“He did it!” Any time something goes wrong, people love to put the blame on something else. You smashed your mom’s favorite vase? Your brother did it. You made a mistake at work? It was the new guy’s fault. You were caught breaking into CIA headquarters to try to find the whereabouts of Area 51? The raccoon pressured you into it. So when it comes to serious situations like in the middle of a conflict, you would think reporters would steer clear of the “blame game” since there’s usually no proof to back up these types of claims right? Wrong.
Fox News reported the findings of an investigative organization known as WikiLeaks, who got a hold of a classified military video of US armed forces opening fire on civilians, taking the lives of more than twenty-five Iraqis. The video is footage taken from two of the Apache helicopters that participated in the gunfire in New Baghdad on July 12, 2007.
The video is not for the faint of heart, it is graphic and disturbing. This type of news is something everyone should be aware of, but the main reason this incident is being covered here is because of the statements made on Monday by the journalist who leaked the video to Washington. According to Fox News, Julian Assange states, The behavior of the pilots is like theyre playing a video game. Its like they want to get high-scores in that computer game.
As small as these comments are, they do strike a chord with gamers. Video games are constantly being blamed for the some of the violence that happens around the world. There are many people out there who believe that children are taking the games they play too seriously and are growing up with warped mindsets and aggressive attitudes.
Statements like Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards followed by “Nice!” uttered by the soldiers while flying overheard doesn’t help either; this type of speech is quite cold and upsetting. With games like Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Modern Warfare 2, which aim for realistic combat simulation, the comparison may be understandable. But to foolishly put a declaration like that out there is really not justified. If there is a connection between virtual violence and the disheartening event that occurred here, it will never be determined.
What can be seen here is society’s constant criticism on games being too violent, and believing people will blindly reenact what they play. With comments like Assange’s, there exists the assumption that video games are somehow the cause of the behaviors similar to those of these soldiers. There seems to be a fear of this ‘epidemic’ continuing to happen.
Come on, give us gamers some credit. The vast majority of us know the difference between fiction and reality, and many other factors must be taken in account to comprehend why these people acted in the manner that they did. I never hear anyone talking about going to capture wild animals after playing a few hours of Pokemon, so let’s try to hold off on certain comments from now on. What happened was tragic, but let’s not try to start something irrelevant from it.