By Alec Meer on November 17th, 2010 at 6:01 pm.
There’s an argument that the media shouldn’t given any air to known enfant terribles – that by giving more profile to someone who spouts wild and dangerous innacuracies you only serve to further their cause. It’s not one I believe, though – that would mean someone like disgraced game-haranguing UK politician Keith Vaz would essentially get away with ritually blaming the evil that men can do on videogames. No; any chance to reveal the flaws in his bewildering bluster and blame should be taken.
In this case, he’s accused Counter-Strike of inspiring a series of tragic shootings which occurred in Malmo, Sweden. A case local police have said appears to be part of a year-long campaign of violence against immigrants to the area. Keith has other ideas.
Here’s the request he put before the Commons in an Early Day Motion a couple of weeks back:
“That this House notes with concern that the recent race shootings in Malmo, Sweden have been associated with the violent video game Counter-Strike; further notes that the internet-based, first-person shooting game that pits a counter-terrorist team against terrorists was previously banned in Brazil and in 2007 was associated with US College Campus massacres; recognises the potential impact of violent video games on those under 18 years; and calls on the Government to ensure the purchase of video games by those under 18 yearsis controlled and that parents are provided with clear information on the violent content of certain games.”
“Associated with” is his argument. He doesn’t appear to provide any more information than that, nor note that all the victims were of foreign origin. As far as I can ascertain, the association has not been made by Swedish police either, at least not publicly.
Probably because his argument stems entirely from a Times report (paywall, because Rupert Murdoch’s an eejit) in which some passing bloke said of the 38-year-old man arrested (but not yet charged) for the shootings that “”I am sure that this is down to some crazy kid who plays that sniping game Counter-Strike all day. I don’t believe in the lone Nazi theory.”
What more detail could anyone possibly want? Some geezer has said that a murderer might have played a videogame. No, no, it doesn’t matter that the Swedish authorities have said nothing of the sort, that there is no publicly-revealed evidence whatsoever that there is a link between this or any game and a series of brutal attacks on dark-skinned people in the area. A bloke says another bloke probably played videogames, so there.
Perhaps Mr Vaz has more information on the matter which he has yet to reveal. Or perhaps he’s the sort of chap who thinks facts and opinions are the same thing. The Times shouldn’t be terribly proud of itself either; in both cases, it’s attempting to marginalise growing racial tensions in Sweden for the sake of sensationalist soapboxing about an unrelated topic.
In his statement, you’ll note Vaz requested that the government increase regulation on the sale of games to minors – I’m sure he does care about children and the dangers of exposing them to violent content, but that doesn’t have a whole lot to do with a 38-year-old racist.
I have no objection whatsoever to frank and full investigations into whether the ever-changing medium that is games has any untoward effects on their players. As long as they are investigations, not self-promotional fear-mongering. As long as they’re not exploiting terrible tragedies to further personal agendas.
Have you killed any foreigners as a result of playing Counter-Strike? If so, let Keith know. I’m sure he’d love to have some concrete proof, as a change from desperately looking for any means of propping up his poorly-researched arguments.