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Mailbag
April 22,1999 -- Previous Mailbag

Letters are edited for spelling errors only.

From: Philip Klecan
Subject: Doom on MSNBC

OK what's the deal???
Every social violent problem we've encountered with teenagers shooting up people have been in some way re-associated with video games such as doom and/or half-life. So when I recently read that these pyscho trench coat mafia trigger happy freaks; it gets me wonderin'. Sure in a way these game desensitize you from violence. But the real problem we should be addressing is how a couple of teenagers get automatic machine guns??? Doesn't this seem a bit odd. Nowhere in Half-Life or Doom does it tell you where to buy an automatic machine gun on the streets and how to make pipe bombs. And besides when was the last time you saw the characters from Doom and Half-life single out jocks and people of African American decent.


MSNBC should put a little more thought into what they say before they open up their fat mouths. They don't realize the power of influence they possess as the media.


From: Griphis
Subject: Doom on MSNBC?

Oh, good lord. I don't want to jump the gun on this, but if reporters or *anyone* are making any comments about Doom being to blame for this shooting...

If you cannot tell the difference between low-res pixel-nazis and your classmates, you have bigger problems than violent video games. If they thought they were playing a "real life version of Doom" and if they decide to use that as their defense, they should be judged too stupid to live, and instantly vaporized or something equally fitting for someone living in the Doom universe. I personally don't see the resemblance between students and cyberdemons, so I'm not sure how this mistake could have been made, but I'm really not surprised by the level of stupidity these days.

-Griphis, human with greater than 320x200 res vision in Real Life.
(tm)


From: Zordon
Subject: For the Mailbag

I find it horribly offensive that some folks in the media are trying to draw industrial music, specifically KMFDM, into the reasons for the killings. Many Americans already have a stereotype that all Germans are nazi's, and this will further add fuel to that fire. The lyrics to virtually all KMFDM songs are either about not being violent or not putting up with government oppression. I don't think there are any KMFDM songs that even hint at violence being acceptable, but because one of the kids (Eric I believe) had lyrics to the KMFDM song "Waste" from their symbols album, they are saying industrial music was the cause. I do find it odd that they chose to do this on the day the final KMFDM CD was released, maybe they wanted to listen to it at least once before they died.


From: Malitor Greymaulkin
Subject: AVGC

Blue or Loonyboi,

Myself being a webmaster covering one of the most violent games available (Mortal Kombat), I figured I would pass this along to you. After all the violence and bad attention that video games are getting in the media, I wanted to try and do something for the good of all. I made a page for people in the gaming community to sign and show their support to stop violence and to help persuade the non-gaming Media, Parents, and Government to quit laying blame on sources outside of the home. Game companies are not responsible for the upbringing of people's children.

Of course, comments and suggestions are welcome.

The Anti-Violence Gaming Community (AVGC)
http://www.greymaulkin.com/mku/avgc/

Thanks guys,
Malitor....


From: Evan
Subject: Mailbag stuff.

I can not believe that people are so willing to place blame, for a shooting such as the recent high school slaying, squarely onto computer games. In all the news coverage I saw it appeared that these two sick misguided children acted on hate. It was stated by many students that they were racist, and attacking other students that picked on them mainly. How people can blame computer games for this is beyond me. I have been playing violent computer games since the late 80's, with sierra's Thexder as my first real computer game. But go back further, how about C64 games? Like in choplifter on the Vic 20's; you could mow down the little guys you were supposed to rescue if you tried to land to low and fast, into the rotor they went; but you never saw high school juniors taking helicopters and doing the same. Then doom. By the time I got to Doom, I was a licensed hunter, and owner of 2 shotguns and a rifle. Still I never ran out in blind rage when fellow students picked on me, killing them in cold blood cause I was playing doom for real.

Then Quake, and Quake mods, and Quake 2, and all the other assorted violent games I have played; of course this is on the computer. I still, and to my knowledge no one else I know has either, have not even thought about taking a life. Then to top it off, I play paintball when ever I can, its violent, you shoot people for real with paintballs. But in the end same result: I am still sane, and have no desire to kill. Why? Cause I have a common sense about what is real, what is not; what is right, and what is wrong. Computer games are not real, and killing people is not right. These two students could not have had a good understanding of right, or wrong; and that blame I place on the parents. Parents that should have raised them right, and should have spotted the signs of mental sickness. Parents that should have acted to prevent this tragedy from happening. But they didn't, and instead of all parents addressing the fact that up bringing of their own children may cause incidents like this to happen, they blame violence in media; computer games, movies, and some how other less obvious things like pornography. This is a sad state of parenting really. I was raised with high morals, and a loving family (in my opinion the right way to raise a child.) Sure, my family was not perfect, far from it, but my up bringing has effected me greatly. It has shaped my person, my being. But if I were to have had a poor up bringing, a lack of love, bottled up rage, I wonder how different I would have turned out. Would I have been one of those shooters too? Hard to say, but if I were, computer games and media violence would not be the cause; I would be more inclined to blame my family, and society.

