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Beck: ‘Medical fact’ that video games were ‘gateway drug’ to Newtown massacre

By David Edwards
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 14:35 EDT
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The Blaze's Glenn Beck
 
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Conservative radio host Glenn Beck opposes gun control legislation in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut because he says that it’s a “medical fact” that video games are the “gateway drug” that lead to mass shootings.

“We are, I think, the only network that is sticking to the truth here on this one, the core of why so many kids and others like them are resorting to such heinous acts,” Beck explained during the Thursday broadcast of his Internet-based show.

The libertarian host falsely claimed that CBS News had “disappeared” one of its recent reports about a “trove” of video games found in the basement of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza’s house.

“Sources say Lanza spent countless hours there alone, in a private gaming room with the windows blacked out, honing his computer shooting skills,” CBS News wrote, later clarifying that Connecticut State Police had told the network that “the investigation into the motive for the Newtown shooting has not been completed and therefore any statements about the shooter’s intent are mere speculation.”

“Lanza saw his victims as merely characters in a video game,” Beck insisted. “We have to do everything we can to make sure that the heart does not grow cold. Virtual reality is meshing now with reality, and we’re at the very beginning of this. Our sons and daughters are becoming desensitized to right and wrong.”

“If your kid is playing these video games, you have to step up now. I beg you, pray on it if you want confirmation,” he added. “The only way we’ll survive is if we pull together as a team. Video games — for our children, not for adults — but video games are a gateway drug for our kids. And instead of a high, they get a numbness. They get an indifferent heart and a mind that cannot tell the difference between fiction and reality.”

“This is medical fact. This is not crazy theory.”

Beck, however, ignored the final paragraph of the CBS News report about how Lanza’s experience with firearms was grounded in reality.

“Lanza also made multiple visits to nearby gun ranges with his mother, Nancy Lanza, where they practiced together with actual weapons,” CBS reporters Bob Orr and Pat Milton wrote. “Three guns, all registered to Nancy Lanza, were used in the Sandy Hook massacre. Lanza used a fourth weapon to kill his mother before his attack on the school.”

A 2002 study published by the U.S. Secret Service found that about half of perpetrators of school violence “demonstrated some interest in violence, through movies, video games, books, and other media.”

But attackers were twice as likely to be interested in violent movies or books than video games. In fact, only 12 percent had an interest in violent video games. Thirty-seven percent “exhibited an interest in violence in their own writings, such as poems, essays or journal entries.”

“The reality is that there is no evidence linking violent games to mass shootings,” Christopher J. Ferguson, an associate professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University, wrote in a column for CNN on Wednesday. “We tend to return to this particular element, and it’s interesting to see how quickly people like to latch on to this noncorrelation as if it were truly meaningful.”

“If violent video games were some small but critical component of Lanza’s motivation, why we could just get rid of such games and make this whole problem go away. It’s a tempting belief but absolutely wrong.”

Watch this video from The Blaze, broadcast Feb. 19, 2013.

(h/t: Right Wing Watch)

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
 
 
 
 
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