Video Game Link to Philadelphia's Murder Rate? Politicians Probing

July 11, 2007 -
crime-scene.jpgPhiladelphia's homicide rate is out of control. Nobody in the city disputes that. So are local politicians blaming crime, drugs, easily available guns, gangs or poverty?

Nah. Video games. The Evening Bulletin quotes Rep. Ronald Waters (D):
Philadelphia alone has seen 204 homicides so far this year. Violent video games may or may not be a contributing factor, but we will never know unless this issue is seriously studied.

Children can't always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world, and there's no telling what impact this exposure to violence will have on them later in life.

Waters is one of the original sponsers of H.R. 94, a resolution to study the effects of violent media on children. GamePolitics covered an amendment to the bill in a report published earlier today (see: Pennsylvania Legislature Looking Into Video Game Violence). The Bulletin report speculates that Waters and his colleagues in the Pennsylvania legislature may challenge the accuracy of the ESRB rating system.

Said Darin Broton of the National Institute on Media and the Family:
The 800-lb. gorilla in the room is how do we address graphic media violence. The Pennsylvania House is not the first state legislature to tackle this issue, and it won't be the last. There really needs to be a national solution, like a universal ratings system.

GP: We covered Rep. Waters' original move in this direction last September.



Let the snipe hunt begin.

well at least we can say finally we can vote them out of office this coming nov. :)

Let's completely ignore the real problem and waste tax money on a study, that fixes everything!
In a related note, Obama is a jackass and a tool.

Hears how we fix this. Young people... VOTE!!!!!!!!! In the '04 presidential election the voter turnout for 18 to 20somthings was ABYSMAL and it's even WORSE for local elections!!! Start getting active and MAKE YOU'RE VOICE HEARD!!! This goes for all elections from school board to police chef to mayor to governor to congress to president!!! OH MY GOD IT'S THAT EASY SO F#!*$^# DO IT!!!!!!!!

P.S. If any of you are not going to vote in the '08 Presidential elections PLEASE just vote for Obama or Nader so you can do SOME good with you apathetic life.

[...] - In case you were wondering, politicians are still earthshatteringly dumb. [...]

Oh come on! My faith in the future of humanity is crippled as is. This just about kills it.

This coming from Ben Franklin's home city, he must be rolling over in his grave.

Video Game Link to Philadelphia’s Murder Rate? Politicians Grasping at straws to try and find something besides criminals to blame for crime.

"Children can’t always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world..."

Are there any studies to support this? I have never personally encountered a child who had a problem differentiating between real life and make believe.

"The system is broken? These asshats were VOTED into their positions for the most part. The system is fine, the people voting for said asshats in support of their own “special” interests and the generally uninformed masses (thanks to the media’s unwillingness to care about truth in favor of the almighty dollar) are the problem."

It really doesn't matter how educated or informed you are. When both your choices suck, which most elections come down to, then who do you vote for?

By the way, Pennsylvania is having a budget crisis, they've laid off thousands of state workers, and they have civic "leaders" like this guy:

Children learn the difference between reality and fiction at quite a young age. They're not killing each other until they're really quite old.

Ive always argued that in a world with no depiction of violence of knowledge of it at all people would do things without knowing the consequences of their actions.

Why on slow news weeks cant theyjust run stories on talking ducks, and why do they have to dress the news with their own ,to be frank petty opinions

The only way to become less sensitive to realworld violence, is to commit lots of real world violence. To say otherwise would be like saying playing cops & robbers is training/desensitization for the real thing. It just doesn't check out...

The system is broken? These asshats were VOTED into their positions for the most part. The system is fine, the people voting for said asshats in support of their own "special" interests and the generally uninformed masses (thanks to the media's unwillingness to care about truth in favor of the almighty dollar) are the problem. Educate the public and the douchebags will have no outlet/blanket of protection to spout their rhetorical bs and actually get elected. As the late, great Bill Hicks put it (roughly): "Go back to sleep,'s 42 channels of American Gladiators, watch THIS! Your government has everything under control..."