Evan <Ace 12GA>


From: Corwin
Subject: Violence in Games

It's finally happened to me! After years and years of playing video games, I have hit the point where reality and games merge. Because of the great influence that Mario Brothers has had on me, I am going to walk around and randomly jump up and punch the ceiling tiles out at my office. I may even jump on some of my co-workers and squish them flat! If I get enough of them I can collect a ton of coins and go trade them in for an extra life! I may need one sooner or later anyway in case I get killed by falling down a sewer pipe or something.

I would try to emulate Sonic the Hedgehog, but I haven't figured out how to roll around that fast yet, and rather than injure anyone, I might just get laughed at.

KaRRiLLioN


From: Matthew Anderson
Subject: Colorado... Hell, the United States of America: Where *you* can learn to shift the blame.

To whomever reads this-- I don't know if Blue's is the most appropriate place to put this, but if you find it to your liking, I'm sure you know places that it should go, and you have my permission to send them there. Thanks!

I love it how instantly after the identities of the kids involved in that massacre were known; their lifestyles of computer technology-inclined people; that the entire adolescent population heralds them as "the psycho kids who are... just plan psycho," and all of the "concerned parents of America" label them as "seduced by the media of this nation."

I mean, I am in contact with a lot of people by nature, I've been a watcher of people of all sorts. So, I hear of the welfare-raping, "gots the indent of her ass in the couch", die-hard Springer fan, single mother of three who repeatedly slaps their kids because they don't fetch mommy's Doritos... probably because of a 20 or 30 pound overweight problem which makes her sweat at the thought of trudging her lugubrious ass into the kitchen... complain about how kids shouldn't watch television. They shouldn't be playing those violent games. They shouldn't listen to that violent music. But, then again, they shouldn't bother their mother when her soaps are on. "Get the <censored> outta here or I'll slap your mouth," I've heard from this family leader, this role model to several young children. And I also hear the same things, "These kids shouldn't be exposed to this violent nature. They shouldn't be allowed to access this lewd information on the Internet, I'm sure as hell not getting *MY* kid access to the computer," from the multi millionaire family dad, who spends 20 out of every 24 hours of the day away from home... on a business trip, out cheating on his law clerk of a wife with the flight attendants... doing anything but be at home. The father who has to lie about the reason he's getting a sexual harassment suit to their teenage kids when they accidentally open the wrong mail.

For the first time, folks, you see the outraged parents of America come together. From all tax brackets, from all ends of the country, they will fight this immoral Internet, they will shut down those bloody violent video games. Once a year, they stop into their local video game shop for Christmas and say but one thing, "Give me something that isn't violent." And half the time they don't have the first clue as to their child's interests, they're too busy running their lives at work, at the country club, at the dinner club, in front of the TV, at NA, in de-tox... and they think that they've made the right choice in getting their kids involved with "the right stuff." Giving themselves a pat on the back, they proudly brag about how good a parent they are at the office.

Yet, they are still shocked when incidents like this happen.

You know, I was raised by a mother and father who had me when they were 18 and 19. My mother, for nine years, did every kind of drugs there were, in front of me, behind me, she got stoned and threw me down the steps, came down and spanked my ass red. She got pasted with my dad, drunk with everyone, partied at late hours of the night. My dad was a construction worker, he worked long, long hours, got up at 5, went to bed at midnight, and a nap for a half hour in between. My dad got thrown in jail once, I didn't quite understand why, I guess I never will know exactly what happened. Even so, ma and dad brought me to the zoo. Mom took me to the park at least once a week. They spoiled my ass off the best they could, bought me what they could, it was never everything I wanted. I saw my parents as my friends growing up, regardless of their actions. After those nine years and the two of them cleaned themselves up, mom and dad both did their best for years explaining to me what happened, bit by bit, hiding nothing, apologizing for damage caused scars that will never heal completely, asking me advice, having me help run the house. I say again, my parents are my friends. My parents never told me never to have sex, never to try drugs, never to always do my homework. They suggested what they thought would be best. And they never forced me if I didn't want to. And to this day, I'm not an addict of any drug, never was, I've never been convicted of any crime, I've never thought racist thought about anyone, never judged anyone by who they were, what they looked like, what they wanted to do with themselves, if they cheated on their taxes.. nothing.

