Chapter 11: Do Video Games Kill?
-After a release of video game “Doom” in 1993, it became a target for critics. After its
release, Doom helped video gaming grow into a multibillion-dollar industry, surpassing
Hollywood box-office revenues and further fanning public anxieties.
-In ten years following Doom’s release, homicide arrest rates fell by 77 percent among
juveniles. School shootings were extremely rare; even during the 1990s, when fears of
school violence were high; students had less than a 7 in 10 million chance of being killed
Contemporary folk devils
In the absence of a simple explanation, the public symbolically linked these rare and
complex events to the shooters’ alleged interest in video games, finding in them catchall
explanations for what seemed unexplainable- the white, middle-class school shooter.
Politicians and other moral crusaders frequently create “folk evils”, individuals or
groups defined as evil and immoral.
Video games, these who play them and those who create them have become
contemporary folk devils because they seem to pose a threat to children.
Such games have come to represent a variety of social anxieties – youth violence, new
computer technology and the apparent decline in the ability of adults to
control what young people do and know.
Politicians often engage in battles characterized as between good and evil.
In 2005, Senators Joseph Libernan , Sam Brownvack, Hilalry Rodham Clinton, and Rick
Santorum introduced a bill. A bill that called for 90 million to fund studies on media
Since 1997, newspapers and politicians focused on video games as central explanation
for the Paducah, Springfield and Litttleton shootings.
Littleton shootings, which has the highest death toll inspired most of the news
stories alleging a video game connection.
Across the country, the press attributed much of the blame to video games specifically
and to Hollywood more generally.
The video game connection took precedence in all these news reports. Some stories
mentioned other explanations, such as the shooters’ social rejection, feelings of
alienation at school and depression but these were treated mostly as minor factors
compared with video games.