Also disagree that violent media makes people less sensitive to REAL WORLD violence. It obviously makes them less sensitive to other violence in media (which would make sense) but seeing + experiencing the real thing is worlds apart, as anyone who has can tell you. More edumacation please.

maybe game companies are just refusing to fund politicians?

*sigh* glad i'll be moving away from PA soon. Dont' see them going after other forms of violent media, or addressing other things. Morons.

Face the facts, fucking censorcrats. No matter how many games you ban, crimes are likely to stay in our world. So why don't you leave the fuck us alone? Sheesh.

I know another group of people who have trouble distinguishing between fact and fiction...

... Politicians!

I would now like to amend the guy's quote:

"Philadelphia alone has seen 204 homicides so far this year. Giant roaming gorillas may or may not be a contributing factor, but we will never know unless this issue is seriously studied."

That said, video game violence exposure is just like all violence exposure... it almost certainly makes people less sensitive to violence in general. But given that the entire culture's entertainment is based around violence, it's poor form to start pointing fingers.

Of course everyone knows this. But politicians are the weak link in this country. Seriously... how can you expect people to make good decisions about anything when the key to keeping their job is saying what people want to hear? And we put those people in power? And then we complain about it?

The system is broken. We can't rely on it to represent our interests.

I don't live in Pennsylvania, but seriously, who elected these people?

@ Judith
old people.

It is really sad to see something like this happen in an area that I grew up. I guess the local government needs to latch on to something to distract the people from the horrible conditions of the schools, their (in some cases) non-existent student attendance, Drug use among bored adolescents, a police force that almost has a worse reputation than the L.A. cops, I would list more but I'm lazy.

This is just a diversionary tactic, much like what magicians use, only it costs you more than the price of admission and your distended believe wore off in the first few seconds of watching this lame side show.

Well, if I tried to add anything to this, I'd just be rehashing whats already been said about crime in Philadelphia.

I'll just say that this proposed legislation is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Philly who want to solve these problems.

"Children can’t always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world, and there’s no telling what impact this exposure to violence will have on them later in life."

I'd settle for one example of when a child couldn't understand the difference between a video game and real life, provided that child was able to clearly distinguish those dividing lines in other forms of media.

I'd also love to see this printed some day, "Parents can't always understand the difference between an M rating and content appropriate for their children..."

how is a universal rating system going to change or affect a murder rate? and moreso, what does that have to do with a murder rate in the first place?

How do they plan to quantify violent videogames in a way that can be directly correlated with a murder rate?

To cover a few things, the ESRB is a highly effective rating system, but it can't control the the psychological state of the people that play it. On the same note, parents should monitor games as well, not just rely on the ratings system. I thank theCurse for the magnificent point that he made: How many of these homicides wre caused by children. Children can tell the difference between reality and game if it is regulated. I am thirteen and during christmas break I powergamed for a few days to beat Final Fantasy XII. This does not mean that I do it constantly. That is where confusion begins to happen. Take your kids outside for at least an hour a day, do something as a family, don't let your kids sit in front of the television or computer all day. As far as I'm concerned on the Philidelphia homicides that is a political thing that has to do with living conditions and maybe the Philidelphia mob.

Pfft. Everyone know that the real cause of crime is the jealousy, greed, and lust for the amazing power and taste of cheese. What we need to do is take away the cheese from the people.

Seriously: Scapegoating is nothing new. But the fact that most of the articles posted on this site have to do with scapegoating video games makes me sick to my stomach.

I know it has already been said, but are these murderers running around with controllers in their back pockets and Halo shirts on? Seriously this is just another attempt to use unrelated events to press on personal agendas of legislators. Seems like these days you can think of countless examples of politicians taking advantage of the situation do throw some dirt at something they have been waiting to.

@Pirra, E. Zachary Knight, et al

Umm, nobody made it any "easier" to get guns in 2006. A State delegate from Philly proposed a to law repeal State preemption so that Philly could try to pass local laws banning all firearms, as well as trying to pass a State-wide gun ban and/or one-gun-a-month rationing. Needless to say, the rest of the State told them to STFU. In short, absolutely nothing changed.

"Apparently, video games secretly come out of their disk cases and then are used to shoot people which results in homicide."

