This is the age of video violence

Returning from a vacation in Southwest Florida, I missed President Donald Trump’s speech in which he offered a bowlful of leftover porridge to the families of the victims in El Paso and Dayton. When I endured three minutes before switching the YouTube station to a SZA track, I noted again the president’s talent for reading Teleprompters as if reciting hostage demands. Any proposal to curtail the availability of guns, he — there’s no other word — warned, must be tied to immigration blah blah the WALL BUILD IT etc. This way when the effort expires he can blame the Democrats. Oh: also Dungeons & Dragons or something. The political courage staggered me.

Paul Campos assembles a list of theories explaining the spate of mass shootings since 2010, from which I’ve isolated a couple:

Potential mass killers have extraordinarily easy access to weapons of mass destruction. The Dayton shooter shot 36 people in about 30 seconds before he was killed by police who happened to be patrolling just a few steps from where he opened fire. They have access to these weapons because the Republican party considers episodic mass public slaughter via assault weapons to be an acceptable price to pay to ensure that wealthy people and corporations enjoy lower tax rates.

(4) American men are brought up to think that killing people is the epitome of what it means to be a man. Almost without exception mass killers are always men, who are among other things are performing their masculine identity via the quintessentially male act of killing a lot of people all at once.

Study the first proposal’s second sentence. In 2008, Barack Obama got pilloried for saying small town Pennsylvanians cling to guns and religion when their leaders fail them. To suggest that guns are the opiate of the masses while the GOP satraps enjoy their lower taxes and the rest of us get screwed is far-fetched in what way exactly?

In my limited experience with video games and the people who play them, I suspect that like most subsets the games coax out the pathology. Video games aren’t Cheetos.

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