so with the gun.  Replace the gun above with pretty much anything else (like say, a video game, tub of yogurt or rubber chicken) and no one dies.


    Andrew Eisen

  12. MechaTama31 says:

    Well then, by that logic guns don't kill people, blood loss does.  The exhaustion and malnutrition were the direct result of them playing the game for so damn long and forgetting about things like eating and sleeping.

    Not that I'm seriously saying the games are to blame.  It's their own fault for ignoring basic bodily needs in favor of a game.  I'm just pointing out that the number of video game deaths isn't quite zero, mostly for the sake of snark.  😉

  13. james_fudge says:

    It was an attempt at levity and if it hurt your feelings, sorry. Here's a free hug 🙂 I/GP has no official position on Second Amendment Rights / Gun Control, for the record.

  14. ecco6t9 says:

    What the hell ever happened to personal responsibility?  Surely as a 26 year old man I can make my own damned decision about owning a gun and playing Call of Duty.

    If I have kids I will make the choice to keep a gun or violent media in my home. You decide for your home not mine.

  15. Cecil475 says:

    Funny. Guns actually kill people. I can't think of a single videogame that has killed anyone. Therefore videogames are not a bigger problem.

    – W

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  16. Andrew Eisen says:

    They died from exhaustion and malnutrition and in many cases, preexisting medical conditions.


    Andrew Eisen

  17. MechaTama31 says:

    Once again, GP, thank you for taking an either/or position on the First and Second amendments.  It would be unthinkable to support all the freedoms of sane and responsible adults.  To do that, you would have to start looking at real problems, like the socioeconomic conditions that lead to violence, care for the mentally ill, etc.  Much easier to just pick one of our fundamental rights to pin the blame on, and rally against it at every opportunity, amirite?

    Seriously, though.  Obviously GamePolitics is going to be in favor of freedom for games.  That's fine.  But it doesn't mean you need to be against freedom for gun owners.  For your readers who support both freedoms, the way you miss no opportunity, however slim, to attack one of them is pretty off-putting and even insulting.  Could we get a bit more neutrality, maybe?  Please?

  18. axiomatic says:

    This argument fails the truth table test at the point that if games are making you kill, you still need a gun to do the killing. Oh… and you still need to be BAT-SHIT CRAZY apart from both games and guns. So there's that….

    However this is getting pretty serious though in government. We as gamers need to take reasonable positive action and stop our favorite past time being used as an obvious scapegoat.

  19. Imautobot says:

    When politicians say stuff like this, I visualize them with a literal smoking gun in one hand while they're point with their other hand and shouting "look over there!"

  20. ZippyDSMlee says:

    You really want to go there? Looking at the modern world and the violence from fiction the only fiction to ever insight massive violence, death and maiming is religious text.

  21. Bigman-K says:

    Idiotic opinion, but at least he admits video games are protected by the First Amendment. More then I can say for some other politicians.

  22. black manta says:

    How much do you want to bet that Sen. Alexander and a lot of these other politicians who don't want to hear the facts about games are also the same ones who would happen to be in NRA's back pocket?  It wouldn't surprise me if that were the case.

    I said to a friend yesterday that compared to current regulations on games, current gun regulations have as many holes as a block of swiss cheese.  If Sen. Alexander really wants to look for holes, he should look there.

  23. Cyberdodo says:

    Yep, I got a chuckle from that jab too. And that's from someone who's a firm supporter of 2nd Amendment rights.

    Ya know, if a politician ever says something sensible, rather than wild finger-pointing, attacking scapegoats, and using the Constitution as toilet paper, I'd be convinced I've entered the Twilight Zone.


  24. Longjocks says:

    "Weapons apparently don't affect people, except the fact that they put holes in them where blood can leak out…"

    Yeah, I admit it; I chuckled.

  25. Thomas Riordan says:

    Oh look another 900 year old **** that should have been out of a job years ago. Big surprise.

    AE: That was uncalled for.  Let's dial back the obscene name-calling a bit.

  26. SeanB says:

    When speaking to your base, you don't need to use facts, or even reasonable arguments, you just need to tell them what they want to hear.

Comments are closed.