New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang has a message posted on his website in response to the deadly Jason Robida rampage that began last week in a gay bar in New Bedford and ended on Saturday with a police shootout in Arkansas that left a police officer, a West Virginia woman and Robida himself dead. The mayor's statement reads in part:
"This was a hate crime... the actions of a single deranged individual act as a wake up call to our community and once again the nation... This cycle of violence must stop. The guns have to come off the streets. The violent video games have to be taken out of our homes."
We can appreciate that Mayor Lang feels the need to make a response. However, we've yet to see any reports linking Robida to violent games, although there is ample evidence he was into racial hatred, neo-Nazism, and apparently hatred of gays as well. He was a disturbed kid who was no stranger to the local police.
There's also a bit of a disconnect between "a single deranged individual" and removing violent games from everyone's home. Unless we're misreading Lang's release, he is not blaming games for Robida's rampage. Rather he appears to be making some type of generalized statement regarding what he calls "this cycle of violence."
In any case, we're sure to hear more about Robida's motivations, since the mainstream media is all over this high-profile case. If there turns out to be evidence that this twisted, homicidal maniac was also into violent games, we'll report that. If he wasn't, we'll report that too.
In the meantime, we've seen Robida's MySpace web site. In fact, that's where the creepy picture of Robida that accompanies this article was found. While there are a lot of violent, racist and Nazi references on Robida's MySpace, not one word about games can be found.
UPDATE: Our old pal Jack Thompson posted a comment to this article pointing out that today's Boston Herald makes mention that Robida was a gamer. No mention of what he played, however. Nor does a passing mention of video games in Saturday's Boston Globe say what titles Robida may have favored. Nintendogs? GTA San Andreas? Madden? Hopefully, more facts will emerge. As always, check GamePolitics for the truth.