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Gamers Grapple With VA Tech Shooting 419

Posted by Zonk
from the tough-week-for-everybody dept.
I imagine it's been a hard week for a lot of people; gamers in particular have been jumping to defend their hobby from the likes of Dr. Phil and Jack Thompson, both of whom were quick to link gaming and the tragedy in Virginia. Despite their vigor, it seems like game enthusiasts can breathe easily this week. As far as most people can tell, gaming was in no way involved. Even the mainstream media is coming to realize that gaming isn't always the right place to turn when youth violence grabs the headlines. Just the same, some activist gamers are still trying to make sure their hobby comes out of this unscathed, and at least some folks think they may be overdoing things: "While I'm all for activism for one's beliefs, I really think this may do more harm then good. As gamers, we feel a need to defend our passion, but we run the risk of ending up looking no better than those seeking to shift blame, while further disrupting the already-mourning. I say that the thing to focus on at this point is simply remembering those lost and cherishing what we still have. Now's not the time for political vendettas, and gamers need to step down and just humbly accept the fact that blame will always be shifted to the popular youth activities: be it a KISS concert, a video game, or something else."
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Gamers Grapple With VA Tech Shooting

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  • Jesus is to blame! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredrikj (629833) on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:49PM (#18815921) Homepage
    From Wikipedia: "In one of the videos, Cho compares himself to Jesus Christ, explaining that his death will influence generations of people."
  • Dr. Phil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brkello (642429) on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:56PM (#18816035)
    I guess I don't see what the big deal over what Dr. Phil said. He isn't saying violent games make these people kill. He is saying that mixing violent media with psychopaths is going to set these people off. Really, if gamers are so upset by this, they are over-reacting...probably from having to be on the defensive so much from morons like Jack.
  • by umStefa (583709) on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:58PM (#18816063) Homepage
    Violent video games have become the scapegoat for societies problems with violence because they are an easy target. Violent games can desensitize children to violence, but this is the fault of the child's parent / guardian. Children have a limited natural sense of what is right and wrong, it is the responsibility of parents to help their children develop a value system that works in society.

    The problem is that too many parents fall into one of two categories:

    a) The parents who shelter there children from all negative stimulus, and then turn them lose on society at 18 without the ability to determine right from wrong themselves. These new adults now go into society without having someone to tell them what to do and act out on the impulses.

    b) The parents who do nothing to develop the child's sense of right from wrong. These parents belive that by never having a consequence for any action their child will magically develop a set moral values. Children who are raised like this can develop tendancies to lash out because they have been taught that their actions have no consequences.

    Instead of banning violent video games, we should ban bad parents.
  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:59PM (#18816087) Homepage
    It should be important for would-be martyrs comparing themselves to Jesus to note that, by most accounts, Jesus didn't take anybody with him when he went down. I mean, his buddy Peter tried that stunt and sliced off somebody's ear, but he got yelled at for it, and some claim that Jesus even went and put it back on.
  • by sesshomaru (173381) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:02PM (#18816133) Journal
    Seung-Hui Cho was 23 years old. Now, as far as I know, but I guess I'm old fashioned, 23 years old is an adult. Adults are allowed to drink, joing the army, by M rated video games, drive and by lots of guns. You know, because they are adults. They aren't impressionable children anymore.

    I consider the whole, impressionable children thing to be dubious when we are dealing with older teenagers, anyway, but I consider it ridiculous when talking about adult men.

    So, what then are Dr. Phil and Jack Thompson trying to say, that video games will turn anyone into a killer, even adults? I think it's interesting that this guy didn't commit any serious crimes until he was well into adult hood.

    To me, this represents a shift in the debate. At Jonesboro, you had children commiting mass murder, so trying to figure out what made innocent little boys into monsters makes sense in a way. This is not what we have at Virginia Tech.

    Are people going to do this with David Berkowitz now? Jeffrey Dahmer? etc? If some 40 year old murderer gets caught, are they going to check him for Counter Strike experience.

  • Re:Dr. Phil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PFI_Optix (936301) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:10PM (#18816257) Journal
    And there's some truth behind what Dr. Phil said. A violent person when exposed to violent media will tend to act...wait for it...more violently! Wow, what a novel concept.

