Games can teach many subjects and skills. Games can teach you a new language, mathematics, surgery, geometry, engineering, and how to shoot a gun. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has developed a game to teach shooting. Kyle Orland, Gaming Editor for Ars Technia, writes that the “NRA has already had some success at shifting the conversation away from “guns” and back to violent video games. The new app also fits that strategy and, in doing so, might actually do more good than harm for the NRA.” It seems that the NRA has modified its myth – “guns don’t kill people – violent video games and movies kill people”. Orland also adds that “Games can and do affect people deeply every day, but they can’t totally transform someone into a different being. Practice Range won’t make a psychotic killer into a responsible gun owner any more than Black Ops 2 can turn a normal, law-abiding citizen into a murderous shooter. Games can have effects, but only if the player is already predisposed to be receptive to those effects. This is probably why violent crime has actually decreased markedly (PDF) since violent games rose to popularity in the early ’90s, and why there seems to be no correlation between game sales and real gun violence internationally.”
Games can teach many things. Now we need a game that teaches Americans the difference between the gun laws of civilized nations and the gun laws in the United States. We need a game that teaches Americans the difference between the homicide rates in the United States and in the civilized world. One day, the United States of America may pass civilized gun laws. Until that day comes, we live in the United States of Fear – fear in our schools, fear in our theaters, fear in our malls, fear in our churches, and fear every place people come together. The NRA knows that we do not have enough security guards to secure every gathering which might attract a shooter. But the more shootings we have, the more guns the dealers sell, in the United States of Fear.