On Jan. 16 President Obama asked Congress to support a $10 million investigation of the impact of violent video games and entertainment on the mental health of society. The research would be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vice President Joe Biden met with representatives of top video game manufacturers to discuss the industry’s impact on society.
These investigations are a response to the recent mass shootings and suicides of young criminals. Questions about guns, violence and mental health have been raised once again among the American people.
Americans have debated for years what causes a person to commit such acts of horror and how they can be prevented.
Now, top U.S. officials are giving high priority to an investigation of accepted and even common entertainment present in many households around the country, fearing for the mental health of its users.
Could it be that these officials are onto something?
While not all people are affected the same way by witnessing violence, and while violent entertainment is not solely responsible for the crimes of our day, it certainly seems closer to the root of the issue—man’s own choices.
C.S. Lewis said, “Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before.”
Man is highly responsible for the state of his own mind. Lewis implies that the actions of a man’s inner life bear consequences in his outside life, namely his relationship with those around him. This is why man’s sin can seem to point toward a mental issue.
According to New York Times writers Benedict Carey and Anemona Hartocollis, some experts say the psychological issues present in many criminals today “are noticeable but do not add up to any specific ‘disorder’ according to strict criteria.”
So while cruelty may be a mental issue, the best answer is not a medical label. The best answer is to acknowledge it as the consequence of man’s day-to-day choices. The choice to indulge in violent video games may be a stimulus to crime, but its roots run deep. It is a sin issue, all men being not only capable, but responsible.