The Instigator
Pro (for)
7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Video games are not a significant factor in mass shootings.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/2/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,693 times Debate No: 30896
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)





Resolution: Video games are not a significant factor in mass shootings.

Video games: any video game, specifically violent ones.

Mass shooting: a shooting where a gunman kills many people in a public place. Think Aurora, Newtown, Columbine, etc.

BOP: I have to argue against the resolution. Con just has to negate my arguments.



I'll accept
Debate Round No. 1


Ave! I'm going to be using some parts of an essay I wrote for school in this debate, just to make it interesting.

Absence of evidence is evidence of absence when evidence is to be expected.
I will be putting forward this axiom for the debate. If P is true, then we should see E. We do not see E, therefore P is probably not true. Our lack of E, therefore, is evidence that P is not true.

This axiom is extremely beneficial to my case. If video games are a significant factor in mass shootings, then we should see evidence of it. If there is no evidence, then video games are probably not a signicant factor in mass shootings.

I claim that there is no evidence to show that video games are a significant factor in mass shootings. The lack of evidence in favor of that idea becomes a positive argument against it. Con must do the following two things.

1) Accept or refute the axion.
2) Show there is evidence that video games are a significant factor in mass shootings.

If Con cannot demonstrate #2, then it follows logically from the axiom that video games are probably not a significant factor in mass shootings.

I understand that the burden of proof is on me to show that video games are not a significant factor in mass shootings. But, if the axiom is true, and Con cannot demonstrate #2, then I have actually made a positive argument in favor of the resolution (no evidence for the idea --> positive case against the idea).[1]

Video games and personality
The American Psychological Association published a press release in 2010 that discussed the current research about video games. It cited research by Dr. Patrick Markey, which ‘’determined that a certain combination of personality traits can help predict which young people will be more adversely affected by violent video games.’’ If this research is true, then the role that the player’s personality has on the consequences of video game use cannot be denied. It’s not the violence in the video game that causes mass shootings or violent crime, but it’s the person who plays the game.[2]

Sandy Hook
The tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary is used as an example of violent video games causing mass shootings. Adam Lanza was a fan of violent video games, and dozens of them were found in the basement he lived in before the shooting took place. However, it’s premature to argue that violent video games motivated Lanza to become a mass shooter.

CBS News published an article on its website called ‘’Newtown shooter motivated by Norway massacre, sources say’’. This article claims that sources from the Connecticut police believe that Adam Lanza’s attack was motivated by violent video games. It is alleged by these sources that each kill represented some type of ‘score’ in the shooters mind. The problem with this argument is that the Connecticut police haven’t actually finished their investigation of Lanza’s motives. In fact, the end of the article mentions a statement by Lt. J. Paul Vance, who states that the investigation is not yet complete and any statements about the motivations of the shooter are only speculation
. [3]

The details of Adam Lanza’s lifestyle before the shooting are well-known to the public. He lived in a basement that was completely isolated from any sources of light or noise, likely because Lanza was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder. He spent all of his day playing violent video games without any human interaction involved. The lack of social interaction that Lanza experienced was probably a
part of his motivation. An article by the NY Daily News talked about how playing video games with other people can increase cooperative behavior and decrease aggression. The other group, which played video games competitively, scored worse in those categories. If he had simply played video games in a different way, then he would have been less aggressive and more cooperative. The problem with Adam Lanza was how he played video games, not the games themselves. [4]

Of course, the research that I brought up in this section could easily apply to any other mass shooting like it.


[2] ‘’Violent Video Games May Increase Aggression in Some But Not Others, Says New Research." Violent Video Games May Increase Aggression in Some But Not Others, Says New Research. American Psychological Association, 7 June 2010. Web. 18 Feb. 2013.

[3] Orr, Bob, and Pat Milton. "Newtown Shooter Motivated by Norway Massacre, Sources Say." CBS News, 18 Feb. 2013. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.

[4] "Do Violent Video Games Boost Aggression? Not Necessarily, Studies Say ." NY Daily News. N.p., 7 Sept. 2012. Web. 18 Feb. 2013.



