For most gamers, video games is our haven. It’s where we go to vent. It’s where we go to focus. It’s where we go to get our hearts racing, to feel excitement, to cheer, to cringe, to feel free.
Video games have evolved past its original medium. They’re no longer what just nerds and geeks play. You have people of all shapes and sizes playing on a variety of electronic devices. It’s no longer just your dorky cousin playing an RPG in his mom’s basement. That older gentleman in a business suit you see waiting for a subway train is playing Pokémon Go on his phone. That pretty girl you have a crush on is playing Animal Crossing between her college classes. Your friend from high school who never really talked is now a streamer making a career out of playing Overwatch on Twitch. Some random person you bumped into at a grocery store is in the Grand Finals of EVO for Dragon Ball FighterZ, about to put himself in the legend books.
Video games have spread across culture. They’ve become integrated in our music, our TV, our films, our literature. Video games have started to encompass our lives in a way where it’s almost hard to recognize how they haven’t influenced our daily lives, but most of all, video games are fun. They were invented with the desire to have fun and be something outside of what we usually are. You can be a tomb raiding archeologist or a god of war. You can be a teenager tasked with catching mystical creatures or even just bioengineered primates. You can be a reluctant hero who, though in the beginning just wanted to save their town, ends up saving the world. Or you can be a quarterback on your favorite football team, about to make a clutch play in the last few seconds of the fourth quarter to take your team to the Super Bowl.
And yesterday, August 26th 2018, that haven, a safe place everyone should be entitled to was endangered, tarnished. There was a Madden tournament in Jacksonville, Florida where many gamers, all with the desire to show off their football savvy, maybe earn some extra income, came to play. Unfortunately that event was ruined by a man, no scum, who doesn’t deserve to be named, and who had lost in a previous round. I want to say that horrendous murderer doesn’t and should not reflect gamers. Video games do not make people violent, and I want people to know that before there’s a barrage of blame on games.
This horrendous event unfortunately stems from two root problems which is A) the accessibility to guns and B) a problem with male entitlement. If people want to have guns, that’s fine, but there should be restrictions in order to make situations safer. The tale of the good person with a gun is fiction, and not everyone should be trusted with a gun. There needs to be gun control, which, once again, doesn’t mean taking everyone’s guns. It just means making it harder for people who’d abuse the use of guns to have guns. If you’re a sane person and won’t mercilessly kill people or you don’t have a hero complex and quick trigger fingers or a questions later attitude, you should be fine. It’s been too many times that we’ve had to see people send their thoughts and prayers for a situation that could be solved by limiting the access murderers have to guns. If it works for other countries, it should work for the US too, since we apparently do everything bigger and better here, right?
But the second problem might even be harder to solve. It’s just a statistical truth that most (around 98%) of mass shootings are caused by men. We have to teach our boys and men that they’re not entitled to this type of violence and change the way in which we teach them fundamentals. Gloria Steinem once said, “We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.” And I believe that we actually should actually acknowledge those words. We need to teach our boys and men how to express their emotions in other ways because there should be no reason why anyone should ever resort to shooting up a school where kids are trying to learn, a church where people are expressing their faith, a street where people are minding their business, or a video game tournament where people are just trying to have fun. Do I know how to change this? Not exactly. But the first step is to teach our sons that it’s okay to cry, that it’s okay to be worried or scared or frustrated, and that there are other ways to express it than with violence. Our future generations are watching, they’re seeing the change that needs to occur, and I hope that these events, despite their horrendousness, will be the first steps into escaping this god forsaken iron house (if you don’t understand this, look up Lu Xun’s preface for Call To Arms).
Anyways I leave you with nothing this go around, because this isn’t the topic for that. Later days, be better, and be the change you want in the world.