|The morning after
Friday, October 25, 2002 8:58 AM
The snipers are caught, the weapon found. The debate over gun control
will now continue, probably even intensify. All of the major media
outlets report that the .223 Bushmaster AR-15 clone proven to be the
murder weapon is an "assault rifle", even though it is not capable of
automatic fire. It's quite apparent that they're happy to wallow in their
spread of ignorance, because it makes for much more sensational
Will we discover the motivation for the shootings? As suggested by
his last name, Muhammad, the sniper, was a convert to Islam. This of
course gives rise to the question of whether or not his faith and 9/11 had
anything to do with his murderous rampage. Was it simply terrorism, no
different from the WTC except on scale? I doubt he had any contact with
organized terrorism, any more than the shooter in LAX from a few months
Angry accusations have been hurled at the NRA for their "silence"
during the entire sniper murder spree. As if any of those accusers would
be satisfied with any official statement the NRA were to make. If the NRA
were to condemn the attacks (which of course they do) and publicize their
desire for a speedy arrest and prosecution? The accusers would simply
ratchet up their rhetoric that NRA executive must be held personally
responsible for every gun crime committed in the United States (and
probably a few in Mexico too). Do they also believe that the ACLU should
be held responsible for crimes committed by people on parole or those who
have been released on a technicality? I kinda doubt it, even though both
organizations are simply trying to defend the rights of American citizens.
John Allen Muhammad is an ex-soldier and Gulf War veteran. He scored
"expert" in the Army's M-16 qualification course. Sorry, Jack Thompson,
your ridiculous assertion that the sniper gained his terrific abilities
from video games has finally been put to rest. As I covered earlier, the
entire suggestion was nonsense to begin with, though I doubt that it will
be the last time simpleton lawyer Jack Thompson argues the position.
Sarah Brady has used the sniper shooting to try to advance several
points of her group's anti-gun agenda. Even though the weapon used
doesn't appear to fall under the legal definition of "assault weapon", she
has argued that this attack demonstrates the need to renew the assault
weapon ban that expires next year. Of course, even the briefest thought
given to that argument shows how utterly hollow it is. The law is still
in effect... and did not stop these shootings. How exactly is it
important that we extend it? The law does not even cover the weapon used.
In other words, it's not even relevant to the situation. And finally,
each attack consisted of a single solitary shot. In other words,
the crimes would have been no different if the sniper had used a
bolt-action 5-shot .223 rifle, or a lever-action 6-shot .223 rifle, or
even a single-shot falling-block .223 rifle that contained no magazine at
all. Sarah Brady wants to convince us all that banning the rifle used
would have prevented these depraved attacks, an argument, it's quite
plain, is intellectually bankrupt.
Ballistic fingerprinting is now being thrown around as the solution to
all the nation's woes, especially by people who don't understand it. It
may surprise some to learn that a few years ago, I also endorsed the idea
of a distributed database of ballistic information. I didn't advocate a
centralized government database of records, but rather information kept by
each manufacturer. It wasn't until the actual process of ballistic
fingerprinting was explained to me that I realized why the entire concept
was flawed and could never work. Rather than go into a bunch of details
here, I'll link to an article by
Dave Kopel & Paul H. Blackman who explain it far better than i ever
|Jack Thompson, idiot at large
Friday, October 11, 2002 8:37 AM
Jack Thompson, idiot at large, has deduced that the Maryland police
should be focusing their attention on violent video games in order to
catch the Maryland sniper. He appeared this morning on the Today Show
(which is always willing to give morons a soapbox) discussing all the
"obvious" connections between these murders and video games. Is Jack
Thompson a detective? An expert on shooting and marksmanship? An expert
on video games? No, he's the moron lawyer who tried to sue game makers
after the Paducah shootings in Kentucky.
Thompson's basis for blaming video games? Here are his "reasonings":
1) "One-shot one-kill" is the basis for numerous video games.
Actually, I play a lot of games and I've found this to be completely
untrue. In most of them, the goal is simply to eliminate targets, and it
doesn't matter how many shots you use. And of course, those video games
that do have this aspect borrow it from real life sniper training. In
other words, this is a case of art imitating life, not the other
way around. But like most fools, Jack Thompson is flabbergasted by the
concept of cause and effect. "One-shot one-kill" was not invented
by video games.
