Video shootout

The games kids play

My Minnesota hometown is the sort of place where neighbors look in on each other and leave the doors unlocked. As in Lake Woebegon, the children are all above average. In September one of those children brought a .22-caliber Colt semiautomatic to school and shot and killed two of his classmates.

As with similar shootings at Columbine and in Kentucky, the media were quick to note that the shooter (in this case 15-year-old Jason McLaughlin) had been an avid video game player. This almost goes without saying. The National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) reported that in a survey of 778 students in grades four through 12, 87 percent of all students and 96 percent of the boys said they play video games regularly.

Shortly after the shooting in Cold Spring, I asked my college students about their experience with video games. The young men in the room had a lot to say—video games are a large part of their life.


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