Simulators work for pilots, police, why not teenagers?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A controversial video game that allows users to act as a school shooter has been pulled from the market, but not for the reason you may think.

Valve Inc. said Tuesday it would pull “Active Shooter” from its online gaming platform, but only because the controversy uncovered reasons other than the simple school violence portrayed.

Valve said the game’s publisher and the developer have “a history of customer abuse,” and is a troll who published copyrighted material and fake user reviews. The game comes from Acid Publishing, based out of Moscow.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that video games are protected by the First Amendment and cannot be regulated by the government, even after families of victims of the Columbine high school massacre in 1999 sued 25 video game companies they blamed for the deaths.

Columbine resulted in congressional hearings and numerous studies, but politics, industry and activist influences have clouded the results to the point that no definitive conclusion has been reached.

Still, it seems unreasonable to assume that simulating activities, which proves effective in training pilots, police officers, soldiers, physicians and many others, would fail to influence young minds already predisposed to violence.

Parents, of course, need to take a more active role in limiting the electronic violence their children are exposed to, but a broad, comprehensive, carefully constructed study to explore any link between violent video games and real-life violence is certainly warranted.

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