It’s been over a week since we’ve heard news of a possible massacre which supposedly would have taken place at the Pokemon World Championships which were held in Boston this year. Since then, we’ve had time to consider the information presented to us. While I reacted strongly to the news (as did a lot of people), I’ve had some time to consider the information presented, and I actually have doubts that there was any real danger to any attendees of the PWC.
Was there any danger to PWC attendees? At this point, that’s something for investigators to figure out. However, a number of members of the Pokemon community already seem convinced of their guilt. This might actually be mistaken, and I admit that my quick reaction to the news may have been likewise mistaken. This is something that can happen when we are presented with news that sounds shocking and hits close to home. We are prone to overreacting.
In the case of the supposedly-thwarted massacre at the PWC that theoretically could have taken place, there are several mitigating factors that one can find if one were to carefully read the news stories (keeping in mind, of course, that many news outlets omit such important information altogether to present a story more fitting with the personal bias of it’s journalists).
For one thing, consider what these two men are charged with: according to BostonGlobe.com, the two men are charged with “unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and other firearm charges.” Why? Because the two men couldn’t produce a license to carry the weapons.
That’s it. No conspiracy to commit terrorism or similar charges.
If the two were really conspiring to commit a terrorist act, the lack of an appropriate charge for having done so would have been a serious omission. But there was no such charge. What this suggests is that the authorities have considered the information presented to them, and decided that there was no intent to commit a terrorist act.
Another point to consider is that the two men did not carry the guns into the convention center with them. Here is a question: If two people had the intention of carrying out a mass shooting, wouldn’t they want to take their guns with them? Of course they would. But they didn’t. And what this suggests is that the story of the two being gun aficionados who wanted to visit a shooting range after the tournament is actually plausible. It’s supported by the fact that, when attempting to gain entry to the event, they left their guns in the car.
Next point is the nature of the firearms and how the ammunition was packaged. Of the two guns pictured in BostonGlobe.com’s story, one is a shotgun, the other is a rifle, and the ammunition was not stored in bags. The weapons in question would have been more fitting for a hunting trip than for an urban assault. Such guns would quickly run out of ammunition, presenting an opportunity for people to stop them as the weapons were reloaded. And because the ammunition wasn’t stored in bags, there was no indication of any intent to carry the ammunition on their persons in a theoretical shooting. This evidence suggests that the two really did have the intention of visiting a shooting range after the tournament.
Considering this, fellow Pokemon fans, we shouldn’t be so quick to string these two men up by their toes. Careful consideration of the evidence suggests that they may not have had any malicious intent, after all.
Another point to think about is the fact that these two men really seemed to be Pokemon fans. Think about it: These two weren’t just passive Pokemon players, they received invitations to Worlds. That’s something that not every Pokemon fan can claim to have done. So it’s not like these were two guys that were some Pokemon-haters who were out to discourage Pokemon fans from enjoying their favorite game (with a mass-shooting, of all things). Furthermore, the two belonged to a Pokemon fan group on Facebook. Considering these things, do these two seem like the kind of people who would want to have a shootout at an organized Pokemon event? I don’t think so.
“But what of the evidence to the contrary?” What evidence would that be? Some might point out that the name of their Facebook group was “Mayhem Pokemon Crew”. And? It’s yet another Facebook fan group with an edgy-sounding name. There are a lot of gaming groups with edgy names like that. They are usually so named, not because there is a desire among it’s members for wrong-doing, but just to give their group a sort of appeal.
“But what about the joke about ‘killing the competition’?” It would seem that the two made a really bad joke, and they underestimated people’s capacities to take it seriously. And that they took it seriously wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; making such jokes with weapons makes people seriously consider the safety of people near them. But by the looks of it, it really was just a joke, even if a bad one.
It seems like the Pokemon community generally wants to see these two men locked away, and the liberal media doesn’t seem to care much to discourage them considering that, in turn, this story is being reworked by people with an agenda that involves rewriting the constitution of our republic to take away the right to possess weapons.
