Netandcry

(Read Part One Here)

Dear read­ers, I’ve re­turned. Let’s Netflix and cry, friends.

You know how the me­dia likes to jumps on gamer who also car­ry out crimes? The me­dia gets all up­pi­ty about how video games cause vi­o­lence be­cause we all know that’s true (in­sert sar­cas­tic re­sponse). I’m sure you can name a hand­ful peo­ple of peo­ple from the top of your head who were found to be gamers, and thus the me­dia jumped all over a “gamers are evil” craze. Adam Lanza? Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold? James Holmes? Jared Lee Loughner? The sec­ond they found some form of video game had been in their pos­ses­sion, that was sud­den­ly some­thing that mo­ti­vat­ed them.

But what about the peo­ple who’ve car­ried out crimes due to some­thing they read in a book? Can you name any of them? You can like­ly name one or two be­cause those were pret­ty big events. The list of peo­ple you could put down isn’t near­ly as long as that of the names the me­dia has crammed down your throat when it comes to sup­posed gam­ing re­lat­ed vi­o­lence. Don’t get me wrong, these peo­ple were wrong in what they did no mat­ter the mo­ti­va­tion, and these killings can nev­er be ex­cused. But how are the things you see in books and video games any dif­fer­ent from each oth­er?

Ok, I have got to calm down here. Let’s just take a look at some crimes car­ried out by book read­ers.

Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

This is a pop­u­lar one, and prob­a­bly the first (and maybe only) book re­lat­ed killing most can think of.

The Catcher in the Rye is about a young man named Holden Caulfield who is in a men­tal in­sti­tute in the 1950s. He is writ­ing about his life ex­pe­ri­ences from when he was 16 years old to ex­plain his spi­ral down­ward as he avoid­ed grow­ing up — es­sen­tial­ly.

Here’s a name you’ll prob­a­bly rec­og­nize. Mark David Chapman. He was the man who shot ex‐Beatles mem­ber John Lennon, and was suf­fer­ing from mul­ti­ple men­tal dis­or­ders that were un­med­icat­ed. He picked up The Catcher in the Rye, and con­vinced him­self he was the main char­ac­ter of the book. He felt the char­ac­ter res­onat­ed with him, way more than he should’ve, and thus be­came ob­sessed with read­ing it.

He was also ob­sessed with pro­tect­ing the in­no­cence of chil­dren, as he loved them as much as Holden Caulfield did. Before shoot­ing Lennon, Chapman bought a copy of the book and wrote in it “This is my state­ment,” and signed his own name as Holden Caulfield. After pulling the trig­ger, Chapman sat and red The Catcher in the Rye till the cops showed up.

Rage by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King)

This ti­tle was a rather vi­o­lent book about a young man who shoots up his school, and kills staff. Somewhere down the line he takes oth­er stu­dents hostage, and they de­vel­op Stockholm’s Syndrome and bond over this… some­how.

It’s said that the Columbine shoot­ers read this, and it can be at­trib­uted to the mas­sacre at that school. But the events I want­ed to bring up are two cas­es of high school­ers ex­plic­it­ly act­ing out what they’ve read in this book.

The first is Jeffrey Lyne Cox, a high school se­nior from a trou­bled home who read Rage and felt it res­onat­ed with him. He de­cid­ed to hold his Humanities class hostage on April 26th, 1988. He de­mand­ed a mil­lion dol­lars and a tick­et to Brazil. His plot hinged on the oth­er stu­dents act­ing the way those in Rage did, but he was wrong. He took his eyes off of his ri­fle for a mo­ment, and an­oth­er stu­dent wres­tled it away from him. The au­thor­i­ties were able to ap­pre­hend Cox, and he was giv­en 10 years in prison.

A 15 year old named Barry Loukaitis opened fire on his school on February the 2nd, 1996. He was in­spired by Rage to shoot his Algebra teacher to death, and two oth­er 14 year old stu­dents, wound­ing one oth­er. He’s cur­rent­ly serv­ing two life sen­tences, and an ex­tra 205 years — if it wasn’t al­ready overkill.

Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice

This book is about vam­pires, and not the shit kind. In it, the vam­pire Lestat be­comes a rock star, and piss­es off vam­pire so­ci­ety big time by get­ting fa­mous and be­ing open about his vam­pirism.

In 2003 a 22 year old Allan Menzies be­lieved he was vis­it­ed by the char­ac­ter Akasha from Queen of the Damned, and she told him to kill and she would turn him into a vam­pire. So he killed a friend, drank his blood, and en­list­ed his fa­ther and an­oth­er friend to get rid of the body af­ter­wards. He was soon ar­rest­ed for mur­der, but killed him­self in his cell.

These peo­ple, for the most part, came from bro­ken fam­i­lies and had un­treat­ed men­tal ill­ness­es. Just like the ma­jor­i­ty of peo­ple who just hap­pen to play video games and go on to kill peo­ple. Mentally healthy peo­ple can read books and be just fine. The same goes for video games.

Normally, peo­ple would just call these nov­el copy­cats just some crazy peo­ple who took a book too far. Some more ex­trem­ist types may ac­tu­al­ly blame the books and try to ban them, but not as many peo­ple jump on the “BOOKS ARE EVIL AND A BAD INFLUENCE!” band­wag­on as they do the video game one, that’s for sure.

This is just a look at some of the things that make me want to go watch Netflix and cry.

Videogames are Amazing and Fun, The Culture War is Miserable and Boring
Shouting into the void: “I’M MAD AS HELL… and I don’t have any­thing bet­ter to do right now”
The fol­low­ing two tabs change con­tent be­low.
Catelyn Winters
The old­est 12 year old. Also buy my mix­tape at http://supernerdlandia.tumblr.com/
Catelyn Winters

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