Jimquisition: Desensitized to Violence

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That footage was pretty tame for "shocking" footage. I didn't even wince. I wonder if I have been desensitized, but if I have, I think it might be just real life that's desensitized me.

A while back I found some footage of terrorists beheading someone with a machete.

I clicked on it out of morbid curiosity.

Aside from not being able to finish watching, I felt emotionally disturbed for at least 2 weeks before I managed to start wiping the memories from my mind.

I doubt anyone would allow you to play that footage on the escapist, and I doubt Jim would even want to.

So yeah, I don't think violence in videogames are to blame.

People do some pretty messed up stuff to each other, and they always have.

Seeing that footage made me feel sick. More evidence for you Jim. Real violence is something only true psychopaths love. The gore and death of video games will never make me feel so ill at ease as that clip did.

It maybe because I had a compound fracture in my left arm at age 5 but that video didn't effect me at all.

Not gonna lie, I wasn't shocked or disturbed by the clip, but I was confused. All I could think was, "What drove this man to do this?" I mean, the guy gets on TV, pulls out a gun, and tells everyone to back off because it might hurt someone...only to proceed to kill himself. This man was rational enough to care for everyone else's safety, but threw away his own life so casually. It's like...what just happened? What did I see? You know?

I think I'm a bit late to the party, but I hadn't thought I'd be 10% as disturbed as I actually was. Even though it's not exactly what I think about violent media, Jim's argument is pretty nice!

Nevermind. Found what I was looking for.

OT: I skipped the video was well. I saw is once back in the day and I don't need to see it again.

But what about the interactivity?
It's the one question/arguement I can't figure out.
There are plenty of violent movies and videogames, but what seperates them is that videogames are interactive.

Could that interactivity be the difference that causes violence?
(Or, how would you argue against that question?)

I just want to say I skipped it too. I've seen a short clip of it before out of context (in "Bowling for Columbine") and I'm in no way squeemish. But after that clip started, I just couldn't watch it.

Pretty much hit the nail on the head there. I can't say I was disturbed by the video, but I'm definately not going to say I didn't get a little shock. It didn't make me feel sick, but the reality- the legitimateness of the death makes it certainly more harrowing. The truth is: If someone dies in a videogame, no matter how realistic it is, the person in the game was never truly alive. The fact that a real person died is what caused the shock. If anything, I'd be more disturbed by something like Saw, but the truth remains that it's fiction. No-one ever died in Saw, and no-one ever dies in Halo or Call of Duty. It's a simple set of pixels that dies, there's no relation to people.
There are a hell of a lot of factors in real violence that makes it truly different to video game violence, the main difference being the big kicker: Actual people die in real violence!
Until the media get this shit through their skulls, they ain't gonna be able to be a legitimate source for... well... anything.

...and people wonder why I hate media coverage and shit. Christ.

for the main point in this argument i believe it to be true that the violence in games does not make people desensitized, in honesty Hellsing has more graphic depictions of violence then any videogame and it does not desensitize people it just people repeating the same excuses from the past onto a new medium, before it was comics then it was metal music and then rap music etc....

as for me ive been desensitized to violence on the scale of that clip for a long time since i started studying history and have seen some of the most graphic pictures of death as you can imagine, just do some research on WW2 and yeah that is really disturbing

as for the content that is controversial for people the act of the suicide i find it to be a kin to seppuku given the actions that led up to it, the only difference is that he did not disembowel himself. i feel sad for the man with all that said

I've seen a lot of gory things- studying forensic science would in theory desensitize me far more than any game. Yet the video still made me feel a little wrong inside- not massively disturbed, knowing it was coming, but it felt wrong somehow.

Thank God for Jim

(And far more seriously, thank you Escapist for letting him show it. Was the right decision)

But what about the interactivity?
It's the one question/arguement I can't figure out.
There are plenty of violent movies and videogames, but what seperates them is that videogames are interactive.

Could that interactivity be the difference that causes violence?
(Or, how would you argue against that question?)

I'm sorry for not being able to come up with an essay on the subject, but I like contribute with a bit of my own experience and relationship with videogames.

