Well going into the month of May I guess I can touch upon this. After reading the title you must be thinking I’m going to weigh in on the gender pandering episode everyone and their mom had gone and mocked thoroughly. No, I’m here to break a much more constant narrative promoted by the Bill Nye Saves the World show – Violence born of video games. That’s right, not even 5 minutes into Episode 7 of the show, he makes the same claim that the media has claimed for now nearly 25 years! I first learned of this from this tweet going ahead and providing studies debunking the matter. Now I can also go into how the same episode attacks white people for appreciating Asian cultures but I think I’ve shown the mainstream hatred for such things enough for the time being. Perhaps I’ll revisit that later. So I’ve already given you an indirect link to studies proving that video games don’t cause people to be more violent. We all already knew that. We also have a working hypothesis on the reason why the mainstream media giants have such a hate boner for video games – that being the overwhelming competition they present to the classic juggernauts. But here I want to do something a little different, I want to deconstruct their most common tool used to demonize competing forms of media: School Shootings.
I know what you are thinking, “How are you so certain the media is using these tragedies to demonize anything that opposes them?” Well its fairly simple, the narrative that constantly surrounds the Columbine Massacre. I will say that one has been covered to death and for good reason, the people who performed that atrocity killed themselves at the end of it. As such they can no longer defend themselves.What if I told you that there were shootings using that narrative that predate Columbine though? Ever hear of Heath High School? How about Michael Carneal? No? Well that’s because soon after Columbine outside of a small part of the United States all talk of this 1997 tragedy was all but silenced. But why? Because the culprit of the Heath High School shooting is not only alive and well, but will be up for parole in 6 years. Most importantly is the reasoning behind him doing it. Now that I’ve piqued your curiosity Let’s Hammer This In!
So, what horse do I have in the race when it comes to Heath High School? Well it was in my hometown of Paducah, KY before they consolidated the district into one high school about 5 years ago. In other words this tragedy happened about 20 years ago. I was on the other side of town in Reidland Middle School, about to start my first class of the day before they came in and informed us of the tragedy that would change how our school did things altogether, including the issuing of lanyard worn ID badges, metal detectors and security guards. Suggestions of dress codes that no student wanted flew left and right. I even ended up dating someone who knew not only the victims but the shooter, so I know the story intimately. If you search the net you can easily find interviews of Carneal and a few videos on the incident. In fact I’ve been wanting to do an article on this for sometime. It just wasn’t relevant to what I’ve been covering until now.
I could easily just set the scene and work from the events like everything else has done but I want to go by the shooter’s mental state. At this point he is still claimed to be mentally ill and was trying to hide it at the time. However from the people I’ve talked to and how I look at it I don’t get that understanding. I don’t think Carneal is a schizophrenic, or at least he wasn’t when he performed the act at 14 years old- he could have deteriorated while in prison. We can’t be absolutely certain, at the time I remember hearing multiple attempts to blame the game DOOM or Marilyn Manson music for the shooting.
So what was the real motivation?
If you look into the physical evidence he was bullied because he was a prankster, he might very well be autistic from some of the interactions I’ve heard about concerning him – I’m no psychiatric expert so that is speculation. However, some of the other frustrated students in his class decided to spread a rumor through the school paper that Carneal was gay.
Now, keep in mind this is an accusation of homosexuality in 1997, in the Buckle of the Bible Belt, in a school that was full of devout Christians. This was not taken lightly especially considering two of his female victims were also his closest friends. Add to that the pressure of being a freshman and the general absence of both of his parents and its no wonder that he did what he did. He likely considered the mere accusation of homosexuality at the time a social death sentence.
Add to the fact that from testimonials from people who were in classes with Carneal and the others, the teachers typically worked with the bullies, something that surprisingly never came up during the police investigations at the time. Now I mentioned earlier about Carneal’s parents and their absence in his life. The reason this isn’t looked into as in-depth as I think it should be is the victims families didn’t want to hear any ‘excuses’ for his actions. They saw Carneal as the ‘demon’ he was and nothing more, not realizing that he might have been a victim himself and potentially their children could have contributed to what happened to them… or that perhaps Carneal’s parents, John T. Carneal and his wife, were to blame as well. All they wanted to pin on them was that they might be lying for their son’s sake.