    Think of it this way: a conservative watching Fox News is going to have their conservative beliefs reaffirmed. An environmentalist at an Al Gore lecture will get the same. (And maybe a good nap, too. *zing!*) When you surround yourself with people and media that espouses beliefs like your own, you're going to embrace those more. If you are a violent, aggressive person and spend all your time listening to, watching, and playing violent entertainment, you are encouraging yourself to become more violent.
  • Indifference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZirbMonkey (999495) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:10PM (#18816263)

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
    Kids picked on him in middle school. No one stood up for him.
    Kids picked on him in high school. No one stood up for him.
    Kids picked on him in college. He bought guns, and killing people.

    The only time he every really stood up for himself was when he turned violent. And at that point it was too late. I think it's the culture of indifference that caused this to grow inside an emotionally unstable loner. It has nothing to do with the music he listened to, games he played, or lack of prayer in schools. Society did nothing more than try to ignore him, while he finally refused to be ignored. And in a tragic and unforgivable way, we all stood up to finally pay attention to what he had to say.
  • by melikamp (631205) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:11PM (#18816277) Homepage Journal

    I wish I could mod you up. People are so intent on dragging in anything they do not like and citing it as a possible cause, it makes my head hurt. Even Eric Harris, who was a big fan of FPS games (designed maps, ran a website) clearly stated that they had nothing to do with his motives. In this latest case, drawing any kind of parallel with games is just evil. These people will use anything that is sensational and bullshit as much as they can to advance their private agenda.

    I am sure that the gun control party will have their heyday with this case. They won't care that shooters like Harris and Cho prepare for months and have no scruples with breaking the law. I am not arguing pro or con here (I am still unsure myself), but it is clear to me that

    (1) even making all guns illegal will not stop a determined shooter from acquiring them, and, otoh,

    (2) making guns legal for everyone will not reduce casualties, because shooters always get to choose time, place, and "audience".

  • Re:Starcraft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:13PM (#18816291)
    > He was Korean. Starcraft has to be involved some how.

    The Photoshoppers had him pegged [imageshack.us], probably while he was in ther classrums, killin ther d00dz.

    Frankly, I'm all for it.

    The less the world sees of him as some terrifying icon of doom, brandishing his weapons on MSNBC while TV narrators breathlessly pore over every word of his screenplay and manifesto... and the more it sees of him as "ch0wn3d", or "Stop! Hammertime!", the better.

  • Re:What about... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:15PM (#18816329) Homepage Journal
    Yes, honestly. The media in general and the 24 hour news channels in particular will say just about anything to fill another long news hour. There is currently a lot more coverage of the news than their is actual news. Or should I say, there's no news that's easy to get to. There's plenty of stuff to cover and actual journalists might make an effort to get to it, but CNN and Fox News are not News. They're entertainment masquerading as news.

    Cho was a nut job plain and simple. Beyond that the media can not add anything insightful or useful. "Nut job kills some people at a college in the USA." End of story. Ironically on NPR a couple of days ago the news went like this: "A bomber in Baghdad blew himself and 200 other people up. And in other news, we have a 2 hour interview with a guy who knew a guy who knew Cho and says this all could have prevented if only..." Well not that exactly but that's the general idea. You want to know what it's like to live in Iraq right now? Imagine this massacre at Virginia Tech happening every day and in your own back yard. Or how about Darfur, where this sort of massacre happens daily except that the people doing the killing are using machetes.

    Not that I mean to belittle the events at Virginia Tech. The people who went through that will be scarred for the rest of their lives. It's just a pity that the media can't be bothered to give that level of attention to anything that happens outside this country, whether we're directly responsible for those events (As is the case in Iraq) or not. Oh, and if any of the media is reading this, I'm pretty sure the violence in Iraq and Darfur isn't caused by violent video games either. Just to give you a heard start. Now off you go, and don't come back until you have a real story.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:17PM (#18816361)
    People should worry less about virtual violence, and more with the real thing.
    And celebs should just shut up.
  • Gaming and reality (Score:1, Insightful)