Everytime someone comes up with an argument about a game's interactive aspect having an effect on people's behavior I can't help but feel a little off. People say that being able to unleash violence and murder of your own desire may make you more comfortable with performing violent acts in real life. I assume they say that because your avatar is somehow supposed to "be" you in the game's world. I just can't feel that, though; When I'm playing a game, I don't really feel like I'm doing everything that's going on screen, rather I just feel like I'm being told a story, a story in which I only get to chose what I want to be told. Maybe that's why I didn't feel really disturbed by Spec Ops: The Line (I really wish I did, though... I feel like my lack of shock over it detracted quite a bit from the game's value) or MW2's airport shooting section.

So, to sum it up, even though games are interactive and stuff, to me they just feel like a "choose your own adventure" type of movie.

Ps. I hope I could get my point across. I hate my inability of translating thoughts into text.


The last paragraph about games seems to be mostly assumptions. Personally I would never touch a gun.

There can't be a study that could really show that, due to ethics standards. For example, you know the Millgram experiment (people told to shock someone, actor pretends to die, etc)? That was incredibly unethical, and you couldn't get funding to do anything like that. You'd need to either kill someone, or imitate killing them, trained by videogames and with actual guns, which you cannot do. Period. Would never get past the ethics committee. Notice, all the evidence cited above comes in the wake of wars. So, like most of psychology, and a lot of science, you are left with assumption. I personally believe that videogames are less effective at training than military training, for a variety of reasons, mostly about real world experience, recoil, jams, etc., but, I see no reason not to believe that the same qualities that made the one so much more efficient wouldn't be present in the other, even if to a lesser degree.

Also, why would you never touch a gun?

so shooters are virtual training to shoot someone well call me pickled, i always thought running out into the open and not going for cover followed by looking around corners covering your blindspots before entering into a room was a really bad way of teaching someone to shot people who are armed and ready to kill you, but then again i just respawned and am ready to try again after all i just picked up my gun for the first time and if its a shotgun know how to properly hold it so the kick does not break my arm and or shoulder from playing COD also i now know i can in real life fire a gun to take someones life since ive done it so many times in a game, please give me a break.

as for your second question i dont touch guns because i dont need them

Ive said it many times before but once again Jim hits the nail on the head

/hatoff to you

And for the record i looked away and covered my ears just before he shot himself. Also for the record for fun in Grand Theft Auto i used to grab a flame thrower and run into a crowd...

I had actually thought before this that maybe video games and life had desensitized me to violence, then I watched the clip and all I can say is this...

Thank God I didn't watch this last night before going to bed, would have kept me up all damn night. I can now say that no, I am not desensitized to violence. At all

Captcha: Stand up guy, seems somewhat inappropriate at the moment. Stupid sentient captcha

I didn't feel a damn thing about that guy dying.

Welp. I guess it's time to run for the hills, kiddies. Because clearly, I am a mass murdering psychopath.

i think you forgot the rape since by your profile pic you enjoy Visual Novels since i believe that is a character from Princess Waltz so it should be mass murdering raping psychopath if not then i apologize in advance

also i would hope you would feel saddened that he died and you did not get to see the media immediate reactions to it and yes that sounds cruel but its been 20 years we can now laugh about this like we laugh about Lincoln


i think you forgot the rape since by your profile pic you enjoy Visual Novels since i believe that is a character from Princess Waltz so it should be mass murdering raping psychopath if not then i apologize in advance

Well hot damn, I never knew there was another person not in the visual novel group who would recognize my avatar.

But yes, you're absolutely right. I LOOOOOOOOVE rape.

Thank you Jim. Thank you for the time stamp. Thank you for facing an issue that many others have tried and pretty much failed at. Thank you for approaching it with humour, honesty and the brutality I have come to cherish in you. Thank you.

I was not disturbed by this footage at all. Well, we Ukrainians just have this "I don't give a damn" gene. We don't afraid to die, kill and don't feel anything when somebody dies in front of us. Yep. In fact, if some politician would do this here - we would make a *That was bad* quote and continue to serf forward...or make a celebration from it. You can call me a soulless monster, but you now what? I like to be a soulless monster - we don't need anything human.

Mildly disturbing, though, whatever it was that got him disgrace, I find I have a solemn respect for the man. Everyone panicked that he might shoot one of them, but he was in perfect control. This was a meticulous thing, very well thought out. I give him the credence and respect he wanted to avoid losing.

