Are police officers being told a whopper about the potential effects of video games on violent crime?
Could be, according to Wired News. Author John Lasker looks at the work of David Grossman, author, retired Army Ranger, West Point graduate and psychologist. These days Grossman spends much of his time on the lecture circuit, giving presentations to law enforcement personnel.
According to Wired, one of Grossman's primary messages is, "Violent media and video games are the largest single threat to modern civilization."
Like some other critics, Grossman terms first-person shooters "murder simulators" which desensitize players to violence and also make them better marksmen.
Grossman's message appears to be resonating with at least some in the law enforcement community. David Hiller, national vice president for the Fraternal Order of Police, told Lasker, "Are we cognizant that these games are out there and they have a big influence over our youth? Absolutely. Remember, these kids are being rewarded for pulling the trigger and killing people."
However, Thomas J. Aveni, co-founder of the Police Policy Studies Council, believes Grossman misses the mark when it comes to games.
"He does perpetuate misconceptions among police. " said Aveni, who added that the real causes of violence are upbringing, poverty and other social factors.
"The vast majority of violent felony crimes ... are being committed by inner-city youths who don't have an Xbox, meaning they haven't been conditioned by violent video games," said Aveni, who was turned down in a debate challenge to Grossman.
He should reconsider much of what he disseminates in the law enforcement community during the last 10 years because at best, much of what he has disseminated is of dubious value, and at worst (it's) potentially harmful," Aveni said.