Jimquisition: Desensitized to Violence

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I didn't watch the clip, the thought of doing so disturbed me. As much as I can laugh with glee at seeing exploding heads in games seeing an actual person committing suicide sickens me. I am glad there was a warning before the clip, I did not want to see it.

As for the rest of the video I agree. It's easy to blame movies or games, but it's no explanation.

Well... I got to say that I got shocked by the footage and because of that I feel kinda calmer.

I play a lot of games as well and although when I have a choice I go for the goody two shoes solution I have no problem with any type of killing in games. I also had some troubled thoughts about if that is normal or not and after being left silent for several minutes after the shot I'm relieved that I am.

So thank you Mr Sterling for showing this with the appropriate warnings of course, I am still a bit disturbed, but I know that that's a good sign. Keep up the great work.

Jimothy Sterling:

Hazzard:
Do you reckon you could edit it what the graphic content is in the description so people know what it is?

Can someone explain to me what the purpose of what happened in the content was? As in why the person did it?

I explain in the video intro what the content is, which I think does the job. As for background on Dwyer himself, you can get all the info from the usual place: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._Budd_Dwyer

That last bit really hits me in the gut on the Wikipedia page.

The guy may have actually been innocent :/.

All I know is that I've been playing violent video games my whole life and I have progressively become more and more of a pacifist in real life.

These days I get really uncomfortable when actual violence happens, it seems so unnecessary and terrible.

I'm a game master for a WWII flying game and some players were ranting about how great guns are and how they protect them and how the game was proof. I asked them how many times they've died in the game.

Each of them, dozens (a few hundreds) of times. I think people forget that in a real life violent situation you'll probably die, it won't be pretty, it won't be noble, it won't be fun, it'll be painful and sad and then it is all over.

I didn't so much as flinch as the suicide footage. Wasn't bothered in the slightest. That probably says something bad about me.

That wasn't that disturbing to me, but I gauge that as I've actually seen people die in real life. 2 to be exact.
One was my grandmother and the other was a car crash victim. Both times I saw the eyes of those who died and the "light" that disappeared. THAT is truly disturbing.

Now then, on the topic of games desensitizing to violence. One good argument against it, as someone who has watched people die before is the scene from Spec Ops: The Line. It's gruesome, horrifying, and slaps you in the face of what violence amounts to.

Video games have (aside from the above) never come close to showing the true outcome of violence, and does not prepare one for the shock of what it is actually like, and I'm confident in saying that they never will reach the full shock of it.

True Death is something that entertainment needs to shy away from since it's never glorious. It's cold, unfeeling, and discriminates to none.

True death is serious business.
Entertainment death is, well... Entertainment.

I just saw the last 2 seconds of that clip. Goddamn.... that is disturbing as hell.
And i laughed at the bloody perk in fallout the first time i used it.
Damn fine episode

"Any sane civilian would be terrified of guns"

I'm sorry Jim, but you sound like a child. No, not because you dislike guns, thats your choice. But the way you implied every gun owner is insane to own a gun is just pathetically ignorant.
Its incredibly distracting in a otherwise very serious discussion.

I'm 22, a CCW holder, and not afraid of my guns including the XD9sc hidden under my belt while typing this message.
Do I respect their power, yes.
In the same way I respect a cars when driving by ignoring or turning off my phone.
I don't goof off when using a gun or car, but I'm not terrified to use them.

Amen to the bit at the end.

The media gets off on violence, they print billions of dollars every time a new psychopathic killer comes along.

Yet somehow the media has the gall to try and blame video games or guns, and completely ignores the most important thing: -That the guy was bat-shit insane-.

I hate age checks.
Oh for fucks sake, that. Yea, I don't need to see that. I know what happens, thanks for the warning.

I think the message is clear to people here. The question is how do you let parents, religious (and other) groups, and the news media know that We know that when they try to blame something like games and music that they're really just saying "please don't blame me."
Or do you need to. Nobody ever really takes them too seriously and I think it's because everybody knows how pathetic it is.

As for violence; I like shooters & hacker/slashers but my favorite quick bit of game violence would have to be the Burnout Crash Junction. It doesn't have any blood or people even. You send a car into an intersection to deliberately try and cause the biggest pileup possible. Of course I would be horrified if I were to witness a real life enactment of any of those crashes.

I agree with most of this video, with the exception of one very carefully crafted statement by Jim.

