Tag Archives: tragedy

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U.S. Foreign Service Officer Killed in Libya, a Gamer. Honored by His EVE Guild Mates.

Sean Smith is one of the named fatalities in the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya. It has since come out that Smith, a father of two and 10 year Foreign Service Officer, goes by the online name “Vile Rat” in EVE Online, a popular online video game. When news broke about his death, an outpouring of support and emotions flooded sites including Reddit.

Alex Gianturco, a long-time friend and the leader of Smith’s guild in EVE Online, called him a “dedicated public servant who was extremely influential within his community.” Smith used his diplomatic skills not just offline, but online, shaping the game in ways that are still felt today in how he interacted with other players and his involvement in events that have shaped that world. Many within the game showed their respect.  One commenter said:

We are more than a community, we are a family and when news of tragedy hits, we know to set aside our differences in game and mourn together as people.

Gianturco closes his post:

I’m clearly in shock as I write this as everything is buzzing around my head funnily and I feel kind of dead inside. I’m not sure if this is how I’m supposed to react to my friend being killed by a mob in a post-revolutionary Libya, but it’s pretty awful and Sean was a great guy and he was a goddamned master at this game we all play, even though a lot of people may not realize how significant an influence he had. It seems kind of trivial to praise a husband, father, and overall badass for his skills in an internet spaceship game but that’s how most of us know him, so there you go.

For those who might condemn video games or make fun of the “geeks” out there, realize many are protecting our freedoms every day, and unfortunately some give their lives for that protection.

Image via themittani.com.

Update: The Entertainment Consumers Association, an non-profit membership organization that represents consumers of interactive entertainment in the US and Canada, released a statement by Jennifer Mercurio, Vice President and Counsel

What has happened in Libya is a tragedy by any measure. Its sadness strains us as Americans and humans.

That one of our own was taken from us, that he was one of the most eloquently ambassadorial voices in the gaming worlds, who used his real world diplomatic training to bring peace within EVE, strikes an even deeper chord within the gaming world. We at ECA send our deepest condolences to all of the families of the victims of this wretched event.

Full Disclosure: Brett Schenker is a consultant for the ECA

Update 2: Wired’s Danger Room has a great piece about Smith, his impact and how the gaming and online community are reacting to the loss.

First Lawsuit Filed Over The Dark Knight Rises Shooting

Dark Knight Rises Teaser PosterThe first lawsuit (and I’m expecting more) filed over the Aurora, Colorado shooting tragedy has been filed. The lawsuit was filed by a movie goer who was in the building, not in the actual theater where the shooting occurred.  TMZ is reporting that Torrence Brown Jr. was in theater 16 at the time of the shooting. The shooting occurred in theater 9. One of Brown’s best friends, A.J. Boik, was shot in the chest and died.  Brown, who was not physically injured, claims to now suffer from extreme trauma. Brown has hired attorney Donald Karpel to sue for damages for the extreme trauma he suffered and continues to suffer.

The suit targets three parties. The theater, which is claimed was negligent in leaving the emergency exit doors at the rear of the theater unguarded by alarm or person, Holmes’ doctors, who Karpel says prescribed drugs Holmes was on during the shooting and for which they failed to monitor him (though Karpel says “appears” which means there’s no evidence he was on anything, just speculation), and Warner Brothers. Warner Bros. is implicated because the violence in the movie confused those in attendance who thought the shooting was part of the movie and the shooter James Holmes mimicked scenes in the movie. Never mind Holmes had never seen the movie, since it was the debut night. Karpel says:

Somebody has to be responsible for the rampant violence that is shown today.

