Can you imagine standing in line for days at Best Buy or having a gun pointed in your face over a video-game system?
Many people across the country can, as they struggled to get their hands on the coveted
new gaming system, Playstation 3.
The craze has gone too far. People began
waiting outside stores last Tuesday and Wednesday, waiting for the release of the newest Sony video-game system Friday.
As insane as that behavior sounds, their devotion is admirable. It takes intense dedication to spend three or four days waiting for a video game system. They should get the system just for that.
Many of those waiting were actually hoping
to make a profit by selling the systems on eBay, as Sony is only releasing only 400,000 in the U.S. for now. The gaming system was initially priced at $500 to $600 depending on the version – basic or premium – which comes equipped with extras like more memory and WiFi compatibility.
The day after its release, the system was listed on eBay for as much as $10,000, though people only bid up to $3,500. That’s more expensive than many teenagers’ first cars.
But it isn’t until people start pulling out guns that the obsession over the Playstation 3 gets ridiculous and frightening.
A Massachusetts man was shot outside a store in Connecticut while waiting to buy the gaming system. A 17-year-old in Allentown was robbed of his newly purchased system outside a mall at gunpoint.
And a 19 year-old was hospitalized after running into a metal pole while racing other customers for a chance to buy a Playstation 3 from a Wal-Mart in Indiana.
This is all too extreme. No video game system is worth wielding a gun or spending the night in a hospital because you ran into a pole. Not being a video gamer makes it easier to judge and harder to understand. But nothing sold in a store is worth robbing somebody at gunpoint for.
People shoot others over revenge, jealousy
and anger. And although these are never condoned, they are easier to swallow.
Crimes of passion that include shooting another person because they hurt a loved one or found them in bed with their significant other is more commonplace.
But doing this over what is essentially a toy goes down about as easy as a handful of tacks.
Yet violence over a material object isn’t unheard of in our culture. In 1990, a 15-year-old honor student in Philadelphia was shot over a pair of Air Jordans. Also in Philadelphia, Kevin Johnson was shot in 2003 over his Allen Iverson jersey. The shooting rendered Johnson, 22, a quadriplegic. He died last Tuesday.
Telling people not to get hung up on material items is like telling them not to buy the newly released album from their all-time favorite band. It also borders on hypocrisy, unless the advice is coming from a nun, a priest or a monk.
People like material things, and they’re entitled to buy them. It isn’t a bad thing to enjoy possessions. After all, they tend to offer a release from the everyday stress of life. Perhaps, the idea should be not to get excessively hung up on material possessions.
If a person wants to stand in line for three days to get that special thing he or she has been waiting a year for, they should go for it. If it means that much to the person, it will probably be worth it in the end. Heck, if people are willing to spend $3,000 on a toy, that is their business and nobody should judge.
But there should be no guns or other weapons, no brawls and no stealing involved because it’s not worth it. Not only can somebody get hurt, there are also legal ramifications.
And a Playstation 3 just isn’t worth prison time, or a life.
Ashley Helaudais can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.