Tragedy at Jacksonville eSports Tournament.

It is with heavy hearts that our first video game article on this site is one of tragedy. We typically do not report on crime or traditional news, but felt compelled to do so in this case. There was yet another mass shooting in the United States this Sunday, this time at a video game tournament in Florida. As of writing this article 2 people have died and 11 have been wounded. CNN reports that one of the 11 is in serious condition with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest.

For many of us at WGN, and for our readers, video games are more than just entertainment. They are avenues to friendships. They provide us with moments of solace and peace. They are forms of art that we connect to deeply. We form communities around them. We build lasting memories with them.  They are a valued and intricate part of geek life. To have them marred with such tragedy and grief, saddens us all.

The first of four regional qualifiers, the event was part of Madden  NFL 19 Classic. The championship for Maddin was slated for later this year in Las Vegas – it is unknown at this time how the tournament will proceed.  The crowd consisted of professional esport players, aspiring gamers, and onlookers. The shooter, who we will not identify by name , was reportedly a player in the tournament who had been disqualified.  Part of the shooting was captured during the live stream of the game, though we will not provide a link to it out of respect for those involved. The names of the victims will not been released to the public until their families have been notified.

There is no known motive at this time.  What is known is that while many escaped with their lives, they will be undoubtedly robbed of the joy of something dear to them for some time. To the friends and families of those that were lost our hearts truly go out to you. To those that have suffered through this violent act, either physically or emotionally, may you find a way heal.

While we will not be discussing the politics of gun control or other surrounding issues at this time on the site, as that is not what we are here for. However, we would like to say this: If you know someone that has been the victim of violence, if you think someone is suffering with depression or mental illness, if you know someone is struggling in life – reach out. Putting up suicide prevention hotline numbers or well intended posts on Facebook is a good thing, but it pales in comparison to  actual human interaction. Sometime the people who need the most help, don’t have the strength to ask for. Be mindful of your fellow geeks, talk, listen, and whenever possible be kind.

KJ McDougall & Paul Childs