Yet again, there’s no evidence cited to support these claims. You can assert that mental health professionals are wrong; in fairness, that sort of thing went on at Carneal’s trial where prosecution and defense psychologists refuted one another. But if you cite no actual evidence, no one is under any obligation to believe your claims. As such, we are under no obligation to believe Walsh’s claims about chemical imbalances. The worst part of this is that if I were in agreement with claims that video games encourage this sort of behavior, I’d be infuriated that the point is so badly argued in this instance.
But the failure to cite or understand evidence isn’t confined to the sections of Walsh’s article with which we’ve already dealt. There’s still the matter of Clive Thompson of Wired Magazine. First, let me clear up some ambiguities. No, you did not miss a CNN special report detailing Thompson’s shooting spree on a school campus because such a thing never happened. As such, he’s not a case study in violence like the school shooters listed elsewhere in the article. Instead, an article he wrote for Wired is the object of Walsh and, by extension, LaRouche’s attacks. The section on Thompson opens thus:
“On Nov. 5, 2007, degenerate writer Clive Thompson supplied clinical evidence to support the charge by Lyndon LaRouche that, the intended end-game of computer games is to drive the player to suicide. In addition, he provided clinical evidence that it is an obvious intention of certain institutions to popularize this cult of death, in the United States and Western Europe.”
And what is the clinical evidence, you may ask? You can read the rest of Walsh’s article and how he quotes Thompson, or you can read Thompson’s article yourself. I suggest reading Thompson’s article, as he makes some very interesting points. Specifically, that he’s a very bad Halo 3 player and, as a result, he can only adopt suicide tactics that mimic the techniques of suicide bombers in order to ever get any score in the game at all.
“Oh great,” I can hear some of you muttering. “Now Clive has gone and done it. We’ll all be labeled as junior suicide bombers now. Thanks, Clive!” But hold on for a moment. That’s not all he says. He also says:
“I do not mean, of course, to trivialize the ghastly, horrific impact of real-life suicide bombing. Nor do I mean to gloss over the incredible complexity of the real-life personal, geopolitical and spiritual reasons why suicide bombers are willing to kill themselves. These are all impossibly more nuanced and perverse than what’s happening inside a trifling, low-stakes videogame.”
And, more tellingly:
“I’m an adult, with a job and wife and kid, so I get maybe an hour with Halo on a good day. I wind up sucking far, far more than most other Halo 3 players, and despite the best attempts of Xbox Live to match me up with similarly lame players, I usually wind up at the bottom of my group’s rankings — stumbling haplessly about while getting slaughtered over and over again.”
Hmmm, let’s see now. Thompson has never killed anyone. He has a job. He’s married. He has kids. He’s an adult. And he is, by his own admission, a crappy player of Halo 3 because he actually has (gasp!) a life outside of games. How does this provide clinical proof of video games promoting violence?
Return to the Adrenaline Vault on Friday to read the final installment in this three-part series.