This is a post from the NY times and I quote, "The young men who opened fire at Columbine High School, at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and in other massacres had this in common: they were video gamers who seemed to be acting out some dark digital fantasy. It was as if all that exposure to computerized violence gave them the idea to go on a rampage " or at least fueled their urges.";

Which shows that they have one thing in common, video games. Which means something could have been triggered inside their minds that could of lead to these unfortunate events. Which makes video games a significant factor for even looking at.

Axion? Do you mean Axiom?
A statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true.
A statement or proposition on which an abstractly defined structure is based.

These studies are the top 25 studies that are one violent video games.

Note not every study says the conclusion is that after playing violent video games teens became more aggressive but others have. Which means in fact that it could play a factor in deciding whether or not video games is indeed a factor in massacres. Pointing out the fact that those massacres brought up they all had in common, they were video gamers.
"Video games and personality- The American Psychological Association published a press release in 2010 that discussed the current research about video games. It cited research by Dr. Patrick Markey, which ""determined that a certain combination of personality traits can help predict which young people will be more adversely affected by violent video games."" If this research is true, then the role that the player"s personality has on the consequences of video game use cannot be denied. It"s not the violence in the video game that causes mass shootings or violent crime, but it"s the person who plays the game.[2]"

So if it triggered something in one whom's personality that led to the massacres themselves then that would make it a starting out point for them to act based on the video game. They were gamers so with that actually being said it's a contradicting statement. It's the person that plays the game but in terms the video game triggered that one personality trait that would make them do that. How does anyone stop someone from becoming more violent? Don't allow them to be around violence. Video games role-play a lot of different things, one of them is violence and in many different ways.

Sandy Hook - Your argument is about video games not being a factor everything you just stated about that suggests it was because of playing violent video games, has a disorder, and lived in a basement. Those are the three main things you suggested and by that being said it proved to be said video games are a part of the factor that lead to this tragedy.

Keep going though, your disproving your own case.
Debate Round No. 2



TD wrote his arguments in barely comprehensible English, so I'm going to have to take guesses at what he's trying to say.

NY Times Article
TD_Cole gives us no actual evidence when he quotes this article. He simply quotes the author, who thinks the shooters were acting out video games. We're presented no actual reason to think that this is the case. It's only a bare assertion.

Why would we think that the shoters were acting out a video game? We're never told. This argument is complete bunk, because there's no evidence given.

It's silly to suggest that since all the shooters played video games, they must have been a factor. All of the shooters also breathed air and drank water. Would we consider these to be factors in the shooting as well?

Of course, the article talks about various psychologists views on the issue, but not a single person or study on that article takes TD's side.

It should be obvious that the Columbine shooters weren't acting out on some type of video game fantasy. The evidence resoundingly supports the idea that the shooting happened because Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold wanted revenge on the students at their school, particulary the jocks. Consider what Eric Harris said after entering the library during the shooting:

"Everyone with white hats, stand up! This is for all the s$$$ that you've given us for the past four years!" and: "All jocks stand up! We'll get the guys in white hats!" [Wearing a white hat was a jock tradition at the school]

From this, we can deduce that they wanted to kill the jocks, and that the jocks had 'given them s$$$ for the past four years'. The two shooters must have been bullied by the jocks at the school for their entire high school life, and wanted to take revenge on them. They didn't kill the jocks because it was in their video game. They killed the jocks because they hated them. The latter explanation is far more plausible.

Studies on Video Games
TD_Cole gives us a link to various studies done on video games. At most, it shows us that there's a lack of consensus on the effects of playing video games. Not a single one of those studies had anything to do with the idea that mass shootings are caused by violent video games. How could this possibly prove his case to be true? It's irrelevant to the resolution.

APA Research
Nothing was 'triggered' in anybody's personality from playing video games. I'm at a loss as to how TD_Cole interpreted the press release as saying that. The research shows that the personaltiy of the player effects the consequences of video game playing. If video games had any consequence, it's because of the person's personality. That's shaped by various sociological and biological factors, so there's no way that video game use had anything to do with it.

