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Monday, September 2, 2013

Saving the Game: When Technology Takes the Place of Human Life

Alex Foley
Blog #1, Option 3
Nathon Brooks

            A major theme in Ray Bradbury’s The Veldt focuses on one’s dependence on technology. Throughout the short story, the Hadley family is constantly reminded of technology’s overwhelming presence in their home, which eventually results in the death of the mother and father. Although this story takes place in the undisclosed future, it is impossible to deny the role that technology has in daily life. The Veldt is essentially a warning; if technology replaces human interaction and parenting, consequences can occur.
            On March 8, 2013, 14-year-old Nathon Brooks shot both his parents while they were sleeping in their Washington home. According to Brooks, he played video games “24/7” and was enraged after being grounded from them (Bennett-Smith). Surveillance cameras set up in the home captured the teen with the murder weapon, and he is currently being tried as an adult.
            This situation is similar to that of The Veldt. While the children in Bradbury’s story get the technology to do the killing on their behalf, they commit the crime intentionally and as an act of revenge on their parents. After George and Lydia turned off the nursery, the children were hysterical. Peter even tells his father “’I wish you were dead! (Bradbury)’”. Peter ultimately gets his wish when his parents are eaten by the lions in the nursery.
            When crimes like the one Brooks committed occur, the media is quick to place the blame on violent video games. They assume that players are so impressionable that they will imitate anything the see. While violence in video games may desensitize a player from blood and murder, it cannot make anyone do anything. The true reason these crimes occur involves an addiction and dependency on the technology itself. When technology becomes the most important thing in someone’s life, it becomes human to that person. In The Veldt, Peter speaks “as if talking to the house, the nursery (Bradbury)”. Nathon Brooks felt the same way about his video games, even claiming that “he had wanted to kill his parents for years (Bennett-Smith)”.
            While there are obviously other factors to consider in Brooks’ attempted murder of his parents, technology played an important role. If he had not been so emotionally dependent on video games, he would not have felt the need to murder for them. Reading The Veldt provides some insight to Brooks’ rational. He probably felt that he was “saving” his technology from being “killed” by his parents. In his mind, what he did was perfectly justifiable. 

Bradbury, Ray. “The Veldt.” American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: The Penguin  Group. 264-277. Print.

Bennett-Smith, Meredith. "Nathon Brooks, Teen Who Allegedly Shot Parents Over Video Games, Charged With Attempted Murder." 13 March 2013. Huffington Post. 2 September 2013.

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