According to IGN, EA has decided to cancel the rest of the Madden tournament in the wake of the Jacksonville shooting on August 26th. The incident in which a disgruntled player, David Katz, shot and killed three other competitors, has been something of a wake-up call for gaming companies and event organizers of the need to have stricter security checks at major tournaments.
EA’s CEO, Andrew Wilson, announced in an official statement that they will be cancelling the event in order to reanalyze their security protocols. Here are his exact words:
“We have made the decision to cancel our three remaining Madden Classic qualifier events while we run a comprehensive review of safety protocols for competitors and spectators. We will work with our partners and our internal teams to establish a consistent level of security at all of our competitive gaming events.”
In addition to his words regarding the issue of security, Wilson also wrote about the loss of Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton, two Madden competitors who had been heavily involved in the game’s community.
“First and foremost, it is an unthinkable tragedy that Taylor Robertson and Elijah Clayton, two of our top Madden competitors, lost their lives in this way. They were respected, positive and skilled competitors, the epitome of the players and personalities at the heart of our community. Their love of competition was evident through their participation in our events over the past few years. We are committed to supporting Taylor and Elijah’s families through this difficult time, and we send our deepest sympathies to their loved ones, to those injured yesterday, and everyone affected.”
He concluded his letter noting that this is the first time the gaming community as a whole has been affected by a shooting. Given this to be the case, I have no doubt that all gaming companies and event organizers will be spending the time to double check their security protocols of their next upcoming event.
From my perspective, it seems that increasing and improving security measures may be the only way to minimize the risks of similar shootings occurring in the future. While it’s easy to turn the story in a political one where we debate the obvious issue of gun control, ultimately, I think that’s barely scratching the surface of the true problem – people who have no ability to make rational judgements. Stricter gun control to me is a no brainer. It’s far too easy for sick people to able to acquire guns. Still, these same people could just as easily use other weapons to take lives. Assuming Katz didn’t have access to a gun, the guy could have rented a truck and run over his intended targets or use a kitchen knife to stab them. Sure, you minimize the casualties, but even so, you’re still talking about the guy succeeding in killing at least one person. That’s one person too many.
The bigger issue here is how to recognize and deal with mentally unstable, illogical people who have bizarre reactions to seemingly minor issues. Losing in a video game is something that happens to millions of people every single day. After losing a heated match, how many gamers would actually go out and kill our opponent if they could? I’d like to believe that number is small, but given that roughly 50% of people with severe psychiatric disorders aren’t being treated, it’s hard to say for sure. The way I see it is that it’s a lot more feasible to prevent shootings by beefing up security, as opposed to getting gun control laws changed or improving our ability to identify and get mentally unstable people treated. Unfortunately, that’s just the state America is in right now.
Featured Image Source: EASports