Recently, there have been a spate of violent mass shootings. Every time a Newton, CT or Washington Navy Yard-caliber event happens, eager politicians react in the only way they seem to know how: by politicizing the event and mobilizing their constituents into a fervor of fear.
Usually, these tragic incidents are reduced to a series of talking points as the politician elaborates on why this latest incident demostrates a need for more stringent gun control, harsher mental health penalties, or a reduction in civil liberties. Sometimes, however, a particularly overzealous politician will point to the ESA and claim, inexplicably, that violent video games are the reason that some obviously troubled individual decided to commit such an unforgivable atrocity.
Contrary to what politicians may try to tell you, there is a limited amount of research on the casual link between playing violent video games and actually being violent. In fact, the American Psychological Association, which issued a controversial statement advocating for a reduction in exposure of violent video games in 2005, has recently decided to review its statement. Conflicting reports exist in regards to exposure to video game violence and a propensity for real world violence. Until definitive research is published, and a consensus about the implications of the research reached, it is premature to assume that video games or any other form of media is responsible for a violent outburst.