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Friday, March 25, 2005

Red Lake Killer "tied" to video games?

Ever since the tragic events at Red Lake occured, I've had this nagging feeling that eventually the media would find some way to tie it back to video games. I mean, surely this kid had at least one violent game, right? So when they find that violent game, the assumption will be instantly made that it "trained" this Manchurian child to kill.

Did I ever underestimate the media's ability to connect loose connections together in order to sensationalize a horrific story. MSNBC figured out how to make the connection even without a video game.

That's right. No video games were harmed in the creation of this myth. Instead, MSNBC is reporting that Weise followed a video-game like script based on ... a flash animation Weise uploaded last year. Stop blinking, you read correctly. They got sociologist Dr. Katherine Newman to state that he followed shooter "pathways" and as proof she points to a two-dimensional animation - proving once and for all that it must be getting easier and easier to get a PhD in this country. See, back when I was in college - we had to actually be able to prove something before making ridiculous statements.

I'm honestly not sure I need to describe how ridiculous this is ... in fact I'm somewhat at a loss to do so. But this is a major news site pulling out a Princeton professor. But is her explanation:

If you pick up the average video game, you're going to see sequences that look just like the animation this boy produced. It's not something that we look at and say, “Oh, I've never seen that before.” You will see it a million times if you pick up any of the common video games available to teenagers today.

Which simply proves that she's never looked at a video game in her life. I hate to suggest that one views Weise's flash animation. Number one - it's not good. It's just a violent doodle powered by flash. Number two - I don't think people's works should be viewed simply because they went psychotic. But let's just say that the only video game it reminded me of is Alien Hominid, and I haven't seen any mention that this psychopath was a yellow alien jumping on people's heads.

I'm not sure what is the best way to fight this culture of fear. Interviews like this one are rapidly pushing the issue into such irrational bounds that it's hard to think that pure logic will work. This kid had his dad commit suicide, his mother die in a car accident and was apparently the geek on campus to beat on ... but surely video games had to be a precipitating factor to violence, because we know he couldn't have seen violence any other way. Our media couldn't itself be a vehicle for kids to learn about death and violence? Never.

In the mortal words of Bill Hicks - to think otherwise would make you a liar and a communist.

1 comment:

Winkyboy said...

People in general and people in the media specifically quite often never learn that it is NOT guns that kill, it's the people behind them. How much more ludicrous is it that they are saying now that pictures of guns (video games) kill?

"Violent games" have been with humanity probably since people have been able to breathe; it's in our imagination to defend the virtuous against the attackers; Spaceman vs. Alien... Indian vs. Cowboy... Caveman vs. Dinosaur... All these things in our minds play out as a natural course of "What if?" thinking.

Media just wants to avoid what the Bible *first* said right: Raise a child to be good, and he'll be good. If you don't, he could wind up a serial killer. (Okay, the Bible didn't put it that way, I'm paraphrasing for modern understanding)