Walmart is reportedly asking store employees to remove certain references to violent video games in the wake of the recent El Paso shootings.
Some Walmart employees have taken to social media to share screenshots of an internal memo which requests the removal of “signing and displays reference violence.” It then goes on to request the employee perform actions such as “turn off or unplug any video game display consoles that show a demo of violent games, specifically PlayStation and Xbox units” and “cancel any events promoting combat style or third-person shooter games that may be scheduled in Electronics.”
Video games are not the sole target of the memo. It also includes instructions to turn off any violent movies that may be playing in electronics as well as any hunting season videos that may be playing in the Sporting Goods section. As some of you may know, Walmart also sells actual guns in that same Sporting Goods section. The irony (or dystopian horror, if you prefer) of that contradiction was apparently lost on Walmart executives who have no plans on changing their policies regarding the sale of firearms.
“There’s been no change in policy,” said Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove in an interview with USA Today regarding the store’s gun policies. “It’s horrible… what’s happened.”
Hargrove is referring to the mass shooting that occurred in El Paso last week in which a gunman killed 22 people and injured 24 more at a local Walmart. Following that incident and another mass shooting that occurred in Ohio the very next day, Trump and his administration were quick to identify violent games as a contributing factor behind the shootings.
It’s a philosophy we’ve heard politicians spew many times in the past and, as always, many more people are stepping forward to explain why violent video games don’t directly lead to such incidents and how, in fact, numerous other factors such as guns being sold in the same place people buy their groceries might play a bigger role in America’s mass shooting epidemic. As you can see, though, Walmart seems to have chosen their side in the debate.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.
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