Trump Holds Video Game Summit – Or – A Distraction From Inaction

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Trump with video game character

President Trump, who admittedly likes conflict, decided he would host a closed-door “video game and violence summit” where critics of the video game industry could confront the game executives at the White House. Anything to make it seem like he actually means to do something about the ongoing gun violence in America, as Republicans continue to send thoughts and prayers despite overwhelming frustration from shooting survivors and from most of America really.

The guy we are supposed to expect solutions from is the guy who said this:

“I like conflict,” Trump said Tuesday, addressing staff turnover at the White House. “I like people with two different points of view. I like watching it, I like seeing it. And I think it’s the best way to go.”

Trump seems to have set up the summit with the intent of watching the two sides duke it out, regardless of the value of the information exchanged. Reviewers said it was easy to see from the guest list that the deck had been stacked against the video game industry.

The list of purely Republican representatives attending indicate they were chosen particularly because of their anti-gun-control and/or pro-video-game-control views:

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Rubio says he is introducing a bipartisan bill to encourage “red flag” gun laws to allow citizens to file restraining orders to remove firearms from potentially violent individuals. Rubio is avoiding “controversial legislation” like raising the age requirements banning assault-style weapons, saying Congress should focus on bills with bipartisan support first.

That should help appease his NRA donors, don’t you think?

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo)

She’s anti-gun control and has said in the past that video games are a culprit making children violent.

Her statement about the summit today indicates she would like to discuss the movie industry next…

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL)

It’s not clear why she made the list of invites, other than being a Republican who holds views similar to Hartzler.

Uproxx details the other assorted anti-video attendees, and those details are truly bizarre:

  • An advocate for censorship who once called Obama a “skinny ghetto crackerhead.”
  • A retired lieutenant with a past in police training who once informed “a room full of police officers that after they kill somebody, they will have “the best sex of their lives.”
  • A former Disney exec. who was misgendered in the White House press release
  • Trump’s younger brother, Robert S. Trump, a member of the board of directors for ZeniMax Media, a company that owns some of the most popular video games, like Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls. The CEO of ZeniMax, Robert Altman was invited to attend and Robert S. Trump may have attended as well.
  • A blog writer for Parents Television Council, founded by the guy who called Obama a “crackerhead.” Her actual title is “Mother.”

Conservatives have long been prone to focus on the influence of violent video games and heavy metal music, rather than entertain for one second the notion of banning high capacity gun magazines or assault rifles.

Trump himself Tweeted about the notion that gaming was “creating monsters” dating back to 2012.

It appears Trump is catering to the video game distraction, though research hasn’t definitively determined that video games cause shooters to go on real-life rampages.

The Supreme Court has already ruled on the idea of banning video games, informed by the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion. A California law sought to ban the game sales, but Scalia found the evidence didn’t “prove that violent video games cause minors to act aggressively.”

To wrap up the potential for this summit,  Jack Holmes, associate editor at Esquire put it this way:

“Expect intellectual dishonesty, scientific illiteracy, and scapegoating. Meanwhile, pretty much anyone in this country can still buy a bump stock.”

We clearly need more research about any correlation between games and real-life violence. We also desperately need more research on gun control, but the NRA has blocked gun violence research for 20 years. Perhaps Trump should consider a summit on that specific matter instead?

At least one good thing to come from the video game summit: Lots of jokes about it on Twitter:


Featured image: Trump by Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC BY 2.0) with Bago Games image via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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