Children's rights advocate and attorney Paul Mones (@MonesPaul on Twitter) delivers a "Perry Mason moment" in a new editorial over at the Huffington Post titled "Video Games Hold No Answers." In it Mones notes that making a connection between violent crimes committed by teens based on the video games, movies, or even music they are exposed to is "so tenuous as to be irrelevant."
He should know. He has been representing teenagers in homicide cases for over 30 years. He notes that if the research about media of any type being connected to violent acts were strong enough it would have been used by every attorney in the country as a defense in teen homicide cases. It hasn't.
"If there was any truly meaningful link between homicide and media exposure from any source, then by now one would have seen a whole body of supportive forensic research being used in our courts," writes Mones. "If any of this research being trotted out now held even a glimmer of hope for a person accused of murder, attorneys all over the country would be mounting vigorous defenses based upon this connection -- but we haven't. And the reason we haven't is that the connection between the psychological and behavioral dynamics of youth homicide and violent video games and violent movies is simply not there."
Mones also notes that there seems to be a distrust in this country about teenagers and a misconception that even "well-adjusted 16- or 18-year-olds can't be relied upon to distinguish between fantasy and reality."
Critics who want to point to video games as a cause for horrific violence don't want to look at serious factors that can affect teens such as "long term mental illness and the prolonged exposure to physical violence and sexual abuse in the home," he notes.
At the end of his editorial, Mones says that there is a real opportunity to have a serious discussion about violence (and some gun control measures are needed), but putting limits on violent media will not prevent future tragedies from occurring.
You can read the whole thing on the Huffington Post.