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Post Column: Video-game violence obviously the country's biggest threat

Folks, I know this is a humor column, but I want to take this time to talk to you about a serious subject. You’re all aware of the tragedy that happened during winter break: the senseless, horrific murder of 27 innocent people, including 20 children, in Newtown, Conn. Some humorists believe that it’s never too soon to joke about any subject, but I believe that if anything in this world is untouchable, the mass murder of schoolchildren has got to be it. There’s nothing funny about what happened in Sandy Hook, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise.

What the Sandy Hook incident did do, however, is spark a national discussion about the causes and factors behind such terrible incidents. While nobody would suggest that the killer himself isn’t the primary culprit, it’s important for us to identify what aspects of our culture might have influenced him to do what he did — and what we can do to change them. A lot of accusations have been thrown around, but only Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association, has had the courage to identify the real monsters in this scenario: “vicious, violent video games.”

As accurate as it is alliterative, LaPierre’s statement hits the nail on the head. After all, what ulterior motive could he possibly have for attacking the video-game industry, or the government, or the mentally ill? I stand behind LaPierre completely: It’s time we start putting down the hammer on violent video games, violent movies, and absolutely nothing else.

Naturally, sensible requests for regulation on the video-game industry have met resistance from its stubborn supporters. This past Saturday, they hosted “Violent Video Game Appreciation Day,” during which five people were witlessly wounded by their own Wii Remotes. Neither the irony nor the alliterative appeal was lost on this columnist, I assure you!

Still need proof? Just last week, a young man in Michigan killed 17 people, including his own family, with a used copy of Cooking Mama 2: Dinner With Friends. Pro-video-game zealots rant about their “constitutional rights” and “freedom of speech,” but is the “right” to play a relaxing Japanese cooking simulator worth all the blood and death it carries as its price? I put it to you that it is not! It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that we’re sacrificing the lives of children in the name of a 200-year-old Amendment, unless it’s the 2nd, in which case it’s fine.

Even worse than the Founding Father fanboys, however, are the paranoid conspiracy theorists who believe they need violent video games in case of a hostile government takeover.

“The ice spells I learned in Skyrim are the only means I have of protecting my family!” they whine. “A crit-boosted populace is the best defense against tyranny!”

To listen to these frightened Lemmings, the only thing standing between them and total anarchy is that copy of Wind Waker they keep locked up in the den. Laughable, isn’t it?

To get a sense of the damage that violent video games do, all one has to do is take a glance outside our own borders. Japan, for example, boasts some of the most gratuitously violent games and movies on Earth today, and their violent homicide rate reflects this, at a staggering rate of ... 0.4 per 100,000 people. OK, that statistic doesn’t really help my argument at all, so in this next paragraph I’m going to stop trying to use facts and go back to bold, fiery language.

It is absolutely imperative that we as a nation come together to strike at the root of this problem. To prevent yet another senseless massacre, our only clear choice is to regulate, if not outright ban, the sale of violent video games — games that glorify the horrific use of weapons devised for the sole purpose of military-grade human slaughter.

Oh, but — not the actual weapons themselves, obviously! God, no. Man, I just realized how bad that sounded. I mean, come on, that would just be silly!

Ryan McAndrews is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University and a columnist for The Post. Send him your thoughts at rm287608@ohiou.edu.

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