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Mon Dec 17, 2012, 02:42 PM

If a 20-year-old watches a movie or plays a video game...

..and his immediate thought is "Wow! I can't wait to shoot a room full of people, just like the fictional character on screen!"...

...then the problem isn't the "violent culture" the 20-year-old man lives in. The problem is that the man was pretty fucked up before he ever watched the movie or played the game. If you took away the movies and games, he'd simply find something else to project his troubled mental state onto. Like a "harmless" book by JD Salinger.

Even if Adam Lanza watched these movies or played these games (and remember--the guy is 20, and hardly an impressionable child, but even so...) they are no more to blame for this massacre than "Catcher in the Rye" was responsible for John Lennon's death. And Chapman was OBSESSED with that book; he read it hundreds of times and was absolutely convinced he was Holden Caulfield and felt he needed to eliminate the world of a "phony" like Lennon.

Did Salinger make Adam crazy and violent? Did any book, or movie, or CD, or video game investigator may find in Adam's room TELL him to shoot up an elementary school? Did any one artist, writer, or developer plant those unspeakable images in his head?

Don't make the mistake of blaming the symptoms of madness for Friday's bloodbath. It's time to look at why he wasn't given the mental help he clearly needed--and why he had such easy access to the last weapons in the world that should have been in his house.

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Reply If a 20-year-old watches a movie or plays a video game... (Original post)
Bicoastal Dec 2012 OP
unblock Dec 2012 #1
Bicoastal Dec 2012 #2
unblock Dec 2012 #10
Lurks Often Dec 2012 #13
theKed Dec 2012 #14
unblock Dec 2012 #16
upaloopa Dec 2012 #3
Bicoastal Dec 2012 #5
RomneyLies Dec 2012 #8
Bluenorthwest Dec 2012 #21
FarCenter Dec 2012 #4
RomneyLies Dec 2012 #9
Bicoastal Dec 2012 #11
FarCenter Dec 2012 #18
HereSince1628 Dec 2012 #6
reformist2 Dec 2012 #7
Bicoastal Dec 2012 #15
OneGrassRoot Dec 2012 #12
loyalsister Dec 2012 #19
cbrer Dec 2012 #17
KittyWampus Dec 2012 #20
Bicoastal Dec 2012 #22
rainlillie Dec 2012 #23
FarCenter Dec 2012 #24

Response to Bicoastal (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 02:51 PM

1. in a different context, movies and video games might be called "training".

i don't see how you can think of them as completely irrelevent. yes, it's far more complex and there are many more factors than merely playing video games and watching movies.

but in fact some of these video games had their actual roots in military training exercises, going back to the early flight simulators.

sure, there's a circuit loose somewhere if a kid turns a fictional movie or a video game into reality, and 99.999% of us don't have a problem here.

but i find it puzzling that anyone can look at a first-person point-of-view simulation of going from room to room heavily armed and shooting people, and look at a mass murder actually doing the very same thing, and fail to see any connection whatsoever.


that doesn't mean it's the only factor; hardly. but it's not completely irrelevent either.

mass murders predate video games and even movies, of course. but we seemed to have fewer of them back when all we played was pong.

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Response to unblock (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:00 PM

2. Yes. I see NO connection whatsoever between killing a room full of people in a game...

...and doing it in real life.

If you don't think that little boys played "shoot em up" games before video games, when your "gun" was your extended index finger and your thumb, and the bad guys fell lifeless to earth when you shouted "pow pow pow" at them, then you don't know little boys.

The visuals are more lifelike but the premise is still the same. The blood is fictional. The enemy is alive and walking around again a few screens later. Only a person not in his right mind to begin with would consider that to be "training" for anything.

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Response to Bicoastal (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:23 PM

10. well, the military disagrees with you, because that's exactly what they use for training.

in part because when you're in finally in real life battle, you can just turn your emotions off and just remember your training, remember it's just a video game. your muscle memory and neural pathways take over and you just go through the same actions you did in the simulation. you didn't train to process morality at the same time, so you just put that aside and deal with it later.

the military also pays top dollar for the more realistic simulations they can commission. they don't train people using extended index fingers and thumbs because they recognize that the more realistic the simulation, the more effective the training.

it *is* training.

it's also quite entertaining, and the vast majority of us have a mental barrier against turning that training into real-life action and that is not disrupted by repeated playing of violent video games. but that doesn't mean it isn't training.

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Response to unblock (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:34 PM

13. The military has gone to simulators mostly

because it is cheaper; much, much cheaper and easier then putting a battalion or a brigade out in the field for equivalent training.

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Response to unblock (Reply #10)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:36 PM

14. The muscle memory you get from a videogame

has no bearing on application to real-world combat - at least insofar as home video games are concerned. Unless there's a lot of thumb-controlled assault rifles on the market I haven't become aware of. It is "training" in the same way building model race-cars is training for the Indy 500.

