Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Games Entertainment

Gamers Grapple With VA Tech Shooting 419

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Gamers Grapple With VA Tech Shooting

Comments Filter:
  • What about... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by richdun ( 672214 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:54PM (#18815989)
    ...the shooting at UT-Austin back in the 1960s? Someone see Counter-Strike in a premonition?

    Seriously, gamers aren't "grappling" with anything. It's the idiots on TV who can't seem to get ratings from speaking intelligent, well-thought, insightful words and have to resort to fear-mongering and dumbassery (TM). Nothing for anyone to see here, please move along.
  • Knee-jerk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:22PM (#18816451) Journal
    Knee-jerk reactions like this just go to show that people with an agenda will use anything to support their agenda, even if the simplest check reveals it doesn't do so. Anyone remember when Mayor David Dinkens used a stabbing to call for gun control?

    So, who has jumped on the VA Tech bandwagon:
    Gun control proponents (obviously)
    Gun control opponents ("let them shoot back")
    Violent game opponents ("It was just like a first-person shooter")
    People who want more funding for mental health programs.
    People who just want to put weirdos in nuthouses
    Security people ("A rent-a-cop in every classroom keeps everyone safe. Oh, and us employed")
    Security consultants (obviously)
    Drug warriors (he must have been high to do that)
    Drug legalization proponents (if he'd just smoked a little weed he'd have had a better perspective)

    OK, I made the last two up. But Ariana Huffington (who falls into several other categories) validated "drug warriors" for me, though referring to legal drugs.

    Personally, I blame Microsoft and SCO.
  • Re:Indifference (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Paulrothrock ( 685079 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:24PM (#18816487) Homepage Journal

    The scary thing is that, were it not for the influence of my girlfriend (now wife and soon to be mother of my child), I could have ended up like him. In reading his "rambling and incoherent manifesto," as people are calling it, I saw a lot of what I hated about my freshman year of college. I hated that everyone seemed to be there for hedonism. I hated that fraternities and sororities and sports teams got all the attention. I hated that I was ignored by everyone around me, and I started to resent them for it.

    I was that way until I found a place where I could fit in; a smaller school, and an off-campus apartment with my then-girlfriend, and a little bit of that hedonism for myself. If this guy had someone in his life that could make him feel at home, and to reassure him that not everyone was heartless and self-centered, maybe we'd have 33 more people in the world today.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:27PM (#18816519)
    > i'm a farker but i missed that thread.. probably because im mainly on totalfark and not the main page.. unless it was a totalfark thread.. either way i missed it, link?

    Details from VT gunman's suicide note revealed, blames actions on "rich kids" and "debauchery" but makes no mention of Anna Nicole Smith, Don Imus or violent video games []

    Turned into a whole string of "I blame..." responses.

    Usually art imitates life, but sometimes life imitates art. A few threads later After Columbine, Tom Delay blamed the shootings on science classes teaching evolution. Surely, we've learned from past idiots, right? Well... a day after the VT massacre, it appears not [] showed up, with a link pointing to a Crooks and Liars [] article in which Tom Delay blamed the Columbine attack on the teaching of evolution, and some other contemptible ghoul of a fundie whackjob blamed the VT shooting on the teaching of evolution [].

    Just when we'd thought we'd blamed it on everything, some fucking fundie freak has to play a game of one-upmanship.

  • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <.Satanicpuppy. .at.> on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:47PM (#18816901) Journal
    One of the most appealing arguments I ever heard for gun control was for pistols specifically.

    I believe in the right to bear arms, but pistols make me nervous, and hell, they're not much use in most cases. Home invasion? 12 gauge semi-auto loaded with buckshot...Only get 5 shots, but the last three will only be making tiny pieces out of little pieces. Guerrilla war against a repressive government? Automatic rifles.

    Pistols? I can't think of a single situation where I wouldn't rather have a bigger, more accurate gun. 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? You're not deterring crap if it's concealed. Come up with a better deterrent than walking down the street with a shotgun over one shoulder...You'll have the whole damn sidewalk to yourself.

    I've known a lot of pistol carriers in my life, and just about every damn one of 'em pissed me off. Every dumbass with kids who keeps a loaded pistol under the seat of his car, or in his damn desk...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.

    You know whats sad? Introspecting here. I don't think guns should be controlled because I want to keep them away from criminals...It'd be nice, but it won't happen. What I want to do is keep 'em away from goddamn tubby suburbanites who think they need that gun. What a world.
  • Re:Nugent is smarter (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:19PM (#18817417)
    One question? You walk into a room, you see a person with a gun, how do you know if it's the shooter or somebody defending himself(who may have even just shot the shooter or may have just shot an innocent armed person)? If he sees you, you have less than a second to figure it out.
  • by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:50PM (#18817783) Journal
    Couldn't agree more, and that's coming from a Scot who supports fairly draconian gun control.

    In this country handguns were banned about 10 years ago and, whilst the (mostly sporting) fraternity fought tooth-and-nail against it they did on the whole comply with the law when it came in. I used to target shoot .22's, and was quite good at it, and it's a pity that the handgun guys can't do it any more, but we've seen the results of imperfect control.

    But presuming that the general public has access to guns for "public" use, as in the US, you can't just remove them - the only ones who wouldn't give them up are the ones likely to cause a problem. As pointed out, shotguns are perfectly good for self defence. "But their a hassle to carry" comes from the same people as "we have a right to self defence with firearms". can't defend yourself because it's too much hassle?!