But, I say mildly disturbing there, not because of anything in gaming or media in general has me, but because I helped a friend who was studying border relations between the U.S. and Mexico create a report on the Juarez killings. Where someone would go into a bus with a rifle and just shoot people, with someone on a cheap camera behind them. And while I'm still repelled and disturbed by it, and far from fascinated with it, I will say that I have turned less of an eye away from it. I don't seek it out, but I do take it as more of a fact, as things that just happen.

Good episode, Jim, and a great argument. Too bad those laying blame aren't listening.

EDIT: A thought occurred, after posting this. The same media who cries foul was also the same media who gave us the uncensored videos of the Death of Saddam Hussein, a few years ago. Was that just "something we all had to see"? A definite end to the hunt, to the chase? A figurehead to represent that we were winning? I would caution them with the idea that what happened in the school should not have the same kind of glorified coverage.


Anyway,yes,that was disturbing,the only true violent game is Spec Ops.

Well, that's not true. There is Killer 7, a game that is disturbing, unsettling, and uncomfortable to its roots.

Jim, I can honestly say that THIS VIDEO, is your best work yet!

Well done Jim. Just well freaking done. That's all I have to say.

Those who know the least, talk the most.

Speaking as someone who, through military deployments, has been aparty to and responsible for Jim's quote en quote "real violence," I have a comment I've held for awhile now about desensitization to violence from media in general. I does and it doesn't. It doesn't prepare or desensitize you to what you see when it's right there in front of you. In the same regard to a flight sim trainer for pilots. I doesn't, and isn't trying, to make the action of ACTUALLY flying the plane indistinguishable from the flight sim, but it makes the fear, apprehension, and hesitation from getting into a real cockpit less fearful. Violence in media is the same thing. I don't care how many SAW's you've seen or other gore flicks, when you see a real head blown off someone, it gets to you. But what seeing those movies or playing games like them DOES do is make you far less likely to recoil BEFORE you see it.

Granted it's anecdotal but I have to go on my own experience, I saw this in action in my own unit. I had a guy that was from the classic, SUPER classic "Brady bunch" family who didnt watch TV growing up, never had video games, didnt read or see violent things. Sheltered in all regards. Then you had me, growing up playing anything and everything, watching everything and anything, doing anything and everything, and "desensitized" to violence in a manner of speaking. When we both, on our first deployment, came across our fist bodies torn by bullets, we both recoiled at the sight. The difference was I didn't hesitate to walk over to look, it took coaxing to get him to come over. I was, more or less, just as bothered by it (but not as long as he was which I'm sure is another factor) but I more readily approached it. That's something I am sure that violent media does do. It takes the COMPLETELY unknown, and gives a person a toehold. Is that inherently a bad thing? No, I don't suppose it is, but does take SOME mystery away from the air of true violence and by definition that would desensitize the fear away from it (fear stemming from the unknown).

This is 100% correct.

This effect is the reason that the Army started using human shaped targets at ranges after WW2 instead of the round bullseyes they used before and during the war. Studies after the war revealed that a very large number of infantry riflemen were either intentionally missing their targets or not firing their weapons at all. It turns out that a properly wired human has a natural aversion to harming and killing their fellow human beings.

While these guys may have been crack shots on the rifle range, they had never fired at anything remotely human. After WW2 the Army went to silouette targets and eventually the more human torso like dummy targets and by Vietnam, they found that the natural predisposition to freeze rather than fire had vanished.

I can't help but figure that games like COD and Battlefield would do the same thing. They don't make you violent or make you a killer, they just take some walls down and make it so you could more easily deal with killing if you find yourself in that situation.

Oh and RC1138, thank you for your service to your country.

Agreed with the video, but I do think video games should be more regulated for kids. I don't think 10 year old's should be able to buy/play Call of Duty games, for the same reason why they shouldn't watch R rated horror movies and porn. The average gamer isn't 10 year anymore like they were in the 80's and early 90's, they're in their late 20's so not allowing kids to buy games who don't meet the age requirement on the box isn't going to break the market like game publishers want you to believe.

Keep in mined this has nothing to do with the school shootings, I had this opinion long before. If the US spent half as much time regulating gun control, as it does making excuses to not have gun control gun deaths would go down dramatically. You put regulations and strict penalties on drunk drivers as well as the people that sell alcohol to drunk drivers (i.e bar tenders) and it has drastically decreased the accidents involving Drunk Drivers, why not use a little of that common sense with gun regulation?