The military grade simulators "train" simply because you're using a comparable weapon using comparable body motions under comparable conditions. The actual backdrop on the screens isn't all that relevant. If your gun was shooting virtual rainbows that hug virtual unicorns you'd still gain the same range of muscle memory as shooting a virtual AR-15 at virtual Al Qaida.

Using statistical outliers - such as the mentally unbalanced - that are drawn to aggressive video games as the basis for a book-disc-burning witch hunt, we should also consider all the other things they might like to do and think about banning them, too, no?

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Response to theKed (Reply #14)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 04:08 PM

16. the concept of muscle memory doesn't have to be exact, and not all of it is *muscle* memory anyway

once you know how to play one musical instrument, it's far easier to play another, at least at a level of basic competence.
it may take a little time to work out the different fingering, but so much of it involves the same kind of thinking and mental processing that much of the "training" from playing the first instrument translates.

this is how you can learn to drive on one car but pretty easily switch to any of a large number of other cars with minimal adaptation.

so yes, of course a video game isn't going to get you used to a real gun's kick, sound level, etc.
but in terms of planning the mission and mapping out the room-by-room activity, this is far easier if having gone through that sort of thing time and time again in a video game.


and no, i'm not on a witch hunt or out to burn or ban anything. although i'm not sure the dismissive "statistical outliers" argument works well as that completely argues against doing anything. moreover, i'm not convinced that "statistical outliers" is appropriate here. granted that mass murders are one in a million, but they're hardly the only type of gun violence we have.

what i'd like to see is our culture evolve to have less acceptance of violence, such that movie and video game makers simply find more profit in less violent fare. that's obviously not something congress could or should legislate, and i don't know how to get there, but that's where i'd like us to go.

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Response to Bicoastal (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:04 PM

3. Why are violent movies and violent video games so popular?

It seems to me that 2 out of 3 movie or tv trailers are extremely violent. They make money so I suspect that is why there are so many of them.
When I was growing up I watched violence in westerns and cartoons but today's violent media seems different. More extreme. I have no answers just questions.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:12 PM

5. Really? 40 years ago, there was a war going on in Vietnam and crime was rampant nationwide...

...with a string of high-profile serial murderers and assassinations to boot.

Yet movies of the time weren't responsible, and video games didn't exist.

Movies and games depict war and crime, the two major sources of violence in our modern society. But they don't cause them.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:18 PM

8. Ask yourself this...

 

Why are history books mostly devoted to wars?

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 04:48 PM

21. I see so many people make this sort of claim, all on an 'it seems to me' basis...

Here is a link to last month's top box office films. Your claim is that 2 out of three are 'extremely violent'. Take a look, do a count, tell us what you actually find. I look forward to seeing what you have to say about that.
http://boxofficemojo.com/monthly/?view=releasedate&yr=2012&month=11

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Response to Bicoastal (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:08 PM

4. A friend was just talking about a kid who became addicted to Halo

The boy began playing all the time, he began failing at school, dropped out, and is now in trouble with the law.

For certain addictive personalities, video games can be dangerous. They are at least in the category of alcoholism or gambling addiction.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:19 PM

9. At least it wasn't heroin

 

Addictive personalities will find something to get addicted to.

Had it not been Halo, might have been pron.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #4)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:27 PM

11. All because of Halo? A game about aliens in outer space?

Life is never so simple. Most addictive personalities stem from a need to fill a void in one's life; no one becomes an alcoholic because all of their psychological needs are being met.

If he played video games all day and dropped out, chances are it wasn't because he enjoyed life outside his home. Blame the disease, not the symptom.

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Response to Bicoastal (Reply #11)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 04:17 PM

18. You can become addicted to whatever triggers your reward circuits in your brain.

If you spend all your nights playing Halo, instead of sleeping, your ability to learn, socialize, or anything else during the schoolday will suffer.

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Response to Bicoastal (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:16 PM

6. Not sure that correctly reprepresents psycho-social theory

True people have been concerned at one time or another about video games, violent fiction (movies, comics, books, song), and even toy military weapons. True, too that's controversial.

It's somewhat more mundane than dramatic releasing trigger, mostly it's based on the belief that we find solutions to some of our future problems by watching what goes on around us.

My understanding is that the pscyhosocial folks would argue that a world view rich in violence acquired/learned through real or vicarious violent experiences makes available violent solutions to future similar real world problems.

And it does seems like maybe this phenomenon is evidenced in criminal copy-catting.

Nothing answers everything.

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Response to Bicoastal (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:17 PM

7. Stop considering each contributing factor in isolation.

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Response to reformist2 (Reply #7)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:49 PM

15. I did. That's my whole point, isn't it?

If a highly disturbed person reads Stephen King books and commits murder, you can't blame the books for him being disturbed, can you?

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Response to Bicoastal (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 03:29 PM

12. If there is no influence, how do you explain women's magazines and the fashion industry...

and Hollywood in setting the tone for "beauty"?