Sandy Hook
I didn't, at any point, suggest that video games were a factor in the Sandy Hook shooting. I showed that blaming video games for Sandy Hook would be premature, because his motives are still being investigated. I also cited research which demonstrates that Lanza would be less likely to perform a shooting if he played video games in a certain way. How does TD_Cole interpret this as me admitting that video games were a factor?

If TD_Cole thinks that violent video games caused Sandy Hook, then he should provide evidence for it. All we've seen in this debate are good reasons to think that blaming video games would be premature.

TD_Cole doesn't say anything significant about the axiom I presented. Rather than accept it or rebutt it, he just gives the definition of the word 'axiom', as if had anything to do with the argument. The axiom has not been answered to, so I extend it.

Abscene of evidence is evidence of abscene when evidence can be expected. There is no evidence that violent video games influence mass shootings, so that becomes a positive case against that idea. Ergo, we have a positive case in favor of the resolution based off TU_Cole's inability to present evidence.




The link the author put in the NYTIMES states they played video games. Whichs brings it into the fact that video games is something all these men shared. That creates a link to massacres. When a serial killer murders, he has a signature way of doing it. Something in his mind triggers the way he wants to prey on his victims. Same with rapists, they usually go for a certain type of woman may it be single mothers, blonde hair and blue eyes. These are called links. They link these into the investigation process to tell forth if the same person is behind these string of crimes. Why can't we link video games to this? They were all gamers. The only major fact about this is that they were. If they weren't gamers then video games would not be a factor in these massacres. It wouldn't even be acknoledged this vividly that even one might of played video games. Which suggests the fact that video games are a factor.

Sandy Hook - If it's not a factor, why is it being discussed. Why would it be premature to start out with video games be the cause, if not in fact video games were not a factor.

Why are we investing so much time in video game violence to determine if it is potentially a cause if it isn't even remotely a factor. The link to all the massacres indeed is video games. You want to talk about irrelevant, breathing air and drinking water is really irrevelent to any point being made. Although both could be contaminated and distrought the human mind in ways, 1 person murders someone and can be linked to all murders via he breathes air and the murderer obviously did too.

The studies I provided, showed that video games after being played makes teens act out more aggressively. Although not every teen went the same way. Thus proving the fact that video games could be a major factor when coming to these massacres. What's more aggressive behavior than a person that massacred people.

The Columbine shooting.

"They weren't goths or loners.
"The two teenagers who killed 13 people and themselves at suburban Denver's Columbine High School 10 years ago next week weren't in the "Trenchcoat Mafia," disaffected videogamers who wore cowboy dusters. The killings ignited a national debate over bullying, but the record now shows Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold hadn't been bullied " in fact, they had bragged in diaries about picking on freshmen and "Gay." "

In this quote I had to change the last part that says gay, the real word in this quote is not allowed in debate because it is a profanity. But the real word is a 3 letter word that starts with the letter 'F' and it was plural so add a 'S' on the end. A three letter word for cigarette.

Really, they were being bullied or they were the bullies? They bragged in diaries that they were not being bullied themselves but in fact bullied others. Although it says video games weren't the lead to it, neither was bullying. But this is just one massacre for the record. It also states the fact they weren't addicted to video games which contrasts to other shooting that the guy spent most of his time with violent video games which could link the fact that it played a factor of this.
"These two studies, plus other research on video game violence ? all point in the same direction," researcher Craig A. Anderson, PhD, from Iowa State University, tells WebMD. "It's a direction that's not unexpected, because the effects of playing violent video games look to be very similar to the effects of lots of exposure to violent TV. Basically, kids who play a lot of violent video games are at risk for becoming more violent people."
Kids who play violent video games are at risk for becoming more violent people. Kids who watch violent TV are more at risk for becoming more violent people. This suggests exposure to violence makes it more of a risk that a person will become more violent. That's why not a lot of parents let their children watch violent tv or play violent video games.
So with that being said, video games can't be a factor for violence actions? I know we aren't talking violent actions in general but I ask you what is more violent then a massacre? What is more violent then terriorism? What is more violent then these things?

