Illinois Legislator on NIU Rampage: Don't Blame Guns, Blame Video Games

February 17, 2008 -
In the wake of Thursday's tragic shooting at Northen Illinois University, a state legislator was quick to defend guns while attempting to shift blame for the rampage to other targets - including video games.

As reported by the Chicago Daily Herald, Rep. Robert Pritchard (R), whose legislative district includes the NIU campus, said:
[Gun control] doesn't seem to impact the kind of gun violence that goes on. I think we need to broaden the discussion to include what other factors are weighing on these kind of deranged individuals.

I think video games is a part of the problem, television, movies. Just a whole culture of violence.


How... Did... Wha...

Okay, he came as close to saying "Guns don't kill people, video games do." as you can without actually saying it. Now, I don't believe gun control would help, since people planning to kill don't exactly seem to like laws anyways. Blaming video games while completely refusing to even look into exactly how the killer got the weapons with his history of mental illness is insane. Laws don't work if they are not enforced, so far most of the school shootings in my lifetime have been done with guns acquired illegally, and they all have had other reasons that negate the need to blame video games.

Also, how does this make any sense? He went to boot camp, but games taught him how to kill.

Look at it this way the rep. did say:

"I think video games is a part of the problem, television, movies. Just a whole culture of violence."

He did not single out videogames in any way. The title to this story is a bit misleading and instead should read:

"Illinois Legislator on NIU Rampage: Don't blame guns, blame the media."

Sure he mentioned videogames was part of the problem but I think it's refreshing (I know thats sad) to see he is not using videogames as a scapegoat like so many others.

Do the story justice and give the Rep. some respect, the headline should be altered.

video games = guns, in that neither are the problem.

Great. Just great. Now the politicians are getitng into the act. First Blagojevich shoots his mouth off, now this guy.

Never mind the fat that the state tried to pass what was found to be an unconstitutional law and (emphasis mine) still owes money in court fees that the taxpayers have to pay!

Then again, this guy's a Republican. Of course he's going to blame games and other popular entertainment and not guns!

It makes me wonder who NIU's presdient is going to be more apt to listen to; his students like Mark of Cain or JT, Blago and Pritchard?

I don't universal gun control is the answer to this problem either. Several things need to be adressed though.

Media glorification of violence is one facet of the debate. Another is the woefully inadequete information and knowledge that people have about mental illness and the potential side effects of stopping your meds cold. There are many factors involved and we should be talking about all them instead of the kneejerk "leave my videogames alone" arguement. All media needs to be discussed, same as the man's mental illness, his meds, the ease at which someone can purchase a gun online and many other issues.

If no one is ever willing to talk openly and honestly nothing will ever get solved.

Fucking. Hysterical.

@ Bildo

Sure, he does also mention television and movies as well. However, he put video games out there in the spotlight more by giving the nod mostly to them. That in a sense still places more of the blame on video games.

But if a culture of violence is to blame then what about 60's and 70's culture of violence. You could have guns on children shows, and I'm not talking GI JOE type "we have red lasers and you have blue lasers" but actual guns. Being shot at people. To kill them. If anything seeing that should have caused an up swing in violence then.

But I don't think there is anything to fully blame on a culture of violence. I've said it before, I'll say it again. More then gun control, more then any type of violence, there are just people who lose touch with things and go into this horrible place and are capable of horrible things. But what makes this even worse is he isn't a raving disturbed person like Cho. He seems like he's normal. People want to find the or any pattern they can so they can feel like there is some predictable nature to this and you can pick out the troubled kids and either cordon them off or stop them in time.

@Bildo: Saying to blame the media instead of guns still misses the point entirely. What causes violence of this sort is not understood at all. By saying that it's the fault of media desensitizing or whatever, these public figures are basically focusing on this one issue as if there's a switch inside everyone turned to 'non-violent' and that the media (and ONLY the media) turns that switch to the 'violent' setting.
The problem is not simply that they're blaming video games. The problem is that they're looking for an oversimple solution to a complicated problem of violence. These people don't realize that you could ban all video games, movies, and television shows deemed inappropriate for anyone over the age of 6 and it wouldn't eliminate tragedies like this.

