Jimquisition: Desensitized to Violence

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Jimothy Sterling:


You might be interested in watching this scene Fox News covered live depicting an alleged car thief escape from the police, leave his vehicle and then commit suicide by shooting himself in the head.

When I saw the video between 1:20 and 1:49 I didn't feel disturbed. I felt odd. It was as if something was missing and I was expecting a kill-cam to slow down the moment from between him pulling the trigger and him completely collapsed.

That's how I felt about Jim's video. The actual moment of the shot was just so quick and simple. It wasn't until the blood started rolling out that I had a chill up my spine.

I have an even harder time watching suffering. My driving class in high school showed one of those Red Asphalt-esque movies with real people in real pain, missing limbs and impalement and all. I had nightmares for a week.

All of the necromorphs, xenomorphs, locusts, lambents, flood parasites, Promethian Knights, zerglings, zombies, slendermen, elderich abominatinos, Pyramidheads, Reapers, demons, Sha manifestations, Sweet Tooths, dragons, or Vaases combined are nothing compared to the disturbing terror I felt from hearing the quiet and under-spoken "pop" of that gun; and the aftermath that came after it.

I'm desensitized to violence, Mr. News Media? No, I'm not the one desensitized to violence.

You are, News Media, you are. You're the ones who glorify it. You're the ones who seem to jump for joy whenever a mass shooting happens. You're the ones who are desensitized to violence. After all, you just can't shut up about it. You're the ones I'm worried about.

Interesting video.

The footage didn't really disturb me on a deep level. In fact, I gave it a shrug until I saw the blood, then it was a brief eye-widening moment.

But the realization hit me when I saw the contrast. When he showed the montage of things that he DIDN'T need any kind of clearance to show. That entire segment, I found myself smiling.
It was all so... entertaining.

The suicide? That was not entertaining. So I didn't smile, or laugh, like I did with the wanton carnage of video games.

This is probably a good thing. I'm not mentally unstable. I know real death sucks, and my games aren't turning me into a time bomb. That's just silly.

Thanks for this! I really needed the contrast.

Sorry for the length, but, I felt that this topic deserved a certain degree of detail.

Couple of things. First, I fundamentally agree that videogames doesn't desensitize people to violence the way that it's portrayed in the media and have no interest in censoring them for a variety of reasons. Also, I have little respect for the NRA's blatant attempt to shift the scapegoating from guns to games. It's not an intellectually honest position. However, I have some bones to pick with you, Jimothy.

It's a little difficult to parse what sections of your shows are hyperbole and what sections are "straight talk." So, regarding your offhanded comment, "every sane civilian is going to be terrified of guns," is at best ignorant, and, at worse, quite offensive. On the one hand, you may just be suffering from a false consensus. You have a fear of firearms. Your fear of firearms leads you to avoid them, so, you never get over your fear. Since you've always had this fear, you presume most other people do as well. This is a common logical fallacy and everyone falls prey to it at some time or another. Succinctly, just because you feel one way doesn't mean that everyone else does or should. You need a logical argument. The alternative is that you're honestly saying that the roughly 80 million legal gun owners in America [citation needed] are crazy and just didn't bother to give the argument behind it. As a gun owner, I'd like to tell you to bite me. People who have been taught how to use a firearm tend not to be afraid of them. Certainly, there's a healthy respect for them (there are no accidental firearm discharges, only negligent firearm discharges) but, that's not fear. And the notion that a qualification for sanity in your mind is sharing your phobias is offensive to me, and I presume quite a few others.

Now on to the part that's really going to upset some people.

Videogames do make it easier to kill people. Please read the entire argument. They do not make you more likely to kill someone, but, all the evidence I've ever seen shows that shooters are actually murder training simulations. Again, I don't believe in censoring videogames, in much the same way that I don't believe in banning guns, but, the evidence is pretty strong. I direct you to the book, On Killing, by Lt. Col Grossman (ret.), an Air Force psychiatrist who wrote the work on the psychological effects of killing another individual. I will summarize this theory.

