A man in Houston, Texas, is in police custody after drunkenly shooting and killing his teenage son during an argument over a missing videogame.
The Houston Police Department said Ofelio Antonio Otero had been drinking heavily when he and his wife got into an argument over a missing videogame at around 4:15 this morning. At some point during the argument, his 17-year-old son Ignacio became involved, at which point Otero apparently got his gun and loaded it.
“The son then proceeds to try and knock the gun away and then he runs away,” said police spokeswoman Jodi Silva. Unfortunately, knocking guns out of people’s hands is rarely as simple as it looks on television or, dare I say it, in videogames, and as the younger Otero was running away, his father fired once, hitting him in the neck and killing him. The elder Otero then fled to an apartment complex a couple miles away, where he surrendered to the Houston SWAT team after a three-hour standoff. He has been charged with murder.
This, I suppose, is the point at which I’m supposed to take the conventional news media to task for making this killing about videogames. So let’s do that: The Houston Chronicle headline – “Houston Dad Killed Son Over Videogame” – makes the act sound like some kind of psychotic payback for too many ass-kickings in Mortal Kombat rather than what it really is: A drunken scumbag with a gun and a “prior criminal history” who finally took his abusive behavior too far.
Maybe I’m being a little oversensitive. Maybe if the argument had originally started because nobody could find the TV remote, the headline would scream, “Man Kills Son Because He Couldn’t Change the Channel.” But I rather doubt it. And as long as stories like this attract follow-up user comments like, “Lends some credence to video games causing violence” – not booze, not socio-economic conditions, not a rampant gun culture, but videogames – which has itself garnered a considerable amount of “thumbs-up” support from fellow commentators, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be a bit touchy about it.