Let's Play Alternate Headline


Police Fail to Prevent 6 Slayings in Florida sure sounds more informative and telling than XBox Dispute Sparks 6 Slayings in Florida but guess which one is now in heavy rotation? America's mass media is positively addicted to associating video games with violence, real and imagined.

But the facts of the brutal Deltona murders tell us that the XBox angle should be far down in the story. Many bigger questions loom.

First, the local sheriff's office responded no fewer than six times to calls involving the victims. Where are the reports for those calls? Were the cases considered closed? Were any arrests made? Why not? Just how does the department handle cases of squatting in vacation homes? High-priority property crime or minor domestic squabble?

And kicking squatters out of a private residence was clearly the beginning of the dispute between the victims and their attackers. The XBox stuff was an ancillary part of that dispute.

Elevating it to create a sexy headline compounds a great evil.

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  1. I would think that a crime like this would result in a comprehensive “assault bat” ban.

  2. Snake: It’s hard to decide what is the silliest aspect of your post. I’ll settle for this response: If violent images on XBoxes turn people into brutal murderers, then shouldn’t being deprived of their XBox have made the accused parties more peaceful, rather than driving them to kill?

  3. I bet examiners will find every one of these villains’ bodies pumped full of dihydrogen monoxide. Talk about cause and effect.

    The mystery to me is why a group of people living in Florida (which not only honors the second amendment but allows citizens to exersize it discretely) were unarmed despite knowing there was a group of nutty vagrants out to get them. Maybe they bought into HCI-type nonsense?

    Its also weird why the victim had the xbox in her home. It was boxed up, so it would seem she wasn’t having a good time with it. From the story, there is no indication the killers ever asked for its return. Did she make any attempt to return the items. Maybe she miscalculated badly about how worked up some people can get over their property being taken (even people who themselves steal – or tresspass, in this case).

    Would you kill someone who stole $250 from you, or was in the act of stealing from you? In some states it would be legal to use deadly force to prevent a felony, but I don’t think revenge killings will fly in any court.

    In fairness, one or more of the victims may have owned a weapon for protection, but was unable to reach it in time – as in they woke up to the sound of a baseball bat crushing their skull. Maybe a waiting period and permitting process discouraged them from obtaining the best tools for personal defence?

  4. Scottie,

    Good point, I was focusing on Jeff’s “media is positively addicted” line.

    The media’s sensationalist tendencies aside, I think it’s an open question as to the effect of graphic violence on childhood development & conduct. I sensed a bemused, out of hand dismissal of any possible link in that “addicted” line.

  5. garym,

    If I had said: “Xboxes turn people into brutal murderers”, then your response would have been warranted.

    On the contrary, I was asking Taylor for his opinion on the subject. I’m willing to entertain multiple sides of an argument.

    The essence of “silly” is attacking without reading/understanding the post, fuckhead.

  6. No, snake. You stated you were to “rain on his parade” with your post, and your presumption of Jeff Taylor’s story is wrong (well, very unclear actually).

    The story is about the media changing the tone of the story with it’s focus on an Xbox as the cause of the murders.

  7. I don’t see how “Police Fail to Prevent 6 Slayings in Florida” is particularly informative. It could lead one to believe there were six separate crimes and that the police were negligent in some way since they “failed”. It also gives no hint as to why they were killed. “6 slayings” should be “slaying of 6” since IMO most people would definetly interpret that as a single killing spree.

    I’d say “XBox Dispute Sparks 6 Slayings in Florida” is actually a bit more accurate/descriptive, even if it might be interpreted by some as including a pathetic excuse for the crime. It at least gives some of the reason behind the killings. To be more precise, they could have replaced “dispute” with “theft” and “slayings” with “revenge killings” and explained in the headline that the attackers were evicted from a property they had no rights to, and also…oh, the headline is getting too long.

    I’m not sure what behavioral studies in children have to do with this. These are adults, not kids pretending to be Power Rangers or Moe, Larry, and Curly. But what do I know, I’m probably a fuckhead.

  8. And what does “Police Fail to Prevent…” tell us, anyway, about this case? Couldn’t every crime headline read this way?

    And as libertoids, shouldn’t you be pushing for, “Independent Security Organization Fails to Prevent…”

  9. I found the Xbox and other video game systems to be very soothing and helped to ellivate those pestering voices. They helped me lead a normal life since the 80’s!

  10. The same day that my local paper had the ‘XBox Murder’ headline, it also had a headline about a ‘Bus/SUV’ Accident that killed four church goers.

    Now – maybe its just me but doesn’t anyone else see the hidden agenda here?

    If the accident was with an Honda Accord, do you think that the other headline would have ever said ‘Bus/Midsize Passenger Car Accident’?

    Or if they brutal slayings were over a set of prized dishes, would the newspaper headline have read, ‘Tableware Slaying’?

    Of course not – these are just opportunities for editors with a mission to associate bad images with things that they find politically incorrect.

  11. Thanks for this post, Jeff — the headlines really bothered me, and I’m glad to see I wasn’t alone.

    Given that parole officials were fired over their dropped ball, hopefully the focus of the story will change to where it should be.

  12. bigbigslacker,

    I bet examiners will find every one of these villains’ bodies pumped full of dihydrogen monoxide.

