Are Guns Really the Problem?

Gun Violence ChartIn the wake of the Connecticut school shooting this week, our hearts grieve for the victims. But unfortunately we have to grieve into one hand and stay alert with the other. This tragedy is, as we all expected it would, becoming yet another exploitative attack on our freedom as Americans. Increased violence is the excuse for needing reduced freedom. But is it actually true? That’s my question.

Video Games and TV change our perspective on reality

Video games and violence on television may play a huge roll in our cultural perspective. But maybe not in the way we would think.

I have long held the position that watching violence on our various forms of media does not contribute significantly to actual violent actions of a person. This, of course, is a pretty broad statement that can probably be proven false in particular isolated instances, but on the whole, violence on TV doesn’t turn people into killers.

But I have a new theory that I’m thinking about lately. Perhaps violence in television and video games IS dangerous, but not for the reasons we all think. Dangerous, not because it actually makes us violent, but because it drastically inflates our perception of the violence in our society.

Violence in America isn’t as bad as we thought

If we are consistently watching shows like CSI, Bones, 24, Fringe, Hawaii 5-0, and the like, we are going to be exposed to literally thousands of fake, but seeming realistic, killings and murder scenes per season than we otherwise would. Video games are even worse. One 5 minute game of Modern Warfare or Call of Duty on the xbox can expose us to hundreds of killings that we otherwise would not have seen.

In light of the chart below, using data provided by the CDC and FBI websites, I’m shocked at how little gun related deaths there really are in this country. When I first ran the calculations, I thought “surely this isn’t right”. But I’ve check my numbers several times now, and I keep coming out with the same results.

Perhaps our perception of gun violence is inflated way beyond reality. And, just thinking out loud, perhaps our lawmakers intend to use that to their advantage. What do you think?

Gun Violence Chart