Violent video games can put gamers' mental illnesses or predilection to violence "over the edge," warns Connecticut senator

By Ural Garrett , Updated Jun 26, 2013 09:00 PM EDT
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The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which took the lives of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn. led to a discussion of violent video games following the conflicting revelation of shooter Adam Lanza's gaming habits. According to reports, Lanza used video games to form a strategy during his attack.

One of the actions taken by US President Barack Obama alongside gun control legislation introduction, was ordering the allocation of $10 million to research video game's relationship with real-world violence.

Supporting the measure is Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) who spoke with GameSpot as to why he (among other politicians) chose to may video games the main argument for gun violence. During a Google Hangout session, he mentioned that gamers who play extremely violent video games with mental illnesses are more prone to violence.

"Obviously, this is a very sensitive issue in Connecticut. Newtown is still in crisis," said Murphy. "Not enough healing going on there in the wake of the murder of 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. And you know, what we know are the facts about the crime. What we know is that this young man, deeply mentally ill walking the school with an assault weapon armed with 30-round magazines. What we know is that he was very, very severely mentally ill; that his mother had been trying to get him help for years. And what we also know is that he spent a lot of time playing violent video games."

Murphy believes that "legitimate studies" will finally answer the question of if video game violence causes real world violence. 

"What we admittedly don't have....is any peer-reviewed studies or research that tell us hat there is a definitive link between exposure to violent video games and violence," Murphy said. 

In May, a report in an issue of Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine found that longtime exposure to violent video games can desensitize teams. However, Forbes sited Ph.D candidate Paul Adachi in finding that aggressive behavior stems from competition. Vice President Joe Biden alluded to possibly taxing violent videos around the same time. 

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