There are lots of country that sell/ buy violent video games and movies and don't have half as much gun violence as the US, why because they have gun regulations, there is no reason why anyone (outside the army) should own an automatic weapon, in Canada we can't even own a hand gun without jumping through hoops and you know what that's the way it should be, you don't need to walk down town or be on a bus with a hand gun.

I won't lie, it didn't bother me. What I thought was most unfortunate is that he obviously wanted to say something but everyone started screaming and carrying on. He realised they wouldn't let him finish so he did the deed before anyone could stop him. I mean fucking hell, give the guy his last words.

But what about the interactivity?
It's the one question/arguement I can't figure out.
There are plenty of violent movies and videogames, but what seperates them is that videogames are interactive.

Could that interactivity be the difference that causes violence?
(Or, how would you argue against that question?)

I just want to say I skipped it too. I've seen a short clip of it before out of context (in "Bowling for Columbine") and I'm in no way squeemish. But after that clip started, I just couldn't watch it.

There is literally no evidence to suggest that violent video games make violent people.

It's a boogieman that was invented for basically the reasons Jim pointed out.

Violent Crimes among the typical demographics for "violent" video games has gone down every year since Video Games started being a thing.

Is it because of them? Probably not, people are just becoming better educated and probably some other factors.

I'm highly interactive when I'm practicing the ole "solo pants party" but I don't for a minute get confused about what is fantasy and what is reality and frankly that activity is far closer motion wise to the actual acts.

Firing a gun, stabbing a person, strangling someone, lighting someone on fire, these things are all grossly separated from the act of using a controller.

NOW once VR is super realistic and you can't differentiate, maybe, I could see that possibly maybe causing problems.


But really its not that these things make killers, its just that people who are highly likely to kill are left without help long enough and something triggers them.

If it weren't games it would be music.

If it weren't music it would be movies.

If it weren't movies it would be books.

If it weren't books it would be squirrels eating those damn nuts outside my window in the mornings...

taunting me...

Little bastards.

Agreed with the video, but I do think video games should be more regulated for kids. I don't think 10 year old's should be able to buy/play Call of Duty games, for the same reason why they shouldn't watch R rated horror movies and porn.

The reason being? I remember being 10, I remember playing violent games, seeing R rated films, and seeing some of my first adult films and magazines.

I'm not exactly running around raping, stabbing, and terrorizing people. It also didn't have any appreciable impact on my childhood.

You know what did?

Relentless bullying by sports students.

But I'm not entirely keen on banning sports.

Anywho I digressed, what is the reason?

Those who know the least, talk the most.

This makes an awful lot of popular physicists apparently retarded. >.>...

An excellent video Jim, you've done quite a good job with this one.

I had not seen the Budd Dwyer incident before, and while it didn't completely shock me (I have seen far worse things on the internet) it most certainly did churn my stomach around. It was very depressing, and very unfortunate that such an event occurred.

Still, the points you made were excellent. They did a terrific job of articulating my thoughts, as many other people have already said.

As for the whole "any sane civilian is going to be terrified of guns..." line... I somewhat agree with you. As an avid firearms enthusiast I can safely say that firearms do not terrify me. Unless, they are in the hands of those who are dangerous, or inexperienced. So I suppose in that sense, any regular civilian should be terrified of guns. If you do not understand proper gun safety, or you have not handled guns before, you certainly should treat them with a healthy amount of respect and fear.

That being said, while it may not have been intentional the wording does imply a negative connotation towards those like my self who are gun enthusiasts. Just because we are not disturbed by a neutral firearm, that does not mean we are any less sane than anyone else.

On my more morbid days I enjoy my simulated carnage and I can't count my kill number in videogames on the digits of a stadium packed with people. Yet, I skipped the footage, too afraid of how sad and horrified I would be. Also, the news comments at the end made me begin to snarl unconsciously and want to vomit with rage...at the news racket. From the coliseums to your tv sets, er, smart phones folks. *slow, sarcastic clapping* Thank God (or whatever deity) for Jim Sterling.

We can apply Jim's logic about violence in video games to everything in video games right? Sexism in games is ok because its not really like "real" sexism, same with racism, not really "real" so its ok right? I doesn't affect people the same way right? Or are we splitting hairs?

