Once I was what they now call a "gamer," meaning someone into playing video games, specifically computer-driven.
The Pac-Man machine was set up at the east end of the long, wooden bar one flight above Chancellor Street, a bar where star Daily News columnists Pete Dexter and Jack McKinney would sometimes sit late into the night butting heads, like goats. Yes, they already had a load on by the time they reached the P&P.
The Pac-Man contest was a doubles competition, and I was paired with a guy named Francesco. He was a wizard at the control stick, because he played a few hours every night, memorizing the pattern of the little yellow gobbler as it moved from level to level. Francesco probably spent as much money on the game as he would have on a Buick Skylark. In the contest, he and I knocked off all comers, none of whom pulled a gun and started blasting.
That brings us to 24-year-old David Katz in Jacksonville, Fla., a sorer loser than Tom Brady. After being beaten in Madden NFL 19 in a restaurant-sponsored tournament Sunday, he went out to his car, got a pistol, walked back inside, and started shooting. He killed two people and wounded 10 others before taking his own life.
I guess Twitter lit up with tweets about male toxicity and white privilege. Not to mention the large number of guns in our society (which is a fact) and that we are a gun culture (which is not). Only about one-third of Americans own guns, according to one major survey.
In any event, our country is loaded with 300 million firearms, which means people who use them wrongfully are an infinitesimal fraction of 1 percent. But they can do a lot of damage.
So we have to ask ourselves about a culture in which a guy loses a dopey video game and then kills others and himself.
But so different as to have video games foment homicide?
Katz's parents told the sheriff that their son had mental issues. He had been in mental hospitals, which raises the question of how he got legal possession of the guns he bought within the past month. The fact that he passed a background check suggests that his mental health issues were not reported to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
Reporting is not mandatory, and that is a huge loophole. Even the NRA agrees that crazy people should not have access to guns, so we need Congress to make reporting mental health issues mandatory.
As to this tragedy, do we blame gamer rage? It's apparently a thing, with cures mirroring those for other forms of bad temper.
Do we blame gun-friendly Florida? Mental disorder? The gun? The man?