Dear television newscasters of the world: Don't do what Fox News Channel Host Jon Scott did this afternoon while reporting on this afternoon's deadly shooting at an El Paso Walmart:
Af El Paso mass shooting, Fox News anchor tries to link video games to mass shootings. pic.twitter.com/hdkjwbgbU1
— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) August 3, 2019
Scott wonders if these guys "raised on a diet of violent video games—if they actually start pulling the trigger of a real weapon and they see real death and they find it's not as satisfying as it was when they're playing on a television screen." He wonders out loud if this is why the alleged shooter, Patrick Crusius, stopped shooting.
Poor criminal defense attorney Ted Williams. Asked to respond to this blind stab at speculation, he wisely points out that it's too soon to guess at why the shooter acted. He also pointed out that it's "rare" that video game players "act out like this." (As I'm writing this blog post, another talking head has come on Fox News Channel to blame it on Fortnite and bad parenting.)
That's a nicely diplomatic response to Scott's utter nonsense. Reason's Ron Bailey has written regularly how the studies continue to show no relationship between video game violence and real world aggression.
This may have been an attempt to deflect away from people who use mass shotings to justify additional gun controls. The National Rifle Association has often tried to blame video games in order to push attention away from guns. But you don't have to throw the First Amendment under the bus to defend the Second Amendment. And I suspect we will find that tougher gun control laws won't have made a difference here either—we seem to be stuck in a loop where politicians propose gun regulations after a shooting that would not have stopped the shooting, as Reason's Jacob Sullum has frequently noted.
In any case, the speculations on Fox today were irresponsible. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that video games caused this awful rampage.