Normally devoted to things like swine flu and AIDS, it seems a bit odd to me that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in America is now doing research into the impact of video games and other media on gun violence. They will also look at patterns in gun acquisition, characteristics in gun violence and preventative factors.
Apparently, gun deaths have reached such a ridiculous level that they now constitute a public health risk. So, by doing research for the next 3-5 years, the CDC can hopefully find some of the factors leading to gun violence. The video game and media section is explained:
While the vast majority of research on the effects of violence in media has focused on violence portrayed in television and movies, more recent research has expanded to include music, video games, social media, and the Internet—outlets that consume more and more of young people’s days. However, in more than 50 years of research, no study has focused on firearm violence as a specific outcome of violence in media. As a result, a direct relationship between violence in media and real-life firearm violence has not been established and will require additional research.
I’m wondering if maybe a direct relationship hasn’t been found in existing research because maybe such a relationship doesn’t exist! I’m glad they’re doing the research; I hope that they debunk some of the myths about violent video games, music, movies, etc. However, I’m really worried that they will be forced to find something due to the pressure from government and mainstream media. Additionally, I hope that the American government actually listens to them when they’re done. They allude to the sensitive and controversial nature of this research
The evidence generated by implementing a public health research agenda will enable the development of sound policies that support both the rights and the responsibilities central to gun ownership in the United States. In the absence of this research, policy makers will be left to debate controversial policies without scientifically sound evidence about their potential effects.
Somehow, I think that even once they have scientifically sound evidence, people will still debate based on personal beliefs and prejudice.