bit-gamer.net

Stephen King defends video games

Stephen King defends video games

Stephen King has spoken out on the violence in video games debate, siding with the side of common sense.

In a piece written for American magazine Entertainment Weekly, horror novelist Stephen King has slammed American politicians for avoiding the real issues around the violence and video games debate.

King, who has been one of the most popular horror novelists in the world for four decades and who has had his novels such as The Shining, Cujo and The Shawshank Redemption adapted for the screen, points out that the real issue isn't the games, but the criminals themselves. King rightly points out that in America, a 17-year old can see films like Hostel and Saw (or even Cujo, which is frankly terrifying) but would only be dangerous if they played Grand Theft Auto.

Using the magazine as a platform for a piece titled Video Game Lunacy, King says that the problem isn't that children are playing violent games, but that children are able to access weapons.

"It was too easy for critics to claim — falsely, it turned out — that Cho Seung-Hui (the Virginia Tech killer) was a fan of Counter-Strike; I just wish to God that legislators were as eager to point out that this nutball had no problem obtaining a 9mm semiautomatic handgun," writes King.

"Cho used it in a rampage that resulted in the murder of 32 people. If he'd been stuck with nothing but a plastic videogame gun, he wouldn't even have been able to kill himself."

The article as a whole is very much worth a read, so drop your thoughts in the forums and let us know what you think.

30 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
liratheal 7th April 2008, 12:10 Quote
Holy hell.

Some common sense?!

Perhaps there is merit to his crazy guy after all.
will. 7th April 2008, 12:16 Quote
This makes up for the 2 hours wasted watching that film about aliens in peoples arses.
Shadow_101 7th April 2008, 12:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by will.
This makes up for the 2 hours wasted watching that film about aliens in peoples arses.


I vaguely remember that film, dream catcher it was called or something?
cjoyce1980 7th April 2008, 12:58 Quote
I the uk they dont blame it on games when they have been a gang shooting. there shocked that they have been able to get a gun in the first place

no NRA, no gun crime..... at least stephen king shows that there is one american with a brain
Mentai 7th April 2008, 13:06 Quote
Yeah but Canada and Switzerland don't have (much) gun crime either, and their laws are similar to the US.
DougEdey 7th April 2008, 13:20 Quote
I think it's more down to the news.

UK: Danger everywhere!
Canada: Danger everywhere else!
Switzerland: We're fine!
US: That guy on your left wants to rape your children, sell pictures, murder you, torture your wife and then steal your stuff! Oh and everything you eat/drink will kill you!
Tyrmot 7th April 2008, 13:26 Quote
But Canada and Switzerland have very low-density and relatively non-urbanised populations.. Gun crime is more of a problem in large cities with higher poverty levels (again, not so prevalent in Can & Swi).

It is laughably hypocritical of the people who criticise games and not the crazy gun ownership laws in the USA.
To America: George III is long gone and we have no interest in invading your country - you really don't need all those weapons any more you know...
Flibblebot 7th April 2008, 13:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mentai
Yeah but Canada and Switzerland don't have (much) gun crime either, and their laws are similar to the US.
The Swiss mindset is totally different to that of the US, though. Yes, Swiss law allows people to have guns, but the Swiss also have a form National Service, so guns are seen as a military tool rather than anything else. Switzerland also has much lower (virtually non-existent) levels of poverty and social deprivation compared to the US, so there is none of the gang culture in the cities. More here.

I think part of the US problem is that people believe it is their *right* to own a gun, so God help them, they are going to own a gun. Regardless of whether they actually need one or not.

That's the difference between the US & Canada. I'd expect that Canadians don't expect a God-given right to own a gun, so the only people that own guns are those that actually need them - for hunting etc. I'd imagine that the amount of gun ownership in large towns and cities is actually quite low. Also the fact that Canada has far fewer major towns and cities than the US. I could be wrong, but that's just the idea I get.
mmorgue 7th April 2008, 13:42 Quote
It would be nice to see how King's approach to this is taken by the political realm in the US. His point about the nutcase kid who manages to get hold of 9mm weapons should be the defacto, number one priority on legislators' minds -- not foul language, dirty video games or magazines or the media.
mmorgue 7th April 2008, 13:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
That's the difference between the US & Canada. I'd expect that Canadians don't expect a God-given right to own a gun, so the only people that own guns are those that actually need them - for hunting etc. I'd imagine that the amount of gun ownership in large towns and cities is actually quite low. Also the fact that Canada has far fewer major towns and cities than the US. I could be wrong, but that's just the idea I get.

Speaking as a Canadian, yes, that's very very true. I'm not saying Canadians are better than Americans -- I'm not opening up any can of worms here! :)

But yes, guns aren't viewed as "your God given right" as they are viewed in the US. Sure, we do have them for leisure and sport and of course, we have gun crime as well, like any country that allows such firearms. But there is a very distinct difference in mindsets when it comes to guns, gun laws and views on guns between Canada and the US.