"Any sane civilian would be terrified by guns."

False.

The problem I have with this statement is twofold:

First, it implies that any civilian who is not terrified by guns is insane. I grew up with guns. I hunted (don't anymore), and used it to defend livestock from predators. I am not scared of them in the least, unless someone is pointing it at me with intent. I respect them, because I know what they can do, but scared? No.

Second, it implies that this blanket statement regarding fear of guns is suddenly swept away if someone is paid by the state as a police officer or a soldier. Now, why does this suddenly make a lack of fear of guns okay? Does changing roles change their genetic make-up?

Come on, Jim. I know you're a firm believer in the benevolent mommy state in all situations except the ability to rant on the internet and the meaningless, empty free speech, but I know you can't really believe that.

I don't see what's the big deal is, it's just a grainy old video of someone shooting himself, I've seen far worse stuff. But, eh, maybe I'm just desensitised.

Off topic: What's the game shown at around 3:10 and again at 4:02?

Vault Citizen:
I find the movie sad but it didn't shock or really disturb me...I'm wondering if I should be worried about that.

No.
If you got a hard-on like I did, then you should probably get some help. I'm just wondering if I should call the nearest psychiatric facility in my HMO or if I should just go right ahead and call 911.

....

I'm just kidding of course.

....

I'm not turning myself in.

mmmmmmmhhhhhhhhh.................. i know the video is real but, even knowing it my first impresion was "it looks fake" well, i totally agree with the thing about the news giving the publicity to violence, but im more desapointed at myself for my reaction

I've been saying this message for years!
People (yes, even kids) know the difference between real and FAKE.

The BIG problem is the news media that constantly repeats the story until it`s engraved on our brains.

Remember Janet Jackson's nipple?
News pundits around America had the same reaction... "I'm appalled,I'm shocked,I'm disgusted, LETS SEE IT AGAIN!"

The same goes for violence; the motto is "SHOCK SELLS!"

One of the best Jimquisitions I've ever seen. Seriously, I wish there was a way for all those hypocritical windbags at the news stations and the NRA to see this video. I really, really do.

And I assume the age verification was also referring to the dancing flower at the end (a Dafoe-dil - *buh-dum tish). Too bad you left out a warning for that one, Jimbo.

misterprickly:
I've been saying this message for years!
People (yes, even kids) know the difference between real and FAKE.

The BIG problem is the news media that constantly repeats the story until it`s engraved on our brains.

Remember Janet Jackson's nipple?
News pundits around America had the same reaction... "I'm appalled,I'm shocked,I'm disgusted, LETS SEE IT AGAIN!"

The same goes for violence; the motto is "SHOCK SELLS!"

I believe, "if it bleeds it leads", is the age old analogy.

NinjaDC:
"Any sane civilian would be terrified of guns"

I'm sorry Jim, but you sound like a child. No, not because you dislike guns, thats your choice. But the way you implied every gun owner is insane to own a gun is just pathetically ignorant.
Its incredibly distracting in a otherwise very serious discussion.

I'm 22, a CCW holder, and not afraid of my guns including the XD9sc hidden under my belt while typing this message.
Do I respect their power, yes.
In the same way I respect a cars when driving by ignoring or turning off my phone.
I don't goof off when using a gun or car, but I'm not terrified to use them.

I have written the same thing here, but watch it, there are some users that may knock you unconcious with their way of seeing this, I for example have been called "mad".

I've seen people die before, in video; real people, really dying. I've also seen, in my own life, a dead person (though I've never had to watch someone I care about, or not, die, fortunately). Needless to say, I have "killed" countless people, aliens, monsters, robots, animals, even some children, in video games. I still skipped the part with the suicide. I don't want to see it, the thought of someone taking their own life makes me sad enough, without having to actually see it. I could watch it, I feel I'd deal with it, and be able to move on from it; I know I have in the past, but I don't want to see someone die again, particularly by their own hand in such a violent manner. The thought still saddens me.

Jimothy Sterling:
Desensitized to Violence

snip

Watch Video

This was a good one Jim. Very articulate and to the point. I've seen your older jimquisition stuff on youtube before you came here and I can't remember if it was from you or someone else, but I've seen that clip before. It was disturbing then and it is disturbing now.

Good video.

That footage really messed me up.

Really nice video Jim, it's nice to see people stand up to this shit.