The court of people’s minds have already assigned guilt where there might not actually be any.
Considering the information that’s been presented to me so far concerning the two men accused by so many of plotting a massacre at the Pokemon World Championships, I am not convinced that the two actually had any intention of carrying out a shooting at the event.
It would appear as though the only charges that the two men face concern their possession of firearms without a permit, and other firearms charges. This is a matter that is in the hands of the justice system. As for us Pokemon fans, it might actually be mistaken to assign guilt, considering that the evidence points to the two men not being a danger to the Worlds event.
We might find out more about the supposed would-be shooting soon. Until then, it would seem that the two men might be innocent of what so many are accusing them of. I know that people are jittery concerning the recent increase in mass shootings, but it might be that, in this case, there’s no guilt.
As the old saying goes, “It’s better for twelve guilty men to go free than one innocent man be condemned.” That’s something to think about.
UPDATE (9/2/2015): The two would-be shooters have been denied bail. Because of this, the two will be held for about 4 months, the time it would take before their trial would take place.
It would seem that the Facebook conversation between the two wasn’t the only time that the two had joked about guns. There is an ongoing investigation into whether there was a potential mass-casualty situation. That’s something that still seems unsure, but that doesn’t mean that those viewing the case from the outside looking in aren’t already convinced of their guilt. It really doesn’t look good for the two right now, however. That these two have engaged in threatening gun jokes before means that there is at least something wrong with their sense of humor. What’s more, there is also an ongoing investigation into whether one of the two engaged in cyberbullying. If that turns out to be the case, that would make the two look even worse. That’s one of those things that the public hears about and gets sick of pretty quick. That would contribute much more to the desire to make an example out of the two.
The way things are looking, the two have an established history of making threatening gun jokes on the internet, and the matter culminated in the two being found to have brought near an event the same guns that they posted a picture of while making a joke threatening the safety of the event attendees. It really doesn’t look good for these two. Based on the information provided, it’s not surprising that the two were denied bail.
At this point, however, the most serious charges against them concern their possession of firearms and ammunition without permits. They still don’t officially face charges for conspiring to commit a mass murder. At this point, however, it’s hard to tell just what their motives were. That “they seem crazy” is not sufficient to convict someone for conspiring to commit a mass murder, there needs to be substantial evidence for that. However, the history of the two’s online interactions seem sufficient to deny them bail.
The two had a lawyer, who insisted that the two didn’t have any intent to cause harm. However, intent is a hard thing for people to measure. What the two joked about (if they were joking) was a pretty serious matter concerning the safety of a number of people. So it’s not a surprise that the two failed a dangerousness hearing.
What becomes of the two is up for the justice system to decide. For those wondering why I made a post that appeared to defend these two: It wasn’t my intention to defend what either of these two did that may have been wrong. Personally, I find the mentality of those who are out for blood a little distasteful, and I pointed out that there are mitigating factors to this case. Whether the two were guilty of plotting to carry out a mass-murder is something that I still don’t know, considering the information currently available to me (and to just about everyone else). A lot of people seem to have their minds made up, and much of that seems to come from emotional reaction, facilitated in part due to how the information was presented to them, rather than by carefully considering the information available. I’m sure that most people, if they were to appear on the news one day with a serious charge made against them that they were innocent of, would strongly desire that people would carefully consider the case rather than assume the worst about them. But it seems that the court of public opinion isn’t that kind. There are people who have been accused of sexually abusing children that have been cleared of the charges, but their reputations are still ruined. This is because of that “assume the worst” mentality. It might seem like “playing it safe” to some people, but assuming the worst of everyone you meet it taking it too far.
America has a problem, not with guns (which have been around for centuries), but with rotten attitudes, some of which can lead to mass shootings (which have only recently become a trend). America is going to continue having that problem as long as they obsess over padding all the walls and taking away the sharp objects, but not treating the mental disease that makes people want to go on killing sprees.