Friday, May 4, 2007

Let's All Just Settle Down Now

OK, I think it's safe to say that it's time that everyone just calmed down a bit. I fully understand that what happened at Virginia Tech was a horrible tragedy, and I feel for the families and friends that have lost loved ones. It is inevitable that after something this serious and devastating happens, the paranoia level is going to go through the roof.

What's unfortunate is the completely stupid and moronic actions some people take as a result of this paranoia, and the fact that people hijack awful tragedies to push their own agendas, which, in this case resulted in said moronic actions.

By people pushing their own agenda, by far one of the worst culprits is Jack Thompson, the crazy lawyer who cites scripture when the law isn't on his side and pisses away taxpayer money by abusing the judicial system (I'm not even a lawyer and I know about the strong immunity websites have against liability for user comments, which is what Bloggers like myself rely on when allowing un-moderated discussion) and promoting and helping pass unconstitutional laws, which the state then has to defend in court.

Practically within minutes after the Virginia Tech massacre, Thompson was on TV promoting his idea that all violence in the world is caused by video games (apparently no violence existed before Atari) and suggesting that video games were the cause of the Virginia Tech massacre. As a result, students are now being vilified over outlandish and ill-conceived fears. In this case, a student was kicked out of school for making a map for counter-strike of his school. Of course, the administrators of the school immediately assumed the student used the map and game for the planning of another school shooting (because we all know that video games are so realistic that people can plan real-life actions with them). They didn't stop to think that perhaps the student wanted to challenge himself by making a complex map, and considering he spends more time at school than anywhere else besides home, naturally chose to do the school. Of course they didn't, because people with narrow minds automatically equate violence with video games.

It's fairly obvious that Jack Thompson is suffering from tunnel vision and refuses to see the big picture. Violent media has been around for ages (even Shakespeare contained plenty of violence), yet school shootings are a relatively new phenomenon. Blaming media for the actions of a few is easier than focusing on the real problems (whether they be social problems, problems with parenting, lax gun laws that enabled the student to get the guns in the first place, etc etc), but Jack Thompson takes it way too far. Eliminating violence from media is merely a band-aid "solution" (in addition to raising numerous constitutional issues that Thompson is famous for disregarding). The people that are willing to shoot up a school (which, unlike Thompson implies, make up an infinitely small percentage of all video gamers and movie watchers) are mentally ill, and removing violence from video games simply isn't going to solve their problems, or the larger overall problem. Of course, Thompson probably already knows this, but giving up his "crusade" wouldn't get his face on the news and get him the attention he obviously craves.

Anyways, if we're going to use scapegoats to shift blame, why isn't Thompson targeting President Bush and the Iraq war? I'd be willing to bet that the hundreds of people dying everyday in Iraq, which is broadcast on national TV everyday, is just as much a reason for these tragedies as video games. Of course, Thompson is on the far-right and probably still actually believes that the USA went into Iraq to fight terrorists and destroy WMDs.


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