Like most Americans, I was deeply saddened by the senseless carnage of the Virginia Tech shooting as it unfolded last week. A college student myself, the gravity of the situation hit that much closer to home. I'd be lying if I said that thoughts of insecurity and terror didn't cross my mind at least a little, but it wasn't long before my emotions soon turned from solemnity to anger and outrage.
The details trickling in about the identity of the killer and his sheer callousness in committing such acts of evil certainly added to the rage I felt building inside me, but that wasn't the only source of anger to be had. No, what really got my blood boiling was the massacre-chasing, exploitative blowhards the likes of attorney Jack Thompson--who, mere hours after the shooting and before barely any information had been collected, made his way onto the FOX News channel and began blaming the tragedy on video game violence.
Much more a gamer than a college student, this kind of opportunistic, blatantly agenda-pushing tirade against video games really put me over the edge.
By week's end, CBS advice guru Dr. Phil had joined the game hate bandwagon. While on CNN's Larry King Live show, Dr. Phil painted a view of a bleak future in which a generation of youth will have been programmed with a "massive violence overdose." Moreover, on Wednesday, April 18, Newsmax posted an article titled, Va. Tech Killer A Violent Video Game Fan. Over the following day, several news websites picked up the story, including even Infowars.com, the site of conspiracy theorist and Constitution-defender Alex Jones. From the looks of it, the media--both mainstream as well as alternative--seemed poised to add video game condemnation alongside the growing public debate for gun control and into a full-scale censorship movement in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre.
In the aftermath of the Columbine High School shooting, the "murder simulator" of choice to blame was ID Software's Doom, after it was revealed that the two killers in that case played the game regularly. So what flagship offender would take the heat for this recent school shooting? In the above mentioned Newsmax article, an interview of several individuals who knew shooter Cho Seung Hui in high school conducted by Washington Post staff writer David Cho is cited. According to that interview, Cho Seung Hui was said to be a player of many violent video games, most specifically Valve Software's Counter-Strike. Just as I was aware of and played Doom around the time of the Columbine massacre, I too am rather fond of this particular game, having spent countless hours playing it over the past five years. So it was then that I began to ready myself for the inevitable onslaught of bad press that this, one of my favorite games of all time, would most certainly be subjected to.
But then, well, nothing happened.
But why not? What could have stopped the ravenous crowd of anti-video game pundits when all of the pieces seemed to be falling so perfectly into place? Simple. As it turned out, Cho Seung Hui wasn't the hyped-up, blood-craving gamer many had hoped he would be.
After David Cho's blurb regarding the video game angle was retracted from the online version of a Washington Post article, the inquisitive minds over at the popular video game blog Joystiq.com contacted the writer to get the story straight. According to their interview, the original claim that Cho Seung Hui was a Counter-Strike player was based on the testimony of acquaintances occasionally seeing Hui playing the game during the time he attended high school. What there was no clear indication of, however, was whether Hui continued to play video games (violent or otherwise) during his three and half year stay at Virginia Tech.
According to roommates of Hui, he spent much of his time on the computer. But as opposed to honing his killing skills, Hui was usually writing rather than playing games. Also, a perfectly un-murderous Counter-Strike club on the Virginia Tech campus said while interviewed that they never even heard of Hui, and that he was not present at a recent on-campus tournament for the game.
And with that, those who were so quick to speak out against video games in this instance were just as speedy shutting up about them. Certainly they wouldn't want to bring any attention to the fact that non-video game playing mass murderers are just as brutal, calculating, disturbed, and truly evil as those that partake in the hobby. How could it be that someone who doesn't play video games could have it in him to commit such horrendous acts of violence? I wonder..
Overall, I'm just glad now that we can put this kind of foolish scapegoating and tragedy-exploiting behavior behind us and begin to really pinpoint just who is responsible for this atrocity. Like, oh, I don't know...perhaps the individual.
:: Final Cut ::
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week. Later. ~Khyron, 2007.
For the latest updates on the world of Khyron, bookmark http://www.khyron.net/. With content updated regularly, you're sure to find your fix for all things entertaining and paranormal. As always, feel free to send any questions/comments/suggestions to KFiles@khyron.net.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next K-Files, arriving sometime next week. Later.
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