On Sunday, another mass shooting happened in Jacksonville, Florida. Frighteningly enough, this shouldn’t really be big news as these kinds of tragedies seem to be happening more and more frequently and I normally wouldn’t even be mentioning it as this is a “geeky” blog that’s devoted to less serious events. But I feel this is something that I have to bring into focus as it does affect me, as a geek and as a casual gamer, as the shooting happened during a video game tournament.
Although there isn’t all that much information about the situation as of the time of this writing, we do know some facts of the event. In Jacksonville, Florida, David Katz from Baltimore, Maryland, brought a handgun to the Good Luck Have Fun Game Bar and started shooting. The location was hosting a Madden NFL 19 video game tournament, sponsored by the game’s publisher EA Sports, with the winner of the tournament taking home $5,000 and the chance to go to the finals at Las Vegas, where the winner there would win $100,000.
David Katz, who’s goes by the gamertag Bread and who won the 2017 Madden Buffalo Bills Championship, was one of the participants in the tournament but conflicting reports say that he was either eliminated or disqualified from the tournament. This is allegedly when Katz brought in the gun and started shooting people. His shooting spree left at least 3 people dead, which included Katz himself, and around 11 people injured. His motives are still rather unclear as well as if this was planned or not. It’s also unclear where Katz got the gun or whether it was purchased legally or through other channels. But one thing is clear: this is a sad day, not just for gamers but everyone as the senseless loss of life due to violence is always sad.
This is where things get awkward as, during times like this, there are some people who want to talk about action and what can be done immediately to prevent this sort of mass shooting to happen. There are also going to be some people who would say that we should wait for our emotions to die down and take some time for all the information to come in before we actually start a conversation about the situation and the ramifications of all of it. I get the points of both sides. I truly understand the idea that we shouldn’t just rush into things and make snap decisions about how things should be handled from one sad and tragic event. However, I believe that, if there’s a time when we should actually start talking about a tragic event, it has to be immediately after the thing happened. But it is important for me to say that, while we need to talk about it, it shouldn’t be just so we can plan and execute precautions. Rather, what we should be doing after the events in Jacksonville, Florida, as well as any kind of tragedy, is to start asking questions without proposing solutions.
While it seems like there’s already a whole lot of information about what happened during the Madden NFL shooting, a lot of it is either conjecture or facts that really don’t shed that much light on the situation. What do we really know about David Katz? So far, all we really know is that he is a pro gamer and somewhat successful in the Madden tournament community. He apparently doesn’t show much emotions and is serious all the time but that’s according to one of the announcers of a Madden 2017 tournament livestream so that could just be simply him spinning how introverted Katz was.
We also know that he’s from Baltimore, Maryland and he still lives there with his father as police did search his place of residence. But, honestly, that’s it. We still don’t know why he decided to start shooting up the place on that fateful Sunday. There are certainly theories such as him becoming upset as he was eliminated early but, right now, that’s just a theory. It’s reported that he was targeting specific people but apparently not the people that he lost to. Did he give any indication that he was ever going to do this in the past? Where did he get the gun? Is he a registered gun owner and does he have a lot of guns at home? Did he just buy it or was it in his possession for a while, way before the tournament? We don’t know as well. It may seem as if we know a lot about the suspect but in actuality we know very little.
There’s also the question about the security of the venue. As this was a tournament sponsored by EA Sports, you would think there would be some form of organized security at the venue. If so, how did Katz smuggle the firearm into the Good Luck Have Fun Game Bar? Does this mean that there has to be heightened security in every video game tournament? Should EA Sports be held liable for the lax security? I will have to commend Alex Jebailey, the tournament organizer for CEO. When he just got an inkling that someone may be doing something like what Katz did, he was prompt in banning the guy. He may have gotten a lot of flak for this decision as the competitor’s statement was generally taken as a joke but Jebailey did the right thing by putting his foot down and saying that kind of “joke” is something to be taken seriously.
We also eventually have to bring up the more controversial boarder topics that a mass shooting brings up. There’s the matter of mental health and gun control and all of that. And asking questions related to those topics are fine, which is why I don’t know why Congress in the United States pretty much refuse to ask those very questions. I understand there’s the entire Second Amendment thing where it’s okay for a US citizen to bear arms so it’s an incredibly touchy subject for a lot of people there. The issue regarding mental health is also a sensitive topic for many as well. But those questions, even if it does make people uncomfortable, should be asked in the future because saying just saying that’s how it’s been done in the past and only a few individuals are making everyone look bad means that people are choosing to ignore the problem because of those “few individuals” that are mucking it up for everyone else.
There’s also going to be the less obvious theory that David Katz was a gamer and it was video games that made him go on the shooting spree. I know it’s a dead topic but I feel that some people will eventually bring it up for old time’s sake. Although I can’t for the life of me understand why they would blame a video game about sports and, if it were true, wouldn’t a tournament hosting a more violent video game be the one to have a mass shooting? Anyway, while I’m in the camp that states that playing video games doesn’t cause real life violence, I say, yes, go ahead and study if there is any correlation with each other. I say ask that question because, honestly, my opinion doesn’t matter if science, experimentation and facts say otherwise. If they can prove me wrong, then I’ll be willing to accept that I’ve been wrong all this time. But at least ask the question and then try to find the answer to the question!
I’m not saying we should immediately find solutions to these questions. What I am saying is that we have to talk about the Madden mass shooting wherein gamer David Katz killed several people because we need to ask those questions first before we even start looking for the solutions. If we don’t ask the questions, we won’t know what to look for and we won’t get the full story.
What do you think of what happened during the Madden mass shooting? Let me know in the comments section below.