Almost all humans naturally resist killing someone. Alot. As in, they physically won't and if they do, they suffer extreme psychological trauma. You can become acclimated to it, but, it's not easy. 2%-3% don't have this psychological aversion to killing others, and they're called sociopaths. Sociopaths are not intrinsically bad people, they just don't have the same innate hangups. Anyway, throughout history, research has shown that wars have been far less bloody than they should be. We have good data about the Civil War, how quickly regiments could fire, reload, and fire again, etc., and they found that the really bloody battles of that war should have been over in less than an hour, because, everyone would be dead. And, it's not accuracy either, mind you, the tactics had taken that factor into account. The implication is that most of the soldiers chose not to fire, or deliberately shot at a nonhuman target (the ground, the air, whatever). Indeed, many guns have been found on Civil War battlefields loaded several times, as if the soldiers loaded, pretended to fire, and reloaded. This is corroborated by research done after WW2 in which soldiers admitted to the same and has been reproduced since. BTW, much of the deaths of these bloodier wars come from artillery, bombings, etc., indirect killing systems that make it much easier to psychologically kill someone than to put the knife in yourself. Distance helps the psyche. Easier to shoot someone than it is to beat them to death with a baseball bat, and it's even easier to fire a cannon at a distant huddle of people looking things and even easier still to shoot at a set of coordinates that you can't see. Clearly some soldiers overcame their aversions and shot to kill (and some didn't have any) but, they were certainly in the minority. (There are also racial, authority, and group dynamic driven elements that help as well)

However, by the end of the Vietnam War, this was no longer the case. Lt Col Grossman states that up to 90% of US combatants in Vietnam fired their weapons at an enemy. Why the monumental shift? Because military training had changed between WW2 and Vietnam in subtle but powerful ways. Marksmanship training moved from shooting at bullseye targets to shooting at man shaped silhouettes that would pop up and then get knocked down. similarly, the Pavlovian rewards for success on the range of medals, etc, and the punishments associated with failing, were more clearly defined. The act of see man-target, acquire man-target, fire, receive reward, became ingrained by repetition so that when in the field, servicemen would do exactly that, without actually thinking about what he was doing until after. This relates to the stories you hear about police shooting incidents, usually with innocents as victims. The officers see a suspect reach for something that could be considered threatening, training kicks in, and a few seconds later, their magazine is empty, and they're staring at the body in front of them wondering what happened. Indeed, this same effect could very well be tied to why servicemen in Vietnam suffered much higher rates of psychological injury than previous generations. More of them actually tried to kill someone, and though they had been trained better, there wasn't a psychological support network for coming to terms with that. We're better about that now, but, still probably not enough.

I strongly suggest you buy the book if you want to know more.

So, videogames. Shooters share a lot of the qualities that made the post WW2 training so much more effective. You're rewarded with scores and achievements for quickly and accurately shooting many moving man shaped (usually) targets. Decades worth of research on killing people suggests that this helps individuals to overcome the psychological aversion to killing, at least enough to commit the act. Logically, videogames makes it easier to kill people. Make no mistake, they're no more likely to. In the same way that the aforementioned sociopaths are not intrinsically murderers. Most are good, decent, law abiding, God fearing people, like the rest of us, because, that's the people they were taught how to be. (Far less than 2% of the population are actually violent criminals) Most people who own, use, and train with guns do not go out and kill people with them. And so, videogames don't cause you to kill people, either. It doesn't desensitize you so that the thought of killing doesn't hurt you, deep in your soul, it just makes you more capable of it, should you so decide. Incidentally, in these mass shootings, the assailant seems to have run into difficulty/ been stopped, when their weapon jams. Military personnel are well trained in dealing with jams (tap, rack, bang), and to a lesser extent, gun enthusiasts, but, when was the last time you had to clear a misfeed in a shooter? This is my own theory, but, I suspect there's a correlation between those two items.

Succinctly, there's a lot of evidence out there, I recommend that you go look it up. I'd start with On Killing.

Not going to lie, I don't always see eye to eye w/ jim. Especially when it comes to the subject of publishers or developers.

But this one hit home pretty well. I'll admit, despite being an avid user of the internet, I didn't go looking for shit like that. I knew about it sure, I knew about sites like rotten where you could go find real footage of some fucked up shit. I wasn't interested.

So Jim, you've officially popped my "has never seen a real death on the internet" cherry. But in doing so, you did prove your point pretty damn well. I was starting to even wonder myself how I'd really react to the notion of another person dying. And now I know, I'm not a desensetized gun porn junky like the media thinks gamers are. I'm not hiding under my bed or crying for mommy mind you, but I did flinch a bit. So thank you for the reality check. The human race needs it sometimes.