    Concealed weapons are for those with something to hide, or those trying to make a fashion statement. Those people shouldn't be allowed firearms.
  • Re:Indifference (Score:5, Interesting)

    by g2devi ( 898503 ) on Friday April 20, 2007 @06:42PM (#18818373)
    Personally, from what I've read in his manifestos and the news, he wasn't picked on, but he did have a profound sense of isolation and a profound sense of desperation. He was too introverted for business school so switched to literature but wasn't talented there either. No-one seemed to understand him no matter how many people tried (and several did if you read the reports...he wasn't abandoned by society). He had no future, no hope for a future, and he felt could understand him and since so many had tried to reach him but failed, there didn't seem much hope that anyone could reach him.

    Basically, he was at an agonizing dead end. What some call "a dark night of the soul" and others call "hitting bottom".

    There are at least 7 places to go from there:

    1) He could do something drastic to change his life. When you have nothing to lose, you have no fear of the consequences and you're immune to criticism because there's nothing "they" can do to you that's not already done. More than a few great people started off with the mantra "Oh yeah, well I'll show them".

    2) He could luck out...either find people who can connect to him (the internet is great that way) or find a passion that could absorb his time and keep his mind off his isolation.

    3) He could become more spiritual and realize that even in suffering there is meaning, and that while there is life, there is hope. It sounds corny, but people have gone through a lot worse and have come through it.

    4) He could just give up life and go quietly.

    5) He could just numb himself to everything with drugs or alcohol.

    6) He could just give up life and go in a "blaze of glory", either by living recklessly with a death wish.

    7) He could just give up life and go in a "blaze of glory", either by lashing out and taking down as many people with him as possible.

    Most people see themselves to options 1-6, but option 7 is definitely an option if the person *completely* looks outside himself through hatred and jeolosy instead of inwards at his own deficiencies. If there's nothing inside, there's no fear, no pain, no pride, no empathy, no love, no loneliness, no remorse, just raw hatred, and final payback becomes the reason you were born, and getting back at "them" in the name of all those like you becomes the meaning of your life.

    At least that's my theory. Only he would know for sure.

    I've dealt successfully with people who were at the end of their rope and willing to either give in or were so obsessed with "them" that they were stuck in a downward spiral. I don't know if my experience is valid of 7s, but if my experience holds true, the best way to deal with 7s is to be empathetic and to use the socratic method and patient nonjudgmental listening to slowly chip away at his vendetta (without telling them what they should think) and redirecting his passion to (1) or some place else more constructive, because what other people do with their lives doesn't matter nearly as much as what you do with your own. This would only works if you know the source of their vendetta and I'm not sure that was clear to those around him, so I'm not sure if I could have helped any differently than those closest to him.
  • Re:Indifference (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2007 @07:54PM (#18819125)
    My dad worked on ship construction and engineering actively in the 40s, 50s, and 60s with asbestos around and never got lung cancer or mesothelioma. Those effects just doesn't hold water.

    What BS. Like yours.

    People are individuals, with different sensitivities, understandings, and mannerisms. In fact, given your commentary, it seems you are more insensitive and adaptive to getting picked on. What might not affect you may certainly affect someone else. You only need one person, one cause and effect, to show it might happen.

    I'm not sure how a person, an adult, can become an adult without that plain and simple understanding.

    Some people can take getting picked on. Some people can turn their life around. Some people can adapt. And some people hit a major rut and just stay there. Look at the entire treatment of depression sometimes--people can stay there for years without treatment and even *with* treatment.

    As to your other aspects of your ignorant commentary:

    There are definitely different levels of picked on. At a couple of reunions with high school acquaintances buddies, we had a serious (not a "let's see if I can one up that") conversation about bullying, that included the gamut of jocks, geeks, nerds, sociable intellectuals, queens, etc. Everyone was certainly picked on, everyone had regrets about picking on or saying the wrong thing to others. But it was astounding to *what extent* some people were ridiculed. Day in, day out, stuffed in lockers, spit on, laughed at, paranoia about their band equipment, threatened with violence, mouthpieces spit on, etc. etc. Even best friends didn't know the extent of some things that happened, due to embarrassment, isolation, or other reasons.

    And it seems the studies are showing this too--rabid bullying seems to make people more prone to get criminal records, lead unhealthy lives, be more reactionary. No, it's not 1:1. But it's there. Certainly in the underserved, underprivileged, it's there, except we don't see the mass murders, but call it crime, reactionary shot the teacher, the other student, bit.

    People often also don't realize sometimes how ingrained a person's life can be. Being in an academic institution, it's easy to leave, but the results are in your face from there on--the debt, the lack of friends, the lack of degree, not getting a job, etc. The choices aren't easy when you aren't doing well and can snowball over and over to the point where you're just going through the motions, emotionless, angry, or avoiding, or everything.

    In some aspects to Cho, I see a lot of myself. The difference is, I can be sociable. It took me years, into my late 20s. I happened to have a couple of friends at various levels that made life bearable. High school was complete hell for me. I also went to a college where I wasn't picked on either, and filled out a bit physically. I also learned that, for me, the reasons I don't get along with people, and adapted.

    btw, you clearly don't have an understanding of mental health or illness. You can be *made* mentally unfit over time.

    btw2, you also clearly don't understand that blame, if it needs to be assigned to comprehend this, has many levels. No shit Cho is primarily to blame. No shit he was nuts. So yes, you can be dismissive and simple as you want, but to understand, comprehend, maybe prevent, or help, you have to look at the various levels of intervention, levels of blame such as secondary and tertiary elements that could have stopped the tragedy. Maybe laws and protocols need to be changed, revised, and improved upon instead of throwing up our hands and expecting mass shootings as part of the status quo.

This screen intentionally left blank.