Gamers Say #VideoGamesAreNotToBlame After Criticism From Trump In Wake Of Mass Shootings

The gamer community is firing back with a #VideoGamesAreNotToBlame hashtag after President Donald Trump blamed America's latest mass shootings on video games, mental illness and social media, after 31 people died in attacks in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend.

President Trump announced plans on Monday to try to deal with the problem, including working with social media companies to detect "mass shooters" before they attack. The president stopped short of calling for gun reform and instead focused on mental health support, saying: "Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger - not the gun."

He then criticized the role of "gruesome video games" in brief remarks from the White House after the massacres:

"We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately."

In immediate backlash from this comment, a graph created by Vox News has been widely shared debunking this claim:

Aurora Bubbaloo tweeted, "I've made a lot of amazing friends thanks to video games. I've played since I could hold a controller and it has helped me be more social, confident, and happy. Never in my life have I felt the need to be violent towards others. Politicians, do your job. #VideogamesAreNotToBlame"

Trump wasn't the only politician focused on video games in the wake of the recent gun violence. Over the weekend, conservative lawmakers, including the lieutenant governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, also suggested that violent video games were to blame for real-world violence.

"We've always had guns, always had evil, but I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill," Patrick said on Fox and Friends on Sunday morning.

Researchers told NBC News on Tuesday there is no evidence that violent video games encourage violence in real life. A 2019 study from Oxford University found no link between violence and video game usage, and another study from 2018 that also found no evidence to support the theory. Studies in 2016 and 2015 also failed to find evidence that video games spurred violence, and researchers even noticed signs that crime may be reduced by violent games.

Video Game controller
A PS4 controller as players practice during day one of the 2019 ePremier League Finals at Gfinity Arena on March 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

"There's absolutely no causal evidence that violent video game play leads to aggression in the real world," Andrew Przybylski said to NBC — a researcher at Oxford University who studies the psychological effects of video games, and co-authored that 2019 study.

Gaming stocks tanked on Monday after Trump linked "gruesome and grisly" video games to mass shootings, according to Business Insider. The "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard dropped 6 percent and the Grand Theft Auto studio Take-Two Interactive dropped 5 percent.

The number of mass shootings in the US this year is 251, according to a widely quoted definition that categorizes a mass shooting as an incident where four people are shot (either wounded or killed).

Gamers Say #VideoGamesAreNotToBlame After Criticism From Trump In Wake Of Mass Shootings | Culture