Key factor: They played video games, it's what they are all linked to. May it being not just a fantasy being played out, they could of had the idea for how they did it from a video game.

How many gun's can the average person name without using knowledge of a video game. I for one can't name many. But with video games such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, I can name a lot. Although I never studied myself to see if I act out more aggressively. The violent video games fills the mind with ideas. How can you successfully shoot and kill your opponent and get better at that via Multi-player shooting games.

Another way to tie it. Is that video games are proven to help hand eye coordination. How could they hit so many people without knowing how to use a weapon? I don't see any knowledge that these men in the shootings show that they had real life acknowledgement of using a weapon. But yet they hit people and killed them. That takes accuracy and precision. Where did they learn these techniques? Most likely Violent video games. More specifically, Shooting video games.
Debate Round No. 3



Even if Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold wrote about bullying other people, it says nothing about whether they themselves were bullied or not. People can bully other people and be bullied themselves. TD_Cole gives us no reason to think that this isn't possible. His argumentation is severely flawed.

Do video games lead to violence in youth?

In this round, TD_Cole brings up reasearch from Iowa State Universit to try and show that video games lead to violence and violent acts in youth. This idea is overtly false.

The Boston News published an article by Jim Morrison called ‘’Local law enforcement officials see drop in juvenile crime’’. This article discusses the decline in juvenile crime in Massachusetts, and how the decline correlates with the FBI’s nationwide crime reports. Last year, over two hundred million video games were sold. If video games cause youth violence, then why is youth violence declining, as the number of video games bought increases? [1]

Jon Katz lucidly articulates this view in the book ‘’Crime and Criminals’’. He writes, ‘’If Bok’s right, why do FBI statistics show violence among the youth plummeting to its lowest level since Prohibition, while violence imagery in media has indeed been increasing, along with cable programming and usage, movie attendance, and the advent of the net?’’. (2001) [2]

70% of U.S. households play video games (Crum 2013). If video games truly lead to violent acts, then we should be expecting some type of apocalypse with such a high number. Instead, youth violence is declining as more people start to play video games every year. Where is the increase in violence among youth? Nowhere, because video games are not a cause. [3]

The research discussed in the NY Daily News is also interesting when it comes to youth violence. Consider the fact that millions of teenagers hang out with their friends and play popular games like Halo and Call of Duty. If playing video games with your friends leads to increase cooperativeness and decreased aggression, then video games are actually making youth less likely to be violent.

Gun Training
TD gives us a very weak argument. Video games teach people to use guns because they increase hand-eye coordination? Putting aside the fact that the link between improved H/I coordinaton and video games is not solid, it's a non-sequitur to suggest that this would also teach somebody how to fire a weapon.

He also suggets that video games put ideas into people's heads that cause them to perpetrate mass shootings. He doesn't give any evidence for this. Using Hitchen's razor, that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. [4]


[1] Morrison, Jim. "Local Law Enforcement Officials See Drop in Juvenile Crime." N.p., n.d. Web.

[2] Katz, Jon. Crime and Criminals. San Diego: Greenhouse, 2000. Print

[3] Crum, Chris. "WebProNews - Breaking News in Tech, Search, Social, & Business." WebProNews - Breaking News in Tech, Search, Social, & Business. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2013.




See here's the thing that my opponent fails to realize. Note: not everyone takes everything the same way. Which the studies I pointed out in the first round the Top 25 studies on video game violence. Some teenagers responded with more violent acts of aggression. Some didn't. This suggests that some are more mature and handle it better than others. These men are the ones that are exposed to it and somehow, bam, a massacre happened.

Many examples will prove it. Most people in today's era find Opera music boring, but there is a few that see's it as beautiful. It may make some sleepy and confused but to others it gets their adrenaline up. Some music make you feel certain ways, test yourself on that before you decide to vote. See if the music makes you feel certain ways and acts certain ways. If music and other things can influence people on their actions. Why can't video games? Why are video games not a factor in this what so ever? This is completely hearsay that this must not be true via they are still studying this. That would mean it is a factor.

