I'm going to assume that most of us are by now aware of the tragedy that occurred late last week, when an Aurora, Colorado theatre showing the new Batman movie was allegedly shot up by a James Holmes for whatever reasons people like him have for this kind of depravity. I'll refrain from discussing any details about the shooting, since that's not really apropros for Techdirt. However, I did notice something that seemed worth pointing out.
First, Reason has been keeping a running list of all the things politicians and media pundits are blaming for the shooting
(hat-tip to E. Zachary Knight
for the link). For those of you keeping score at home, based on the aggregate blame-machine that that article has counted up, the shooting can so far be blamed on: The Tea Party, a lack of Christianity throughout the country, bullying, Star Trek (not kidding), or Occupy Wall Street. And, of course, video games.
The organization responsible for the salvo against gaming is CNN, via Pat Brown, who stated his stance simply:
"Teenage psychopaths get inspired by [video games] and want to make it real"
Interestingly, I was somewhat heartened (as much as one can be in a situation like this) that I had not
seen such a rush to judgment against violent video games in this case, particularly considering that this whole tragedy occurred mere miles from Columbine, where violent video games were skewered over a decade ago. But maybe there is a good reason we aren't seeing violent games being blamed in this case: because suspect James Holmes apparently didn't play them. He is apparently known for playing video games, but not of the violent variety
"one of James Holmes' classmates at the University of California at Riverside played Guitar Hero with the shooter all the time, and "for hours."
The male student is telling friends he is "shocked," never having had a clue that Holmes had a propensity for violence. It's an interesting side note, because people with violent tendencies often act them out in various ways, and video games are definitely an outlet."
The point that needs to be made is that we're likely not going to understand what motivated James Holmes to do what he did for a long time, if at all, and the rush for media members and political forces to judge a tragic situation through their own biased viewpoints rather than to simply wait for the facts to bear themselves out is dangerous.