Last week, a male teenage attacker in Munich went on a shooting rampage and shot 35 people and 9 of them died. His gun had more than 300 bullets in it and seven of the people killed were only teenagers. News sources report that the gunman researched how to carry out the shooting for over a year. The head of the criminal police department indicated that the gunman was a devoted player of first person shooter video games including “Counter-Strike.” They discovered that he illegally purchased the gun through the web and there has been documentation released that the shooter lived with mental illness including anxiety and depression. In 2015, he was treated in an inpatient mental care facility and had since been treated on an outpatient basis. He was said to have had fears of contact with others. (1)
It’s fun shooting the bad guys on video games, right? Acting out violence in a video game isn’t technically real, but when young people start devoting hours and days at a time playing violent video games and acting out real shootings, they can become desensitized and become numb to it. Combine this with depression, a fear of social situations, and anxiety, realities can become twisted and people can become aggressive in real life.
Horrendous acts of gun violence happen daily in our world and it’s becoming more and more common. Sandy Hook Elementary, the New Mexico teenage killer that murdered his family, and now the Munich shooting are just some of the examples of shooters that were mentally ill video game addicts that took their addiction to a new level by acting it out in real life. Still, researchers are not able to link video game violence to real life violence, but we ask the question: if a person spends hours memorizing how to load weapons, aim, and fire them at another person in a very realistic video game environment, how can that not influence how a person acts when the screen is turned off?
Violent video games, television shows, and movies can become addictive if they are used in excess. There is a way to break free of the cycle of craving more games and more screen violence. If you or someone you know struggles with game addiction, pornography addiction, or technology addiction as a whole, seek help right away. Read more at realbattle.org/resources/
- Hume, Tim. “Munich gunman played violent video games, had mental illness, officials say.” CNN. July 24, 2016. Accessed online July 24, 2016. http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/24/europe/germany-munich-shooting/