This kind of idiocy is unavoidable when special interests are so heavily entrenched in the political system. The NRA is a large organization representing thousands of Illinois voters, so there aren't many politicians who will go out of their way to piss off that particular group. They'd rather make asses of themselves by shifting blame as quickly as possible to something more innocuous, even if there is no evidence to support this shift.

At the same time, Rep. Pritchard's claim that gun control is not the problem in this case is, however misguided, accurate. The NIU shooter had a state firearm license and was looking at a career in the prison system. The government couldn't have kept guns away from him any more than you could video games. Unfortunately, the gun lobbyists still feel the need to defend themselves when things like this happen. It's just a shame that they feel the need to attack video games in doing so.

It's been widely reported that the shooter went off his medication before this incident. Why can't they just settle on that? Could pharmaceutical ninja-lobbyists be responsible?

Don't blame guns OR video games should be the headline.

Oh and the gun control issue is harder then people make it out to be. Sure the guy had mental problems but he was on medication which seemed to be working, how was the gun store owner supposed to know that the guy would come off his medication then go nuts, or was he supposed to assume everyone with mental illnesses will stop taking their medication then go nuts?


"please please please politicians, just use some common sense. i really dont get the statement that gun control seems to have no effect. if there are NO GUNS AVAILABLE they cant do anything but literally THROW BULLETS. "

IT'S NOT THAT SIMPLE. If we ban guns, criminals will just get their guns from the black market (which they sometimes do all ready) and meanwhile every law abiding citizen won't have guns to defend themselves.

Where do you think people get heroin cocaine and (non-medical) marijuana, from the black market. It was the same black market that filled the U.S.A with booze during the 1920s even though it was illegal.

Oh and of course there's the notion that for every ojne mass murderer there are hundreds probably thousands of people who have guns and don't kill people. Banning guns would be punishing a lot of people for the sins of a few.

LOL!!! That's sounds like a punchline to a joke!!!

^ That sounds

Uh, howabout we don't blame either and blame the person who did it.

sorry but in this day and age you dont really even NEED a legally owned gun.

Im sorry but i live in the uk, and have managed to live for 25 years without ever NEEDING a gun on a day to day basis. As far as a 'constitutional right' the right to bear arms comes from a time when we didnt live in an alleged 'civilised' society, where bears and indians and bandits where nearby everyday.

This clearly isnt the case now. Anyone saying they NEED a gun, im sorry i just CANNOT agree. plain WRONG. i live in a rough area too. but i dont NEED a gun. If you got rid of 99% of the guns then people wouldnt 'just get hold of legally owned guns anyway' and gun control WOULD have an effect.

I HONESTLY have NO CLUE how on earth id be able to get hold of a gun in the uk. seriously. absolutely no clue. if i was ever (god forbid) mentally ill, then at least i wouldn't be able to take out 15 people with a gun or whatever. Im sure id get taken down quickly if i was only armed with say a baseball bat. Not saying guns cant be gotten hold of. but its ALOT harder.

again emphasis on the fact i DO live in a rough area. And criminals DO have guns occasionally. but i still dont NEED a gun myself.

@ father time

yeah but if lots of people get handguns to defend themselves, then the criminals are still criminals and still go to the black market and instead of handguns , just get rifles. it just escalates.

perhaps people wouldnt be able to defend themselves as easily but i bet half the time the criminals would rob somebody, and if they completely co-operated and didnt resist, the thief would take the stuff and leave and nobody would get shot. And massacres like this would be alot more difficult to actually plan and commit. I get that people shouldnt have to co-operate and let their things be stolen, but in 25 years ive never NEEDED to use a gun. And.. im still here.. ive had things stolen.. but the police have done their job, and yeah it sucked it wasnt nice, and it shouldnt happen, but i got insurance for the stuff and didnt NEED a gun.

I do agree that all guns should be destroyed. It won't stop violence, but it will be cut down by alot.

Like i said the gamers seem smarter than politics are. Ya if there are no guns then I guess people could still shoot each other now he makes no sense.

And videogames are not the only things to be blamed on for crimes. Music like heavy metal, and books, and movies were blamed now since videogames have been out people blame on it. They blame on these things because it is really easy. They are scapegoats. The people just want to be on TV or just want to blame something to keep them busy.


