Escondido, CA

Who Is Being Gamed?

Observations by RICK ELKIN

Have investigators looked into the daily activities of these rogue gunman that ruthlessly shoot innocent people and then commit suicide? We always hear about their manifestos on how the world is against them and they cannot control their rage. Politicians then postulate that if we confiscated more guns this wouldn’t happen.

There may be a bunch of ways we could assure ourselves that this could never happen again: we could imprison all young white men. We could have armed guards at every public business, sports event, or school. We could have everyone’s arms amputated.

There is a common thread, we just haven’t discovered it yet. Guns are a problem, but they are also a necessary part of our freedom. But guns have been around much longer than this relatively recent tsunami of carnage. During the Old West and the Roaring Twenties guns were used in local land and gang turf wars. But no one shot up groups of innocent women and children just to watch them die. And after gun battles, the winners didn’t commit mass suicide. Besides, many countries, states and cities have stringent gun control laws, and the evidence contradicts their effectiveness. Mexico has a strong federal no-gun policy, yet the state of Sinaloa is one of the most gun violent places on Earth. 

The question has to be asked, what has happened in the past twenty-five years that has caused such an enormous upsurge in single shooter events? What is driving these individuals to viciously murder dozens of innocent people and then end their own lives? Why do they always act alone? Without warning? Why do they want this to be their legacy? 

I don’t have the answers, but I do have some observations: society still thinks video games are not dangerous. We think it is OK for young men to spend hours watching simulated war games featuring video shooting galleries with other humans as targets, or watching women being tortured and raped, or street crimes like car theft, hijacking, burglary, bank robbery or drug dealing, and to do this day after day, hour after hour, and think it has no psychological impact? Just last year 24-year-old male shot two other gamers to death at a high stakes video game tournament.

Here’s your sign….

“Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill” by Dave Grossman, a well-researched and notated book about this subject, originally published in 1999, tells an ominous story about video brainwashing. Grossman and his co-author Gloria Degaetano (CEO/Co-Founder of the Parent Coaching Institute) spell out the original purpose of video gaming technology and how it was designed to desensitize users for future warfare effectiveness. The military inventors of the video technology wanted to use it to create killing machines.

Now our leaders dismiss this phenomenon as irrelevant to our mass murder culture. They can’t both be right. As a multi-billion-dollar business, the widespread distribution of these super violent “Video Games” has reached every corner of our culture. Within that group of millions and millions of young men, there are bound to be some really vulnerable sickos.

If and when authorities do their due-diligence and look at the daily activities of mass murderers like Stephen Paddock at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, or Patrick Krusias at the El Paso Walmart, or Conner Betts in Ohio, they may well find out what they all had in common.

Instead of confiscating guns or amputating everyone’s arms, maybe we should think about controlling the psychological brainwashing young people undergo disguised as innocent gaming.

Rick Elkin is a cultural and media observer, author and columnist. His most recent book, Trump’s Reckoning: Bulldozing Progressivism, Rebuilding Americanism, is available through most online book sellers. He resides in Escondido, California. You can follow him at or on Twitter @Rick_Elkin.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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