Maybe it's the remnants of the "cowboy" era still in the US psyche...? Maybe it's a huge portion of media and social convention that perpetuates gun views in the US. All i know is, I grew up surrounded by guns as my dad collected them and felt I should know how to be safe using them/storing them, etc. But no one ever thought, "Wow you have guns, cool!" or ever thought that just cos people were calling you names, go get a gun. I dunno.. it's just.. 'different'.
CardJoe 7th April 2008, 14:23 Quote
Dreamcatcher was awful, but he has made some good stuff. Cujo and Shawshank are awesome, as is The Mist. His book The Mist was also the inspiration for Half-Life 1.

King has long been a hero of mine -I'm actually reading On Writing by him for the fourth time right now. It's part writing guide and part auto-biography and all excellent.
scarrmrcc 7th April 2008, 14:35 Quote
well, that is not an american view "that you are cool because you have guns"

look at how many people we have in America. we have wayyyyyyy more sane people in america, that don't do crimes...than in England, Canada ect.. can't look at that can people...gotta just say that we have more crazies....well we have more people so of course we have more crazies. but we also have more good people, too..

but people only focus on those select few, those less than 1% that do things, and then say that Americans are warped.


the way i see it, all my friends and i love video games, some of us own guns. and never have any of us thought of even pointing a gun at another human being (a deer now.....we think about that... what good is all this open land...full of good animals to eat, if you can't hunt them? there is something really satisfying to eat something you bagged, skinned, prepared all yourself...rather than just going out and buying it from a store...)
naokaji 7th April 2008, 14:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
The Swiss mindset is totally different to that of the US, though. Yes, Swiss law allows people to have guns, but the Swiss also have a form National Service, so guns are seen as a military tool rather than anything else.

in switzerland the military is obligatory and once you finish it you take your gun home with you, thats why so many have guns there. switzerland btw also got one of least restrictive gaming laws, yet they have almost no crime involving guns, so its pretty obvious that neither is the cause for crimes. they do have their share of other problems though, like ridiculous expensive obligatory health insurance or a weirdo tax system and almost no jobs for people who havent been to university.

anyway, its always good to win a prominent name in the fight against game bans.
[USRF]Obiwan 7th April 2008, 14:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
His book The Mist was also the inspiration for Half-Life 1. t.

I thought it was the other way around. Thats why I was like "damn those things walking in the mist looks like a Half life!"

Now i know why. Did not even know the Mist was a SK novel. (shame on me)

Loved The Stand, Longeliers, IT etc
DXR_13KE 7th April 2008, 15:14 Quote
"Cho used it in a rampage that resulted in the murder of 32 people. If he'd been stuck with nothing but a plastic videogame gun, he wouldn't even have been able to kill himself."

i disagree on the last part....

as for guns in USA.... well.... i have seen documentaries that show that there are some places that have chosen to have almost no gun law and then they saw a decrease in gun crime.... apparently criminals weren't to eager to enter other peoples homes thinking they could get a chest full of lead....
Faulk_Wulf 7th April 2008, 15:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
I think it's more down to the news.

UK: Danger everywhere!
Canada: Danger everywhere else!
Switzerland: We're fine!
US: That guy on your left wants to rape your children, sell pictures, murder you, torture your wife and then steal your stuff! Oh and everything you eat/drink will kill you!

*US: Danger HERE!

---

Am I just that much more patient and understanding, or am I just ignorant of the rift between the three countries? I don't claim to know everything. So I am asking this as an honest question: Why the tension? :?

I see posts that practically imply that we're asking to be shot. Sure, the mentality that guns are a good way to defend yourself + media paranoia is a horrid combination. But we aren't all 'tards, and certainly no one wants to die anymore then anyone else.

Yes in the US we have easily obtainable fire arms and it is an issue. But that flaw doesn't instantly make us all lunatic cowboys. (Political leaders asside.) We as individuals are quite rational, but when viewed as a group/whole/through-media-eyes its hard to see it. Between spin and the vocal portion of our population being bloody idiots, I can see how that perception can be born but I am surprised that there isn't any sense of doubt lent towards the case.
airchie 7th April 2008, 16:00 Quote
I don't know what's scarier, his novels or his picture... :D
Yemerich 7th April 2008, 19:17 Quote
Well i am no fan of SF novels (too childish), but i think the man got a point there. A really good one btw!

To me looks like the incompetence for the government to reduce violence urges it to elect a culprid, the video games of course!
I see much more violence credited to soccer games than to video games. Strangely, the penalties for these gorup of people are VERY light...
C-Sniper 7th April 2008, 20:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
I think it's more down to the news.

UK: Danger everywhere!
Canada: Danger everywhere else!
Switzerland: We're fine!
US: That guy on your left wants to rape your children, sell pictures, murder you, torture your wife and then steal your stuff! Oh and everything you eat/drink will kill you!

