A plot to have a massacre at the 12th Pokemon World Championships has just been foiled. A link to the news story is here.
I’m happy that the Boston Police stopped these guys. While it’s easy to get cynical and think that police like to let power go to their heads, they do make communities much safer. I hate to think what might have happened if the would-be gunmen weren’t stopped.
As for the two would-be gunmen, they were competitors who had received invitations to worlds. One of them posted a picture of a hunting rifle on Facebook and said that they were “ready for Worlds”. The other joked about “killing the competition”.
One might think that it was just a joke between the two. If that were the case, it’s a vintage bad joke.
The two would-be gunmen might not have been bad at playing Pokemon (they did receive Worlds invitations), but they evidently didn’t understand the public nature of social media. The two attempted to gain entry into Worlds, but for a possibly unrelated reason, they were turned away and were slapped with “No Trespass” orders. The convention center security contacted the Boston Police Department, who were aware of their Facebook exchange, and they detained the two.
Bravo, Boston Police Department!
As it turns out, the two weren’t joking in their Facebook exchange. Boston Police found firearms in the two’s vehicle, and the two were arrested.
When you think about Pokemon, what do you think about? Maybe you think about cute, colorful hug-em-squeeze-ems that can breath fire and expel electricity. Maybe you think about dragons and whales wrestling for sport. You probably wouldn’t associate Pokemon with some guys who flip out and decide to kill a bunch of kids. As it turns out, there are some pretty messed-up people out there.
Pokemon is a game about friendship and adventure. In the Pokemon fanbase, there is a sense of energy and enthusiasm that makes it different from other game communities that I’ve seen. Pokemon players are less likely to become intellectual tyrants and instead encourage players that seem to be struggling. Because of this, it’s surprising that someone who plays Pokemon would seriously consider carrying out a mass murder. But, again, there are some messed-up people out there.
While it’s surprising enough that such a person existed in the Pokemon community, it’s more jarring still that two such people met one another and encouraged one another to carry out their sick murder fantasy. In the years that I’ve played Pokemon, I have never seen anything close to the kind of attitude that the two would-be gunmen exhibited.
However, there is a bright side to this. The Pokemon community, as well as the community at large, is much safer thanks to the efforts of the Boston Police.
As for the two failed terrorists, they’re probably finding out that Pokemon isn’t very popular in prison. One of the big games in prison is Poker. Not that they’ll be the ones playing; guys like them are typically used as bets.
I know that there are people out there who would use this incident to attempt to further their political agenda, saying things like “this is why guns should be banned”. No, it isn’t. This is why spanking a misbehaving child is a good idea. Doing stupid things like counting to five or ten only encourages your children to act up, because you’re establishing a limit that is very easy to push, and demonstrates to them that you’re too lazy to administer an actual punishment. Children have a hard time understanding an explanation as to why acting out is wrong, but they do understand when something hurts. Use that to discourage negative behavior, and in time, they’ll figure out the relationship between bad behavior and bad results. Besides, if you spank your child, you won’t kill them.
And if you spank your child, you’ll be far less likely to suffer the shame and disgrace of being the parent of some deviant that fired a gun at some kids playing games. Preventative measures are better than long-term regrets.
As for those who are worried about the safety of the Pokemon community, it’s much safer now that two would-be killers are locked up. The news may be jarring, but you can continue enjoying Pokemon.
UPDATE: I have made a separate entry with additional thoughts on this matter. It might be that the two men weren’t conspiring to carry out a mass shooting, after all.