They don't tell girls to become bulimic or anorexic, but prolonged exposure to the general message of those influences affect vulnerable women, especially young women, to do things they might not otherwise have done.

I'm not trying to be snarky, and I don't think all of the blame lies with any one cause or influence. I think there are many factors in play in each horrific tragedy.

And of course the ultimate responsibility lies with the person.

No, no pundit or movie or book or magazine or game is solely responsible for someone's actions. But these factors can definitely contribute to it, especially if there is prolonged exposure, and if someone is vulnerable -- even if not overtly suffering from mental illness -- they could have a negative effect.

So when we go on and on about accepting responsibility, I think that should include MANY aspects of our society: the media and pundits like Limbaugh and Beck and others who use dog whistles to incite violence or at the very least hostile divisiveness amongst our society; industries which profit off of disaster capitalism and a general culture of violence and exploitation; politicians, lobbyists, religious mouthpieces....really, we're all responsible to SOME degree.

I'd rather have a conversation about all of these complicated aspects of our lives and deal with the myriad issues involved than try to simplify it and accomplish nothing but demonize one piece of the puzzle.

Sorry, that probably didn't make sense. Haven't slept in a while....







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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 04:26 PM

19. + 100

Well said and great analogy. It is a fact that advertisers and other media players have developed useful ways to entangle literal and fantastic images in order to influence behavior from the outside. People get lost in movies and video games. The fact that they are involved in a fantasy where guns solve problems and turn people into heroes is relevant. As is availability of guns, and psycho social supports that should be available for kids who experience difficulties that may influence their behavior.

And the package is not as neat as that. This is complicated and there are no easy answers. To ignore what is materially relevant out of defensiveness for a personal hobby is not helpful.

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Response to Bicoastal (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 04:14 PM

17. Should we consider the possible interactions of Psychoactive drugs

 

and 3D interactive graphic violence?

Plus there are a lot of parents out there that need HELP with their mentally ill kids.

Look here for a heart wrenching case:

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother

I'm up for solutions people. We need to look broad spectrum here.

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Response to Bicoastal (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 04:34 PM

20. Please, it contributes and reinforces the Culture of Violence. Same problem many DU'ers had

talking about Rape Culture.

WE ARE ALL CONNECTED.

Many DU'ers are ultimately hypocrites. They claim to want Peace but habitually take in violent media/entertainment.

It is a Culture of Violence. Take part in it and you reinforce it. Your habitual use of violent media adds to the violence in our Collective Experience.

DU'ers can't have it both ways. Either we are all connected or we are not. Either you want Peace in all aspects of your life or you don't.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 05:05 PM

22. OK, then. Tell me. What movies, TV shows, and games should I stop watching...

...because somewhere out there are psychopaths and rapists? List them out for me, and even though I have no guns or mental problems, I suppose I'll have to give these things up. Because god knows, there are things progressives can watch and things progressives CAN'T watch in their spare time.

Who would have thought these flat circular disks could be so dangerous? I've been so blind in my fool-hardy interpretations, but then, I clearly don't understand our Culture like you do. Oh and, once you've alerted us all to the offending items, shall we all gather at your house and set them all ablaze in a nice, big bonfire? Can you just shoot me a list of dates when you'd like to do that, and I'll be sure and have my uniform all neat and cleanly pressed by then.

I guess it really is true what they say--there is no political orientation when it comes to blaming the world's very real problems on the purely fictional world of art and entertainment. It's present on the right AND on the left, and it's sick.

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Response to Bicoastal (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 05:30 PM

23. I gave you a rec, because you have made some good points. On a smaller scale

I've noticed a trend on TV, especially reality shows. The bigger a-hole you are the more famous and popular you are. People get rewarded for bad behavior IMO. I despise reality shows, but when they show clips during other programs I watch, the people are yelling at each other and getting into physical fights. There's no such thing as civil discourse.

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Response to Bicoastal (Original post)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 05:40 PM

24. Video Modeling -- a technique of Applied Behavior Analysis

Video modeling is a form of observational learning in which desired behaviors are learned by watching a video demonstration and then imitating of the behavior of the model. In video self-modeling (VSM), individuals observe themselves performing a behavior successfully on video, and then imitate the targeted behavior. Video modeling has been used to teach many skills, including social skills, communication, and athletic performance; it has shown promise as an intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Important practical and theoretical questions remain largely unanswered about video modeling and other forms of video-based intervention.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_modeling

Applied behavior analysis (ABA), formerly known as behavior modification, is a type of behavior analysis that uses the theory of behaviorism to modify human behaviors as part of a learning or treatment process. Behavior analysts focus on the observable relationship of behavior to the environment to the exclusion of what they call "hypothetical constructs". By functionally assessing the relationship between a targeted behavior and the environment, the methods of ABA can be used to change that behavior.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applied_behavior_analysis

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