Whoa. I hadn't seen that footage before. You've got some mangoes for testicles buddy. Nice work. Very insightful analysis of the current situation about "violent videogames" too. I don't know if the cartoonish violence found in videogames is damaging to young minds. I just don't know. Maybe an argument could be made that by trivializing violence in videogames young, impressionable minds could be adversely affected. To that I would say, "where are the parents?" I'm pretty sure that many of the kids I hear cursing and using racial epitaphs in COD got their copies of the game from their parents. The games say "M" for a reason. Kids aren't supposed to be playing them. Those parents made a choice to give their kids those games. If the kids got those games from an anonymous source like Amazon or somewhere else online or their friends, why aren't the parents monitoring what the children are playing? Why aren't parents taking those copies of "M" rated games away from kids once they find out the kids have them? I wasn't allowed to have CDs with Explicit Lyrics when I was growing up. My mom took my copy of "The Predator" by Ice Cube and broke it in half in front of me when she found it under my bed. She kept my Sega Master System in a locked closet and I had to earn time on it by doing chores. I'm sure a lot of parents do something similar. Sure I got away with stuff. I still have a TuPac CD I managed to hide all through my youth. Kids will do what they do, especially if both parents work, or if there's only one parent etc. I understand that. How to keep bad stuff away from kids is an old question. I don't really have an answer. I think that question is answered individually by each different family involved.

The situation with today's media is terrible. I totally agree. How the living fuck can "news organizations" like CNN or MSNBC or Fox possibly justify their outrageous coverage of these little cowardly pricks and their terrorism? How do we as a society choose to ignore the damage this kind of coverage causes? It directly affirms and supports terrorism. Stick a flag pin in that you shitbags. Some asshole will undoubtedly do this again, because these media outlets have glorified their "acts of infamy" instead of treating them like the sniveling little shits that they are and totally ignoring them. Good on you Jim.

I think what confuses (or inspires) a lot of the accusers is that continued exposure to violence in movies and video games actually does desensitize us to violence... in movies and video games. Each one is an experience unto itself that one can grow accustomed to after a while. Your subconcious is able to collect all of the peripheral information that you would consiously ignore that distinguishes them from each other(like the blood-splatter Jim was referring to).

The gut reaction I had to watching that video was similar to how I felt the first time I saw a body torn in half on film, or the first time I saw a head explode in rendered graphics. Nowadays I can watch Peter Jackson's "Dead Alive", or melt a guy in "Spec-Ops", without batting an eye.

The video in question is the type of thing I don't make a point to see, so I haven't really been desenstized to it yet. If I were so inclined, however, it probably wouldn't take too long to get used to it by seeking out more of the same. Even still, seeing a video of real violence is experientially different from actually being there, meaning even a level of comfort with the video that one might find disturbing is still not the same as being desensitized to real-life violence.

For most people, there probably isn't even such a thing. It would be evolutionarily retarted.

I played violent video games since I was about 5 years old. I watched horror movies since I was around 3 (my first rentals ever were A Nightmare On Elm Street series alongside Granzort anime - circa year 1990.). I tend to like all sorts of horror movies and even some fake snuff stuff. I shot down numerous birds, beheaded and plucked live chicken and killed and skinned rabbits - wasn't pleasing stuff, but was done for food. I even have squeeze to death with my bare hands mice and rats that stick into the glue traps around the house (not very fun, but better than leaving them to slowly die in the dumpster).

Still, I always get the same awful feeling of disgust and dread when seeing live or recorded real violence. I still get the chills every time I see someone holding a gun or a rifle out, even if it's unloaded or being stored away. I can't get myself to kick a dog or a cat in a non-more-of-a sliding-away manner. I have never punched first in a fight, even though I knew I'd get my ass handed down to me if i don't and I never hit someone if I had them in a defenseless position (I only had like 5-6 fights in my life, mind you, and none in the last 6 years). I may have gotten a bit of accustomed to reacting to violence without panic as of result of being exposed to it and may have "trained" me to react properly twice in my life when all people around me were frozen in fear (accidents when people needed help).

When some officials from the government or the media or religious groups condemn video games for their use of violence I get some conflicting emotions as I cannot really decide should I be angry because they're using it just as means of self-promotion, or I should be sad for their lack of understanding and knowledge. We had those witch hunts quite up there on the TV and in the newspapers here in my country in the mid 90's, when the Sega Genesis was all the rage here and the civil war was at its peak. It was just as superficial and pointless as it is now. Bottom line is - extreme violence comes from extreme mindsets, and those aren't created or even helped by mere exposition to violent content in their entertainment.

