It has only been three days since the mass shooting in Dayton and four days since the mass shooting in El Paso. More than 80 people were either killed or wounded through these attacks. The mass shooting situation in America has gotten so bad that Amnesty International has issued a travel warning to anyone coming into the country.
In their press release, Amnesty International noted that "Depending on a traveler's gender identity, race, country of origin, ethnic background, or sexual orientation they may be at higher risk of being targeted with gun violence..."
Donald Trump has even come out to condemn white supremacy and, of all things to condemn at a time like this, video games.
It isn't clear if violent, war-based video games are an inciting cause of horrific incidents. Or, like President Trump thinks, in creating a "culture that celebrates violence."
Off the back of these incidents and Trump's plea, Walmart has decided to remove violent video game displays but not remove the guns they sell from their stores causing a thread of antipathy making waves through social media in the form of #BoycottWalmart.
The president is pushing an idea into the cultural consciousness that video games cause a culture of violence that has a direct correlation to the culture of mass shootings in America. But research and facts prove the opposite of this hypothesis.
BuzzFeed reported last year, based on the book "Moral Combat: Why the War on Video Games is Wrong" by Patrick Markey (a Villanova professor) and Christopher Ferguson, that after the release of a violent video game, the rates of violence we experience as a country actually drop.
"What happens in the period after a hugely popular violent video game, such as a new Grand Theft Auto game is released? The rates of violent crime drop from what would be otherwise expected. When Google searches peak for walkthroughs of violent games — a sign that people are currently playing them — there is a corresponding drop in crime rates."
Sure, there is an argument to be made that video games are not helping anything, but what is crystal clear about this situation is that in every mass-shooting there is one constant thread, somebody had a gun, not, somebody played a video game.
So while Walmart is taking action that won't actually stop the spread of the violent video games that they believe (contrary to actual research) will help bring us closer to a society with less gun violence, they are still selling guns and aren't stopping anytime soon.
USA Today reported,
"After calling Walmart "the largest retailer of firearms in the world" in an earlier tweet, Igor Volsky, founder of the group Guns Down America, told MSNBC that "Walmart is such a major player ... that if they really decided to lean into this issue, we could see some real change. We should all call on Walmart to do that.""
It's time to accept that mass shootings happen because we have no semblance of effective gun-control policy in America.
It's time to face the fact that when our founders wrote the Second Amendment, they did not mean our right to bear arms was a right to bear an AR-15 that can mow down people faster then a lawnmower can cut grass.
One of the mass shooters had a history of severe mental illness, one fraught with ideations of hurting people. The other was a far-right white nationalist who was consumed and bolstered by conspiracy theories against white people. Each of these people had far too easy access to guns than any of us should. And each of their stories ended in the unnecessary death and injury of ordinary people just like you and me.
It's time to come to terms with the fact that video games aren't causing mass shootings. Racist vitriol from our president, white supremacist ideology, and the ability to walk into places like a random Walmart and buy a gun are what's creating a "culture that celebrates violence" where there have been more mass shootings then there have been days in the year.
Now it's time to wake up from the fake news that guns don't kill people. Guns absolutely kill people and if you don't believe that, you aren't living in the same country as me.