Archive for January 3, 2013
I don’t know where to start with this one, so I’ll start it here: If I had access to firearms when I was a teenager, I may have very well have killed someone. It’s possible, but not certain, and in hindsight, very unlikely. It doesn’t have a single thing to do with gun ownership (except for the lack thereof) and I’m not interested in turning this post into a gun control debate. Since this is a blog about video games, I will say that, growing up in the 1980′s, video games were absolutely not a factor then, being all 8- and 16-bit, and I don’t believe that they’re a factor now.
Things are getting out of hand, which I think we can all agree on. Nothing can eclipse a tragedy like what happened in Newtown, but at the risk of sounding callous, it’s only a matter of time before the name Sandy Hook joins a list of other schools where shootings and death have occurred which are now shamefully out of sight, and out of mind. After we’ve stopped talking about the specifics, what we’re left with are “lessons” about the psychology of the event, both concerning the shooter, and also of the population at large.
That’s why we have stories like this one, from Southington, CT. It seems that the town thinks they have an answer on how to curb violent behavior that might lead to future shootings, and stop me if you’ve heard this one: collect violent video games, movies, and music…and burn them. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this idea any further, because it screams for itself.
Look, folks. Stop searching for answers outside of the instigator. It’s impossible to get answers, as if having answers would reverse the tragedy somehow, but I can tell you from experience that sometimes people find themselves in a place where things aren’t straightforward. I’m sure that all young adults feel this way from time to time, even those who seem to have money and friends and everything going their way, but there are those who can’t pick themselves up because everything keeps kicking them down. Maybe they’re trying hard, or maybe they’re incapable of trying, or maybe they’re just giving up because they can’t seem to get ahead of what plagues them no matter what they do. It might be genetics, or chemical from birth. It could be circumstance, like a never ending series of personal natural disasters. It’s easy to say “suck it up”, but sometimes, it’s hard. Sometimes, it’s damn near impossible.
Still, it’s not an excuse for going off the rails. Never ever ever. But no one plans on getting lost. Sometimes on your way to a destination on the horizon, you take a wrong turn and find yourself in a bad part of town. You lose your wits, you freak out, and you’ll plow through buildings and bus-stops and fire hydrants just to find a way out so you can get away. Logic and consequence goes out the window if doing so helps to break the cycle.
I’m not a psychologist, as I’ve pointed out before. I so know what it’s like to be so goddamn angry, not at anything in particular, but at every single goddamn thing that exists, all the time, and for no good reason except for the feeling of being buried beneath a mountain of adversity with no exit in sight. Some people can experience this and miraculously come out OK. Some people don’t have the iron will necessary to survive, and they break, and then we all end up paying the price.
Blaming media, or even guns, isn’t going to make us sleep better at night, content that we’ve got watchful eyes on the vehicles that enable kids to wreak so much destruction. There will always be those kids who are quiet, solitary, even good students and dutiful sons and daughters, but who are grinding their pencils into their notebooks in rage that has no single, definable source. Those people need help, and while we’re looking to remove scapegoat influences from the hands of those more well adjusted, these kids are flying under the radar because they don’t make a fuss, and they don’t get into trouble because they do keep to themselves and sit alone and fantasize about how everything would be better if they could just wipe the slate clean, once and for all. We need to stop begging for answers, and start focusing on the solutions of mental health.