Hey, I also love it when you stick someone against the wall in Half-life and blow both barrels of the shotgun, splattering their insides thoroughly about the wall, too. I laugh a maniacal laugh when I see the corpses I make in Quake 2. I find it amusing to take a shotgun, blow half the body of Resident Evil's zombie off, and watch its torso climb across the ground. I like to play games where you kill people. Lots of people. I like to read up on Kitchen Explosives. I like to play with weapons. I like to watch horror movies. I like to watch pornography. I like to be an exhibitionist with my woman in public.
I'm also a chief corporate officer in my company. I've been commended by many a business about my professional attitude, my will to succeed, my problem-solving skills.

What am I getting at? I'm not saying that I am unique. Quite the contrary. There are many of me. If you're reading this, I bet you're close to the same. There's a difference between me and the "Trench coat Mafia" and every lookalike out there. I had a family growing up. Not a dictatorship, not a torture house. I didn't worry about sneaking out when I was 15, I didn't worry about getting a poor grade in English. I told my parents anything they asked. If I wanted to leave for a few days, regardless of what/where I was doing, or going, I just told my parents. They didn't ground me when I got bad grades, they didn't give me fifty thousand dollars when I got an A, either. I did get their respect, and their trust, from day one. And that's probably the most important thing that I could ever have asked for. Because when I see shi...err stuff like this Colorado incident, I can honestly appreciate the way I was brought up, as meager as it was. If you don't already know what I'm about to tell the ignorant, stereotypical, feeble minded and careless parent and government coalition of America, here it is-- let's not have you worry about how many different pieces of a person's life you can blame tragedies like this on... Let's have you accept the blame yourself once and a while, and just take your child hiking sometime. Talk about all the naughty stuff you did in high school with them. Let them get drunk and see how they like the hype. Let them see what they want. There's no shroud that lasts forever. All you do when you censor your child's vision is torture and destroy them when they are expected to depend on their own judgement, their own well being later on in life. There are things that they might find confusing and disturbing, like death, like murder. Probably because *YOU* don't talk to them about it. You don't talk to them about sex, drugs, violence, all you talk to them about is how messy their room is, how they damn well better get straight A's on their report cards, how they sure as hell WON'T be going to that party on Friday. Things like this make me sick. Just tell them the truth. I hope what I said will make a difference. I didn't lie about anything that I said, and all thoughts are from this kind of upbringing... and just about anyone I talk to will say that I've turned out to be a pretty decent person.

Sincerely Yours,
Matt


From: ken
Subject: Doom and the psycho CO kids

It was also on Dateline tonight. They showed Doom and mentioned that you go around killing people w/ pistols and shotguns and blood spurted everywhere. This is the beginning of a Germany-like ban. Get people out to vote out politicians who blame guns and video games for kids going postal. Or it will be too late soon...

ken


From: Pyr{RASC}
Subject: <no subject>

Hey man I'm just thinking with such a touchy subject as the school shootings its not appropriate to be just reporting how "the evil media is gonna blame video games". Maybe I'm being too Politically Correct but many people were killed so I think its time to focus on your normal gaming news.

-Pyr{RASC}


From: Patches
Subject: doom in the schools

Hello Blue-

Normally, I keep very quiet. I read your page everyday, play a little Team Fortress, play a little Half-life and play a decent, but not expert game. This last shooting spree in Colorado is a tragedy and unfortunately, has got Doom all over the news again for the wrong reasons. I'm wondering if there's a way for the gaming community, particularly the Doom/Quake players, to pull some funds together in support of the students, faculty and parents of the Littlefield school. I haven't thought this through very much (as you can tell), but I came into work just now and one of my unenlightened coworkers came up to me and said "see, that's what happens when you play those games". I argued briefly, but its not a very large victory even if I had "won" that argument - there's scores of news-watching Americans who have exactly the same reaction.

I think the gaming community needs to make some sort of public gesture to show that we do not in any way condone the horrific acts. I also think that you, Blue, are probably the best person to begin such a gesture. I'm quite willing to send in $5.00 or perhaps more for such a project that would have make a positive reflection on the 99.999% of the law-abiding members of the gaming community that are outraged.

Okay, thanks for reading this. I know you normally get a flood of emails everyday, and probably have gotten several floods of mail on this topic in the last few days.

