Melvin Taylor, Staff Writer and Brand Marketer
On Aug. 26, 2018, David Katz, 24, opened fire at a Madden video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. Katz took the lives of two people, injured 11, and then turned the gun on himself, ending his life. The shooting occurred at the GLHF Game Bar, located in the Jacksonville Landing.
The two players killed in the shooting were Elijah Clayton, 22, known as “TrueBoy” online, and Taylor Robertson, 28, known as “SpotMePlzzz” online. These two young men were well respected in the Madden community. Clayton was described as a nice guy by Twitter user @ToKeNasty and as one of the best young Madden players by @RealWorldSports. Clayton was a strong Madden player and only getting better as his time with the game continued.
An article by the Los Angeles Times quoted fellow Madden player, Chris McFarland, 31, known online as “Dubby.”
McFarland described Robertson and said, “He always had a smile on his face. He was a guy that had a job and a family and still tried to compete with the 18- and 19-year-olds that are out there playing all day”.
Katz’s motive for this attack are unknown. He lost two matches in the tournament and a fellow competitor described him in a YouTube video as acting “weird all weekend.” The competitor went on to say Katz did not target those who defeated him and this shooting could have been premeditated. This information lines up with reports of Katz purchasing two handguns last month.
With every act of terror committed, the media tries to put the blame on anything but the person committing it. A Fox News panel attempted to discuss video games and their relationship with mass shootings. The media outlet acknowledged it’s been researched that video games aren’t related to violent behavior, but continue to push their point that video games do cause changes in people. The point of video games being used in military training was even brought up.
Listening to the panel discuss this topic was upsetting because rare occurrences are being used to push something that is untrue. I think it’s important to mention this panel consisted of older people. They talk as if they have never touched a video game in their lives and learned all their facts about them from the internet or others that do not play video games. As someone who plays video games, I do not like the narrative that video games cause people to commit acts of violence. Gaming is a huge hobby for people all over the world of all ages. If video games influence violence like Fox News is implying, why are there not more video game related acts of violence all over the world?
Fox News is misinformed and in a position of power. This is a dangerous combination. They used examples like the Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, who played video games for 15 hours a day and the Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, who played Dance Dance Revolution for four to 10 hours Friday through Sunday. Cruz’s 15 hours is not normal playtime for a video game and Fox News is acting like this is the standard for people that play video games. They do not bring up the fact that Lanza played Dance Dance Revolution which is not even a game with violence. Even Katz was a Madden player which is just a sports video game.
I do not understand the point Fox News is trying to make. If they said these terrorists played Call of Duty all day, then maybe they would have some sort of argument, but they do not. Video games are not part of the problem, but spreading baseless claims on a powerful platform is dangerous for those who like gaming. It makes gamers look bad for enjoying a hobby they like. Katz’s actions are not representative of all gamers so do not let a few bad apples ruin the whole bunch. Whether it is mental illness or long video game play-times, these people made the decision to take the lives of others and no one should be blamed but themselves.