Did Violent Video Games Cultivate the Environment behind the Newtown Massacre?
Dr. Michael Welner of The Forensic Panel
Watch renowned forensic psychiatrist Dr.Michael Welner, Chairman of the Manhattan-based The Forensic Panel, in this ABC’s The View discussion on the Newtown, Connecticut massacre. He blames, in part, the mass media that has created a legacy for previously unknown perpetrators of mass shootings against defenseless little children in a culture where you win points for committing violence. His comments on ABC’s The View drew specific attention to the growth of the video gaming industry behind the dramatic frequency of heinous massacres like Newtown and Aurora, Colorado.
Dr. Welner noted this frightening development in today's Washington Post:
The Newtown discussion necessarily sweeps in the news media, which give the killers a notoriety they couldn’t have achieved legitimately. The discussion touches on Hollywood, which markets spectacular make-believe violence. Also implicated: The computer gaming industry, which profits from ultra-realistic shooting games that are bloodier than ever.
“I point the finger unreservedly at the entertainment industry, which has spawned and cultivated gaming that by design is increasingly real, geared to action as the shooter’s point of view, increasingly dehumanizes victims, and increasingly rewards players by how many they kill,” said Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist and chairman of the Forensic Panel, who works on more than 20 homicide cases a year.
Dr. Welner believes that adults set a poor example for children by engaging in competitive violent shooting video games. Instead, as he points out, parents should enourage children to hone their communication skills and learn empathy by engaging in volunteerism. Outgoing Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman and others, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has suggested a National Commission on Violence. Perhaps, Dr. Welner might confer with bi-partisan Congressional sponsors of such an investigative commission to unearth the role played by the entertainment industry in these burgeoning virtual video hunger games spawning with increasing frequency these massacres of the innocents like the 20 young children violently killed last Friday in bucolic Newtown, Connecticut.
Perhaps that was behind the comments of Rabbi Shaul Praver of Congregation Adath Israel of Newtown when he spoke Saturday at an interfaith service about what may have been behind the death of six year old Noah Pozner, the son of a synagogue member. Note his comments in this Times of Israelreport:
Praver held a community prayer session on Saturday at Adath Israel and told Israel’s Army Radio Sunday that he castigated the culture that had led to the massacre.
“We live in a culture of violence,” Praver said he told his congregants. “All of our culture is based on violence and we need to teach the kids about the ways of peace. We need to change everything.”
“There’s too much war, too much violence in our streets,” he added, speaking in Hebrew.
Doubtless, Dr. Welner will have more to say about this hypothesis on a CNN Piers Morgan interview tonight.