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More on insane Texans

by Brandon on May 2nd, 2007

A Fox affiliate in Houston has a short video segment up about the kid who was arrested for creating a Counter Strike map of his school.  The video even shows some sections of the map he created, and it looks like really good work. 

The friend’s mother is a particularly disturbing figure, she says “to see our own school on there, it just isn’t… isn’t right.”  On there?  Give me a break.  And cut the melodrama.  The first thing any gaming enthusiast does when they get their hands on a map editor is to recreate a familiar location.  I did it, my friends have done it, and several companies won’t hire level designers who haven’t done that.  This is anything but cause for alarm.

In fact, this is easily one of the most frustrating things an FPS shooter could watch happen.  It’s just downright insane.  I see two sides to this issue… One side is the legal perspective.  Clearly, he did absolutely nothing illegal or wrong.  He never made any threats to anybody or to the school.  As far as has been reported, he exhibited no suspicious or menacing behavior. 

On the other side of things, I see a vast gap in understanding which seems somewhat generational.  To those of us who grew up playing video games, Counter Strike and games like it aren’t “simulations.”  Contrary to bat-shit-crazy lawyer Jack Thompson’s claims, kids don’t “train” on these games nor do they play them out of any fantasy of causing harm to others.

It’s more like a sport.  Think of it like paintball.  Are kids who play paintball more likely to go on murderous rampages?  I doubt it.  Just like in paintball, multiplayer games like Counter Strike are essentially elaborate, fast-paced versions of “tag.”  Heck, they bear such little resemblence to real armed combat it’s laughable when Thompson calls them “simulators.”  I have a feeling that no school shootings have ever included “bunny hopping” or having a teammate kneel down so that the shooter could jump on his back and shoot over an object.  What I’m saying is, circle-strafing whiled typing “PWNED!” probably isn’t the sort of skill useful to a murderous maniac.

You might think this disconnect is surprising, considering that the perpetrator of the violence at Virginia Tech never played video games at all.  In my opinion, that fact alone should have singled him out as a target of scrutiny.  What college male doesn’t play either Halo, Counter Strike, or World of Warcraft?  Unfortunately, you have nutballs like Jack Thompson out there trying to get on TV and rally against… something.  So they choose an easy target… one that most parents simply don’t understand.

I hope this kid is permitted to return to school and receives one heck of an apology from the school, police, and the friends’ parents who “turned him in.”  And they better make it good, lest their asses be sued off.

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