A US politician has blamed video games for the shooting that left at least 17 dead on Wednesday in Kentucky, USA.
As picked up by Ars Technica, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (Republican) claimed in a radio interview after the shooting that video games lead to such events, because in the medium there is "culture of death that is being celebrated".
"There are video games that, yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play them and everybody knows it, and there's nothing to prevent the child from playing them," Bevin said.
"They celebrate the slaughtering of people. There are games that literally replicate and give people the ability to score points for doing the very same thing that these students are doing inside of schools, where you get extra points for finishing someone off who's lying there begging for their life.
"These are quote-unquote video games, and they're forced down our throats under the guise of protected speech," he continued.
"It's garbage. It's the same as pornography. They have desensitized people to the value of human life, to the dignity of women, to the dignity of human decency. We're reaping what we've sown here."
Bevin, then requested that those who create media take responsibility for their works.
"I think we need to start by having an honest question about what value any of these things add," he said.
"Why do we need a video game, for example, that encourages people to kill people. Whether it's lyrics, whether it's TV shows, whether it's movies, I'm asking the producers of these products, these video games and these movies, ask yourselves what redemptive value, other than shock value, other than the hope you'll make a couple of bucks off it. At what price? At what price?"
After a shooting in January, Bevin said video games were part of the entertainment industry "filth" that is "desensitizing young people to the actual tragic reality and permanency of death".
As Ars Technica's Kyle Orland notes, there is a negative correlation between per capita spending on violent games and gun-related murders – that is, when the former goes up, the latter decreases.
In addition, meta-analyses of video game violence studies have found no real link between imaginary on-screen violence and actual aggressive behaviour, and long-term longitudinal studies of children from the '90s show only a very minor increase in behavioural problems for children who played violent video games.
However, other research has shown that violent video game players actually do become desensitized to violence, at least in the short term.