What with the Columbine shooting, the Virginia Tech slayings and most recently the tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary, opinion flames are faring high and fingers are being pointed in all directions. Gun manufacturers, the movie industry and even the gaming industry have been blamed for the rise in mass shootings that have plagued our country. I wish to make it very clear that I, on a personal note, do not blame the movie or gaming industry. However, this article will set its biases aside and examine both sides of the argumentative coin.
Defining a wrongful death suit
To claim wrongful death one must prove that a person or a party is responsible or liable for the death of a person. The claim is brought in civil action usually by close relatives. The standard procedure and initial requirements constitute providing a death certificate from the coroner, and evidence and witnesses that support the claim that another party was fully or partially responsible for the death. Also, one must prove they are suffering financial hardships and emotional trauma as a result of the death. When one meets these points, they must seek an experienced wrongful death attorney. Turning to the Internet and investigating firms like CuperoLaw.com is a great way to start, and you want to act fast so that time limitations don’t close your window for filing the lawsuit.
Why wag the finger at gaming?
Many believe that video games promote violence in children, and there are studies that make the same argument. In an article published by The American Psychological Association the author states that playing violent games like Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, or Mortal Combat can increase a person’s aggressive thoughts, feelings and behavior both in lab settings and in actual life. This is according to two studies appearing in the April issue of the APA Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The article continues to state that violent video games may increase these thoughts and behaviors more than movies because they are interactive, engrossing, and require the player to identify with the aggressor.
In 2001 Linda Sanders and other family members of Columbine High School shooting victims sued 25 video game companies for over $5 billion in a class action lawsuit. They claimed that if these violent games didn’t exist, the massacre would not have happened. The case was thrown out of court and the plaintiffs were ordered to compensate the gaming companies legal fees.
On the contrary
But violence has been around for a long time. After all, the notorious violent ones from our historical past never played video games. In an article published by Live Science the author sites clear statistics in rebuking this claim. The author states that ifviolent entertainment caused real violence, logic would dictate that the violent crime rate would have skyrocketed in recent years. The author goes on in his own words to show that exactly the opposite occurred: Violent crime dropped significantly over the past 20 years—just as video games became more prevalent and more violent. The article furthers that one could make the (equally illogical) argument that violent video games actually decrease violent crimes.
In terms of defining grounds for wrongful death, a court of law found that gaming companies are not liable. Although scientific research has shown that people become more aggressive when playing these games, the same scientific research shows the same results for men who play full contact sports. So, if the murderous shooters played college ball, should we sue the NCAA? What is known about the shooters is that all were the victims of being bullied. Whether you blame the gaming industry or not, don’t neglect the fact that we all have a conscience. In closing (and from a personal standpoint) I grew up playing Doom and Duke Nuke Em. So did all of my friends. To this day none of us have so much as punched another person or yelled at a puppy. But wrongful death is no joke. If you are the victim of losing a loved one, and you meet the case for filing a suit, do not hesitate. Turn to the Internet and find a good lawyer before time complicates the process.