Following the Munich shootings, when Ali David Sonboly opened fire on people in Munich, killing nine and injuring 35, before committing suicide, the German TV station, ProSieben MAXX decided to not broadcast the upcoming ELEAGUE matches, due to the violent nature of Counter-Strike.
Germany is a country with some of the strictest video game censorship laws. Some games are simply banned or have sections of them changed to make them less violent, removing blood altogether, for example. Some games must be changed considerably in order to become available in the country.
If something like this happened in a country with such strict censorship, could it be, perhaps, that video games are just a convenient scapegoat to avoid talking about real problems? For some reason, when a school shooting happens, every pundit has a knee-jerk reaction, blaming computer games, only for the information to come out later that the perpetrator was bullied for several years, or that he was diagnosed with mental health issues.
According to reports, the shooter was a fan of violent video games, like Counter-Strike. On the other hand, he has also been reportedly bullied for seven years, as well as receiving treatment for depression and other mental conditions. Without even mentioning the fact that he threatened to kill people and seemed to be fascinated with mass shooters, Anders Behring Breivik, especially.
Now, I’m not saying violent video games don’t have absolutely anything to do with mass shootings. They can provide a medium to plan what you’re going to do, while also desensitizing the person on the matter of violence. There is a very big difference between keeping your left mouse button pressed to shoot at CTs and holding down the trigger to shoot panicking bystanders in real life, with live ammo.
With that said, shooters can also act as a helpful tool to channel violent urges towards something that doesn’t hurt others. Some people, who have violent urges, but are wholly decent in their core can imprint on their in-game characters and find relief by shooting some other guy in-game. For some people, whose thirst for blood is rooted much deeper, overwhelming their moral compass, this will not be enough. They WILL do something, no matter if they play violent video games or not.
Evil and violent people, full of anger towards the world, and no moral compass to stay their hand, existed before video games were invented. Some of them even came from Germany. Or any other country, because this is universal. This can only be stopped by proper attention to mental health and serious treatment at community level of any warning signs exhibited by your neighbor, schoolmate or anyone else you may know. While video games might have a slight part to play in this matter, they pale in comparison to the other issues. With that said, pulling ELEAGUE from German TV was a knee-jerk reaction, showing unwillingness to talk about the real issues.