The seemingly endless flood of bad news can make a few short years feel like an eternity ago and it doesn't help when top politicians start trotting out '90s talking points in response to this weekend's tragedies. But that's just what House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is doing. The highest-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives believes violent video games may be a root cause of the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.
"This may be a place where we could find this ahead of time," said McCarthy on Fox News. "The idea that these video games that dehumanize individuals to have a game of shooting individuals...I've always felt that it's a problem for future generations and others. We've watched studies show what it does to individuals, and you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others."
McCarthy wasn't content to believe the El Paso shooter's stated motive of attacking Hispanics to protest what he viewed as their gradual takeover of the United States. Instead, he opted to check on the video games again. It's worth noting that researchers have repeatedly found that there is no link between video games and real-world violence, and that the top Republican in the country, President Donald Trump, began his campaign for president with an explicitly racist appeal that warned his supporters of a supposed wave of criminals coming to the United States from Mexico.
Rather than interrogating the ways that "us v. them" language from the leader of the free world might incite violence, McCarthy is down to dodge using some bugbears of the past. People on Twitter heard this tired argument and let him have it.