Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Tragedy and Blame

I wasn't sure I was even going to talk about this, but then I read news stories like this one or see people on the news promoting their agendas through the tragedy and I decided I'd say something. As a warning this will be more serious then my usual stuff, no funny captions ahead.

To begin with, the shooting in Connecticut was a tragedy, one that should make us ask alot of questions about Gun Control, how we look after the mentally ill and the danger of fringe groups like the 'preppers' along with the culture of panic that helped create them.

Unfortunately these are all tough, agonising questions to be asking and so for many people, like the writer at the Daily Mail or the 'expert' CNN brought in above, it is easier to find some tangible single thing to blame and face that, then try to wrestle with society-wide problems. The weaknesses in their arguments aren't hard to spot, CNN is attempting to link Starcraft (A RTS where the closest you get to violence is watching circles with arms locked in mortal combat with violent rectangles) with these events while the Mail wants to imply that Call of Duty was more of a factor in the shootings then the mental health of a very ill young man.

From a more technical standpoint, even the previous studies we've seen haven't been about Videogames sparking spontaneous violence, but about a increase in aggressive expectations. I've said before, but I'll say it again. Aggression may ignite into violence but they are not one and the same. Anyone who's ever faced a drunk with more swagger then sense knows that anyone can be aggressive, it takes an extra level to spark into full-blown violence.

For my final point, I'd like to leave you with a few graphs and this great piece by Max Fisher of the Washington Post.

Source:NDOC. Taken from.

I think they speak for themselves.

To close all I want to say is that I understand the compulsion to search for answers after something as tragic as Sandy Hook but if we waste time, energy and resources looking at the wrong thing then we will do nothing to prevent future tragedies.

There is no easy answer for why Adam Lanza killed those people. It was not just Guns, or his condition or his upbringing that drove him to do what he did and only by looking at all these factors together can we start to understand that most important question.


For now, let us say Skål and drink together. All together.

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