Blame Game and The Ghosts of Waco

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Blame Game and The Ghosts of Waco

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Adam Roberts / <a href="http://themetropolistimes.blogspirit.com/">The Metropolis Times</a> (Blog)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

<span style="font-style: italic">"There is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre." - Kurt Vonnegut</span>

<b>I don&#39;t really want to write this blog.</b> I wanted to just take a few days off and give condolences to the victims at Virginia Tech. But before the bodies have even been identified, the media has already started playing the blame game. Apparently, if we had banned Hollywood, Nintendo and guns, this wouldn&#39;t have happened. I feel compelled to counter their bullshit.

It makes me very angry <a href="http://www.beliefnet.com/story/87/story_8770_1.html" >when moralists so brazenly exploit</a> a tragedy like this. I can&#39;t do anything about the murders, I can&#39;t stop people from trivializing deaths by turning them into moral panics, but maybe if I channel my anger into blogging, I can convince at least a few readers to pause before surrendering freedoms.

<b>Blaming guns is just stupid.</b> Guns were already banned on campus. The gun ban didn&#39;t work.

Last year, the State of Virginia dismissed a bill that would have allowed law-abiding students with a concealed-carry permit to bring their guns on campus, just as they are allowed to bring them anywhere else in the state. It was struck down. Its insensitive to say, but if just one of those hundreds of students had a single gun, more people would be alive today.

<a href="http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/wb/xp-50658"><span style="font-style: italic">"Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker was happy to hear the bill was defeated. &#39;I&#39;m sure the university community is appreciative of the General Assembly&#39;s actions because this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus.&#39;"</span></a>

<b>CNN Headline Prime kept showing movie posters for <span style="font-style: italic">Grindhouse</span></b> while Nancy Grace&#39;s substitute was blaming media violence. Apparently, <a href="http://themetropolistimes.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/04/07/review-grindhouse.html">the Tarrantino/Rodriguez double-feature</a> is going to be turned into <a href="http://www.revisionisthistory.org/matrix.html">the next <span style="font-style: italic">Matrix</span></a> by the media. (Marilyn Manson-blaming is out of style) I&#39;ve already heard the <a href="http://kotaku.com/gaming/feature/columbine-survivor-talks-about-columbine-rpg-171966.php">Super Columbine RPG</a> referenced on both Fox News and CNN Headline News, even though there is absolutely no reason to suggest that the killer even knew about the game, and the &#39;game&#39; is an anti-violent interactive documentary.

I remember coming home from seeing <span style="font-style: italic">Grindhouse</span> with a bunch of friends, and talking about how awesome the car battles were. We passed a real-life wreck on the freeway - the tone immediately changed and we all expressed sadness and hoped that no one was killed. There was no desensitization.

It is true that a small number of criticized studies have found links between exposure to media violence and aggression, especially in children. However, there has never been a study that showed exposure to media violence changed people into the type that commit real-life violent crimes. In fact, <a href="http://themetropolistimes.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/05/12/vlog-video-games-and-violence.html">there is probably a cathartic effect</a> - violence in video games helps quell natural violent tendencies.

<b>Nevertheless, violence in the media can sometimes inspire real-life violence. Its called the "Copycat Effect."</b> 19th Century terrorists called it "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_of_the_deed">Propaganda of the Deed</a>," modern terrorist fighters call it "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4GW">fourth generation warfare</a>." Simply put, alienated young male sees an example of how a violent death made someone infamous and important. Alienated young male is evil, depressed and angry enough to place his own lust for importance over his own life and the lives of others. So alienated young male becomes an anarchist, neo-Nazi or Mujahideen and plots a crime that he&#39;s sure will get him attention in the newspapers.

Historical examples are well-documented. Read <a href="http://hammernews.com/copycateffect.htm">Michael Hammerschlag&#39;s essay</a>. "<i style="font-style: italic">The 1774 Goethe book</i> The Sorrows of Young Werther <span style="font-style: italic">caused so many copycat suicides of lovelorn young men who dressed alike and shot themselves at the same time at their writing desk- straight from the story- that it was banned in Germany, Italy and Denmark</span>." Others include Shakespeare&#39;s <span style="font-style: italic">Romeo &amp; Juliet</span>, Stephen King&#39;s novel <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rage_%2528novel%2529"><span style="font-style: italic">Rage</span></a>, Scorsese&#39;s <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hinckley%252C_Jr.#Obsession_with_Jodie_Foster"><span style="font-style: italic">Taxi Driver</span></a> and, more than any other, the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zapruder_film">Zapruder film</a>.

We don&#39;t know anything about the shooter yet, but it seems obvious that this was a Columbine-copycat. At this time every year, somewhere in the country, kids get caught planning a Columbine-style attack. This Virginia Tech terrorist was probably trying to outdo the Columbine murderers.

<b>The Columbine massacre occurred on April 20th - this Friday</b>. Although this is also Hitler&#39;s birthday, the murderers&#39; videos indicate that the attack was originally scheduled for April 19th - the same day at the Oklahoma City attack, which, according to their videos, the Columbine terrorists hoped to outdo. The Oklahoma City bombing of course, was scheduled for April 19th in order to avenge Janet Reno&#39;s misdeeds in the Waco disaster.

The shooter&#39;s actions demonstrate advance planning. He didn&#39;t get spurned by his girlfriend and suddenly decide to go on a rampage - although a domestic dispute could have pushed the massacre up a few days.

This is all just speculation. If the terrorist turns out to be an exchange student from overseas, he might not have been able to appreciate the significance of Columbine in our generation&#39;s psyche, and the timing could be coincidental.

People need someone to blame - the police, Hollywood, the NRA, our "culture of violence" - anyone.</b> It is almost incomprehensible that tragedies of this magnitude can happen for no good reason at all.

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Original Source: <a href="http://themetropolistimes.blogspirit.com/free_markets/">http://themetropolistimes.blogspirit.com/free_markets/</a>

Licensed under <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0</a>.

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Adam Roberts

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2007-05-29

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Brent Jesiek

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eng

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Adam Roberts, "Blame Game and The Ghosts of Waco," in The April 16 Archive, Item #301, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/301 (accessed August 30, 2014).