Kris Sherman (aka Patches)


From: Chris Rhoton
Subject: Littleton massacre/DOOM linked in Washington Post

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were both mentioned as avid DOOM and Duke Nukem players in today's Washington Post, with Harris even going as far as building DOOM wads. The article says that one of his levels, U.A.C LABS, was described as "an all-out war between humans and demons on the planet Phobos. The goal of the game, he says, is for the player--a lone U.S. Marine--to blast his way to the planet's teleporter. 'The platoon guarding the teleporter out is VERY large, so beware,' Harris wrote. 'Good luck marine, and don't forget, KILL 'EM AAAAALLLL!!!!!'" hmm....wasn't that much the same theme as the original game? This guy wasn't much for creativity. ;) Anyway, the article goes on to say that local DOOM enthusiast groups had never heard of either of the shooters, and the article concludes by basically painting these guys as dabblers living on the fringes of everything in which they claimed to be a part (including the "Gothic subculture", whose local groups had never heard of them either). The article doesn't seem to be blaming the games or even going for that angle, but this is only one of about 3-5 articles that are featured, and I've only read this one. I'll be skimming some of the others and I'll let you know if I find anything more.

Sincerely,
Chris Rhoton
President, Gamers Allied Against Hunger
http://www.gaah.org


From: Ralph Gustavsen
Subject: On the School Shootings

I, like everyone else in the world, was shocked and saddened to see the news from Colorado. While people try to find out why, too me its quite obvious. Not video games. Not Marylin Manson. Not the Internet Those kids parents? Where were they when they were making pipe bombs and stockpiling weapons? Maybe we can blame them. The kids, they were just kids. We all know what it feels like to be 16, hormonal, feel like an outcast.

While watching the news, a reporter asks "Do you see a common thread to these shootings?" Its as plain as day to me. In every case of this kind of violence, these children had access to guns. It is the guns that took these teens from "angry outcast" to murderers. What bothers me most is that its as plain as day, and the morons running our country don't seem to see. I listened to the governor of Colorado side step the issue on National Television, because of a debate coming up on Concealed Weapons. Don't want to lose that NRA vote, do we? It made me so angry to listen to him say "There are laws against bringing guns onto school property, those kids broke the law." The fact is, there needs to be laws against owning guns in the first place.

It seems to me, if the NRA gets their way, the next step is to arm the teachers. Then the students will just find bigger guns and bullet proof vests. Then the teachers will need armor. Then we will need National Guard patrolling our schools. Yeah, this is a good idea. We need more guns to stop the violence.

While alot of people will disagree with me, there is no need for anyone to be carrying guns designed for the sole purpose of killing other people. These kids came from normal, middle class suburban America. Most people obey the law. If the law said, own a gun, go to jail, these killings would not have happened.

When I was 16, I listened to music that was loud, and hopefully annoyed my parents. I listened to music like Ozzy Osbourne, while the Christian right and parents around the nation gasped. The other day, I heard that same music on an automobile commercial. For an SUV, the yuppie dream car. There will always be "Marylin Mansons" and "Ozzy's", kids need that. Its how they feel like they belong, while they figure out who they are. Teens grow out of these phases, and become adults. Maybe they make video games, or run companies. But a teen can't grow out of shooting another kid in the head. Guns make things FINAL.

People, wake up. Do something. Don't just bitch about it, while they blame Doom or Quake2 or Asteroids. Write a simple email to your representatives, we pay them to listen to us. Tell them you vote, and that we need tough gun laws. We can't fix the world, but we should at least try.

Senators email addresses
http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index.cfm

State Resources
http://lcweb.loc.gov/global/state/stategov.html

Guide to US Congress
http://www.capweb.net/classic/Index.morph?pagename=Housealpha

Ralph Gustavsen


From: BeoWulf`
Subject: Colorado Tragedy

I think maybe that people should stop looking at the government and society to stop these actions and to raise their kids. If anything, I blame the parents.

They are the direct influence over their children, NOT video games or movies. Yes they may play a factor, BUT if the parents teach the children proper morals and values, that factor is negated. In effect maybe the parents should start blaming themselves for the things that their child does. THEY are people who brought these children into the world. And THEY are who are responsible for them. Not society, not government, not video games, and not the music or movie industry.

I am sick of hearing all these parents whining about how Doom made their child evil. How heavy metal is work of the devil and brought their children to suicide. There is too much blaming going on in this world. Not enough taking responsibility.

I'm getting married next march, and I've been thinking a lot about having children. It scares me that their are so many children out there who do not know the difference between right and wrong. Children who do not respect authority. These children are going to grow up and be the leaders of our country. What happens then?

