fighting the medium

Thursday, April 22, 1999, at 12:28PM

By Eric Richardson

How come every time there's some tragedy somewhere, it's always the medium that gets blamed, and noone ever admits that some people are just really messed up? The massacre in Colorado is a perfect example. Click to read my rantings on the issue...

(let me preface my whole rant by saying I am definately not down-playing the incident. It's a huge tradgedy, and I think people need to seriously consider what to do about it.)

So two internet-connected, trench coat wearing, DOOM playing social outcasts go to school and go on a shooting spree. The media jumps on the situation. They're all over it with "experts" and their opinions. They report on all the normal things: "How did these kids get guns?", "How did they get bomb parts?", etc.

Then they manage to blame the Internet. So they came on the Internet and read something like the Anarchist's Cookbook, the Internet is to blame for them knowing how to make bombs. Woo-hoo. Like they couldn't have found out even if they were completely disconnected. Someone uses the Internet to find information that later proves harmful to others, and all of a sudden we need tighter control of the Internet. People, they had assault rifles! I think their supplier could have given them a paper copy of something. Don't blame the medium for the actions of a user. The medium's not to blame.

On the positive side, I did hear an interview with a Colorado senator (I think he was a senator... He could have been a Representative... I don't know) where the reporter tried to blame the Internet for the kids actions and asked the Senator what he was going to do about it. He shot that right down and basically said something to the effect of "these were screwed up kids, it's not the Internet's fault". At least someone in Washington knows what's going on...

I'm also amazed by the number of people who blame the kids and faculty at the school for not noticing "warning signs". Of course you see things you missed when you look back on it! Who doesn't? I'd hate to live in a world of hyper-paranoia where anything remotely resembling a threat or a clue to my possible future intentions was treated like I was about to jump out and kill somebody. Can anyone say "wolf"? We can't over-analyze everything. Sometimes things just happen. Now the stock-piling of guns and bomb-parts, that's a valid clue... but just because someone makes a comment about wanting to kill somebody doesn't mean they're serious about it.

Heh. Talk about blaming the medium... Read this. Denver schools are banning trench coats. This is just sick.

People... Never mind. I'm just fed up with all this. Someone needs to wake up and realize that these were just some kids with really serious problems. The Internet is not at fault. The trench coats are not at fault. DOOM is not at fault. German techno is not at fault. These kids are at fault. They made their situation utilizing the medium, the medium did not make them.