Call of Duty Named in School Shooter Lawsuit

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Call of Duty Named in School Shooter Lawsuit

On the second anniversary of the Uvalde school shooting, two lawsuits were revealed, filed on behalf of the families of the victims against a weapons manufacturer – and Activision Blizzard. The families are being represented by Josh Koskoff, who has gone on record as saying, ‘There is a direct line between the conduct of these companies and the Uvalde shooting.’

Meta was also named in one of the lawsuits, but the bulk of the litigation is being aimed at Activision Blizzard as the publisher of Call of Duty and Daniel Defense, a manufacturer of the weapon used in the school shooting that left 22 dead and a further 21 injured.


‘Knowingly Exposed’

At the heart of these lawsuits, which were revealed on May 24, sits a claim that Activision and Meta have joined forces with the weapons manufacturing industry to ‘reach’ young, impressionable people. That’s the damning claim set forth by Koskoff in a statement:

The truth is that the gun industry and Daniel Defense didn’t act alone. They couldn’t have reached this kid but for Instagram. They couldn’t expose him to the dopamine loop of virtually killing a person. That’s what Call of Duty does.

(Meta and Activision Blizzard) knowingly exposed the Shooter to the weapon, conditioned him to see it as the solution to his problems, and trained him to use it.

This isn’t the first time that Call of Duty has been set forth as a root cause or a figure of blame for a tragic school shooting. In 2012, the Sandy Hook shooter – who also ran rampant in an elementary school – was accused of being obsessed with video games, particularly Call of Duty. It was a few years ago that Josh Koskoff successfully led a legal campaign against Remington, the manufacturer of the weapon used in that shooting.

Activision Blizzard published an immediate response to the lawsuits, stressing that they were sympathetic to the ‘horrendous and heartbreaking’ events that took place in Uvalde in 2022, but ‘Millions of people around the world enjoy video games without turning to horrific acts.’

That has long been the argument in favour of violent video games. When Donald Trump took to a podium in 2019 to ‘take a firm stance’ against violent games like Call of Duty, communities worldwide were quick to highlight that there are two billion gamers, many of which play violent games, and the research indicates that said games aren’t influencing them to go on vicious rampages armed with assault rifles.

If the lawsuit is successful against Activision Blizzard, the claims that these games are ‘knowingly promoting dangerous weapons to millions of vulnerable young people’ could have dramatic ramifications against the industry. From Fortnite to Grand Theft Auto, and from Rainbow Six to Battlefield, real-world weapons are replicated in thousands of video games.


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