Last Saturday the tragic mass shooting in an El Paso Walmart left 22 people dead after a shooter opened fire. That shooting came only a few days after two Walmart managers were killed by a gunman in a Walmart in Southaven, Mississippi.
As usual with mass shootings in America, after the news of the El Paso shooting emerged, fear and anxiety spread throughout the country once again—that turned to anger at the senseless loss of life, followed by “thoughts and prayers” that will surely help this time. In other words, nothing has changed since the last mass shooting.
Except for Walmart’s outlook on the cause of gun violence. The company has long been one of the largest gun resellers in America, and, at first, it seemed like Walmart would stand idly by and not take any action. Just two days after the El Paso massacre, Walmart announced it would not stop selling guns in its stores. But now, after a week that saw two of its managers and 22 of its customers slaughtered by gun violence, the company has finally decided to take action against the root cause of gun violence. In a dramatic U-turn, Walmart has announced it will ban . . . displays and signs of violent video games in its stores.
On Thursday, USAToday reports, Walmart heads sent a memo to all stores saying it was taking “immediate action” to remove signage and displays that “contain violent themes or aggressive behavior.” That memo also listed other ways Walmart intends to help prevent gun violence in the future. From the memo:
- Use your best judgment when determining whether an element is appropriate. If you are unsure, remove the item or turn it off as a precautionary measure.
- Turn off any hunting season videos that may be playing in Sporting Goods, and remove any monitors or displays that show the videos.
- Check all signing throughout the store and remove any referencing combat or third-person shooter video games.
- Verify that no movies depicting violence are playing in Electronics.
- Cancel any events promoting combat style or third-person shooter games that may be scheduled in Electronics.
Of course, what is noticeably lacking is any reference to all the actual guns Walmart sells in its stores.
In a statement, a Walmart spokesperson told USAToday that the memo was genuine and that Walmart has “taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week, and this action does not reflect a long-term change in our video game assortment.”