CBS News: Gun Violence and Violent Video Games

Ali Mattu, CBS News, 48 Hours

On the CBS News 48 Hours episode "Shadow of Death", I was invited to discuss gun violence and the impact of violent video games. You can watch the episode in its entirety here.

CBS News also provided me with the opportunity to write about this issue. Here's an excerpt from my article on the causes of gun violence:

There is no one factor that leads to lethal violence. Focusing only on mental health discounts the impact family, friends, and local communities have on gun violence. Substance abuse, poverty, a history of violence, and access to guns are much better predictors of violence than mental illness, according to a review published in the American Journal of Public Health. Mental illness can lead to suicide, but on its own it does not lead to homicide.

The same is true for video games. While violent video games can increase vulnerability to aggression, they do not cause violence, according to an American Psychological Association task force report. Video games have become the chosen form of entertainment for generations around the world. Most live their lives without any interference from video games.

Throughout all these tragic stories of gun violence, there was a window of time in which something could have been done. As our country remains divided on the issue of guns and violence, our best hope at saving lives remains early identification of those who are most at risk of committing violence. Focusing only on mental health and video games is scientifically inaccurate and makes us vulnerable to missing another opportunity to stop a killer.