Thats true, but if robbers think that you're armed, they're probably not going to mess with you, now, if you take the UK's laws, or Canada's laws, then the crooks will know that the civilians are not armed, and that makes you a prime target for them.

I think gun control laws are very unnecessary, despite what the politicians say and such.

ahhh another disgusting pile of filth speaks up

Why is it not being SCREAMED across the media that this guy went off his meds! Video games are not the culprit. It was the sudden change in the chemicals in his brain. If anything needs to be highlighted its the danger of going off medication.

Guns being blamed for a shooting spree? No way thats just madness!
Besides its a well know fact that hundreds of people are nickle and dimed to death each day by videogame companys.

So instead of buying your five year old son that lethal super mario galaxy why dont you just buy him a glock instead? remember guns are safe, and fun!(buy him some smokes while your at it)

I wish it was illegal to be a complete idiot...(sigh)

Its like this. " Tonight on NEWS channel 5 a crazed gun man shoots up a school. His medical repots say that he had a mental illness and bought two guns and he also wasnt taking his pills." Politicians, "There is a videogame called counter strike and that game made him do it. He also trained on it." Oh and Jack Thompson does not know how to answer questions. He has to tell a story about his book and that they deleted a chapter in it. He said that in that chapter a guy comes on to the stage and starts shooting and he said they deleted it because it was to disturbing. That is total bullshit! They dont delete stuff because it is to disturbing or violent! I have seen lots of disturbing.

The shooter had a mental condition and he was off of his medication, not to mention that he was 27 years old. Video Games, along with the rest of the pop culture, should not be brought into this at all.

When will it end.

While it's shameless the way he's trying to shift blame, I also mostly agree with the notion that stricter gun control isn't the answer. People will still kill people if they want to. They'll just do it some other way. Banning weapons isn't the answer. Banning video games and restricting freedom of speech isn't the answer. In short, there is almost -no way- you can stop these sort of things from happening. You can't preemptively stop someone from committing a crime. Life isn't like Minority Report. If someone wants to go on a homicidal rampage, odds are they will do it. What we -can- do is try as best as possible to minimize the effectiveness of such rampages - from what I've seen, this particular massacre was handled in a rather timely and effective matter, even given the fact that the shooter readily put an end to everything himself.

But really, the bottom line that no one is comfortable with is that you -cannot- stop violent crimes from happening. They have always happened. They will always happen. Unless you can fundamentally alter human behaviour (and even if it were possible, would anyone have the right?) you can't stop individuals from behaving violently. It's sad, yes, but there's almost nothing that can be done about it.

P.S. - Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the ready availability of weapons in the US isn't a factor. I'm just saying that banning said availability isn't the answer, the same way banning videogames is not. Perhaps stricter gun control would be a good thing - these whackjobs never seem to have too much trouble acquiring weapons, despite being clearly disturbed individuals.

@ Kawauso

But taking away guns will reduce these attacks, and make them less severe.

If I had a gun and went to a crowded place, it would be easy to just shoot a bunch of people. Let's say I didn't have a gun, so I used a knife. It would take much, much more time and energy to kill the same amount of people.


(Warning: a little offtopic)
While effective gun control would *theoretically* reduce the levels of gun violence in the US, it just won't work. Probably.
The way I see it, you're trying to disarm a huge population of people who have been brought up in a culture where the 'right to bear arms' is just a matter of course. Even if you could convince the majority of the population to ditch the second amendment, the 1% who cling desperately onto their security-blanket guns would be very hard to deal with.
Coming from a country where guns are extremely hard to come by, it's easy to see the *benefits* of gun control, but the implementation seems so difficult that - perhaps, who knows? - it may never happen in a firearm-happy country like the US.


So just because YOU never needed a gun you then assume that millions of people you've never met (in a country thousands of miles away from where you live), would not need a gun. That's not stupidly illogical or making broad generalisations at all. I mean clearly everyone must go though the same life experience you do and therefore you can preach to people you've never met about what they would need.

Oh and there are more reasons to own a gun then just self-defense. If our government ever became tyrannical then us citizens would be armed and then we could rebel against the tyranny and set up a new democracy.

If the Americans in 1776 couldn't get guns we wouldn't have won the war.

