Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Kill yourself! NOW!

As of this writing, There is another news story of some group of teens,in Cincinnati, who have been arrested on homicide charges. The teens belong to the same gamer group and the two victims were also members of the gamer group.

Like most Gamers, whenever I hear this sort of thing, I cringe. I think to myself. "Jesus, Don't we have enough public relations problems? Isn't it bad enough that most people think we SMELL? Now they gotta think we're dangerous? You never see any Yahtzee-related homicide for Christ's sake.

I loved the somewhat sketchy reportage that went along with it. The local news couldn't make up their mind whether or not D&D was responsible, or whether their interest in Vampire was to blame. They also went on to say that one of the suspect had been arrested for shoplifting once before and, "Oh shock, Oh Horror!", was carrying a Vampire book on his person at the time. It's not like the stupid book was whispering in his ear."Steal this chapstick,weaselboy!"

They went on to say that Vampire,was a game that glorified killing. I don't know about you, But Vampire is a game of Horror. Horror does not glorify killing. Vampire: the Masquerade does not glorify killing.

They at least went to the length of interviewing one of the local game shop owners. But they gave him about ten seconds to talk and I'm sure they took what they thought would be most controversial. The Media is extraordinarily irresponsible when it comes to this sort of thing. My advice is if they come to interview YOU about this sort of thing. Have a sound bite ready, because that's all you'll get aired.

Are they guilty? Is this some sort of sick S/M inflected role-playing that got out of hand? Did the two guys who died accidentally drink themselves to death and the other guys just panicked and tried to cover it up? Details are sketchy. If this is all a big misunderstanding, I certainly don't want to go on record as condemning these poor guys. Especially, since this sort of thing is seriously damaging to a number of lives and Gaming in general.

(Postscript: Over the course of this week, it was discovered by police that the boys were involved with drugs and that they were supposedly going to receive some that weekend. When the dealer didn't show they began to turn on one another. The Moral of this story: Choose your dealer carefully for reliability.)

What this does do is point up something that I think is an important point of honor for players world wide. Gaming has a bad rap. Gamers have a bad rap and I don't think it's out of line to say that it's an undeserved rap. We struggle against it but the media and law enforcement aren't really interested in hearing it at all. It behooves each and every one of us to try to be a public relations officer for Gaming because we're already starting in the hole...Mainly because of some jerkoff who games but also happened to eat a lot of paint chips as a child.

So here are a couple of thoughts on how to handle this nightmare.

If somebody from the news comes to interview you, have an idea of what you're going to say. Keep it short and sweet and don't depend on a long involved argument to sway reader or viewers. Remember, We are an injured party here, but the media is not sympathetic to us.

They might come by and talk very sweetly. Offer to shoot footage of your miniatures and so on. But they will twist your words if they think it will make a better story. Psychotic gamers are very telegenic.

If you are misquoted or quoted out of context, you may have legal recourse.

If one form of media won't cooperate, another might. If you are treated badly by television media you might consider taking your story to your local paper. You can always write a letter to the editor if nothing else.

Do a little homework. Check out some sites on gamer advocacy and get your ducks in a row.

Be sensitive. You are not only trying to allay public fears but you also don't want to come off as an asshole who hates those people for screwing it up for the rest of us. It doesn't *matter* what your personal feeling are on this situation.

Having said all that, I would like to make a proposal to all you dangerously psychotic persons out there who read this Site regular

If you are going to kill yourself, or your friends, or some strangers, or an elected official, do us a favor will you?

Leave us out of it.

If I were going to commit some large scale,country damaging atrocity...Like say assassinating the liberal members of the Supreme Court. I would have the good taste and decency to take every book I own and every CD I have and sell them off. I won't survive this little jaunt. I'll clean my apartment of all genre materials and then I'll take money I make and build a massive shrine to the fascist Christian right. I'll make video tapes saying that Pat Buchanan came to me in my dreams and told me to do it. I'll put a hood and sheet in my closet and start acting erratic in public.

That way my friends can actually say. "Hey he was fine while he was playing role playing games. It wasn't until he gave it up to become a morality Nazi that he went bad."

With any luck my family will be able to sue the nuts off of the KKK, Jerry Fallwell, and Up with People.

Jeez, if I find out I got something inoperable, that's the way I'm checking out.

Sono Finito


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