TL:DR - Great episode Jim, one of your finest to date !

Jimothy Sterling:
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

After seeing the scene I immediately stopped the video to search for the context on wikipedia.
I did not know that such a thing ever happened like that,
and despite the fact that I did not find the footage disturbing in itself,
knowing about the background surely saddened me.

Despite what people say, I think it was the right thing to show reality as it really is, a thing which should never be concealed.

I'd have to disagree somewhat, seeing violence in video games movies news, television has somewhat numbed me to real violence that and the fact that I work at a hospital in a large city.
As for the video I downloaded it back in 05-06 and showed it to my friends and even till this day they remember it even though they saw it maybe 1-2 times. Seeing what a gun can really do to human tissue gives an appreciation of just how dangerous they are in addition other weapons like swords, clubs etc.


Has a study been done that proves that shooting virtual people by pressing a button on a controller has the same affect of desensitization to shooting as being taught to do it in real life with a real gun? The last paragraph about games seems to be mostly assumptions. Personally I would never touch a gun.

All I can say is thank you Jim for fighting to get that clip included. It makes a strong point.
Kudos to the Escapist for actually running with it.

I've seen people die in news and unfunny internet videos I regret watching, but never something so close-up. They often shock me a little, but this has pitted my stomach.

I've put hundreds of thousands of hours into slaughtering digital representations of living things in games for years, as has most gamers.

I have murdered tens of thousands of AI representing humans and sent entire civilisations to their doom.

I have deprived my sims of a ladder to a swimming pool and watched them drown, and I've slaughtered countless digital animals for fetch-quests in MMO's.

I have burned entire cities to the ground from a god-like position over the world, and I have been happy to defeat real humans in a digital deathmatch for sport.

Fallout 3 and Sniper Elite 1 and V2 are just 3 of many games I really, really enjoy - whose graphical representations of death entertain me.

And yet I have never, ever, ever felt the turn in my stomach like I did when I saw that clip. Of the man shooting himself in the head. That real man, who had a real life, put a bullet in his own head. I didn't even know he'd done it until I saw the blood pouring out of his face. It is one of the most unpleasant emotions I think I've felt. I'm not sad, but shocked. Maybe even distressed a little. Sure, the quality's not great, but I know what happened there, and that what I watched was real. That is a feeling no game has ever given me before, or ever will, and it is one I do not want to experience again.

Yea, what makes real violence so disturbing is how quick and unexpected it usually is, and how understated. We've been bombarded with pomp and theatre going hand in hand with what we've been trained to see as violence for a long time now.

Actors on stage often have their final soliloquy and up until a few years ago, even the most gruesome films usually either over exaggerate the violence, or cut it with other stimulus, often something sinisterly comedic. The singing in the rain scene from A clockwork orange comes to mind.

Real violence is usually very fast, very unexpected and most importantly mundane. And that is what makes it disturbing. The realisation of how fragile we actually are.

Very few films tackle this in a convincing way. And games are much younger, but given a few years of maturing on scarce parts of the indi scene. And I can see some games tackling violence in a very realistic and mature way.

Granted we're not out of the uncanny valley yet when it comes to visuals. So it's never going to have the same impact as witnessing real world violence (which it probably never should to be honest.) But I can see it actually shocking people who think themselves accustomed to violence.

All we can hope is that by then there's a new kid on the block that gets lampooned by the media and we get to enjoy the game as an important step.

I forced myself to watch it to prove a point. I really, really shouldn't have. I knew I wouldn't like it, but that was pretty bad.

I could be the poster child for game violence doesn't cause real violence. I was disturbed by a fist fight that broke out at my high school once. That? I'm going to take some time to recover from that. Still, I really appreciate Jim posting this video. It's super insightful, and really points out that I, and likely most gamers, view the violence in games like a Tom and Jerry cartoon- completely unrealistic and absolutely fake.

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?

Yeah, gotta say....that was pretty fucked up.

As was the point of this video: I found that to be vastly more disturbing than even the goriest, most gratuitous deaths in any game I've ever played.

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.

Same here. I was just kinda like 'well... that was fairly bloodless, oh wait there it is. So that is what suicide looks like? Pretty clean way to go. Didn't look painful, thats nice." then he talked about how disturbed people were when they saw it and I just kinda felt... crappy. I guess I will have to rely on myself being a rational, morally, reasonable person to stop me from murdering people, instead of revulsion.