And if it doesn't kill you it will give you cancer (at least in the state of California)

i am glad that there is a person, a well respected person that speaks out at all the misnomers that video games are the reasons kids go postal. I think that the NRA has a bit of persuaion on the situation ("we should give all the kids guns to protect them selves") and that their lobbying is causing some of this.
CardJoe 7th April 2008, 21:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yemerich
Well i am no fan of SF novels (too childish), but i think the man got a point there. A really good one btw!

He doesn't only writer SF. In fact, very rarely. Try reading Bag of Bones (ghost story), The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (survival story), The Gunslinger (Western adventure), The Stand (Apocalyptic adventure) or The Dead Zone (Political horror) or It (Plain, pant-cacking horror).
E.E.L. Ambiense 7th April 2008, 22:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by will.
This makes up for the 2 hours wasted watching that film about aliens in peoples arses.

Bwhahahaha, that's great stuff. :)
LordPyrinc 7th April 2008, 23:06 Quote
The biggest problem with crime in the US (and most countries) is poverty and lack of education. Most of our violent crime is committed by the poor that think they have no real future. It is also the parent(s) responsiblity to teach their children that every action they take leads to real consequences. Better parenting and more money invested in schools is the answer in my opinion. Gun control will in no way prevent the criminals from getting guns if they want them. If people can't purchase the guns legally here, the guns will end up being illegally shipped in just like narcotics.
Cthippo 8th April 2008, 01:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordPyrinc
The biggest problem with crime in the US (and most countries) is poverty and lack of education. Most of our violent crime is committed by the poor that think they have no real future. It is also the parent(s) responsiblity to teach their children that every action they take leads to real consequences. Better parenting and more money invested in schools is the answer in my opinion. Gun control will in no way prevent the criminals from getting guns if they want them. If people can't purchase the guns legally here, the guns will end up being illegally shipped in just like narcotics.

I think you hit on a lot of the major factors, but there is noe more, subtle one, that is missing.

US society is individualistic in the extreem and if someone is having problems, be they financial, emotional, or whatever, there is a general attitude of "Piss off, don't ask me for anything". This has gotten significantly worse since Columbine to the point where anyone in a school setting who is having problems is not someone in need of help, but rather a potential attacker. Poor people are "potential criminals", people with mental health issues are "some wacko who might go postal", etc etc. The problem is that people tend to act the way they're treated and to fit the stereotype they're forced into.
KayinBlack 8th April 2008, 05:44 Quote
Yet again, my favorite author. If I do another mod, it will be dedicated to him and his work.
Spaceraver 8th April 2008, 05:49 Quote
This guy makes sense to me.. But then again, he always has.. Read a lot of his books when I was a kid.
Thacrudd 8th April 2008, 15:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayinBlack
Yet again, my favorite author. If I do another mod, it will be dedicated to him and his work.

good call! I'd like to see that. Use a bloody axe for the carrying handle lol.
Zyphron 8th April 2008, 15:34 Quote
Go commies!!! oh wait.... thought i was in 1960
how about?......
Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!'"

on a more serious note, gun control is a touchy issue for alot of americans. we have that thing we call "the Bill of rights" and the right to bear arms just happen to be one of them
my dad owns weapons, I own a shotgun, and when my gramps bites the big one... ill own ALOT of guns
some people have alot of guns....................

sadly enough Gun control seems to do nothing but make it harder for the honest, law abiding man/woman to get a weapon.
yet its still really easy for criminals to get their weapons from the black market.
DXR_13KE 8th April 2008, 18:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zyphron
Go commies!!! oh wait.... thought i was in 1960
how about?......
Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!'"

on a more serious note, gun control is a touchy issue for alot of americans. we have that thing we call "the Bill of rights" and the right to bear arms just happen to be one of them
my dad owns weapons, I own a shotgun, and when my gramps bites the big one... ill own ALOT of guns
some people have alot of guns....................

sadly enough Gun control seems to do nothing but make it harder for the honest, law abiding man/woman to get a weapon.
yet its still really easy for criminals to get their weapons from the black market.

everyone should have guns!! even little kids! if one of them goes postal then the other ones can stop him..... or cause a chain reaction that will kill almost everyone and turn some people into murderers...
rls669 8th April 2008, 18:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yemerich
Well i am no fan of SF novels (too childish)
What a staggering level of ignorance this statement shows. SF doesn't have to mean Star Trek. Go read some Hugo or Nebula Award winning SF and tell me how childish it is.
dire_wolf 8th April 2008, 19:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rls669
What a staggering level of ignorance this statement shows. SF doesn't have to mean Star Trek. Go read some Hugo or Nebula Award winning SF and tell me how childish it is.


Thoroughly agreed, had to bite me tongue when I read the OPs' comment
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums