COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - A Brazos County Justice of the Peace is warning parents about a disturbing trend he's seen. Precinct 1 Judge Mike McCleary believes violent video games have been linked to crimes and deaths he's investigated.
For 12 years, Judge McCleary has seen many cases come through his Brazos County Court. He's finishing his final term in Precinct 1. McCleary thinks games like "Halo", "Call of Duty" and "Grand Theft Auto" should be banned. He believes there are as many as two dozen other games that shouldn't be allowed.
"I've researched all the way back to the Columbine shootings, Sandy Hook, several of our local shootings here, several of our local homicides and suicides. They all have a common denominator," McCleary said. "It's the video games that those kids are playing."
In 2012, Brazos County Constable Brian Bachmann was shot and killed by Thomas Caffal. Judge McCleary said Caffall would spend hours playing these types of games.
“A lot of parents don’t realize what their kids do when they’re in the back room playing video games. They don’t realize what those video games are," said McCleary.
"What they need to do is get that video game out, play it look at it and just see how violent that is," he suggested.
"There's no research that say it causes violence. Certainly correlated, but definitely does not cause. At least, that's not what the research is showing," said Jeff Temple, a behavioral sciences professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. The debate on whether violent video games lead to violence isn't as clear cut. Temple said almost all young men play violent games.
"Just about every 12 to 17-year-old male plays violent video games and a vast majority, 99.999 percent, will never go on to shoot anyone including first-person shooter video games," said Temple.
"If someone is playing hours and hours more than what we consider the typical amount of playing first-person shooter games, then that would be a sign to us that, yeah, this person might be predisposed to violence," he said.
"We should step in and do something before it translates into real life situations," said Temple.
"The parents should be obligated to know what their kids are doing, what video games are playing," said McCleary.
If you have questions or concerns about games your kids are being exposed to, you can look at the game's rating with the Entertainment Software Rating Board to see if the game is age or content appropriate.
McCleary's list of games he believes are too violent include:
Halo I,II, III
Gears of War
Burn Out Revenge
Call of Duty- World at War
Conflict Desert Storm
Left for Dead
Grand Theft Auto
Starcraft- Blood War
World of Warcraft
Battle Chest, Reign of Chaos, Frozen Throne
Diablo- Lord of Distraction
Medal of Honor - Allied Assault
Command and Conquer - Red Alert
Medal of Honor - Spearhead EX.
25 to Life
Hunter - The Reckoning