Unpleasant, though part of what is bothering me is that that video clip didn't really phase me because of the violence itself. But... at the same time I am not too surprised. It's very rare that I react to events, even extreme ones like violence, that occur around me. Also with the age verification, the bold text saying there would be graphic content in the video, and Jim's own warnings right before the clip played, that probably ended up giving me some mental preparation for what was coming. I found myself more saddened when after the video I looked up that guy and learned why he decided to off himself. :(

Very good argument though. One of the better Jimquisition episodes i've seen. :)

I agree with Jim at the end, tho I am a bit miffed that he doesn't put a kind of knowledge disclaimer that "fixing" the Media won't solve "every" mass shooting, it will should very well limit many of them.
If you read up on the last thing of many of these people wrote, they wanted to make a message, they wanted to be known, they wanted to be remembered. And the massive coverage that these type of events give, upwards to 75% of the on-air time attention and focus is on who the shooter was.. what drove the shooter.. etc.etc, we get this endless cycle of people who are ultimately very troubled, see Media as a beacon of strength to commit these acts.

The shooting itself really didn't hit me. I'll admit, it wasn't what I expected. I was anticipating him shutting everyone up, to say something short and sweet, a very loud pop, some splatter. That 'overblown' sense of violence again. The real thing 'failed to impress', but I think that's good, rather than bad. I've never been sensitive to violence though, so that's not fault of the video.

...Well, one time. My dog stepped on a rat that had gotten into the house. It's spine was broken, but it was still alive, just barely. It was crawling around just using its front paws, back ones paralyzed. We all wanted to put it out of its misery, but... nobody could. Not my mother, not her boyfriend, his son, and not me. I felt bad because I couldn't offer that mercy, but... I couldn't stand to watch it, let alone kill it. We put it in a cage, and by the morning it was done...

While it'd be easy for me to say that I'm just more sensitive to animal cruelty over human death, especially suicide, I don't think that's it. I think it was that the video was not something I could do anything about, and I accepted that long before it even really started. My heart went out to those who felt the pain, but I couldn't personally feel trauma. But the rat... was right in front of me, in that suffering. Even under the guise that my act would have been the merciful, just one... there was no way I could do that.

If I were asked to do it now, I still wouldn't, though this is more for philosophy. While I would doubtfully ever be in such a position, I would not wish to taint someone's hands by having them kill me, even in the deepest of my agonies. I wouldn't want to kill myself either, even in this situation, though trauma drives one deeper than they're comfortable with. I hope I never have to experience it, but I worry that others won't understand. To that, escapists, I say; please do not ask me to kill you in your agony. That is something I do not believe I can do.

And please... don't be upset if I look away.

I don't usually comment videos but when I do I type something like this:

Jim, don't go into that fucked up territory of "any sane civilian should be afraid of guns." As a gamer and a gun enthusiast I am sick and tired of both sides trying to stomp one another. Gun nuts claiming that those so called violent video games cause the trouble and gamers suggesting that something's wrong with owning a firearm when being a civilian. This benefits no one, it only makes the valid points of discussion seem a bit less valid when mangled together with sich crap. I post same things every time someone from the gun community suggests that maybe "they" should look into that videogaming thing instead of guns owned by law abiding citizens. Of all the places containing gaming related opinions Jimquisition is least suitable for containing invalid arguments.

No, a civilian should DEFINITELY be scared of guns. My dad grew up on an Army base, and one of the first things they taught him was the rules for handling guns:
1. It's always loaded, even when you're sure it isn't
2. Don't point a gun at someone unless you intend to shoot them
This was, I remind you, an ARMY BASE. The MILITARY recognizes that guns aren't toys and should be handled with caution, and frankly I'd expect them to know as much on the subject as anyone.


What you're talking about isn't so much the reinforced behaviour making it easier for people to take a life, but for them to get into a state where they disassociate themselves from reality.

Putting themselves in a position where they can convince themselves (even subconsciously) that it's just training and they're not shooting real people. (It's worth noting that Vietnam also had some of the highest rates of PTSD in vets. Although I'm willing to admit that's partially due to the fact that it was only really starting to be diagnosed at that time.)

And I suppose video games are a pretty perfect way of doing this, in that they replicate interactive human movement better than anything else. But they miss one vital component.