Don't get me wrong I'm not condemning any video games for anything they contain, they are a free art form, you cant blame them for murders, those are done out of a persons free will. I did like the use of the video clip, had nothing to do with video game violence, hell was not even violent but +10 for shock and awe , maybe some people need to see real death to have more respect for it because if video games had real violence in them a lot of people couldn't handle them.

P.S.- Blaming video games makes about as much logical sense as blaming guns right?

Not really. Violence in video games is a none-crime. They're easy to identify fakeness and no victim. Violence in Video games doesn't encourage people to go out and shoot someone, nor does it glorify such a suggestion.

Sexism in video games, can be horrendously sexist depending on the context. In such as Duke Nukem 3D, the sexist element is in keeping with the Duke image. It's a spoof of muscle-bound action hero stero-types and the sexism is part of that spoofing. Duke Nukem 3D in my opinion was far better at sending the message that sexism is for assholes than, say, Sucker Punch.
In contrast to that though is the explosion of (especially in MMORPG) of stereotyped women. The females in these games have universally worryingly thin waists, supporting massive Breasts, wearing heavy armour which is basically non-existant, often taking the form of little more than a skimpy metal bikini. Usualy drawn into loading screens with in highly questionable poses.It's the lack of variety and common occurence which make this sexist. Women in such games are objectified and reduced to this one form, while men typically have a much greater variety of body shapes to choose from. Including over-weight in many games. Women are not given the same choices. They can be small, thin with big boobs, medium height, thin with big boobs or tall, thin with big boobs.
All women are victimised by the impression that this prevelence sends.

Pen & Tell also did an entire show on this, with the payoff being they showed the poor little gamer kid crying after he had shot an actual gun.

What's happened? Captcha, really? There are other places to have your gun control debates.

I have never EVER watched a Saw movie or it's like in my life. The main reason? It disturbs the hell out of me. At times my morbid curiosity gets the better of me and I have a peek, then instantly regret it. Plenty of games I've played have violence, mayhem, and death but still I refuse to watch horror movies. Often the gore in movies is more realistic than in video games because most movies are live-action and want their content to look real as possible which tends to go unnoticed by the media in lieu of bashing games. To make another case; I found The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo hard to watch due to the violence inflicted by the antagonists and felt very disturbed by it (this is not a negative review of the movie in anyway.)

Much like Jim I play plently of shooter games but I rightly fear guns because of all the danger they hold if you're not careful. I don't even have a driver's license because I get nervous behind the wheel of a large metal construct capable of injuring people even at low speeds.

Next time can you put a few seconds padding between the horrific parts of the show and the nonhorrific, tried to skip on a tablet and I ended up at 1:47 instead of 1:49

I really, and I mean really, can't stand this guy which is why it annoys me to no end when he is right on so many levels,
especially the media celbritising these killers.

I have played a lot of violent video games and yet real violence scares me to no end. I hate confrontation and will often avoid it if possible and that clip will haunt me forever. I will, however, go on to say that I believe age restrictions on games need to be taken more seriously, as there are those who easily influenced, especially those who are very young, who may make a poor judgement or grow up believing that violence is ok. This is even more important if the next generation of gaming is near photo realistic as the lines between reality and media may be skewed even further.

Good episode, regardless, and I really hope this persona is literally just for the show and "entertainment" purposes.

You know what is a violent videogame? Condemned: Criminal Origins. (It is an awesome game by the way, one of my favourites)

No mainstream game is really violent, and I think games such as Mortal Kombat are as "violent" as Super Mario.

While I didn't like the suicide part I see why Jimothy Sterling used it. He wanted to show the point that real violence was different then video game violence by showing the difference not in a verbal way thats been argued a hundred times over. But in a visual way an effective way. I for one would defend the way in which it is. Why ? Simple for once the news ( to whom shows real violence all the time ) is being shown that the community at large does in fact despise real violence. I for one wouldn't be surprised if members of the site wanted this to be taken down for said reason. In that light we can't be the one's " glorifying " violence it would be C.N.N , Fox news , and other " news " outlets onto which show real violence as the " glorifiers " of violence. Besides here is one question I'd like answered by the media. Which news outlet released the killers face first video game sites or traditional news outlets ?

The thing that bugs me is that most of us at the escapist already agree with the point of view that Jim is showing. The ones who need convincing frequent other outlets of information.

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