    by xmundt (415364) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:17PM (#18816385)
    Greetings and Salutations.
              I ran a D&D campaign for WAY to many years, and, while there was a lot of violence at times, anyone that participated in it understood that there was a real difference between the fantasy violence and violence in reality. However, I have seen folks that are unable to keep those separate. I do not, though, think that the games are responsible for violent behavior in real life. I do agree with the other poster that dings the parents for not giving their kids a solid set of positive values.
              But then, I also think that the biggest problem with the VT shooting was that there were too FEW guns on campus. After all, if an armed student, or staff/faculty member had the ability to defend against this rampage, it would have cut the body count down by QUITE a bit.
              Gun control is not keeping weapons out of the hands of citizens. It is being able to put half a dozen bullets into a 1" circle at 20 yards or more.
              Thanks for the opportunity to dump out some fuel for a flamewar.
              Dave Mundt
  • by nuzak (959558) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:18PM (#18816399) Journal
    Going by all the accounts of his roommates, Cho didn't play videogames. Not that this will stop all the scapegoating and justifications, which is just human nature after all.
  • Re:Indifference (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Recovering Hater (833107) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:21PM (#18816437)

    Kids picked on him in middle school. No one stood up for him. Kids picked on him in high school. No one stood up for him. Kids picked on him in college. He bought guns, and killing people. The only time he every really stood up for himself was when he turned violent. And at that point it was too late. I think it's the culture of indifference that caused this to grow inside an emotionally unstable loner. It has nothing to do with the music he listened to, games he played, or lack of prayer in schools. Society did nothing more than try to ignore him, while he finally refused to be ignored. And in a tragic and unforgivable way, we all stood up to finally pay attention to what he had to say.

    Maybe he should have tried standing up for himself in middle school, or at the very least had the common sense to understand that sometimes people are going to treat you unfairly and maybe it's best to just blow it off. Life isn't fair. Instead of building a wall he should have made friends with someone instead. I got picked on too. That argument doesn't hold water. The same goes for high school and college. The simple fact is that he was a complete psycho nutcase that held the world in contempt and had no regard for life. Even his own. The blame lies squarely on his own shoulders.

  • Dr Phil (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Keruo (771880) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:25PM (#18816503)
    You know, Dr Phil is common joke in Europe.
    He's excellent sample of generic level of education in US.
    You can be a retard and still manage to be called a Dr.

    I'm not sure if anyone in US takes him seriously, but here you'd take Conan O'Brien more seriously than Phil.
  • Re:Indifference (Score:3, Insightful)

    by j-turkey (187775) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:30PM (#18816575) Homepage

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
    Kids picked on him in middle school. No one stood up for him.
    Kids picked on him in high school. No one stood up for him.
    Kids picked on him in college. He bought guns, and killing people.

    The only time he every really stood up for himself was when he turned violent. And at that point it was too late. I think it's the culture of indifference that caused this to grow inside an emotionally unstable loner. It has nothing to do with the music he listened to, games he played, or lack of prayer in schools. Society did nothing more than try to ignore him, while he finally refused to be ignored. And in a tragic and unforgivable way, we all stood up to finally pay attention to what he had to say.

    Did kids pick on him in college? It sounded to me that his interpersonal problems involved his being awkward around women moreso than being picked on. Furthermore, he was (to use the technical term) fucking nuts.

    I don't think that this is the same case as the Columbine shootings.

    I don't disagree that the situation likely had little to do with the music he listened to or the video games that he played.

  • by rucs_hack (784150) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:32PM (#18816631)
    His words spoke of being like Jesus, not like being a Level 70 WoW hunter. I think the blame falls squarely on religion, and the guilt/self-loathing that entails. Maybe we can combine the blame and point it to religion *and* the Left Behind gaming franchises.

    You can try blaming religeon all you want, but I wouldn't recommend you do it to their faces. You will not meet a more dangerous bunch of humans than humans in the through of a 'god' inspired frenzy. I don't just mean islamists either, there have been more than a few bombers who worshiped the pincushion appendages guy, still are in fact.

    Under such a condition, the most normal, loving person can become a killer. All it takes is a leader they trust completelly for moral/life guidance to declare that some unworthy person or group of people is about to kill/attack/otherwise harm them or take away their way of life, and it's out with the pitchforks and firebrands. It's happened often enough.

