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Public Statements

Violent Media and Gun Violence

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. WOLF. Mr. Speaker, I am concerned about the failure to discuss mental health issues and the impact of the violent media in the whole debate following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. There needs to be a three-legged approach to this problem. It is disappointing that the President only addressed the issue of guns in the State of the Union speech.

In a number of these tragic shootings, there has been a pattern of the shooters' playing violent video games. Do you remember Columbine? And do you remember the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado? Now comes a report from the Hartford Courant. I quote from the Hartford Courant:

During a search of the Lanza home after the deadly school shootings, police found thousands of dollars worth of graphically violent video games. And detectives working the scene of the massacre are exploring whether Adam Lanza might have been emulating the shooting range or a violent video game scenario as he moved from room to room at Sandy Hook spewing bullets, law enforcement sources have told the Courant.

Before he killed his mother and set off for Sandy Hook Elementary, Adam Lanza destroyed the hard drive on his computer, which probably kept some of the records of the games he played and whom he played with. He also may have destroyed any chance to see if he had a manifesto or had written down anything indicating that he planned the shootings, or why he chose the elementary school.

Soon after the Newtown shooting, I asked the National Science Foundation, which is funded as a result of the subcommittee which I chair, to pull together experts, some of the best experts--and the National Science Foundation picked them--from across the country to look at the impact of all three contributors to mass violence. Earlier this month, the National Science Foundation released its report.

This is the report, "Youth Violence: What We Need to Know,'' which supports my belief that rampage shootings are a result of multiple factors, including access to firearms, mental health issues, and exposure to violent media, including violent video games. This report can be found on my Web site. I would urge anyone who really wants to see what we need to do to go look at the National Science Foundation report. It is guns, it is mental health issues, and it is violent video games.

It is easy for the President of the United States to take on the NRA. Why hasn't he asked the entertainment industry to play a greater role in this debate? Common sense tells us that the level of violence on TV, in the movies and in many video games is a problem. One only has to read the piece from the Hartford Courant to understand that this is a very serious problem.

You have to look at guns, you have to look at their mental health--and, quite frankly, the administration has not looked at mental health, and this Congress is not looking at mental health--and you have to look at violent video games and media. The administration is not looking at that, and, quite frankly, this Congress is not looking at it.


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