The tactile nature of firing a real gun. The smell of the powder, the weight in your hands, the cold of steal on skin.

The barrier between a screen and real life is always going to be pretty big. Just because I'm accustomed to shooting zombies (the real life marksman term for shooting human like targets, not the mumbling shufflers often found in shooting games.) doesn't mean it would make it any easier for me to pull the trigger on a real human. And if I'm not used to actually firing a real gun, then it's even less convincing.

SOLVEmedia: I am Captchia!


I wasn't really put off when I saw the age gate, as I've seen some pretty crazy stuff during my time on the internet. But holy shit. Just hooooly shit. I was NOT prepared to see a guy kill himself. I almost got sick. I AM glad that Jim put that footage in though as it did a brilliant job of illustrating his point.

Thanks for being awesome Jim, and congrats on another great episode.


I don't usually comment videos but when I do I type something like this:

Jim, don't go into that fucked up territory of "any sane civilian should be afraid of guns." As a gamer and a gun enthusiast I am sick and tired of both sides trying to stomp one another. Gun nuts claiming that those so called violent video games cause the trouble and gamers suggesting that something's wrong with owning a firearm when being a civilian. This benefits no one, it only makes the valid points of discussion seem a bit less valid when mangled together with sich crap. I post same things every time someone from the gun community suggests that maybe "they" should look into that videogaming thing instead of guns owned by law abiding citizens. Of all the places containing gaming related opinions Jimquisition is least suitable for containing invalid arguments.

No, a civilian should DEFINITELY be scared of guns. My dad grew up on an Army base, and one of the first things they taught him was the rules for handling guns:
1. It's always loaded, even when you're sure it isn't
2. Don't point a gun at someone unless you intend to shoot them
This was, I remind you, an ARMY BASE. The MILITARY recognizes that guns aren't toys and should be handled with caution, and frankly I'd expect them to know as much on the subject as anyone.

There's a difference between "handled with caution" and "terrified of". The vast majority of gun owners are responsible, and handle them properly, precisely because they handle them with caution. But there's no fear involved, once you're competent with handling them.

Because I've seen A LOT of violent stuff on the internet already (including this video in higher quality), I didn't react to this video. But the first time I saw any of this stuff, I had the same reaction a lot of you have. The feeling in your stomach, it's kind of like a sick feeling but not quite.

Now anything violent in games or any other media just makes me laugh if anything because I know exactly how far away it is from the real thing, it's, as Jim said, a parody. It's silly stuff, and it will not desensitize you to violence. I'm sure I wouldn't be so casual about seeing any of this in real life, though I would probably be able to handle it a bit better. Who knows.

Great video, Jim!

I guess I am a bad person. I was not shocked, and even went "Cool" when I saw the footage. Then again, I am pretty pro-death in the first place, so this is definitely not due to desensitization from media.

Wow...I almost vomited when I saw the suicide, but I am glad that I stomached through it. Real life violence is almost always detestable, and using video games as a scapegoat is just disgusting.

This might be the best Jimquisition that you've ever done. I'm glad The Escapist let you do this.

Real violence? Jesus I still can't watch fake violence when it looks too real. In Seven Psychopaths there's a scene where two people cut their own throats and it puts a knot in my stomach everytime I see it. I don't know how realistic it is but it's such a quiet understated scene that it makes me uncomfortable everytime I see it, which is a lot because I work in a movie theatre and it was my favourite film of 2012 so apart from the times I sat and watched it if there was a quiet period I'd go watch bits of it. You put me in a roomm with the Saw series, Braindead and the Evil Dead trilogy and the over the top graphic violence wouldn't make me bat an eyelid but someone just quietly drawing a razor across their throat and the blood starts flowing it takes effort not to look away.

Now I've almost never commented on a video on the escapist before. Hell I forgot I even had an account here until I tried to make one and found the name was taken. But I wanted to speak up here.

I watched the video and, seeing the warning of content, decided to watch it. I've never seen the video before, never heard of the event, or anything, and after watching it I had only one reaction...

"...that's it?"

Now before you start calling me heartless or evil or anything like that... I'm not. Or at least I try not to be. I care about others and so forth, but when I saw that video... it felt to me like the violence shown was no worse than what you'd see in some movies. A man holds a gun to his mouth, suddenly he drops with a pop and the camera loses track of him, and when you next see him he's on the ground, staring blankly, a few moments passing before blood starts dripping down his face.

