Analytical Summaries – Shooting in the Dark and Focusing on the How of Violence

Articles Analytical Summaries Assignment Instructions

Read the two articles “Shooting in the Dark“, and “Focusing on the How of Violence” and write two separate analytical summaries.

For this assignment, you will compose two short critical essays explaining and evaluating arguments by other authors. This assignment allows you to analyze an issue from a variety of perspectives and assess arguments for or against the issue. By focusing your attention on how the original authors use evidence and reasoning to construct and support their positions, you can recognize the value of critical thinking in public discourse.

This assignment has two parts.

Part 1—First Article “Shooting in the Dark

Write an analytical summary of the article focusing on the article’s main claims. Include the following:

  • Provide a brief summary of the argument presented in the article.
  • Identify and discuss three ways the author uses evidence to support assertions.
  • Analyze how the author signals this usage through elements such as word choices, transitions, or logical connections.

Part 2—Second Article “Focusing on the How of Violence”

Write an analytical summary of the article focusing on the article’s main claims. Include the following:

  • Provide a brief summary of the argument presented in the article.
  • Identify any value-based assertions in the article and how the author supports these value-based conclusions with evidence.
  • Discuss how this evidence does or does not demonstrate relevance, consistency, transparency, and speculation.
  • Analyze how the author signals the use of these elements through language. For example, word choices, transitions, or logical connections.

Analytical Summaries – Shooting in the Dark and Focusing on the How of Violence

This paper presents Analytical Summaries of two articles: “Shooting in the Dark”, and “Focusing on the How of Violence”. The first part of these analytical summaries focusses on “Shooting in the Dark”, which Benedict Carey published in the New York Times in way back in February 2013. The article’s main focus was on the mass shootings that had been witnessed in various places and tries to dig the causes that influence people to engage in such things. The article argues that the young people who had been involved in violent behaviors at the movie theatre in Aura, at Columbine High School, and in other killings had something in common. According Carey (2013, the young people were all video gamers and, apparently, they seemed to have been influenced by dark digital fantasy. The article cites video gaming as being the main cause of violent and aggressive behavior among young people, especially those who have an addiction of engaging in them.

The article points out that the effects that media violence could have on behavior escalated to the level of catching the attention of social scientists in the 1950s thereby provoking their investigation into the matter since then (Carey, 2013). Later on in the 1980s, the same scientists began conducting investigations on the effect of video games on social behavior. In claiming that violent video games and other forms of violent media increase aggression among children, the article borrows support from three psychological research works: the” short-term laboratory experiments”, which occurred over a fifteen minute period of engaging in a Mortal Kombat play that resulted all the participants becoming more violent shortly after the game. The second research involved longer-term investigations usually based in schools, which indicate that videogames as well as other factors such as bullying relate closely to many causes of violence in schools. The third research was “the correlational studies”, which entailed analysis of video game sales and violent crime trends.

A careful analysis of the article “Shooting in the Dark” indicates that the author uses evidence to support his assertion in three key ways: effective incorporation of evidence; smooth integration of quotations; and citing his sources. In regard to effective incorporation of evidence, the author incorporates a number of evidences to support his assertion. Having formulated his argument that videogames and other forms of violent games increase levels of aggression among young people, Carey borrows from scientific research works to support his work. Some of the evidence include the empirical findings of Christopher Barlett, a psychologist at Lowa State University who led 47 undergraduates in playing “Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliace” for about fifteen minutes. The findings of this experiment, as indicated by Carey (2013), confirm the assertions that form the author’s argument. The second way of the author’s use of evidence to support his assertions is smooth integration of quotations. This is where the author uses direct quotations in his/her work. For instance, Carey (2013) quotes Craig A. Anderson, a Psychologist at Lowa State University saying “But if you look at the literature, I think it’s clear that violent media is one factor; it’s not the largest factor, but it’s also not the smallest.” The third way that the author uses evidence to support assertions is citing his sources. In this article, evidence appears in the form of paraphrasing and quotations. The author, however signals this usage evidence through word choices, transitions and/or logical connections. For instance, after the first paragraph of the article, the author uses the phrase “But did it really”. This serves as a logical connection between the author’s introduction of an argument and the evidence that the author uses to support his assertion.

The second article “Focusing on the How of Violence” was published in New York Times by Kirk Hamilton in January, 2014. In this article, the author asks the question of ‘how’ video games are more aggressive and violent than they are. Besides, Hamilton’s interest is to establish the kinds of things that influence the violence in one game to have more meaning than the violence in the other game. Hamilton analyses and compares the meaning of violence in the two most famous video games of 2013: BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us. Both games give stories of two people; a man and a woman who, in the course of their fighting through dangerous places, terminate the lives of many unknown bad guys. In analyzing the violence ‘The last of Us’, Hamilton (2014) claims that the violence served purpose even though it was direct and grisly. This follows his claims that “The grueling encounters with bandits and reanimated corpses were a crucible that the protagonists Joel and Ellie barely survived, and the awful acts perpetrated by and upon them left them emotionally deformed at the end.” In analyzing the violence in ‘BioShock Infinite’, the author finds it feeling gratuitous rather than powerful or transformative.

There are a number value-based assertions used by the author in the article. For instance, Hamilton (2014) makes a value-based assertion when he notes that “So many games dehumanize enemies, letting us cleave through hordes of bandits and aliens while feeling nothing for any of them”.  The author supports this assertion by quoting Merritt Kopas, the game’s designer in whose proposed said that “The most dangerous thing about games is not that they provide us ultrarealistic depictions of violence, but they lie to us about what violence is” (Hamilton, 2014) In this regard, the author asserts that violence becomes a personal and specific thing against a character the moment video gamers put a face a name to it. The mentioned value-based evidence in this paper demonstrates relevance, consistency, transparency, and speculation in the sense that enhanced interrogation is a feature that many video games depict, yet only very few of them are willing to engage in actual interrogation of the act itself. The author signals relevance, consistency, transparency, and speculation through language by comparing the purpose and extent of violence in two most popular video games of 2013; BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us.


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