-Ronald Waters

This shouldn't even be considered libel, as that is basically what he is saying.
I can't wait for Jon Stewart to make fun of this idiot.
I guess he wants to keep the gun shops lining his pockets with money and blame the video games since they give him the finger for being such a corrupt prick.

Poor Philly, known as Killy hereafter; it is just being shit on so a politician can enjoy his money and have fun wiping his ass with dollar bills. I bet Bam would hate to visit his hometown Killy now, it must suck when you hometown becomes full of crime only to have people blame it on games than something realistic.
I guess when we're older our grandchildren will be asking us why did politicians do such mean things to people?

I'm sick of hearing of crap like this.

"Children can’t always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world, and there’s no telling what impact this exposure to violence will have on them later in life."

yes cause kids are retarded. wow thats a big insult. i thought kids were the future? what happened to being smart and knowing the diffrence between right and wrong being natural

I always wonder if people consider the possibility that video games are affected by the real world, instead of the other way around. The world is getting more violent, so games are getting more violent as well. After all games are shaped by us right?

group cry time

Do you have to be a major in law to run for office? If not, that explains a lot.

Wow this is frankly just unbelievable

Lets assume what they say is true that violent games are a contributing factor. Why hasn't this been happening in other cities? I live in Chicago which 6 years ago used to be the most violent city in the whole country. We had over 600 homicides at one time. We got a new Police Chief who finally started doing something and our homicide rate went down. And this is when GTA3 was being accused of corrupting my generation's morals and turning us all into mobsters in training. This is just an attempt to distract everyone from the real problems which actually *GASP* take some time and thought to fix. I honestly can't believe we are gonna waste more money this crap, espicially when another study came out that showed that violent games may actually be GOOD for you.

I blame the waltz for bringing this moral decay.


because, pie charts are easy to understand for politicians.

One can point at the different colors, and explain that the color represents a number of dollars...
wait that's maybe already to much


Does anyone have a wiki or something?
maybe we could all total up the money and time wasted on this kind of stuff from every local state or city area across the country.

I'll totlly make a pie chart!

maybe comparing it to the amounts spent on text books? hmm...

A little off topic here --

anyone interested in trying to change partisan politics in the upcoming '08 presidential election should check out

I know it won't do anything on the state level, but it is possible that having an executive branch that can overcome partisanship might be able to direct the government to focus more strongly on important issues; i.e. war in iraq, health care, education, social security etc.

So... let me get this straight.
A few years it was made easier to get guns if Philly...
and now there is a rampant increase of killings...
IT'S THE M@&$#! F*%!*$# VIDEOGAMES!!!!!111!!!11!!!!!1!!!!!one!!!!!!!

I think that's what's going though the politicians heads.

Actually it's probably more like "I'm going to blame video games so the gun lobbyists will will keep sucking my c@*!."

And to thing someone elected these dumd@$$es.

@Killadelphia Residents
I'm really sorry to hear that your all living in a city of living shit. Hopefully you can get something together to completely restructure your local area. If you must, incite some rather large mob to take over the city government. Or even better, ask your local National Guard to help with these problems.

Sorry for double post, but my sarcasm notes didnt make it around. the 3rd sentence.

here we go again

Video games have been very popular for a long time and graphic 3D games date back at least 15 years. Yet, the homicide rate only started spiking about 2 years ago.

After it was on a downward trend for 15 years.

@ Pissed Offed

So let me get this straight. A couple of years ago they made it easier for people to get and carry guns. Then a couple of years down the line they notice an increase in homicides and they blame video games.

How ignorant do you have to be to not make the connection.

As someone who lived in Philly for three years, I find it appalling that the idiots in the legislature would even dare to suggest video games are a contributing factor to violence in the city. I'm sure rampant drug use and turf/block wars have nothing to do with the city being dubbed "Killadelphia". 25 To Life definitely has more of an impact.

I was once proud to be an American. I was once a Patriot. Now I see that it has all been for naught seeing as the people who run the country are no longer afraid of it's people. Supid laws are made by politicians who feel safe. Once their ass is on the line do they actualy work and fix things. When will this end?

i couldn't even read the entire thing - stupidity such as this hurts my head. Talk about avoiding the problem...
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