On 26 August 2018 at 1:34pm, 24 year old David Katz opened fire at Chicago Pizza in Jacksonville Landing, Florida as it was hosting the regional final of a Madden NFL 19 tournament. News outlets such as the UK Telegraph have labelled Katz a ‘gamer’ implying that there is a causal link between playing video games and committing violence acts. As discussed in a previous Gamers Classified article, this is inaccurate. It is troubling that regardless of the facts, some Journalists continue propagating the myth that video gamers are predisposed to acts of violence.
A 2017 study by Dr Whitney DeCamp and Dr Christopher Ferguson concluded that playing video games does not have a statistically significant effect on a person’s likelihood commit assault. The greatest predictor of violent behaviour is experiencing verbal or physical violence from a parent. Furthermore, FBI statistics and video game sales data show that over the past 30 years rates of violent crime in the US and video game sales are almost perfectly inversely related. That is, as video game sales have risen, rates of violent crime have fallen. In light of this evidence, it is inaccurate to assert that playing video games is a warning sign for violent behaviour.
Preliminary reports from the Madden NFL 19 tournament suggest that Katz lost his temper after losing a game and then proceeded to open fire. If this is true, it is an atypical reaction and does not accurately represent the sportsmanship within the Esports community. Gamers Classfied recently covered the OzHadou Sydney-based York Street Battles which is a monthly video game event. We are happy to report that this was an inclusive, family friendly event where smiles, banter and handshakes were a common feature. Our footage from the event captures the sense of community that characterises these events. Gamers Classified has covered multiple other Esports and pop culture events and can report that attendees and organisers are typically friendly, helpful and approachable. In our experience, violent outbursts are atypical at these events, and this tragic shooting does not accurately represent gamers or the gaming community.
Gamers Classified extends its sympathies to everyone affected by this event and stresses that Katz’s actions are not representative of the Esports community. This matter should be considered in regards to one specific individual and not be generalised to include gamers at large. For more information about the inverse relation between video games and and violence please click here.