Stop Sweeping It Under the Rug

Yet another tragedy has occurred in this country and once again, we point fingers at the wrong things/people to try to find answers instead of accepting that sometimes there aren’t any answers that might make sense to us.

I’m speaking most specifically of the tragedy that happened last weekend in Isla Vista, California. I wasn’t going to say much beyond discussing it with friends here and there, but after reading some news yesterday that really ticked me off. Apparently, the gun-man – Elliot Rodger – played the Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game known as World of Warcraft. Of course in the general grasp for some sort of answer (including the old standby of blaming Hollywood), gaming is targeted for blame.

I play this game. I don’t consider myself a gamer because World of Warcraft is the only game of it’s kind I’ve ever played. I’ve never owned an Xbox or a Nintendo. I own a Wii, but haven’t touched it in a long time. I only bought it because the games required that you get up off your ass to play, not just sit staring immobile at the television. I have played World of Warcraft for a number of years and I can assure you, nothing on there has ever made me want to kill people in real life. I’d wager that most people who play that game aren’t likely to commit a crime because of it. So that Elliot Rodger played World of Warcraft has nothing to do with the acts of violence he committed.

Neither does Hollywood. Though I admit I haven’t seen details, but I’m aware of rants from the likes of Seth Rogen about something he did that might’ve contributed to Rodger’s violent outburst.

It’s not the gaming world that’s to blame. It’s not Hollywood that is to blame. It’s the system that failed and the government which took the lead in the 80s and decided to shut down a lot of the institutions that might help those who are mentally unstable. Granted, Rodger’s is an extreme case and there was really little that could be done for him, but we need institutions available for those who can be helped. Don’t just dump them on the criminal justice system and expect things to work out fine.

In talking with a friend of mine, we’ve both acknowledged that it would be difficult to take steps in reverse and renovate a lot of the institutions that were shut down more than 20 years ago, something should be done. It’s certainly not easy to know which people should be put into some sort of institutional prison, but when you have a young man whose parents are telling his therapists that more needs to be done, that would be a fair starting point.

We must stop pointing the finger at everything else and accept that by closing these institutions back in the 80s we failed not only those patients who were helped by their existence, but we failed ourselves today and in the future by not protecting ourselves from the exceptionally violent members of society like Elliot Rodger. As I have said a few times on here before when I have blogged about this very same subject, I don’t like guns. I am smart enough to know and accept that I am in an extreme minority and no one in the majority cares how I feel. Attacking the NRA time and time again is only going to result in a tighter grip on the United States. Blaming the entertainment industry in all forms (movies or games) is pure ignorance.

There’s an answer out there, but no one seems to want to accept it.