Violent video games have been under fire in Germany following the horrific school shooting carried out by a 17-year old earlier this month.
But while some German political and law enforcement officials have called for bans on violent games, the Harvard Crimson urges the government not to rush a judgment against the medium.
Instead, suggests an editorial, political officials' efforts would be better channeled toward keeping real guns, not virtual ones, away from toubled youth:
Few crimes are more disturbing than violent murders at schools... In the aftermath [of the recent German rampage], a call has gone out to remove violent video games from store shelves. Banning video games or enforcing a blanket social restriction, however, is not the answer.
After a tragedy such as this, video games often receive immediate scrutiny... Studies may have found corollary evidence linking violent games to violent behavior, but... correlation does not equal causation, and there is no convincing evidence of a causal effect here. There are simply too many lurking variables—socially awkward teenagers may play violent video games, but so do many perfectly happy teens. We cannot prove that playing the games somehow morphs teens into serial killers.
Many people are concerned and look to lawmakers to respond. We must be reasonable, however, in our expectations. There will always be sociopaths and oddballs... We cannot hope to make every single person happy or non-violent. Exaggerating the link between video games and teen violence in this case smacks more of political ploy than effective measure...
More of the weight of such crimes must fall on the parents and others who leave such weapons in reach... Stricter penalties and regulations on gun sales could help keep such weapons out of troubled hands, but, as long as licensed guns are available, we must work harder to keep them secure.