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'Murder Simulators' blamed for Virginia Tech shootings

Filed under: Video Game Politics
Posted by Jeremy on April 17, 2007 11:09 AM
Comments (1) |

The tragedy at Virginia Tech that unfolded yesterday made my heart ache. As the news trickled in, and the body count began to rise, the pain deepened and the questions of what the hell went wrong began to be asked.

As I flipped back and forth between CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox, and MSNBC, I became angry. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, heading to Blacksburg to cover the wounded, Katie Couric at the press conference, Geraldo en route. Countless other nameless, blank faced infotainment whores "news reporters" hopping into helicopters and corporate jets in an effort to be the first to report "at the scene".

Then, the now-famous i-Report (CNN's version of a viewer sending in video) from the well spoken student of Palestinian descent, Jamal Albarghouti, whose brave and stupid filming of shots fired was abused to the point of nausea.

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When that video first aired, which I saw live, given without any context, for nobody yet knew the context, a wave of sickness overcame me as I somehow knew that those shots were killing people. "Why are they airing this?" I asked Allison. We could not believe that they would air what turned out to be 27 shots fired from two Glock 9mm pistols.

How do I know it was 27 shots? Because Wolf Blitzer, in his Situation Room, put a counter graphic in the upper right corner of the video, and counted along, like some sort of twisted and deranged The Count, and made sure we all knew it was 27. How many of those bullets caused fatal wounds? How many times did we need to see that video and hear those shots, reliving over and over the deaths of those poor souls?

And, just when I thought I could no longer put up with the so-called "experts", steered by the thinly veiled questions of the "news" anchors, and their surmising and second guessing of the weapon(s) used and the tactics of the police and the bomb threats...just when I thought that it couldn't get any worse, it did.

Four hours into the pure speculation-based cable news, the scape goat of all school shootings, of all violence in our society today, was summoned to fill the void: video games.

It began with yet another "expert" on Fox News whose name I did not catch. He cited those emotionally charged words: Columbine, Red Lake High, Thurston High, Montreal, and Paducah, and looked straight into the camera stating that in each of those incidents the perpetrator "trained" on a "murder simulator" like Doom, Grand Theft Auto, Super Columbine Massacre, and Counter Strike. He then went on to say that he was sure that it will come out that the Virginia Tech shooter played such a murder simulator to train.

He concluded, almost breaking down into tears, stating that he prays for his 14 year old son each day. Prays that he will be safe in school and will not be the victim of a shooting.

My anger increased even more when I saw this clip of Jack Thompson. Kotaku's Brian Crecente does a good job of dissecting Thompson's lies, so I'll leave this alone.

And, as I sit here, with the VT convocation on in the background, Bush having just spoken, the sad, tortured faces of the friends and families of the victims of this heinous crime, I can't help but think about the scores of people who are getting blown up every day, every day, in Baghdad; about their families and their sorrow and loss and the utter disregard for human life around the world.

And, I can't help but think that the one true "murder simulator" used for "training" is called America's Army. It's available for free from www.army.com. It is realistic. It teaches tactics. It allows you to lie about your age to download it. And, you pay for it with your tax dollars.

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