So why were they absent? Well for starters they were both very successful and busy people and add to the fact he had a big sister who got infinitely more attention; the parents doted on her more than their son. The mother had stated that she had suspected something after hearing about the prank but wanted to play it off as if it was not a thing. Soon after the event the big sister even started to complain that now she is tainted to be forever “Michael Carneal’s sister” thinking about the whole event in how it affected her not how it affected others. It is my opinion that this tragedy, this attack on a mere prayer circle was all sourced from a family so self absorbed in themselves that they neglected their younger child in favor of what would make them look good… right in the midst of what for him must have been a terrible crisis.
So where does this leave us? What we have is an at the time young man who was bullied, shrugged off by his family, seen as nothing more than a joke by most of his contemporaries and ignored by the teachers charged with his education and well-being, one who stole a neighbor’s weaponry to use upon prayer circle full of people who were supposedly his friends, someone who as far as I can tell past his incarceration has been seen by his family as merely a responsibility they have to take and not someone they loved.
Does this excuse his actions? No, I’m simply pointing out that this tragedy could have been avoided had anyone involved treated him like a human being that may have issues in the first place. Any mental illness Carneal has today is because of the emotional abuse he received during a large amount of his life. So what does this have to do with video games? Well this was the first appearance of Jack Thompson to the world stage. Even though most courts recognized his claim as categorically bullshit. As such when this case not only started to show Carneal as a potentially sympathetic individual, a victim in his own right, and that the influence of video games on the shooting was non-existent, most of the coverage stopped. Why? Because their scapegoat was falling apart.
Now I covered before about the Legacy Media’s fear of gamers being because of that competition I mentioned earlier here. So one must ask, why do they bring up school shootings nearly every time that they try to demonize them? That’s because of the consistently false narrative of video games being primarily for children. They’ve worked to create groups with the government like DiGRA to over take video games to program children. The problem is that in the now 45 year history of video games as a popular media format nothing they’ve tried worked. Gamers kept getting to see through the narratives at a core level. Now the MSM is going double time and failing because quite frankly, now the gamers are parents. The gamers are raising gamer babies and destroying the demonization of the medium once and for all. More than that, this is a case that shows quite clearly society’s disdain for the mental health of boys and men, as media ignored that aspect of the story.
Also, even though this case does classify as a school shooting since it was a school affiliated prayer circle at the beginning of a school day, the number of shootings are artificially inflated to make the situation sound worse to reinforce their narrative. Not all shootings on the premises of a school are school shootings. Don’t let them lie to you or about you, please!
Now for the sake of the people I know and talked to I won’t specify who gave me the insights that I have on the issue. I’ll just say this, none of the survivors need to have this dredged up again to them. They’ve moved on, some of them even live in other countries now. Plus what they told me was done in the confidence that I’d keep their identities private. I’m sure all of you anons out there can appreciate that. If we ever get to the point to where Honey Badger Brigade can support more on-site interviews and you are all interested enough, perhaps I’ll interview Carneal myself, get the story from his perspective. I think this would be a major boon to help figure out some of the pathology behind some mass shooters. Now in interest of the coming 2oth anniversary of the tragedy I will say that I do feel for ALL the victims in this situation, no matter where they were standing at the time. Until next time please remember to Game Freely!
Latest posts by Alex Tinsley (see all)
- Breaking the Narrative Episode 76: Is It The 90’s Again? Really Governor Bevin? - February 19, 2018
- Breaking the Narrative Episode 75: Its Been Some Time AniFem. The Art and the Artist Argument! - February 12, 2018
- Breaking the Narrative Episode 74: Hitting Close to Home. On the Marshall County High School Tragedy. - February 5, 2018