As the week ended last week, the NRA decided to end its silence after the mass shooting last week in Newtown and deflect the focus on assault rifles and guns in general by pointing to video games as the real problem, and advocating armed guards in schools.
On the surface this isn’t a bad strategy, because the crime was committed by a young man, the video game industry is in financial distress (and comparatively weak) and there is a strong, though generally disproven belief that folks that watch violence are more likely to commit it.
They went beyond blaming video games and recommended strongly that schools get armed guards. In combination, this is likely the most stupid thing I’ve ever seen the NRA do, and it’s done some pretty stupid things over the years.
The first mistake the NRA has made in this approach is that it seems to think this is an either/or argument. Either you eliminate video games or you eliminate guns. But it isn’t, and folks are just as likely to agree with the NRA and move to eliminate guns and violent games, because in the end, the games were the less direct of the two alleged killing tools.
In short, instead of pointing to games and figuring by throwing them under the bus it will make guns better protected, the move may simply kill both industries – something the gaming industry wouldn’t appreciate.
In addition, games kind of make guns look cool. Game designers, in response, would be wise to take guns out of the mix and instead focus more on fantasy weapons which have no real-world alternative. If games don’t make guns look cool, folks likely will increasingly stop collecting them.
Frankly, from the standpoint of those of us who don’t want to get shot, that may be a good thing, but for an industry organization supposedly missioned to protect the gun industry, it is pretty stupid.
Armed Guards at Schools
This is based on the premise that good guys with guns beat bad guys with guns. There are two problems with this: the first is that few intelligent folks think a gun fight at a school is a good idea, and the second is that in this recent incident, the gun owner was the first shot. This suggests there’s at least the increased possibility that if someone is allowed to bring a gun into school, that gun might end up killing kids and the person carrying it. Guards traditionally don’t get much training, and your best and brightest are seldom armed guards, and combining folks that often are mentally challenged with guns and putting them in lots of schools will likely eventually end very badly.
Wrapping Up: Guns are a Hazard
The reason guns are a hazard is that people don’t get adequate training with them, don’t regularly update the training they have, and are increasingly more likely to get shot by, or shoot a loved one with the guns they own. Unless that problem is fixed, giving more guns to people and putting those people in schools is brain dead stupid – and blaming video games will likely only remove one of the gun promoters both increasingly the likelihood that guns be banned and the U.S. gun industry fails.
There is only one path for the NRA, and that is to find a way to make guns safer. If they don’t find that path, society will eventually eliminate them because it must. Technology can assure only the gun owner can fire the gun, it can match ammunition to each gun, and training can assure guns are both safer and more often used to protect then to harm.
Maybe it would be wiser to focus on making guns safer than doing stupid things like blaming video games or insane things like putting more weapons in schools.
President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group
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