    Want to test it out? Stick a bunch of islamist fundamentalists, fundamentalist christians and fundamentalist jews in a big field with guns in the middle, and watch what happens. I bet it won't be reasonable debate.
  • Re:Indifference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:40PM (#18816767) Homepage Journal

    The even scarier thing to me is that were it not for the fact that I couldn't afford to go to a four year school, I probably would have ended up like him. I was picked on from sixth grade until I got out of school with a CHSPE at the age of fifteen. I was the big kid who was a mama's boy and thus a total pussy. So the only time I ever got into a real fight (and not just picked on by bullies) I gave the kid two black eyes and a bloody spot on his forehead from beating his head into the ground, and got expelled from the school by the administration which was too lazy to do its job. (This was Del Mar Middle School in Santa Cruz County, for those who keep track of such things.) The scary part of that story is that due to my ineptitude he ended up sitting on my back at one point, and I actually blacked out completely and when I came back to myself, I was sitting on his back and beating his head against the ground. (You can tell by the way I keep bringing that up that I am still both enthralled and repelled by this fact.) During that time I could have easily strangled him or gouged both his eyes out. It's a good thing all I did was get up and sit back down on him.

    Frankly, I was basically the same person until about the age of 23 or so. It took me that long to "grow up", or something. That's when I stopped being a total mama's boy. Very strange that once I became more willing to commit violence, I became less violent in my heart. There's some kind of bizarre lesson there.

    Schools need to make stopping bullying their number one priority for a variety of reasons. The MOST important one is that kids who grow up as bullies grow up into bullies. It creates a whole zero-sum kind of bully mindset that frankly I find to be pervasive throughout American society. But the other reason is that it could have the potential to stop crap like this from happening.

    A lot of people say that harassment is what kids need to break out of their shells and become one with the game, but that's certainly not how it happened for me, and I maintain that it is helping to maintain our culture of alternating anger and apathy.

  • by minus_273 (174041) <aaaaa@SPAM. y a h oo.com> on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:42PM (#18816821) Journal
    Man I hate those republican neo-cons. Just look at what that right wing blow hard Rush has to say [kotaku.com]

    read it if you can. this is something that will make so many on slashdot's blood boil. how dare he. Heck i can understand why the submitter to slashdot would submit every other article from kotaku but this one. Stuff like this should not see the light of day. The ideas he presents is so outrageous and ignorant.

    Compare this to the response of a progressive like Ny Gov Eliot Spitzer [gamepolitics.com]. This my friends is why i support progressives. Hillary 08!

    CALLER: What I really think is an issue is video violence, video gaming. I will guarantee you, I'll bet my last dollar in my pocket, that this shooter will be found to have been a compulsive video gamer, and when people are living that kind of lifestyle -- and college students do this a lot.

    RUSH: (sigh) Let's say you're right. Not every video gamer goes out and murders 33 people on the college campus though. There's more to this than that. We can find all kinds of societal problems and ills, but the fact of the matter is that whatever you would look at as a bad influence -- video games as you mentioned -- it may desensitize people, but it doesn't turn everybody into mass murderers.

    I know it's natural that everybody wants to throw their theories into this, and perhaps come up with perhaps a unique explanation or to understand, and I think it's natural, because people have a tough time accepting a relatively simple explanation for something of this scale. But how many people are playing video games out there? How many millions of people play video games, and how many millions of people have guns?

    If you start blaming the video games, you may as well demand video game control because it's the same thing when you start trying to blame guns for this. You have here a sick individual, an evil individual who committed a random act. But if you want to start blaming the video games, this guy was this or that, weeeeell, then you've gotta maybe talk about banning them because that's the same tack that's taken with guns. You got one guy who used a gun that's it. You're falling prey to the same way the Drive-Bys propagandize, and that's, "Well, we need gun control! We gotta get guns out of the hands of people."


  • by dr_dank (472072) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:44PM (#18816853) Homepage Journal
    It should be important for would-be martyrs comparing themselves to Jesus to note that, by most accounts, Jesus didn't take anybody with him when he went down.

