Everyone Agrees They Don't Know Why Teenager Committed Suicide, So Helpful Coroner Shouts Video Games
from the you're-not-helping dept
They say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. When it comes to adults attempting to explain away inexplicable tragedy by scapegoating the younger generation's entertainment du jour, that certainly seems to be the case. For our generation, of course, that means video games. We've seen it over and over again, from journalists jumping to blame violent games before they have any facts to back it up, to television personalities pretending there's a proven link when there isn't, to grandstanding politicians proposing constitution-violating sin-taxes on games just because.
But if you want to really get the head-scratching going, you should read the account of a tragic teen suicide in the UK. Peppered throughout the article is helpful information, such as:
Speaking at the inquest, William's father John said there was no prior warning that his son, who achieved 12 As in his GCSEs, would take his own life. ''He was rather self-contained, he didn't like going out a great deal. He didn't drink or smoke, he was the opposite to that. He had exams coming up but that wouldn't cause him any worry as he was a straight-A student. He never threatened to self-harm to my knowledge."And:
DI David Moores of Greater Manchester police also said there was no indication why William had taken his own life. He added: "His was a normal boy's bedroom with books and models and it was tidy. He didn't have a mobile phone but I was told that evening that two journals had been found. The journals had juvenile comments in but nothing significant. The computers were tested to see his internet history and there was nothing of any interest and nothing to suggest he had been researching any sites."In other words, according to the boy's father and the person speaking for the police investigation into the suicide, nobody has any idea why the boy took his own life. None. It's going into the books as an inexplicable tragedy that has everyone confused, searching for a reason why something like this might have happened. That's when the coroner shows up and injects some stupid into this sadness-turkey.
Speaking at the inquest of the death of 16-year-old William Menzies, coroner for south Manchester John Pollard, expressed his concern over the war game after it became a factor in "three of four" inquests into the deaths of teenagers. Returning a verdict of suicide into William's death, Pollard said: "I have to say, and this is after three or four inquests into the deaths of teens, the Call of Duty game seems to be figuring in recent activity before death. It concerns me greatly.The link, Pollard explains, is that these kids played Call of Duty and also killed themselves. Therefore, according to Pollard, there is reason to believe one is causal. According to a source of mine, a Mr. Lo Gic, this kind of thinking indicates the coroner may have some wires crossed in his head. Otherwise, he'd have to explain why four suicides of children that played a game that has sold over a 100 million copies is anything we should be noting at all. Those children may all have drank orange juice, as well, because that's what kids do. Conjuring up some link to fill the vacuum of tragedy isn't just wrong, it's cruel. It may delay the process by which the parents come to terms with what happened and how there may well have been nothing they could have done to stop it. What this coroner is instead suggesting is that the game played a role and the parents not restricting the playing of the game also played a role.
Considering there's no evidence of that, you know, at all, that's a real kick to the teeth of these grieving parents. So thanks a lot, coroner. You're not just wrong, but you're a jerk, too.