Dave Grossman. Grossman is the founder the field of “killology”, which looks to examine “understanding of killing in war, the psychological costs of war, the root causes of the current ‘virus’ of violent crime that is raging around the world, and the process of healing the victims of violence, in war and peace.” He has also worked with local police and military offices, and has worked with mental health professionals in the wake of school shootings.
In the interview the duo discussed a wide range of issues, including the role that violent video games play in desensitizing kids to violence. Grossman explained that he believes that violent video games contribute to gun violence in schools, and that the lack of consequences in the games is reflected in school shootings. He noted that some games even teach suicide when a video game character kills themselves in order to restart.
Grossman noted that he believed that games like paintball and airsoft differ from video games in that they are treated like a sport and the intention is never to hurt your opponent. He said that a real injury in those activities means the game stops and the participants come together to make sure the injured party is OK, usually so everyone doesn’t get in trouble with parents. In video games, Grossman said that there are no consequences to the violence and as a result the games become murder simulators.
Grossman also explained how gangs and even Islamic extremists use video games to train for marksmanship.
The most touching moment of the interview came when Grossman described a personal moment came when Grossman told a story of a school shooting in how own hometown. He had written and spoken of this event before, and in 2000 gave an address to the Schiller Institute where he told the story.
In 2000, Grossman said:
And to people who say that, I tell a story that came out of the shootings here in Jonesboro, in my hometown.
I was out at the school as the lead trainer of mental health professionals, on the night of what was the largest schoolyard massacre in American history. At that time. It’s since been beat by the Littleton killings. And we were out there working in that school.
Now, the counselors that were working in the hospital that day, one of those counselors came out … and she had to debrief, she had to talk to us, she had to tell us what had happened out in that hospital that day. Now, to those people, whose solution to this problem, “If you don’t like it, just turn it off,” I tell them this story that that counselor brought to us at the school that night.
She said, they were out working in that hospital, in that emergency room, that small, small emergency room, with over a dozen families in sobbing masses. Moms and Dads, and aunts and uncles, and brothers and sisters, trying to come to terms with an 11- and 13-year-boy that had just butchered their little girls.
In the middle of all of that, periodically, the doctor comes out and pulls aside two parents, and says, “I’m so very sorry, but your little girl didn’t make it. We did the best we could.”
Now, this counselor said it had been going on for quite a while, and all of a sudden, there’s this lady that comes in. She’s all alone, she’s got no friends, she’s got no family, she’s got no husband, nobody. She comes walking into that emergency room, and she sits down, and she’s just staring off into the distance.
Finally, after she’d been there quite a while, one of the counselors comes up to her, and she drops down on one knee, and she takes this lady’s hand, and she says, “Can I help you?” She said, the lady looks me in the eye, and says, “I’m the mother of one of the little girls that was killed today, and I just want to know, how do I get my little girl back? What do I need to do to get the body back?”
And they explained to her, that all of the ones that had been killed today, had been sent to the state capitol, 100 miles away, for autopsies. And when they were finished with the body, they’d call her, and she could tell them what funeral home to have the body shipped to.
And you see it hadn’t set in yet. And she says, “Funeral home. Funeral home. We can’t afford a funeral. We can’t even afford a funeral.”
You see, that little girl was all she had in all the world. There was no husband, there was no friends, there was no family. There was just her and that little girl, and she was going to come to that hospital, and wrap her little girl’s body in a blanket and take her home.
And for those whose solution to this problem is, “If you don’t like it, just turn it off,” my answer is, “Come to Jonesboro with your sad solution, my friend. Come to Jonesboro and tell that mother how she could have kept her little girl safe. ‘Cause every single one of the victims of every single one of the school shootings, their parents could have protected them for a lifetime, and it wouldn’t have been enough, if the parents of one of the neighbor boys hadn’t done their job.”