Michael Brown

And remember that many kids will play this “game” by the hour, totally giving themselves to it as they enter into its depraved world, one in which “the worse you behave, the greater your rewards,” one which “even a gushing five-star review in The Guardian had to admit, is ‘troubling’, and makes the experience of playing something so ‘misanthropic’ and ‘unremittingly violent’ a guilty pleasure,” one which “normalises extreme violence and cruelty, so the longer you play, the more you not only become inured to it, but start to find yourself gripped — and even sickly amused — by the action unfolding before your eyes.”

Delingpole hopes that, “As a middle-aged parent, I like to think I’m mature enough to be able to appreciate the game’s cartoonish, ugly, misogynistic, ultraviolent, pornographic worldview with a certain wry detachment.

“But whether the game’s teenage target market is so readily capable of making such distinctions, I’m not nearly so sure.”

His skepticism is justified, regardless of whether researchers have come to definitive conclusions about the effect of these games on those who play them. Common sense would tell you that games like Grand Theft Auto V cannot possibly contribute positively to our society – to morality, to compassion, to civility, to honor, to discipline, to respect for authority, respect for women, and respect for one’s neighbor.

At best, these über-violent games will desensitize those who play them and produce hardness of heart; at worst they will contribute to acts of cruelty, sadism, violence and perhaps drug and alcohol abuse as well.

But why should that matter? Gratuitous violence and pornographic images and misogyny sell, and as the Daily News reports, “In gaming circles, GTA V is being hailed as a masterpiece. Its over-the-top violence didn’t bother gaming website IGN, which gave it a perfect 10, calling it “preposterously enjoyable, breathtaking in scope and bitingly funny.”

Words fail after reading a description like that.

As for the Navy Yard shooter, a report in the UK Mirror stated that,“Crazed Aaron Alexis was treated for mental illness after playing violent video games for up to 18 hours day and night.” And even though he “told psychiatrists he heard voices in his head long before he went on the rampage at a US naval base and slaughtered 12 people before being shot dead himself,” his friends claimed that “the length of time he spent glued to the ‘shoot ‘em up’ games on his computer, including the popular Call of Duty, triggered his dark side that had previously landed him in trouble with the police on gun crimes.”

Unfortunately, at this point, we don’t know what Alexis was suffering from when he went on his deadly rampage and we may never know the connection between his violent behavior and his reported obsession with violent video games.

But this much is clear: Something is fundamentally wrong with a society that finds demented, sick video games like Grand Theft Auto V to be “preposterously enjoyable, breathtaking in scope and bitingly funny,” spending billions of dollars to buy them and wasting countless thousands of hours to play them.

If you or your kids find them fun, I suggest you go cold turkey, spending your time instead reading wholesome, edifying literature or watching morally uplifting programing or learning a craft or a language or an instrument or a sport, or having some wholesome family fun or helping someone in need. (For the spiritually minded, there’s nothing better than reading the Scriptures and prayer.)

Anything but wasting your time and money on this “ Torture and murder with the addictive glamour of Hollywood.”

With good reason, Delingpole writes, “The fact that this is the most popular computer game on the market should make us all shudder, and pray that the violence on the screen doesn’t bleed into Britain’s streets.”

Here in America, our streets are already bleeding. It’s high time we stop being entertained by this flood of blood and gore on our video game screens.

Michael Brown

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, including

Can You Be Gay and Christian?

, and he hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.