It ain't my fault
20 June, 2003 :: 12:20 a.m.
I've got to vent about something that happened recently around here...
A little over two weeks ago, in Wellsboro, a 12 year old boy went into school on the last day armed with 7 guns--several high powered rifles, a couple of shotguns and a couple handguns. Apparently he had talked with friends of taking over the school, but on the day he arrived his friends backed out and one reported to a teacher that David had brought the guns to school...police were alerted and the boy holed up in one of the bathrooms. He ended up shooting himself in the head and dying a few hours later.
A shame? Sure. A sign that kids today are being left alone far too much and parents aren't pulling their weight? I personally think so. A tragedy created by the fact that the boy played video games and his favorite was apparently Metal Gear Solid 2? No...that's media and parent bullshit.
But that was the headline of today's Elmira Star-Gazette: Expert Blames Video Games In Boy's Suicide. It's complete crap. For two weeks we've been reading in the papers around here what a great kid he is, how close he and his father were, how they were very Christian and talked all the time and did everything together...so naturally it's the video game's fault. What's the rating on Metal Gear Solid 2? M for Mature Audiences...meaning it's inappropriate for people under the age of 17. Now that point alone I don't necessarily agree with, but I'll let slide. What is a good Christian father doing buying his son that video game or allowing him to play it? The papers said they were very close and did everything together...so apparently his father had seen this video game and felt his son was ok to handle it...now they want to blame his suicide on the game. Did the game give him access to seven powerful weapons? No, his father did. Did the game pick on him at school? No, other kids did. Did the media insert the idea in his head that other kids who didn't quite fit in had solved their differences with classmates by taking guns to school and killing them? Probably.
Some asshole lawyer from Florida who has appointed himself an expert on video game violence is leading the cry that this was the fault of the video game industry who prey on young children--particularly boys--and feed this fantasy of violence that in young children gets blurred with reality. The lawyer actually told the Star-Gazette in an interview, "Kids that age don't want to kill themselves. Does David realize that when he walks into that school that he's going to die? No. He probably thought if he shot himself, the game would be over and he would walk out."
The lawyer, Jack Thompson, also is defending a 15 year old in Ohio who beat a 17 year old girl to death after playing Grand Theft Auto 3. The boy was on Paxil and stopped taking it; the boy also was brought home by the girl from a Denny's because he was begging for a place to spend the night and ended up staying there several nights, sleeping on her floor. He killed her when her father went out of town on business. Is anyone asking why the boy was allowed to crash at the girl's house, especially while her father was out of town? Is anyone asking what his situation at home was that he needed some place to crash? Is anyone asking if the father tried to contact the boy's parents or guardians? Is anyone questioning why the boy was on Paxil and took himself off the drug? No, easier to just blame the video game industry.
Music, tv, video games, these all get blemed when a child in this country commmits a violent act. The response is to censor music a la walmart or to try to ban certain video games altogether or certain tv shows. Does anyone stop and ask why parents aren't teaching their children? Does anyone stop and wonder why children have such easy access to guns (note: the boy in Ohio used a bed post, not a gun...but this is a rare case)? No. Let's blame the things that parents aren't talking to their kids about or monitoring their kid's use of. Are all vidoe games suitable for all people? Hell no. Neither is every television program or song...but that's a parents job, especially when the kid is all of 12 years old.
I'm sick and tired of people blaming problems on entertainment. You didn't do your job as a parent, shut the fuck up.