    But he did inspire at least one copycat [art.com].
  • Instead of banning violent video games, we should ban bad parents.

    Amen to that! There should be a fucking license. In order to get one, you should have to have a job and insurance, be able to pass some basic tests, and so on.

    We should also sterilize (as reversibly as possible) anyone who begins collecting AFDC or TANF, so that they cannot become a further drain on society.

    Anyone who would name their child after a car or a bottle of alcohol is automatically disqualified. Disqualify their relatives if they would name their child after a misspelling of same. Kill their whole family if they name their child after a misspelling of a french name like "deseray". Those genes have got to go.

    No, but seriously, I think people should have to get a high-maintenance pet. People who raise a well-adjusted pet can have a child license. People who don't can try again. Although I'm sure this will get a lot of flak from the no-cruelty-to-animals types, and I rather agree with them for the most part, I'd rather see people be bad with a pet than a child.

    A friend's wife wanted a dog. He wanted to wait, but they got it anyway (of course) because she wouldn't let it alone. Since then he has become primarily responsible for an animal for which he was not prepared. But besides her lack of interest in cleaning up after the animal and such, she sends the dog mixed messages every time she talks to it. When she's upset she still uses her stupid baby voice. She's confusing that dog into oblivion. Think about people who do this shit to their kids! That is the real reason why you see people screaming at their children in the K-Mart when they do something wrong. The kids were programmed by their idiot parents giving them inconsistent messages when they did things they weren't supposed to do, and now some part of their brain thinks they're supposed to do those things!

    Most people have no business whatsoever having children. They do not understand even the most basic principles of parenting. Frankly I have enough trouble with my pet (although she is very happy and loves me and all that, she loves me too much and is trying to get frisky with myself and my lady, which is very odd when it comes from a small parrot) and know that I don't need to be having children at this stage in my life. If I want to make a contribution to the lives of children, there are lots of other ways to do that. (Keep your dirty humor to yourself.)

  • by bouis (198138) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:59PM (#18817107)
    Well, it's a stupid argument. Why do cops carry pistols? Not because they can be concealed, but because they can be holstered and carried around all day without getting in the way.

  • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:21PM (#18817447) Journal
    Sure, they've got to ride around in a car all day though, so it'd be a pain in the ass to carry a rifle. In other countries though, it's not uncommon to see cops walking around with submachine guns, and I doubt cops here would complain much if we required it.

    For a civilian? Put a strap on your shotgun and carry it like a purse. Talk about yer man purse.
  • Mod parent up! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 6Yankee (597075) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:22PM (#18817465)
    Damned mod points expired earlier, so I'll just reply. Yours has to be one of the most insightful posts about guns in all the many I've read in the past few days.

    If I ever hear the phrase "the safety's on" (after they've pointed it at me) one more time, I'm killing the dumbass who says it.

    There has to be a mechanism for getting those idiots' firearms licence revoked - and if there isn't then there should be. Anyone that stupid and irresponsible should not be trusted with a knife and fork, let alone a gun.
  • by bjprice (863197) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:34PM (#18817615) Homepage Journal

    But then, I also think that the biggest problem with the VT shooting was that there were too FEW guns on campus. After all, if an armed student, or staff/faculty member had the ability to defend against this rampage, it would have cut the body count down by QUITE a bit.
    British comedian Richard Herring wrote [richardherring.com]:

    Good to see that in the immediate aftermath of the terrible shooting at Virginia Tech, the pro guns lobby in America were already arguing that the tragedy could have been averted if only everyone on the campus had been carrying a gun. It wasn't the casual availability of guns that caused this problem, it was in fact down to guns not being available enough. I am sure that if every man, woman and child in America was legally forced to carry a gun then there would be far fewer killings. I know that if I had a gun that I would be shooting at least five of the inconsiderate and rude people I meet every day. But I am surely the exception. Most people would only use them to shoot maniacs on killing sprees, thus making the world a better place.