I'm not saying all children are bad. In fact most of them are very well adjusted, considering.

Here are some facts I heard on the Rush Limbaugh Show.

All of these school shootings have happened since the passing of the Brady bill..

All of these shootings have happened in predominantly white, middle to upper-class neighborhoods.

None of these shootings were hate crimes.


Beowulf`


From: Samuel Vilo
Subject: School shootings and Doom

My name is Samuel Vilo and I am a police officer in Texas. I have played Doom, Wolfenstein, Quake 1&2 Half Life Blood and lots more for some time now. I have an 11 yr. old daughter and she has played a number of these games as well in single player mode as well as over the Internet I never turn off the gore in the game because I am there to supervise her and explain to her it's only a game, is not real, and does not equate to the real world where guns kill and you do not respawn or start a new game. She understands this and is still one of the most gentle, unselfish and loving people I know. She has been that way since birth and I only accept a little of the credit for her turning out so good. I have also dealt with, over the years (18) in law enforcement with many a troubled child. Without a doubt I can say that the underlying thread that is common to the vast majority of the children I have dealt with that had a violence or other extreme behavioral problem was a serious lack of parental involvement in their lives. This leads to a number of other factors that cause extreme behavior. Kids are like water. Uncontrolled they take the path of least resistance and buckle under to the peer pressure of others like themselves that they have inevitably sought out. Anyone anywhere that suggests that Doom or any other game caused the recent school shootings is in my opinion an idiot.

These games I believe can affect the weak or troubled mind but would never have the opportunity to do so if the parental involvement is there and is competent. These weak or troubled minds in my opinion can easily be influenced by any number of things to include movies, television, music, or the fact that someone told them "no" or you name it. Knee jerk reactions and people with a politically correct agenda will always look for the easy scapegoat and the lawyers will seek out "experts" to agree so that the all mighty dollar can be pursued in court. I can't believe that Doom is being mention in any context where it could be implicated in this tragic event. Anyway I have voiced my opinion. Should you care to do so you may post it on your page or solicit further comment. I am by no means an expert but I know the obvious and glaring truth when I see it and have been exposed to it for years in this regard as it relates to this type of situation.

Thanks you...
Samuel Vilo


From: Michael Russell
Subject: Re: Article: Doom in the School

The books in the picture were the Doom novels that were published a couple of years ago.

Now, I could be a total smartass and say that if I read those books, I'd be revving to do a suicide mission as well, but those books are about the lamest things possible. Very little actual demonic combat is included.

I think that the positioning of them (on the side that clearly shows the logo) was a ploy to lend credit to the current lawsuit against the entertainment industry, as well as give even more credit to Senator "Can't tell fantasy from reality" Lieberman.

If kids can't tell the difference between pretend and reality, the problem isn't with what they're viewing or interacting with. The problem is with the parents. If these parents would get off of their asses and teach their children the difference, none of this would be happening.

Sincerely,
Michael Russell


From: Jeff Johnson
Subject: DOOM and the news

I have been watching pretty much all of the major network's coverage of the tragedy in Colorado. Interesting to note that every different broadcast seems to point to a different culprit (society, Gothic subcultures, availability of guns etc.) One tidbit showed police seizing one of the suspect's computers and MSNBC actually showed screens from Doom and misreported that the game is a "medieval fantasy about killing other people with similar types of weapons, including pipe bomb like devices." What is sad is that no one has so far been willing to step back, stop blaming everything else and simply acknowledge that the world is full of people who are intrinsically evil. Whether or not these two boys listened to Rammstein, played Doom and belonged to a certain subculture doesn't matter. What matters is now everyone is pointing a finger at a different cause.

Hopefully, as an avid gamer, and gun owner with a sparkling clean record and no dark fantasies of violence, I hope we won't start to see a backlash of lawsuits, meaningless legislation and PR bullshit aimed at Id, or anyone else for that matter. I play Quake2, Half-life, I listen to Rammstein, and I own guns, but none of those elements make me any more apt to slaughter innocent people. Simple fact is, those kids were severely messed up, no amount of legislation, prevention, or government regulation would have prevented them from lashing out in such a manner. If the rulers of this land decide that the time has come to legislate or regulate computer games, books (Like the copy of Doom?), the Internet, music, television, and whatever else is now blamed for society's woes, then we will never be able to stop incidents like this from happening. We will live in a country so over regulated and controlled, that all semblance of freedom will be a memory, and that is not a place that I would want to call home.

 

 

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