A gunman opened fire today during a Madden 19 esports tournament in Jacksonville, Florida.
A notification from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office state that there was a “mass shooting” at the GLHF Game Bar, resulting “multiple fatalities” at the scene and “many” people being transported to hospital.
— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) August 26, 2018
CNN reports that the suspected gunman has been identified as 24-year-old David Katz, who was found dead at the scene.
Additional reporting from local news outlet News 4 Jax states that Katz was a competitive gamer who was part of the Madden 19 tournament. Reports state that he opened fire at the event with a semiautomatic handgun before taking his own life.
In a press briefing, Sheriff Mike Williams stated that the suspect was deceased at the scene and there are no outstanding suspects. Two other fatalities were also confirmed, along with 13 injuries resulting from the shooting.
#TheLandingMassShooting – Three deceased individuals were located at the scene, one being the suspect.
-11 with gunshot wounds
-2 with other injuries
1 suspect deceased https://t.co/qBJvkaO7xT
— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) August 27, 2018
Drini Gjoka was one of the players injured in the shooting and he later took to Twitter to explain what happened during the incident.
I am literally so lucky. The bullet hit my thumb
— Drini (@Drini) August 26, 2018
Videos shared to Twitter shows two participants competing in the Madden 19 tournament. A red dot is seen on one of the player’s chests before the footage is cut and numerous gunshots are heard in the background.
Just a warning: that footage is chilling and horrific.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Twitter was flooded with prayers, thoughts, and condolences.
This is a horrible situation, and our deepest sympathies go out to all involved.
— Madden NFL 20 (@EAMaddenNFL) August 26, 2018
We are saddened by today’s tragedy in Jacksonville, Florida. There is no place for this sort of violence. Our deepest condolences go out to those affected by today’s events.
— ESL (@ESL) August 26, 2018
We are deeply saddened to hear of the shooting that took place at a Madden Tournament this afternoon in Jacksonville, Florida.
We want to express our condolences to the victims and extend our support to everyone impacted by this tragic event.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) August 26, 2018
We are incredibly saddened by the events that occurred in Jacksonville. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and those affected.
The gaming family is strong, and we are all behind you.
— Esports Arena (@EsportsArena) August 26, 2018
Jacksonville is just the latest in a near-constant series of horrific mass shootings that have occurred in America over the past months and years, and we can easily predict what will happen in the following days.
Thoughts and prayers will be tweeted by everyone, talk about sensible gun control will be brought up only to be shot down by politicians and lobbyists, and those in power will attempt to shift the conversation towards other issues that were the “real” cause for the shooting – such as video game violence and toxicity.
It’s happened so frequently over the past year or so that a mass shooting’s aftermath can be broken down like a formula. It’s horribly depressing and simply ridiculous.
Prayers up to Jacksonville
— SUB ZERO (@CardoGotWings) August 26, 2018
But the predictable attempts to spin the Jacksonville shooting as a result of a ridiculous thing like “video game violence” or “violence culture” must be resisted.
Every time there is a mass shooting in the US, there just happens to be something other than the ready availability of guns that certain people try to blame instead: video games, heavy metal, mental illness, feminism, political correctness.
Some of those are actually worth addressing – mental health support, mainly – but not as an excuse not to address the one factor that sets American culture apart.
Talk about the real problem at hand: guns and the lack of gun control in America.
It’s always guns, and it never will not be about guns. Keep the spotlight on that pressing issue.
In the wake of this gun shooting with guns, people are going to want to talk about games instead of guns, a lack of security instead of guns, toxicity instead of guns, a culture of violence instead of guns. Don't. Talk about guns. It's guns.
— David Milner (@DaveMilbo) August 26, 2018
Any correlation between violent behaviour and video games likely has more to do with the fixations and habits of socially maladjusted young men in 2018 than the direct effects of spending a few too many hours a day playing Call Of Duty.
There’s no doubt that toxic behaviour is a major issue in gaming communities, and of course rumours are already swirling about mental health and social problems for the suspected gunman.
But put it this way: in Australia, a country with strict gun laws, that guy would not have had a handgun on him at a Madden tournament.
Keep those thoughts and prayers for another time. Instead, don’t let the Jacksonville shooting become about anything other than guns and the need for gun control.