    Maybe it's a crazy dream, but maybe if all Americans were given guns tomorrow morning, by tomorrow evening they would all have successfully shot each other to death and the rest of the world could get on without them. The deaths of millions of people would be sad in the short term, but in the long term more lives would be saved around the world if there were no Americans left to bomb places.
    He was being satirical, obviously. But you really helped make his point with that post...
  • by TheMCP (121589) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:39PM (#18817667) Homepage
    I suggest we blame the lack of video games in his life, and say that if he'd only had video games to relieve his stress perhaps he wouldn't have snapped.

    I'm not really a gamer, but the idea of turning the tables on the assholes who were more interested in pointing a finger as part of their political agenda than in learning about reality amuses me.
  • by langelgjm (860756) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:45PM (#18817735) Journal

    The only thing they're good for is carrying concealed, and I don't believe in carrying concealed. If you're armed, it should be right out there in the open, none of this sneaky ass concealed crap...What possible rationale is there for carrying concealed? The point is to deter crime, right? Isn't that always the argument?

    Carrying around a gun openly is a good way to get yourself shot first - they'll aim for the one who has the power to fight back. Oh, and they can quickly survey a crowd and see if there's any chance of resistance. I'd think someone would be much more reluctant to attack a group when any one of the potential victioms could be carrying a pistol.

  • Re:Mod parent up! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:46PM (#18817737) Journal
    I'm pro-gun dammit. I like guns, I like shooting guns. But random unskilled jokers with pistols make me fricking crazy. That guys not going to see a criminal in his whole life, but there's a 50/50 chance that damn gun's going to go off by accident, and while the welfare of him and his spawn don't worry me, the welfare of bystanders (of which I may be one) worries me a lot.

    I was raised around guns. I respect them, and I've never had an accident with a gun, and it's because I treat them like what they are...deadly weapons. I don't show 'em to people with the barrel parallel to the floor and a goddamn round in the CHAMBER. I've seen this crap over and over.

    People always talk about Switzerland, and how they have more guns per capita than we do, and far less gun problems per capita. They also have mandatory military service, which forces people to learn how to use a gun intelligently.

    There is no barrier to ownership here, and I'm fine with that in theory, but in practice it means a lot of people who have no business owning a gun, end up owning a gun. So compromise. Anyone can get a long gun, but you have to pass some serious tests for a pistol. We uphold the spirit of the Constitution, and maintain a little civil order as well.
  • by moz25 (262020) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:52PM (#18817801) Homepage
    As I understood from some of the news reports, Cho was already "on the radar" as a disturbed person as early as 2005. In fact, I believe the report said he was considered mentally (*) ill according to one of his psychologists.

    What I've been wondering is: how come that someone who has "blipped" on the radar at least several times as a very disturbed person can still legally buy a gun? Now I know that a persistent person will be able to get a gun no matter what, but can we *please* make it a bit harder than going into a store and paying with your CC?
  • by s20451 (410424) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:56PM (#18817871) Journal
    All you do when you create a "Gun-Free Zone" is ensure the criminals that no one will be able to defend themselves. It pisses me off that everyone started talking about more gun control after this happened. It was already illegal for him to have it there and shoot those people. Did it stop him? Not at all. Would he have made it past the first 2 victims if students were allowed to carry firearms on campus? Hell no.

    I'm not worried about being "unarmed" in a mass shooting, because those events are incredibly rare. You may as well wear a lightning rod and an aluminum body suit wherever you go, arguing that it's necessary to protect you against lightning strikes. It's about as likely to happen to you.

    The thing is, I don't trust Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel to use his gun properly, especially since he can buy it down at the K-mart without training, testing, licensing, or even a background check that will pick up whether he is mentally unstable (as happened in the case of this Cho kid).

    I am worried that Cletus will blow my head off as I reach for my wallet, which he mistakes for a gun. Or that he won't store it properly and his kid will blow my kid's head off as they play cops and robbers. Or a hundred other things that can go wrong when deadly weapons are as common and as well regulated as toasters.

    I don't trust the potentially unskilled and irresponsible to have guns. If that means I can't have one either, so be it.

  • ROFL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <`Satanicpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:01PM (#18817921) Journal
    Yea, because that's how your average mugger rolls, he doesn't wait for the guy with the big gun to go away, he fricking caps the bastard! Because the other guys got a gun, man!

