Newtown shooting sparks debate over influence of violence in media
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CHARLOTTE –- For critics of violence in popular media, the Newtown shooting is another reason to act.
"The entertainment industry needs to be held accountable," said Dan DiMicco, a Charlotte executive who spoke out on the issue this week.
He says the public should fight for tighter controls against violence on television, in music and in video games.
"You get scored by how many people you kill in a game," DiMicco said. "What is wrong with us?"
Early reports suggest the Connecticut shooter was an avid gamer, and video game violence is clearly on the minds of lawmakers in Washington.
"Very often, these young men have had an almost hypnotic involvement in some form of violence in our entertainment culture, particularly violent video games, and then they obtain guns and they go out and become not just troubled young men but mass murderers," said Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, on Capitol Hill.
But there's little lawmakers can do.
In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California's ban on the sale of violent video games to minors. Justices said the games are protected speech under the First Amendment. Industry groups point to a long list of studies that fail to show a link between violent media and violent crime.
But DiMicco suggested the evidence to the contrary is clear.
"[The entertainment industry] cannot brainwash our children and then wonder why our children do the things that are done time and time again," he said.
The Entertainment Software Association has not weighed in on this particular crime, but pushes back against the notion that video games lead to violence.
"Having someone or something to blame is convenient, especially after an incident of terrible and unexplainable violence,” the group said in a document on its website about video games and violence. "However, to do so is simplistic, and more importantly, it is wrong."
According to industry data, video games are a $25 billion per year business. About 5 percent of all video games are rated for people 17 and older but those games account for a quarter of total video game sales.