Video... unnecessary... but it proves a point... I was like ewww.... but yeah... NRA? American Rifle's Association? the people who said it's OK to own armor piercing bullet when hunting? the same people who said SMG is for self defence? yeah...

Don't blame the people who hand the guns to the murders, but blame the most popular media; competitor of the TV industry!~ I think game companies should start joining on the political side, and start lobbing like the TV media industries do!~ we might just get to be MORE popular and WE TOO can point our fingers at the sub sub cultures too!

"Blame casual game for our downed economy because too many workers play them at work!"

Jimothy Sterling:

Vault Citizen:
I find the movie sad but it didn't shock or really disturb me...I'm wondering if I should be worried about that.

It at least affected you on a negative level. I'm willing to bet those that don't find it disturbing have already been desensitized by some *other* form of vile real-life content. The Internet's pretty full of that stuff!

I too found the video less than disturbing, but I think that just drives your point home further. I have no want or need to hurt someone, and apparently, I'm not sensitive to real violence either. So who does game violence affect then, if both sensitive and insensitive people are uninspired by the real thing? Rhetorical question, but it's one that should be asked to those stupid enough to believe this is an issue.

Jimothy Sterling:
snip

Point made, and made well. I have no complaints, I merely wish that proving we aren't inhuman freaks to the rest of the world didn't require we show a video of a man killing himself and that we, like everyone else, are affected by it.

cynik:

NinjaDC:
"Any sane civilian would be terrified of guns"

I'm sorry Jim, but you sound like a child. No, not because you dislike guns, that's your choice. But the way you implied every gun owner is insane to own a gun is just pathetically ignorant.
Its incredibly distracting in a otherwise very serious discussion.

I'm 22, a CCW holder, and not afraid of my guns including the XD9sc hidden under my belt while typing this message.
Do I respect their power, yes.
In the same way I respect a cars when driving by ignoring or turning off my phone.
I don't goof off when using a gun or car, but I'm not terrified to use them.

I have written the same thing here, but watch it, there are some users that may knock you unconscious with their way of seeing this, I for example have been called "mad".

I have to say that the above statement made by Jim was both one sided and ignorant.
Fear is mainly caused by a negative experience, be it first or second hand.

I come from a military family; I'm rather used to firearms both in the service as well as in the home and I can whole heartedly say that it is the individual who uses it.

Video games not only desensitized me to violence, but actually inspired me to commit violence. Like the other day, when I saw some guy walking along the street, I stabbed him in the neck with my hidden wrist blade, bathed a feather in his blood, then hid in a roof garden. True story.

I wasn't terribly shocked either, though not because I'm completely desensitized to violence. I was one of those kids who would ask for encyclopedias for birthdays and watch real medical footage of surgeries and graphic injuries (both human and animal). I'm currently in my 20s, working in the animal health field, seen (and often been messy with) pretty much every bodily fluid of various colours, seen humans and animals in pain and grief, and assisted in several animal euthanasias. I did have contact with video games before the age of 10 (some violent in nature), though I doubt it did anything negative and substantial.

To add my story among others without going into too much detail...

Almost a year ago, I was in a situation where I was given the option to euthanize an anesthetized (that I personally anesthetized) mouse. I was not told about this, though I'm unsure if it would make a difference. The method of euthanasia was with a more physical method (as opposed to chemically like in dogs and cats), namely cardiac puncture or snapping the neck. The mouse wouldn't have felt a thing and never would've seen it coming. There was a lot of pressure to do so since these people could've potentially been future employers who need people who are able to euthanize a mouse when needed. I couldn't do it, and I feel rotten for being in that situation even today. And because of that I pretty much lopped off $10 per hour from my paycheck, worse working conditions, and in a side of the industry I find to be well-meaning yet greedy. It was a complex situation, but the point still stands that as someone who can mow down soldiers, aliens, and templars without feeling guilty, I still feel the natural, human emotional weight involved with causing harm or death to a living thing.

If I could make a pile of all the enemies I've killed in games (not counting the colossi because that would be cheating), it would nearly reach the moon. I KNOW there is a difference between causing a real death (even a small one) and anything anything in a game. No matter how good the graphics and physics engines are, it's impossible to fully replicate the emotional weight. And many people in the media and public don't see this. I've even talked to people who support things like the game burnings and they still can't understand that. At least now I have Jim to back me up now.