    Seriously, what situation are you talking about here? Is someone trying to assassinate you? I'm trying to think of a situation which would include me gunning for an armed bystander, and it's not coming to me. Either I'm carrying a longer gun as well, in which case it's obvious I'm also armed, so no advantage for a pistol, or I'm point blank on the guy, which would probably have alerted him somewhat if he's living somewhere so dangerous he has to carry a gun everywhere. I'm sure as hell not going to try and shoot him from any kind of range with a fricking pistol! That works in cowboy movies, but in the real world you're going to have to be close to kill someone with a pistol with anything other than a lucky shot.

    If someone is willing to take on a whole group of unarmed people, he probably doesn't give a damn if any of them are armed, any more than a rabid dog would. He's screwed up in the head, screwed up people do screwed up things. And even here, in gun-friendly America, we all know damn well that no one in that crowd is carrying a gun (well, unless we're in Texas, NYC, or LA), and a criminal will attack with that knowledge. But not if they see a gun.
  • Re:Starcraft (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HungWeiLo (250320) on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:08PM (#18817987)
    I never understood the whole "Korean" angle that the newsmedia was taking with this story. It was almost they're implying that his barbaric behavior somehow grew out of his exotic and foreign upbring - but he's been in this country since he was 8 years old. An overwhelming majority of Asian people who immigrate to the U.S. before the age of 10 or 11 will have completely lost their native accent by the time they are 23. Most probably, you would not be able to tell them apart from American-born Asians. If there is some lame attempt to blame this on Korean culture or upbringing for cultivating violence, then it doesn't make any sense at all. The violence and gun culture was proven to be a solely American contribution to his deranged psyche, but what probably tipped him over the edge was all the taunting due to his shyness, and perhaps over-pressure from his working-class Korean parents His sister graduated from Princeton, but he only got into "lowly" Virginia Tech and majoring in a non-traditional-according-to-Koreans thing like English - I'm sure they gave him plenty of crap for that as well, if there's any contribution of Korean culture in this matter.
  • Re:Mod parent up! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moofie (22272) <lee AT ringofsaturn DOT com> on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:47PM (#18818411) Homepage
    Just so long as you won't mind when that psychological evaluation becomes an ideological evaluation.

    Because it will. Depend on it.
  • Over reaction? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Matti-han (923613) on Friday April 20, 2007 @06:32PM (#18818935)
    It is true that parents and society will always point to the things that are different from their own childhoods as causes for violence, obesity, poor academics, and a host of other woes. It is also true that those parents will always fight to interfere with those activities, be it by denying it at the home level, or by writing to those congress men and women to whom they are constituents. This is their right, and even if in their masses they manage to get laws passed, we (usually) can depend on the supreme court to defend free speech and our rights. So KISS and Marilyn Manson keep rocking, shows like The Shield still get broadcast time, and violent video games are still legal to sell.

    However, there is an insidious culture that is coming to be common practice in our society. It comes from having half of the world's population of lawyers in one country. We now live in a day and age where a woman can spill coffee on herself and successfully sue for millions of dollars. Just imagine if, instead of not playing any video games as seems to be the case, Cho played Counter-Strike. Think of the huge class-action lawsuit that would most likely follow. It's easy to contemplate, because it would be expected. Today we no longer await one trial on any large publicly known crime, but two: the criminal trial and the civil.

    With people like Dr. Phil and Jack Thompson blaming video games, and getting as much media time as they do, how likely in the future will it be for video game makers to get a fair civil trial? That those two did so without even bothering to check facts, and the media's willingness to report such until proven otherwise, reflects a growing trend of belief that violent video games are strongly connected to young people that commit these types of armed massacres.

    The pro-video game groups are making a large point out of this because they are fighting a losing battle to change the minds of Americans regarding these issues.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2007 @09:34PM (#18820353)
    I'm not worried about being "unarmed" in a mass shooting, because those events are incredibly rare. ...

    ... I don't trust Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel to use his gun properly ...

