As the nation grieves the worst single act of gun violence in our history, there is one topic that the corporate media will not let us discuss rationally: gun control.
Less than 24 hours after the carnage, before a single funeral, as the bodies were being tagged in the morgue, FOX News already was wondering how the massacre would affect the stock market. Then, as expected, those “fair and balanced” journalistic impostors ran this crawler: Liberals screaming about gun control!
The Republicans lined up to caution us about overreacting to this “isolated incident,” as if we are all living on some other planet. This happens with a demonic regularity now, and only in America. The National Rifle Association undoubtedly will hold a rally near Blacksburg, Va., as it did only days after Columbine, to fire a pre-emptive shot across the bow of any communist sympathizer who might suggest that it is insane to allow a mentally disturbed and dangerous loner to walk into a gun shop and buy semiautomatic weapons with a driver’s license and a green card. Family values, indeed.
We don’t know yet if Cho Seung-Hui was a gamer, but we know that countless young people play one of the world’s most popular and violent video games, “Halo 2.” Tipped off by one of my own students, I borrowed my title from a forum on the game maker’s Web site, extolling the virtues of something called “Two-Gun Mojo.”
Also known as “dual-wielding,” it is the new combat style that permits indiscriminate virtual killers to hold a gun in each hand and learn the joys of “double-barrel blasting.”
By now almost everyone has seen the picture of Cho with a weapon in each hand, displaying his two-gun mojo.
In the videotape he released to NBC, the killer is a normal-looking college student one minute, and a poster boy for violence the next. As video games become more and more realistic, angry loners can descend into a word of virtual violence that “Halo 2″ makers describe as “instant destructive gratification.”
One of the witnesses to the shooting said that as he shot, Cho laughed. “Halo 2″ has been described online as a form of compensation for all those who are not getting the respect they deserve: “Become the one doing the mocking, not getting mocked.”
And there you have it ” the perfect virtual revenge for someone who is increasingly unable to distinguish fantasy from reality and who has grown to hate what Cho referred to as a world of rich kids without morals and Christians without a conscience. It’s true that most gamers don’t ever do any harm to anyone, but the difference between us and everyone else is that when a person snaps in this country, he easily can acquire all the non-virtual weapons and ammunition he needs to move from gaming to Blacksburg. From getting mocked, to doing the mocking.
And the only thing greater than this tragedy is that we will do nothing to stop the next one. The NRA will protect the right of all non-felons to own a machine gun, and the twisted logic that an armed society is a safe society will move us a step closer to anarchy. A friend of mine actually said to me, “Robin, if one of those students had only been carrying a gun, this might not have happened.”
So that’s the answer? We all pack heat, all the time, everywhere we go? “Yes,” he said.
God help us.
Meyers is minister of Mayflower Congregational Church of Oklahoma City, and professor of rhetoric in the philosophy department at Oklahoma City University. His latest book is “Why the Christian Right Is Wrong: A Minister’s Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future.”