Thank you, Escapist, for allowing this to air.

And of course, thank GOD for Jim Sterling.

...and should I be ashamed for wanting to at least try Spec Ops: The Line after watching this video? I think I made myself sad for asking this question :(

Captcha: Way to go!

Captcha agrees!

I think that footage of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan or something similar would have been better for this purpose.

I still applaud what was done here though.

I read the warning and I thought it might not be that big of a deal because, what could possibly be that horrible for that short of time? I've seen some real horrible shit because of the internet, but while watching that my mind was yelling at me to look away, and that footage bothers me. I don't think I will ever get that image out of my head.

I've been playing games for a long time, and yet I can't deal with actual violence and I can barely handle tension in a room, so it boggles my mind when there are people out there that say games make you violent.

Very gruesome video there Jim, but you made your point and my respect for you has grown like crazy.

Thank you Escapist for allowing this, and thank God for you Jim!.

As the mainstream news media continues to revel in the Sandy Hook shootings, its pundits point at the finger at videogames for reveling in digital violence. If you believe these hypocrites, your gaming hobby makes you cold and indifferent to scenes of death and destruction. If you believe the Jimquisition - and you should, for its word is law - you'll know that's bollocks.

I already know it's bollocks (don't really want to talk about my own personal experiences of how I actually knew it was bollocks, and that lone is probably a powerful sign about how I haven't been desensitized), but still, nice to see someone with this much influence stand up and call these assholes out on it.

That's all I can think of to say. That was a pretty fucked up video clip. :(

Besides the fact that the suicide footage might not let me sleep tonight, I love you Jim. So far i have respected some of your opinions, but with this you have won me over.
I used to think you were a little shallow, but right now, i find your incredibly well articulated video to be the proof that i was wrong to think so shallowy of you.
Kudos man.

Captcha: Don't murder me

....Wait what.

Dark is the nature of the human hart as much is the fear we rally to when that mad nature escapes.

Guns aside people have killed people throughout history, terrible murders and madness without logic or justification are common in many points in history. There will always be murder we just need to offer less options for those intent on it to exact their madness, more guns cannot be the answer.

The video tells a sad story and the point is fair as yes games are in some ways an outlet for pent up agression and not 'real' lets hope it doesn't continue to be the scape goat to US gun issues.

As part of a criminal photography class I was taking my teacher showed us photos and footage of real crimes, and crime scenes to see if we could take it, to see if we were able to handle the true fucked-upness of the profession. I saw pictures of the dead, people burned up, shot that kind of thing, and finally he showed us this one video of a man blowing his head off with a sawed-off shotgun, so he wouldn't go to prison. I play "violent" video games for hours each day, pretty much when I'm not reading, or working, and I hardly watch TV. Video games are pretty much my leisure time. One thing that I am is a gamer, one thing that I am not is a crime scene photographer like I wanted to be at one point, because during that class I was the only one who yelled.

My first post on the Escapist despite being a long time fan.

While I must heartily agree with you Mr. Sterling I think that rather for time or content a second aspect of the debate was missed.

Games, as an art form, can and do represent violence in our culture. However, despite the trend of entertainment oriented fictional violence being nearly exponential with what Hollywood and game designers can imagine to shock being less limited by CGI and photo realistic graphics, the national rate of violent crimes has been declining steadily since the eighties with only a recent statistical tremor.

The facts do not back up a causal relationship between interactive media and violence.

Finally, I ask only that you take my word as a ten year veteran that even the most brutal, personal depictions of violence in games like Spec Ops: The Line or Manhunt pales in comparison to reality.

There is no achievement in death, and there are no respawns in life.

Thank you Jim. This has been the most sensible video I have seen on the subjest.(PERIOD)
Thank God for you!

Ickabod:
It's a great argument made in the episode, I just worry about how a media outlet like FOX could turn the point of this around and turn it into, "Gamers looking to up their desire for violence, a video gaming site shows a person actually killing themselves."

Because they'd never do that would they?

That being said, good episode.

They don't have much room to talk because it wasn't more than 6 months ago Fox News aired a suspected car thief killing himself on their very own broadcast.

OT: Great video Jim, as always you are 100% correct and I'm glad to see you call out CNN as well as Fox News for their predatory coverage of the shooting in Sandy Hook, as well as other past shootings.

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