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As with sports, the competitive atmosphere of online gaming leads to a lot of trash talking. In fact, there’s even more trash talking than in sports because of the anonymity of the Internet. There’s no fear of offending your opponents if you’ll never meet them face-to-face, right? Well, one college student in Maryland went overboard in his trash-talking during a Call of Duty 4 match earlier this week and ended up in handcuffs.
According to the Cumberland Times-News, Allieu Shaw, a student at Frostburg State University in Maryland was playing COD4 on Monday night over Xbox Live when he suddenly started telling the other players via headset that he was going to “shoot up the school.” He supposedly went on to describe how he would shoot up the unspecified school. An Oregon gamer in the same match took the threat very seriously and called police. After tracking Shaw down with help from Microsoft and the local internet service provider, Maryland police arrived at his FSU dorm on Tuesday morning and placed him under arrest. He is currently on interim suspension until the university holds an administrative hearing. In addition, two misdemeanor counts of disrupting a school operation were leveled against the 19-year-old, with a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine up to $5,000.
Shaw denies any intent to shoot up a school, and no weapons were found in his home. It seems like he’s a gamer who got too wrapped up in his game. He apparently doesn’t know how to trash talk, either. “I’m going to shoot up a school” just seems like an odd phrase to throw out there when you’re trying to taunt an opponent. Maybe it made a bit more sense in context but I doubt it, considering how inane the average chatter in video games is.
It’s a story that just makes me want to tear my hair out, though. Ever since the two teenage perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre were identified as fans of DOOM, the media has portrayed violent video games as being inspirational (or even educational) to twisted youths who decide to attack their own schools. Soon after any such shooting, the press always gets around to discussing what video games (or movies or music) the assailant enjoyed. An incident like this just keeps that association fresh in everyone’s minds. In other words, way to perpetuate the stereotype, buddy. Next time just insult their mother, race, religion, gender, and/or body type and call it a day.