But Mr. LaPierre was also half right. Glock and Bushmaster give troubled teens and young adults like Lanza the means to kill. But antisocial video games and a wider culture of militarism give them the script.
What LaPierre neglected to say is that the arms industry, the video game industry, and the military are deeply entwined with one another and even, one could argue, allied in values. In many ways, their work together is eroding the distinction between virtual and real killing.
During the Iraq War, Marines relaxed after conducting search and destroy missions by playing Call of Duty 4 and CounterStrike, fielding the same weapons and tactics. CIA agents and Air Force personnel today kill real people in distant countries using remotely piloted drones, on interfaces modeled on video games, while US soldiers hone tactical combat skills on video game simulators and use Xbox joysticks to control real machines in the battlefield.
Meanwhile, the video game industry works closely with the military and gun manufacturers to ensure that their virtual weaponry, from the PM-63 submachine gun to the C-130 gunship, behaves just like the real thing. Some game companies have direct contracts with the Department of Defense, manufacturing hardware and software for military applications.