In the wake of the tragic killings in Santa Barbara over the weekend, Glenn questioned the role violent video games, movies, and technology might have played in the killer’s actions. While those outlets are by no means solely to blame for violence, in a 141-page manifesto detailing his plans for a “day of retribution,” the 22-year-old killer did explain violent video games filled a void in his life starting at a young age.
On radio this morning, Glenn shared a report from the UK Daily Mail in which a coroner is investigating the role the popular Call of Duty played in the suicides of four teenagers. According to the Daily Mail, coroner John Pollard expressed ‘great concerns’ after the game “figured in a number of deaths” he was investigating. Glenn looked beyond just video games to technology in general to question the adverse effect the digital age has had on our lives.
“The thing I want to talk to you about here is the conversation we’re not having,” Glenn said. “And the conversation that we’re not having as a culture is the role of the Internet and the busyness of our lives and these video games in particular.”
In the case of the suicides in the UK, it should be noted games like Call of Duty carry a ‘mature rating,’ and the four teens who died were all under the age of 18. William Menzies was a 16-year-old “gifted” student “who suffocated himself in his bedroom, where he frequently played the war-simulation game on an Xbox.” Additionally, in February 2012, 14-year-old Callum Green was found hanged after playing Call of Duty with his stepfather. According to the coroner, the game has also been linked to the deaths of two other unnamed teenagers.
Read the full report HERE.
“What is wrong with us? What are we thinking? We are inviting this into our home and our lives. Last night, I had a conversation with Raphe… Now, he’s not playing video games at home. He’s playing video games when he goes to his friend’s house… What are you going to do? Stop seeing friends? Stop going over to people’s houses,” Glenn asked. “We get worn down, and we get tired – just like you do. And we want to believe that it’s somehow or another going to be different. Somehow or another it’s going to be okay. It’s just not our kid. I can’t tell you that. I don’t know.”
It’s not just video games though. As Glenn explained, we have become so addicted to technology, we have forgotten the basics of interpersonal relationships and a quieter life.
“It’s not just about the video games. Try to suggest to your spouse that we get rid of our cell phones. Try it… We’re so fearful that we think we can’t do it. We’re so fearful there’s going to be an email that I’m going to miss. There’s going to be something that happens,” Glenn explained. “’I’m connecting with all of these friends from Facebook – friends that I haven’t talked to in years.’ Well, you did pretty well without those friends that you haven’t talked to in years. Is it nice to reminisce? Yeah. Used to be called a reunion. You’d get together once a year.”
“Is it nice to connect to your friends? Yes. Is it required to connect to your friends? No. Is it necessary to connect to your friends? No,” he continued. “Is it required to connect to your family? Yes. Is it necessary to connect to your family? Yes. Is it necessary to have quiet time to reflect? Yes. We don’t have any.”