On Thursday afternoon, before the news broke that President Trump is planning to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, it was revealed that the president had hosted a White House roundtable discussion with critics of violent video games and game makers addressing whether playing these games can cause real-world gun violence.
Trump appeared to blame video games for gun violence during a White House listening session last month with students, teachers and parents affected by mass shootings in the wake of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “The video games, the movies, the internet stuff is so violent. It’s so incredible. I see it,” Trump said. “I look at some of the things [son Barron is] watching, and I say, ‘How is that possible?’ And this is what kids are watching. And I think you maybe have to take a look at it.”
The White House refused to allow journalists to cover the video-game summit and later issued a vague statement. “As we continue to work towards creating school safety programs that protect all children, the president will be meeting with video game industry leaders and members of Congress to discuss violent video-game exposure and the correlation to aggression and desensitization in children,” said Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman. “This meeting will be the first of many with industry leaders to discuss this important issue.”
The Daily Show weighed in on the whole silly video game debate Thursday night, first throwing to archival footage of a 1993 Senate subcommittee meeting in which a group of congressmen decried the usage of violent video games—and this was all the way back in 1993, when video games were staggeringly unrealistic.
“Here’s what I don’t get about this argument: How come video games are supposedly so influential but only when it comes to guns?” asked host Trevor Noah. “Because I mean, if they really were as influential as politicians say, then shouldn’t games influence us with everything? As kids, we spent every day playing Paperboy, but that never inspired anyone to commit mass paper deliveries.”
He continued: “Here’s the thing: There have been hundreds of studies on this issue, and they have shown that there isn’t any connection between violent video games and violent activities. Now, that doesn’t mean that video games have no influence on you, because let’s be honest, everything we consume as human beings affects us somehow. Sex and the City might make you want to go to brunch, Karate Kid might have made people join the local dojo.”
“So yes, I agree that video games can affect your behavior, but so can TV and movies and, hell, there’s even violence in the Bible. Motherfuckers were killing people with jawbones in there. You can’t take violence out of the world. What you can do is limit the tools that violent people have—which is exactly what they’ve done in Japan.”
Noah then threw to a news clip explaining how Japan, where gaming revenue is more than $12 billion—behind only the U.S. and China—has some of the strictest gun laws in the world. And in 2015, the 127 million-strong nation had only one gun murder.
“Wow, only one gun murder. That is impressive,” said Noah. “And I’m sorry, but if you’re the only gun death in a country of 120 million people, you probably deserve it. I’m just saying.”
Probably not, but anyway, he then added, “Look man, the truth is, many countries around the world have figured this out: The most effective and realistic way to limit gun violence is to regulate who has access to guns.”
Meanwhile the president’s two eldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric, are big-game hunters. It is not yet known if they played a bunch of Big Buck Hunter in their youth.