Some discussions are like weeds: they keep coming back. So now theKillerspieldebatte. After the anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue in Halle and the murder of two people, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer demanded on the weekend in the ARD broadcast report from Berlin , one must take after the act "the gamer scene more closely". "The problem is very high," he said. "Many of the perpetrators or potential perpetrators come from the gamers' scene, and simulations are almost a role model."
The criticism was not long in coming. "After #Halle I imagined: Nationwide raids in the neo-Nazi scene, enforcement of outstanding arrest warrants, consistent prosecution of hate speech, so the realization of the state of law In reality: We talk about the #Gamerszene," writes a user on Twitter. Another mocks: "Minecraft has radicalized me. I run around planting square blocks in my neighbor's gardens."
After #Halle I imagined:
Nationwide raids in the neo-Nazi scene, enforcement of outstanding arrest warrants, consistent prosecution of hate speech, etc., ie realization of the rule of law.
In reality: We are talking about the #Gamer scene. #Seehofer
Both reflexes are as expected as subcomplex. Yes, the perpetrator Stephan B. streamed the attack live on the gaming platform Twitch. Yes, he filmed himself from a perspective reminiscent of an ego shooter. Yes, in his writings, which he calls Manifesto, he created a hideous achievement list of projects that are also known from computer games. And yes, one should not deny the discussion that right-wing groups use games for their own purposes. Computer games are not uninteresting for right-wing extremists as a tool for recuperation, for example, the games expert Christian Schiffer, editor-in-chief of the games magazine WASD , emphasized in Deutschlandfunk.
We have to look at the drivers!
But why all those who play computer games, under general suspicion and equate them with murderous terrorists? This is nonsense. Already in 2015, the psychologist Christopher Ferguson states in a comprehensive meta-analysis that video games affect the psyche or the aggression potential at most ( Perspectives onpsychological science: Ferguson, 2015). Arguing like Seehofer, you could also say: Many terrorists drive cars, so you have the scene the driver in the view take. You can not write it often enough: Correlation is not causality.
Instead, the Killerspiel debate could be an expression of a much deeper problem: that we evaluate terrorist attacks differently depending on the offender. A team led by scientist James Ivory has explored in the US the role of the color of an offender in the videogame debate ( Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Markey, Ivory et al., 2019). For this, the scientists put two fictional articles to the subjects about a shoot-out - once illustrated with a white assassin, once with a black one. The result: Respondents associated the act of a white person with video games rather than the act of a black person. In a second part of the study, the researchers examined how media reported on assassinations in schools. Even in articles video games were more likely, if the perpetrator of an attack was white. There were no differences in the non-school environment.