    You have just changed one improbability for another. Cletus may improperly hurt himself (likely), a family member (still likely), a friend (also, very much in the realm of probability), a total stranger (not as likely), a group of total strangers (even more improbable), and so on. Unless you are friends with Cletus and want the law to disarm because you are too lazy or too stupid to make a new friend, then you do not have a solid argument. You are replacing one extreme improbability with another. The link I offer next strays into what might be viewed as - and often is - racist rhethoric: http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/004236.html [samizdata.net]

    Simply, compare lax-gun-law, white America to gunphobic Europe, and things are looking OK here. Plenty of problems to solve. Gun control is not one of them.

  • by Phil Karn (14620) <karn@@@ka9q...net> on Friday April 20, 2007 @09:44PM (#18820435) Homepage
    I think even most delusional people can readily tell the difference between make-believe violence and real-world violence. I'm just not that concerned about violent video games, movies or TV programs. I indulge in them myself on occasion. But I am concerned about the local and national news because its major theme is real-world violence, where real people really suffer, die and do not respawn in just a few seconds.

    The local news always leads off with a sensational report on some horrible crime in the area, and the national news always reports on the latest suicide bombing in Iraq and the steady stream of dead and maimed soldiers. We Americans have made it clear that we see large scale, organized violence (i.e., war) or the threat of same to be our preferred solution to nearly every problem we face in the world. When, invariably, we kill innocent people, our generals shrug their shoulders and "regret" the "collateral damage". They always blame it on the other side, claiming "they made us do it".

    And then everybody is stunned, shocked and surprised when an individual in the US does the same thing on a much smaller scale. The VPI shooting was basically a slow-motion suicide bombing. As horrible as it was, the same thing happens almost daily in Iraq, killing about the same number of people. And why? Because some guy has serious psychological problems, a sociopathic personality and an almost complete lack of empathy for other human beings. The only difference is that one of them was elected to office, and because of the power we continue to let him have, many more people have died and continue to die as a result than died in Blacksburg a few days ago.

  • Re:Dr. Phil (Score:1, Insightful)

    by wheresmymomma (1066110) on Friday April 20, 2007 @11:42PM (#18821193)

    A violent person when exposed to violent media will tend to act...wait for it...more violently!

    Exactly. Violence and guns are not the cause of the problem, but rather are simply vehicles that reinforce a violent person's disposition. The root of this evil is that he has had this combination of personality traits (i.e. bottled up emotions, inability to communicate, introversion) and negative experiences that were not adequately addressed or followed up on. The correct answer is that he should have been treated long before this happened, and should have been reached out to in the specific way that could have made him a functioning member of society. But how could we have known? Everybody has some psychosis that can be triggered by some combination of events to manifest itself in a negative way (alcoholism, drugs, suicide, rampage). To do so, we would have to be genuinely concerned about the social development and mental stability of each and every person in this world! Now, there's a thought.

    But then again most of us don't want to do that, or rather we have never developed the ability to do that. Most of us are either so absorbed with ourselves and our few loved ones, or feel so constrained by social or legal conventions that we just walk by when some significant issue arises. Regulating guns, violent games, and such comes about basically from our failure to provide the unique support that each individual needs. It's not ideal, but considering that only a very few people are willing to take responsibility for those who need help... it's the next best thing.

    Guns don't kill people. People with guns kill people. You can fix the people issue or you can fix the gun, video games, movies, etc issue. And since we have been trying to fix the people issue since the dawn of time without much success...

  • The big 3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BlueParrot (965239) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @09:16AM (#18823485)
    The way I see it, and what official agencies keep telling us, is that there are three things that keep reoccurring among school shootings.

    a)A history of bullying or rejection
    b)Mental health problems
    c)Guns (duh)

    What is not on that list is video games, the media, the "culture of fear".. etc. The whole problem is basically down to improving availability and standards of care for people with mental health problems, reduce bullying in schools, and actually implement some gun restrictions. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" yea sure, but it is a whole lot easier for people to kill people with a gun than it is with a knife. It should be rather obvious... Gun control isn't THE solution, but it would help bring down the body count...

    As for the positive correlation between violent media and violent behavior ( yes, it is real ) I'd like to see some peer-reviewed papers on distinguishing cause and effect. It doesn't surprise me that there is a correlation between violence and violent media, but it doesn't directly follow that media is the cause and violent personalities the effect. After all, if people didn't appreciate violence such media would not be very successful, would it?

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