Culture Fail: High School Bombings Are Not Video Games, Mr. Haroldson

From an early age, American school children begin to be indoctrinated with several ideas about where they live, where they come from and who they are. Honestly, it isn’t a bad message in intention. And as long as you can block out the “American is the greatest ever and can do no wrong!” stuff, as well as the forced allegiance-pledging in some places, it can remain a good message over time. When I was 15, I was ejected from a classroom for not saying the pledge—granted, I also chose that moment to stand on my desk and clap text books together. But this isn’t so much a reflection on this sort of wonky aspect of our national heritage, as it is a more specific look at a current event.


Just the other day news broke that one Grant Acord, a seventeen year old attending local West Albany High School, was arrested after police received a tip that he was making a bomb and was threatening to kill his classmates and teachers. When police took action, they found half a dozen explosive devices of varying designs. When seeking out more information, I came across some comments by a Benton County District Attorney by the name of John Haroldson.

“In any case that you have a young person that in essence plans to take a video game approach to killing people at a school, you have to take a close look at the mental health issues,” he said.

Obviously there are greater issues at hand here, but why the hell are officials such as Mr. Haroldson still relying on a vague and frankly obnoxious reference to video games? I’m no gamer, but I’ve played enough of them to wonder why I can’t remember building Drano(tm) bombs in Super Smash Bros. Brawl or even Call Of Duty. When researching the topic, I found several dozen major studies dating back to 1984 and the most damning of them all just claimed elevated aggression. When Star Fox came out, I got aggressive when I couldn’t play it.

My point here is that this cliché is at least twenty-eight years old at this point. And even then, this guy wasn’t even attempting to use the reference in a useful way. You can only beat a dead horse for so long before it has turned to dust and you’re left there taking pot shots at the ground. Not only does it make you look stupid, but it robs a terrible situation of one more way of being taken as seriously as it deserves. It is growing increasingly important, it seems, to protect the humanity behind even the most heinous acts so that we can keep our own humanity in tact.

By Johnny Beaver

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