Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Shootings at Virginia Tech

I had a long post written about this, but it was from an oblique angle. It was going to suck people in and then annoy them as they realized they'd been tricked into agreeing with me.

As to what point that would have served, I have no idea.

I did say I was going to write about the shootings after some time had passed, and so I will (in greatly abbreviated form).

I don't think this is really that complicated. Anyone in this country who wants to shoot many people can do so. There are almost no obstacles to stop anyone. The vast majority of these kinds of shootings will always occur in this country, and it's highly unlikely to change.

I don't mean that to sound harsh--it's just unfortunately true.

The Virginia Tech story morphed into something that really had nothing to do with games. I think there are a few more things worth commenting on, though.

One, Cho Seung-Hui was an adult. There is no way that this shooting belongs in the same classification as ones involving teenagers in high school. Cho is far more similar to Charles Whitman, a twenty-five year old student at the University of Texas who killed thirteen people from atop a twenty-seven story tower on campus in 1966 (Wikipedia here). As grisly as it sounds, adults are more methodical and thorough when it comes to planning than teenagers. It's a different mindset. This happened on a university campus, but to classify it as a "school" shooting is really a misnomer.

Two, what was NBC thinking when they broadcast Cho's homemade video? That was an incredibly bad decision. Anyone who does something like this shouldn't be getting additional publicity from beyond the grave. I know it was a scoop, and a big one, but there's no way that video should have been aired. The worst thing we could possibly do is to make mass murderers into celebrities.

As usual, Jon Stewart had the most accurate and biting commentary on the "rush to exploit." It's brilliant (he always is), and you can watch him here.

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