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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 17, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

National Recap: Gunman kills two at gaming tournament

The push for gun control has been reignited after a shooter opened fire during a Madden video game tournament, leaving two people dead and 11 injured, in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday, Aug. 26.

The shooting took place at the GLHF Game Bar at Jacksonville Landing, an open-air shopping and dining complex along the St. Johns River, where the tournament was being held. According to Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams, the shooter first opened fire on those competing in the tournament, then shot himself.

The two people killed in the shooting were 22-year-old Elijah Clayton, known online as “Trueboy,” and 28-year-old Taylor Robertson, known as “SpotMePlzzz.”

In the attack, 10 people received gunshot wounds and one person received a non-gunshot injury, according to Williams. He also stated all of the people who were injured are expected to survive.

“As bad as this is, it could have been much worse,” Williams told reporters.  

The shooting was partially livestreamed by fans of the gaming tournament who were watching it through the streaming site Twitch. Streamers were able to briefly hear the gunshots and gamers screaming before the livestream was cut off.

The shooter was 24-year-old David Katz, who had a history of mental illness and was hospitalized twice, according to court documents on the case. Despite this, he was still able to legally purchase two firearms in Baltimore, the shooter’s hometown.

According to authorities, the shooter’s motives are still being investigated and have not yet been released to the public. However, Williams stated the shooter was clearly aiming for other gamers. Additionally, according to one of the survivors of the shooting, Alexander Madunic, the shooter was visibly upset after losing a game in the tournament.

In addition to reigniting the conversation about gun control, this shooting in particular also brought the discussion of violence in video games and the behaviors they encourage to light. This is an issue that has been brought up repeatedly in American culture, particularly from the parents and guardians of young children and adolescents. Video game violence has even captured the attention of President Donald Trump, who said we need to better monitor the type of content children are exposed to. Violence in video games is also considered an official risk factor for aggression, according to the American Psychological Association.

This incident has also reopened the discussion of gun violence in Florida as a whole. Given the state has seen several mass shootings in the past few years — including the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting last year and the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016 — the state is feeling pressure to take further action to remedy its gun violence situation.

“We have got to change,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott told reporters on Aug. 26. “We’ve really got to stop and say to ourselves, there’s something wrong.”

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was injured in a mass shooting in the past, also commented on the state’s problem with gun control in a tweet.

“The nation once again looks to Florida with grief and heavy hearts,” Giffords stated. “The massacre in Jacksonville is yet another devastating indictment of this country’s inability to keep our kids safe.”

Meredith Burke can be reached at mburke@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @meredithsburke