So that's precisely why we have this in the second amendment,
"A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of the free state"

So videogames are the new weapons of the 21 century right?

Might as well say the bible/religion is devicive and vile, yu are missing the point when you blame media for supposed effects on society, when society is made of indavendauls to begin with.

Its true Guns are not the problem either, the problem is you have politically correct fascists that refute logic at every turn, they think a world devoid of thought and free will is the best.

To blame media and dismiss guns is quite silly and down right scary, take away all our rights and you still wil have crazy people being crazy and stupid people being stupid..

@ Tiki

The 1% might disagree, but majority always wins

@ Father Time

This is a different day and age. Why do random people need guns when we have the police? Of course, I'm just talking about the USA, I don't really know what it's like anywhere else.

@ Brandon

Hence why the rate of gun crime over in the UK is SO LOW.
Knives are the real problem here, that and the general social culture of drunken yobbishness.

@ Zippy

Guns just make it easier to kill.

@ Brandon

Why doesn't the UK ban knives (as a weapon).

I realize that those of you who live in Europe don't agree with our second ammendment rights but that's really beside the point. In our country a citizen has the inalliable right to keep and bear arms. We have that as a means of protecting our families and homes against violent intruders and other threats to our liberties. The right to own a gun isn't what caused this man to go on a killing spree and I'm getting sick of hearing that arguement.


How would that possibly work? Could I not use a steak knife as a weapon?

Although it's pointless really, ban guns criminals use knives or black market guns. Ban knives and guns and the criminals will start using blunt objects.

And no you can't ban blunt objects that would literally be impossible to enforce and painfully counter-productive (just think of all the things found on a construction site that would constitute blunt objects).

And of course if you don't want to use blunt objects you can use chainsaws, broken glass, your bare hands, explosives, rope etc.


Finally some common sense, seriously it's not the fact that we have the right to drink or own cars that cause people to drink and drive it's the fact that some people drink and drive.

Cidas is right.

say goodbye to your credibility, pritchard. ...and a lot of votes.


yeah but look at the crime figures..

the US actually has a HIGHER percentile rate of violent crime (and resulting death) than the uk and canada. SO the argument that criminals know your not armed n rob everyone just isnt true! factually!

Yeah, I have to agree with Father Time, if you ban one sort of weapon, people will start using others, if they even stopped using the guns/knives to begin with.

Sorry folks, but strict gun control doesn't work, and yes, this kinda person needs to be written to, at least if you live in that state, to which I don't.

This site really needs an edit button.

@NovaBlack: I don't think thats true actually true, I'm going to pull a Jack Thompson, ugh, and well say that I think thats false. But I still believe that if criminals think that you're armed, they won't mess with you, unlike in the UK and Canada where they know you're not armed and will mess with you.

Need another editing button. And besides, like Father Time said, if criminals couldn't get their hands on guns, which they would, they'd be using other things like knives, and ban those, they'd be using other things, and so on, so on, so on.

@Sol Morande

I follow politics a lot, and I have come to the conclusion, that all of them are idiots. Thats not a lie, they really are all idiots. The R's are stupid, the D's are stupid. They have all lost there connection with reality. Everyone running for the prez is going to make the country go bankrupt (more then we already are). Well, not to sure about huckabee, don't know his plan. But basically, they are all crazy.

@ father time

sorry if i caused offense.

I do actually know alot of american culture, i travelled with a backpack around the USA on greyhound buses for 4 months. Again i never NEEDED (note NEED , im not saying prefer) a gun.

as far as " If our government ever became tyrannical then us citizens would be armed and then we could rebel against the tyranny and set up a new democracy.", umm.. how often does that happen to warrant needing guns on a day to day basis..... hmm and have you never heard of ghandi?

there are other ways besides violence my friend.

"If the Americans in 1776 couldn’t get guns we wouldn’t have won the war."

exactly the point i made earlier. it is no longer 1776. Time and civilisations move on. Just because we had slaves once upon a time, to build alot of the foundations of the cities we now live in doesnt mean we should have them now just because we once did.

I still don't think that we should have strict gun control laws, they just don't work. Besides, politicians already want the UK's rating system over here on video games, and we all know how that works, don't we?

We don't want to go that same route with gun control.
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