If video games were not a factor in mass shootings, than I ask this one very, very simple question. Why mention it to so many cases? This would be trivial to these people's actions yet they investigate it. So how is it even a factor? Why are we even debating on the fact? What does my opponent bring up sources that link video games to the massacres but can't seem to find one that doesn't slightly mention the idea that it is a factor? Which cancels out the point making it's not a factor. If it wasn't there would be a credited source that would not place video games in the matter at all, but simply based upon what ever the person that wrote it his theory alone not even cancelling it out if it was not a factor.


1. If it's not a factor with the massacres, why is it mentioned in so many articles?

2. If it's not a factor then why after 30 years at least of studying it, it's continuing to be studied.

3. Video games: primarily shooting games, shows how to load, aim, shoot, and reload a gun. Find one that doesn't.

4. Other than researching this themselves how to use a weapon which there has been nothing said about what's the other way to gain knowledge how to use a weapon? Shooting games. Which is a genre of video games.

5. Actors have inspired people to become actors. Boxing has inspired people to become boxers. Musicians have inspired people to become musicians. Etc. So why can't shooting games inspire people to shoot other people?
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by bladerunner060 4 years ago
See, now, I begin to suspect some trollery. AxioN would not have made sense in that sentence. You can't "accept or reject" an axioN, or at least it wouldn't have made sense to do so in this context (I suppose one could say one rejects the hypothetical particle, but that wouldn't have made sense considering this debate). The sentence was clearly supposed to have AxioM in it.

Your poor grammar and sentence structure aside, i might have believed you if you hadn't thrown in the "common sense" crack. And you still don't seem to grasp the difference between showing correlation and showing causation. You don't have "point [the difference] out", you had an opportunity to show causation and you did not, and your correlation was weak at best. Remember that there are literally millions of video gamers who are NOT mass shooters. In fact, the overwhelming majority of middle-class-and-up kids play video games, and the overwhelming majority of games that are played are violent.
Posted by TD_Cole 4 years ago
No, You have mistaken the Axion thing. That was genuine, I have not heard that word used before so I was making sure that's what my opponent men't. But okay that's comparing food for instance, "Breakfast food" is suppose to stimulate your brain right? Water could be contaminated causing brain trauma. So could the air you breath. I thought that would have been clear. But the point being, They are all linked to video games specifically is the point I was making. Yeah you could argue that well they all showered, they all ate and drank and breathed air too. But there is a difference to that. If you want me to point that out I would be happy to. Not to sway anyone, just to give insight on that one. Sorry, I figured more people had common sense.

Thanks for the insight though. Deeply appreciated and I will use that in other debates.
Posted by bladerunner060 4 years ago
S&G for obvious reasons.

Pro's arguments were considerably better, pointing out that the link of causality necessary to establish Con's position is missing. Con should really work on understanding how correlation and causation relate (or don't, as the case may be). "They all ate food, therefore food was a significant factor in mass shootings" is not a compelling argument. Con should also learn how to evaluate the claims of his sources.

On that note, sources because of Con's use of that NYT article.

Conduct to Pro because on reread the Axion/Axiom thing was really uncalled for. There was a certain degree of snark on both sides, and for the typo a snarky comment wouldn't have been quite enough to tip the scales, but when I reread it that really stood out.

Con, the closest you came to making a case was with your statistics, however, even if taken wholesale exactly as you would presented them as, an increase in aggression is not a mass shooting. And as I said, your conduct was just enough for me to give the points to Pro.

However, I think it's good that you challenged yourself!
Posted by TD_Cole 4 years ago
Correction: agrees with pro.
Posted by TD_Cole 4 years ago
Even though my view point agree's with con, I tried my best to disprove it isn't a factor. Great debate to you, it was very challenging.
Posted by alpha3031 4 years ago
course not
Posted by JeremyMcNamee 4 years ago
It will be tough because "significant" has different meanings to different people. I wouldn't take this anyway because I think video games have nothing to do with mass shootings anyway.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 4 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Edited. See comments for RFD.