Not surprisingly, quite a few media outlets were quick to trot out the familiar old "mass shooter played violent video games" articles in the wake of the Navy Yard shootings in Washington. But the idea that video games are to blame for real-life violence is a "toxic notion," writes Alexander Abad-Santos at Atlantic Wire. It's a "convenient and successful trope" for the media, but there's no actual evidence that violent video games are associated with an increase in violence.
In fact, one study found countries where video game consumption is high tend to be safer; another found that violent crime decreased in the US as video game sales (which were dominated by shooter games) increased; yet another found that most children aren't affected by video game "fantasies." A friend of Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, talking about his video game habit, also noted that Alexis "always had this fear people would steal his stuff so that's why he would carry his gun all the time." Writes Abad-Santos, "Buried underneath that video game theorem is ... a legitimately disturbing fact that seems much more relevant to Monday's horrific shooting than the video games he played." Click for his full column. (Read more Aaron Alexis stories.)