You may not have seen a recent article in Eurasia Review describing how Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is using Internet games to target children at an early age, luring them into extremist beliefs. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting and countless other tragedies, one has to consider all scenarios in which “lone wolves,” barley adults themselves, target children or others in trusting and vulnerable locations for no apparent or explainable reason. While Congress is actively seeking ways to limit the extent of those violent acts, we have a moral obligation to consider how other proven sinister forces might be threatening – with the use of popular media – our children and those predisposed to manipulation.
While there are millions of kids who find online video games entertaining, there is a very small percentage that evolves from the fantasy of online games to acting out in a real form of violence. Yet, we know from experience that games provide a virtual environment for training and inculcating people into a certain form of thinking. That same phenomenon can be used to radicalize and manipulate vulnerable and disaffected individuals into believing that they should act out, ultimately creating fear and terror in the United States.
If we are truly committed to making this nation safer for our children, we need to look at not just the mechanisms that allow violence to be carried out, but indeed, all aspects of our society that enable violence against the innocent.