    Yes! Yes, we must not rest until dihydrogen monoxide is banned from our fair land!

  13. Ok folks, it’s properly written “Xbox”.

    Now let me get back to plotting my devastating one-man assault on the airships of Chicago using a souped-up WWII fighter plane- er- I mean “playing Crimson Skies”… yeah… that’s the ticket.

  14. And the ringleader was arrested for parole violation 8 days before. Threats from some people should be take seriously.

  15. Here in New York, the Post or Daily News (I didn’t see the cover of the paper) has merely “XBox Massacre”.

  16. By highlighting the “theft” of the XBox and clothes, the story is suggesting that it’s the victims’ fault they were brutally murdered. I guess the writer thinks that someone deprived of his XBox is in such dire straits that he can’t be held responsible for his actions.

  17. Just imagine the outcry if it was a PlayStation2. Most popular games: Grand Theft Auto series.

    Oh well. At least the media got the XBOX (popular game: FPS sci-fi Halo) rather than a Gamecube with the ever-so threatening Mario.

  18. I think you’re missing the real template here. It isn’t “video games bad” but “murder committed for trivial reason” We seem to get some puritan thrill from the idea that people get murdered over a request for toe nail clippers or a refusal to change a TV channel. O tempora o mores!

    But upon closer examination these stories are almost never true. In virtually all cases, the trivial event was merely the last in a long series of increasingly violent incidents in the life of the perpetrator. Victorino is a text book case.

    It is disturbing to see how many news stories are just fill-in-the-blank constructions intended to create a piece of literature instead report of dry facts.

  19. Elevating it to create a sexy headline compounds a great evil.

    An even greater evil is coming out with a new game system every 2 years for twice the price as the predecessor and then not letting me play the old games on the new console.

    It will take a few more cold bodies to get this greivance addressed!

  20. Jack, you can play PS1 games on the PS2.

  21. Mr. Victorino would never have been missed by anyone, except all the MSWs and other employees of the social sciences that make their meagre livivng from trying to understand assholes like him.

    I think a bullet 11 years ago would have been a lot cheaper for the people of Florida in the long run!

  22. Jeff Taylor,

    Sorry to rain on your parade and at the risk of being called “scold,” “prude” or whatever, re: the premise that underlies your post:

    I’ve read study abstracts linking childhood exposure to violent images and violent acts by children. Is it your opinion that these studies demonstrate mere correlation without controlling for confounders, i.e., no causality?

  23. I don’t know about you, snake, but i thought the underlying premise of his post was that the killings had little or nothing to do with the xbox and everything to do with being kicked out of the vacant house.

  24. There’s all this hype about the Xbox, but what about the clothes? Surely those vintage Gap jeans are to blame.

  25. Vengeful Squatters Slay 6 is pithier. Noting that an ex-con missed his Xbox would be OK in a sub-head, I guess. It’s no Headless Body Found In Topless Bar, but I’m not a working journo.

    Florida has canned 4 corrections employees over this deadly fubar.

    Hours before the murders, Victorino was in the office of his probation officer for his regular check-in. He was allowed to leave, even though he could have been held for violating his probation for allegedly punching an acquaintance in the face a week earlier in a dispute over money.


    The state govt., not to mention any local law enforcement, screwed up.


  26. Jack, The Game Ripper said:An even greater evil is coming out with a new game system every 2 years for twice the price as the predecessor and then not letting me play the old games on the new console.

    Last I checked the specs for Xbox 2 – let alone pricing were rumor and speculation. Why don’t you wait until something official before you get your panties in a bunch.

    The whole reason you buy a new console is because you want better functinality. I almost never played Atari 2600 games on my Atari 7800 system. I don’t know anyone who plays PS1 games regularly on their PS2. Most avid gamers have several systems connected to their TV to play their favorite games for different consoles anyway.

    I think a lot of this whining stems from the belief that the Xbox is a PC just because it borrows from PC architecture. Well, it’s not a PC – it’s a console.

    Nobody is stopping you from buying an Alienware PC and playing Commander Keen on it as well as the latest games.

    And another thing, before Xbox the gaming industry was dominated by a flood of video games targeted at the Japanese market with crappy quality (ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US!!!) – and they still came out with new systems every few years without backward compatibility.

    Now you’ve got a US console maker that is catering to the US gamer with some of the most awesome games ever played on a console or PC (Halo, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Doom 3, Crimson Skies) – and you’re bitching about too much choice? Give me a break.

  27. Obviously you all live too far away from Florida to realize the pain inflicted in a community by a murderous rampage like the one at hand. I live within a mile from the tradegy. You are correct about the Xbox’s insignificance to the events. The local information only implies an Xbox was involved but not the reason. The leader had no regard for human life as you see from his previous record and was mad someone pissed in his Koolaid. Basically a victims grandparents owned a house that the XBox party animals had taken refuge in and were unhappy about having to vacate their frat house. The question isn’t how one psycho could do this but how he could recruit 3 more to do his work for him. If the victims had been warned this would happen like reports say its unfortunate that they did not feel threatened but may have felt safety in numbers. In regards to the right to bear arms, there is a small waiting period but not everyone chooses to arm themselves. This is a generally safe area and most people would not feel it was necessary to own firearms. Of course that may change now. A prpper headline would be: “Senseless Rampage claims 6, Community in mourning”

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