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Another Tragic Episode in the United States

Updated: Aug 28, 2018

On August 26, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida during a Madden, football video game, tournament at the GLHF Game Bar, 24 year old David Katz opened fire inside the restaurant killing 2 and injuring 10. David Katz was not only a competitor but a prolific Madden gamer, having won a tournament last year and having competed in multiple Madden events for years. Authorities state that they responded to GLHF Gamebar at 1:30pm after Katz began shooting inside the place, following an argument over the tournament. The 2 who passed were both competitors at the Madden event, Elijah Clayton was 22, and Taylor Robertson was 28. This marks the 290th mass shooting in the United States of America this year. Many condolences to those harmed and injured after this traumatic episode.

Now let’s take a look into some things missing/unknown to most people out there:

  • Suspected motive is he was upset after being eliminated from the tournament, was seen arguing with a tournament official, left to grab firearm, and returned. Shooting ensued.

  • Katz owned 2 guns, only one used in shooting, and both were purchased in Baltimore legally.

  • Katz lived in the Baltimore area for majority of his life. Was a 2011 graduate of Hammond High School in Howard County.

  • Katz parents divorced in 2005. Richard Katz, the father, an engineer, designed electronics for NASA spacecraft. Dr. Elizabeth Katz, the mother, was a toxicologist for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Rockville. David also has an older brother, Brandon.

  • Although not enrolled into classes for this fall, Katz had been attending the University of Maryland majoring in environmental science and technology since enrollment in September 2014.

  • Katz had treatment for numerous psychiatric issues beginning at the age of 12. (Will include more later)

Shane’s 2 cents

First, I can’t express enough support and well wishes to those affected by this tragedy. I hope all harmed recover speedily and are with their loved ones right now.

Secondly, there is no clear motive. All anybody can do now is put together the pieces and see what fits. I’m just going to type out a short story about David Katz leading up to the event. A story that I think will help shed light into the darkness.

At 9 years old David Katz parents were divorcing. At this point David was showing small signs of resistance and psychiatric issues. 12 year old David Katz is prescribed Risperdal, an anti-psychotic drug to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He often missed school and resisted treatment. He once locked himself in the mother’s car to resist treatment with a therapist. Police were called and he relented after threatened with being arrested. By now David is sporting a sizable collection of opinions from numerous therapists, psychologists, and counselors with one even stating that David was suffering from a “psychiatric crisis”. Court records show all of this. He was hospitalized at Sheppard Pratt Health System in Towson for psychiatric treatment in 2007. Through his teens he conflicted with his mother, who had custody at the time, resulting in numerous 911 calls and more therapeutic sessions. None were violent. On his 16th birthday, he wrote a judge hoping to be placed under his father’s care.

Now there isn’t much stated from that to now, but I assume David played a lot of video games. David found comfort in gaming and molded his world around it. Gaming to him was probably his best friend. That is all that I can actually state with certainty. He was not an engaging student, often behind on assignments, missing, and not participating during class when he was there. He was not avoiding interacting with people or shutting himself out from the world, but more along the lines of once you talked to him, he would have that “looking right through you” stare, not carry conversation, and engage mostly in small talk. There is some insight from people who knew of him like a teacher assistant who knew he struggled with assignments, but thanked her at the end of the year for being a good T.A. Katz would occasionally attend a weekly game night near MT&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and played/attended numerous Madden events, even winning one last year.

So we come full circle back with a little more background and understanding of key events that led up to this. Can we sit back and make a few initial statements? Yes.

1. He should never have been able to buy a gun due to mental background.

2. Gaming is 0% at fault for this. 0.

3. There was no way of preparing for something like this.

But we can also ask some questions as well:

1. Should Katz have had limited travel restrictions due to his mental background? Or even limited freedoms that others enjoy to which he shouldn’t have the privilege of?

2. Was there no other medicine out there that could have helped?

3. Could this have been foreseen and stopped?

4. Are the parents at fault?

5. Was David Katz a good person before incident? (Charities, supportive, etc)

In conclusion, as much as we can connect dots and talk theories, to take a life in an act of aggression and/or emotional reaction that is not in defense of another human or to preserve life, is a disgusting, cowardly, and an unpredictable act. David put his life into gaming and losing in that tournament probably felt like the world was crashing down on him. But its gaming, not life or death. Just like sports. Just like sitting in traffic. Just like going to the DMV. Just like going to work. We all get mad, frustrated, pissed off, make threats, and say stuff we don’t mean but nobody is born to take other lives. Mankind as a whole strives for life and continuity. If people cannot control/maintain themselves, then how do we go about addressing this problem? Where can we put the values of life? How do we suppress or shut down those thoughts that Katz couldn’t control and led to his actions?

I will end with a segment from one of the articles I posted. I feel like this can help rationalize something unrationable.

A decade before the shooting Sunday, a psychologist was asked in court if he believed David Katz could turn violent.

“There is the potential that David could lash out and become so angry that he would hit and hurt his mother,” Dr. Paul Berman told the court.

But could Katz harm anyone else, an attorney asked.

“No, I think Mom would be the target if David did lash out,” he said.


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