Whenever I set out to defend gamers and the video game industry, I know that any curious researcher could find some potential proof of violence begetting aggressive behavior.
Anybody who has spent any time on an active forum or message board knows just how petty, immature, melodramatic and even downright hostile its members can be. As we continue to fight the politicians and lawmakers, maybe we should realize that we're shooting ourselves in the foot on a daily basis.
I understand that anonymity brings out the worst in people, and most forums on the Internet that consist of passionate fans are filled with embarrassing content. I get that. There's no doubt that anonymity is one of the inherent evils of the Internet. It's also true that fans of other entertainment venues (movies, music, TV, etc.) can be just as overbearing, just as childish, just as depressingly adolescent. All that being said, I don't think any of them can rival certain game communities in terms of cringe-worthy crap. Furthermore, I think it's perfectly legitimate to ask: Given that the majority of games today are indeed quite violent, is that violence simply being reflected in virtual aggressive behavior?
One of these days, a scientist is going to use a pile of nasty content gathered from various boards and communities, and we're going to be royally screwed. It doesn't help that we already have plenty of evidence of death threats being sent from gamers to developers. Toss in the absolutely disgusting filth filling the online multiplayer airwaves, and it's difficult to argue the point. There's no point in railing against the clueless and the biased when there are countless examples of rampant childishness on the part of gamers. We should probably remember that.