2) Games have "God mode", which reflects the message found on the
discovered tarot card. Tompson explained that while playing games in god
mode, your targets never shoot back. This is, of course, a completely
inaccurate statement. In games with god mode, this setting merely makes
you invulnerable to enemy fire. That little inaccuracy aside, delusions
of divinity have been around for centuries before video games, and they
have often have been linked to mass murder. Did Son of Sam ever play a
video game in which he took orders from a talking dog? Did Jim Jones play
a video game where he poisoned Kool-Aid? Did David Koresh play Quake in
"Jesus mode"? And of course none of this explains the tarot card,
something not exactly common in FPS games.
3) Video games teach you how to shoot. This is the argument he used
in his attempt to pin Michael Carneal's school shooting to games like
Quake and Doom. It's also his most assinine and ridiculous position.
"Even though he'd never fired a handgun" Thompson says in defense of his
assertion. What he doesn't mention is that Michael Carneal had received
firearms training on shooting a rifle, and had also practiced with
his murder weapon before the shooting spree. He also doesn't explain how
a video game is going to teach shooting fundamentals when it's all about
moving a mouse and crosshairs on a screen. Do you know any video games
that teach trigger squeeze, the single most important aspect of accurate
shooting? I don't. Do you know any that encourage proper hold, the use
of a rest or skeletal bracing? I sure don't. Even the arcade games with
rifles have them mounted so that weight and other things aren't a factor.
How many games do you know that teach proper breathing control? I've only
ever seen a few that even try to simulate it, one of them being the Army's
"America's Army." Even that, though, can't compare to the real thing, and
doesn't take into account synchronizing with your hearbeat in order to
achieve maximum accuracy. And you know how many games I've played that
include accurate bullet drop or wind deflection? Zero. I have
never played a game with either of these, even though they are two of
the most basic aspects of long-range target shooting. Accurate
shooting can NOT be taught by video games. As both a gamer and a
shooter, I can attest to this simple fact, as can anyone else who has
any experience in both subjects. To assert anything to the
contrary merely demonstrates a person's total ignorance.
Jack Thompson is a pathetic hack who is simply trying to drum up some
exposure by cashing in on a series of horrific crimes. In his Today Show
interview, he explained that he'd been trying to contact the Maryland
police on the sniper case, but hadn't yet received any reply. Good.
That means that they have some intelligence up there. What does Thompson
expect them to do? Go to Counter-Strike message boards and post "d1d ne1
h3r3 sh00t p33ps in m4ryl4nd???" Maybe they should be focusing their
attention on trying to find a mass murderer. You think?
Friday, September 20, 2002 11:18 AM
I've added a new section to my site (retiring the horribly neglected
Gun of the Week). You'll see it up there: "Interactive Fiction". The
reason I've added this are pretty well covered in the section. It's also
my current project as I finish off what will hopefully be the last update
to Night's Edge: Wet Works. What, no mod for UT2003? Possibly, though
the idea I had for a rune-style mutator is kind of mutually exclusive with
the built-in adrenaline, and I'm kind of tired of spending months of work
on something no one plays. I won't rule out the possibility of helping
out on another UT2003 project, but I won't be doing my own. Anyway, my
hope is to start entering the annual IF competition every year. It's a
shame I started so late, I've just missed this year's contest.
Tuesday, September 3, 2002 9:21 AM
A lot of people (Europe, especially) have expressed concern... okay,
let's admit it, they've been "horrified" at the Iraq-related comments
coming from the Bush administration lately. All around the world, various
nations have condemned the idea of a preemptive strike against Hussein for
his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and his defiance of the U.N.
inspection resolution. A lot of people are suggesting that Bush simply
wants a war to raise his popularity and that's it.
But look at the result. Iraq is, for the first time in years, finally
talking about letting inspectors back into the country. Of course they're
not talking full access yet and they're currently demanding an end to
sactions first, they're still back at the table. In addition,
countries all over the world are exerting more pressure on Iraq to comply
with the U.N. resolutions. Some because they want to avoid needless
violence. Others, I imagine, just because they want to spite the U.S.
But what prodded this all on was the war rhetoric coming from the
White House. And maybe this was their goal the entire time. A little
saber rattling to get Iraq back in line.
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