I’m expecting the lawsuit to be thrown out, and it’s sad someone is trying to literally profit off of the tragedy. My question is where is the lawsuit for the gun and/or bullet manufacturers, those who sold them or even the State who allowed the purchase? Hell while we’re at it, go for even crazier and sue DC Comics for publishing Batman comics or Bob Kane for creating the character…

Warner Bros. To Donate To Colorado Victims

Dark Knight Rises Teaser PosterWarner Bros. has announced they’ll be making donations to charities supporting victims of the Aurora, Colorado tragedy. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the studio behind The Dark Knight Rises has contacted Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper‘s office. They’ll be donating to a fund identified by the Governor on the website givingfirst.org, which is a program of Colorado’s Community First Foundation.

The fund distributes funds across charities that will support victims of the shooting. The studio won’t release the amount, only calling it “substantial.”

Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer sent an email to employees letting them know about the donation and how they could personally donate too.

I have to throw props to Warner Bros. who acted quickly post tragedy, pulling advertisements, cancelling the Paris premiere and declining to release the box office results out of respect. They’ve shown a sensitivity you rarely see from corporations, for that they should be commended.

3 More Incidents Surrounding The Dark Knight Rises

Dark Knight Rises Teaser PosterCoincidence, stupidity and a sort-of copycat, there’s been three more “incidents” surrounding The Dark Knight Rises. This all comes after the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado at a midnight screening of the movie.

A Maine man was arrested after he told authorities he was on his way to shoot his former employer. This comes a day after watching The Dark Knight Rises. The suspect was stopped for speeding at which point his care was searched. Police then found an AK-47 assault rifle, four handguns and newspaper clippings about the Colorado tragedy. The suspect said he saw the movie, but police haven’t confirmed it. After a search of the suspect’s home, police found more guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. The FBI and ATF have been called in due to the weapons found.

In Southern California, a man was arrested Sunday afternoon after he made references to Aurora and threats when the movie wouldn’t start. The man is quoted as saying “I should go off like in Colorado” and then asked “Does anybody have a gun?” The man had a backpack and when searched no weapons were found. To me, sounds like an insensitive asshole more than anything.

In Arizona, 50 movie goers panicked and fled a showing of the movie when a man who appeared intoxicated was confronted during the movie. An off-duty Border Patrol agent tackled the suspect who also had a backpack. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and threatening and intimidating. This shows the jitters folks are feeling now.

Despite those jitters, the movie has done well opening as the third highest opening movie with $160.9 million over the weekend.

Life Imitates Art In The Dark Knight Returns Theater Shoot-Out

Yesterday a tragedy befell those attending a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. In an unfortunate case of life imitating art, a scene in the 1986 graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns also depicts a shooting in a theater. The graphic novel was written by Frank Miller.

In the scene a mentally ill man who believes Led Zeppelin is trying to kill him opens fire in a movie theater, killing three.

Christopher Nolan Releases a Statement On The Dark Knight Rises Tragedy

Director and writer of The Dark Knight Rises Christopher Nolan issued a statement about the tragedy that occurred earlier today in Colorado.

Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community.

I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime.

The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me.

Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.

Flashback: The Warriors Debuts to Violence and Death

With news of the needless deaths and injuries this early morning at The Dark Knight Rises, I can’t help but think about violence at another movie’s debut, The Warriors, which later became a comic book and video games. Doing some digging, the movie not only caused violence but also lead to the death of three individuals, “triggered by the film.”

“If someone comes to a movie with a gun, who’s at fault?” asks Warriors’ film editor David Holden. Someone did just that at a drive-in showing on the night of February 12 in Palm Springs, Calif. and killed a teenager. Some 165 miles away, on the same night, an 18-year-old bled to death in a darkened theater in Oxnard, Calif. after being knifed by an unruly gang. And three nights later a Boston high school student was murdered outside a subway station, allegedly by two young men who had just come from the film.

This lead to the movie distributor to offer to pay for increased security for movie theaters, a few took them up on that.

People Magazine has a great archived article going over some of what happened.

President Obama’s Statement on the Dark Knight Rises Shooting

President Obama has released the following statement about the tragedy in Colorado. He has canceled campaign plans today and will be making a live statement later this morning.

Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.

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