That sounds exactly like a dramatic moment you'd see in a movie, and that's what I thought.

It has admittedly left me wondering what kind of person I am though, and if I've really become more jaded to some things than I thought I was. Why didn't I react? Why did I see it and just think "What, that's all?"? Is it because he fell and the actual moment of death wasn't seen? Was it because it appeared to be relatively clean and there weren't guts all over the place? Was it because I saw it as a videoclip instead of actually in person? Was it because of games AND movies desensitizing me or making me jaded with over-the-top things?

I have no idea. And I'm not saying Videogames cause violence either, just like Rock and Roll didn't cause satanism way back when. But when the media as a whole may have left me jaded and/or desensitized to that videoclip... it does leave me wondering...

...what does it say about me?

You're desensitized. It's that simple. Not in a sociopath way like the media puts it but in other ways. You were probably expecting a lot more than what was actually shown such as the things you see on 4chan.

However, sensitivity to death fluctuates. By the way you described your situation, that video wasn't "real" to you. Now you know that it happened and that it is true. But the reality- the weight- of the situation didn't kick in. This has several reasons. The primary reason is that you have a huge disconnect to the situation on a personal level. You are siting behind a screen watching the suicide of someone you don't know. You immediately compared it to a movie and makeup instead of accepting it as the death of celebrity.

You also mentioned that it wasn't gory, and therefore not that shocking. In a sense, I see how you feel. It didn't "click" for me until I saw the stream of blood pour out of his nose. It was that bit of subtlety that I saw the weight of the situation. If it was a gore filled mess of brain and skull, I don't think it would have the same effect.

So, yes, you are desensitized. You'll grow out of it though.



What you're talking about isn't so much the reinforced behaviour making it easier for people to take a life, but for them to get into a state where they disassociate themselves from reality.

Sure, I'm willing to agree with that. After all, how you phrase it doesn't matter if someone ends up dead. It actually works better when considering the dissociative state that those mass killers that actually survive police, or their own weapons, seem to be in. And I agree that a videogame is no substitute for real world training. I said as much in a followup post. But, less effective than actual training does not mean not effective. And it's more available than a gun is for a lot of these individuals.

Wow. Excellent episode that makes a point, rather brutally as well. Best way to fight back against brutal accusations I would say, with brutal evidence. I mean, I've been gaming since I was a kid, racked up thousands of game 'kills' but the second that guy even got the gun out I couldn't watch and felt physically ill. I hate guns, am terrified of them, thank god I live in the UK. Oh, and thank god for jim.

And to those who say that video games desensitize people, I give you, Geoff Lazer (That' actually his middle name) Ramsey. One of the original founding members of the company known as Roosterteeth, one of the heads of the website Achievement hunter, and a very big fan of Halo, video games in general, and a husband and FATHER! Now, watch this video of him trying to watch the Dead Island trailer.

woah, wait a minute here...Jim has a step-son?
...i'll be honest THAT was th most surprising part of the video for me

on another note, I have seen that clip before, still disturbing the second time


No, a civilian should DEFINITELY be scared of guns. My dad grew up on an Army base, and one of the first things they taught him was the rules for handling guns:
1. It's always loaded, even when you're sure it isn't
2. Don't point a gun at someone unless you intend to shoot them
This was, I remind you, an ARMY BASE. The MILITARY recognizes that guns aren't toys and should be handled with caution, and frankly I'd expect them to know as much on the subject as anyone.

Why should I as a civilian be scared of guns? If ANY person is properly trained in the handling and use of a gun there is nothing to be scared of. The military isn't the only place to receive such training, you can sign up for a gun safety course through you local sheriff's department or at any store with a sporting goods department.

They teach you to treat every gun as if it's loaded, not to point a gun at anything you don't intend to shoot, to keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire, all the same rules they taught your dad in the military. The average civilian can handle a gun safely with a little education. Guns are not something everyone except the police and military should be afraid of and saying so is just plain stupid. Responsible gun owners are not crazy people who like to have guns because 'Murrica Fuck Yeah! that want to go out kill everything in sight. Responsible gun owners buy and collect guns for a number of reasons. Some people just like to go out and do a little target practice, some people like to hunt, some people even collect certain guns because they see them as works of art and just like to look at them.

So don't tell me, a responsible gun owner, who has done no military service but did take a class that I should be scared of my legally obtained and responsibly handled guns.

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