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Gamers Grapple With VA Tech Shooting 419

Posted by Zonk
from the tough-week-for-everybody dept.
I imagine it's been a hard week for a lot of people; gamers in particular have been jumping to defend their hobby from the likes of Dr. Phil and Jack Thompson, both of whom were quick to link gaming and the tragedy in Virginia. Despite their vigor, it seems like game enthusiasts can breathe easily this week. As far as most people can tell, gaming was in no way involved. Even the mainstream media is coming to realize that gaming isn't always the right place to turn when youth violence grabs the headlines. Just the same, some activist gamers are still trying to make sure their hobby comes out of this unscathed, and at least some folks think they may be overdoing things: "While I'm all for activism for one's beliefs, I really think this may do more harm then good. As gamers, we feel a need to defend our passion, but we run the risk of ending up looking no better than those seeking to shift blame, while further disrupting the already-mourning. I say that the thing to focus on at this point is simply remembering those lost and cherishing what we still have. Now's not the time for political vendettas, and gamers need to step down and just humbly accept the fact that blame will always be shifted to the popular youth activities: be it a KISS concert, a video game, or something else."
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Gamers Grapple With VA Tech Shooting

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  • Jesus is to blame! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fredrikj (629833) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:49PM (#18815921) Homepage
    From Wikipedia: "In one of the videos, Cho compares himself to Jesus Christ, explaining that his death will influence generations of people."
    • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:59PM (#18816087) Homepage
      It should be important for would-be martyrs comparing themselves to Jesus to note that, by most accounts, Jesus didn't take anybody with him when he went down. I mean, his buddy Peter tried that stunt and sliced off somebody's ear, but he got yelled at for it, and some claim that Jesus even went and put it back on.
    • by melikamp (631205) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:11PM (#18816277) Homepage Journal

      I wish I could mod you up. People are so intent on dragging in anything they do not like and citing it as a possible cause, it makes my head hurt. Even Eric Harris, who was a big fan of FPS games (designed maps, ran a website) clearly stated that they had nothing to do with his motives. In this latest case, drawing any kind of parallel with games is just evil. These people will use anything that is sensational and bullshit as much as they can to advance their private agenda.

      I am sure that the gun control party will have their heyday with this case. They won't care that shooters like Harris and Cho prepare for months and have no scruples with breaking the law. I am not arguing pro or con here (I am still unsure myself), but it is clear to me that

      (1) even making all guns illegal will not stop a determined shooter from acquiring them, and, otoh,

      (2) making guns legal for everyone will not reduce casualties, because shooters always get to choose time, place, and "audience".

      • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:47PM (#18816901) Journal
        One of the most appealing arguments I ever heard for gun control was for pistols specifically.

        I believe in the right to bear arms, but pistols make me nervous, and hell, they're not much use in most cases. Home invasion? 12 gauge semi-auto loaded with buckshot...Only get 5 shots, but the last three will only be making tiny pieces out of little pieces. Guerrilla war against a repressive government? Automatic rifles.

        Pistols? I can't think of a single situation where I wouldn't rather have a bigger, more accurate gun. The only thing they're good for is carrying concealed, and I don't believe in carrying concealed. If you're armed, it should be right out there in the open, none of this sneaky ass concealed crap...What possible rationale is there for carrying concealed? The point is to deter crime, right? Isn't that always the argument? You're not deterring crap if it's concealed. Come up with a better deterrent than walking down the street with a shotgun over one shoulder...You'll have the whole damn sidewalk to yourself.

        I've known a lot of pistol carriers in my life, and just about every damn one of 'em pissed me off. Every dumbass with kids who keeps a loaded pistol under the seat of his car, or in his damn desk...If I ever hear the phrase "the safety's on" (after they've pointed it at me) one more time, I'm killing the dumbass who says it.

        You know whats sad? Introspecting here. I don't think guns should be controlled because I want to keep them away from criminals...It'd be nice, but it won't happen. What I want to do is keep 'em away from goddamn tubby suburbanites who think they need that gun. What a world.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bouis (198138)
          Well, it's a stupid argument. Why do cops carry pistols? Not because they can be concealed, but because they can be holstered and carried around all day without getting in the way.

        • If I ever hear the phrase "the safety's on" (after they've pointed it at me) one more time, I'm killing the dumbass who says it.
          With what?
        • Mod parent up! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by 6Yankee (597075) on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:22PM (#18817465)
          Damned mod points expired earlier, so I'll just reply. Yours has to be one of the most insightful posts about guns in all the many I've read in the past few days.

          If I ever hear the phrase "the safety's on" (after they've pointed it at me) one more time, I'm killing the dumbass who says it.

          There has to be a mechanism for getting those idiots' firearms licence revoked - and if there isn't then there should be. Anyone that stupid and irresponsible should not be trusted with a knife and fork, let alone a gun.
          • Re:Mod parent up! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:46PM (#18817737) Journal
            I'm pro-gun dammit. I like guns, I like shooting guns. But random unskilled jokers with pistols make me fricking crazy. That guys not going to see a criminal in his whole life, but there's a 50/50 chance that damn gun's going to go off by accident, and while the welfare of him and his spawn don't worry me, the welfare of bystanders (of which I may be one) worries me a lot.

            I was raised around guns. I respect them, and I've never had an accident with a gun, and it's because I treat them like what they are...deadly weapons. I don't show 'em to people with the barrel parallel to the floor and a goddamn round in the CHAMBER. I've seen this crap over and over.

            People always talk about Switzerland, and how they have more guns per capita than we do, and far less gun problems per capita. They also have mandatory military service, which forces people to learn how to use a gun intelligently.

            There is no barrier to ownership here, and I'm fine with that in theory, but in practice it means a lot of people who have no business owning a gun, end up owning a gun. So compromise. Anyone can get a long gun, but you have to pass some serious tests for a pistol. We uphold the spirit of the Constitution, and maintain a little civil order as well.
    • by couchslug (175151)
      I will influence ME to vocally advocate a return to the custom of institutionalizing the mentally ill.

      They don't get better, we don't need them on the street, and the only way to keep them in line is heavy meds and iron bars.
    • by Creepy (93888) on Friday April 20, 2007 @06:18PM (#18818123) Journal
      He also says the Columbine killers were his heroes, which pretty much tells me they were his influence. The Columbine killers were likely influenced by postal rampages [wikipedia.org] that started in the 1980s, but just changed the venue to a school.

      It's also not the first time some whackjob serial killer has said he either was Jesus or was some kind of prophet. Take Jonestown founder Jim Jones, Branch Davidian David Koresh, or remorseless murderer Charles Manson.
  • Starcraft (Score:5, Funny)

    by PachmanP (881352) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:49PM (#18815925)
    He was Korean. Starcraft has to be involved some how.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tackhead (54550)
      > He was Korean. Starcraft has to be involved some how.

      The Photoshoppers had him pegged [imageshack.us], probably while he was in ther classrums, killin ther d00dz.

      Frankly, I'm all for it.

      The less the world sees of him as some terrifying icon of doom, brandishing his weapons on MSNBC while TV narrators breathlessly pore over every word of his screenplay and manifesto... and the more it sees of him as "ch0wn3d", or "Stop! Hammertime!", the better.

    • by getagrip (86081)
      While I understand this comment is meant to be funny, I would like to point out that linking this tragedy to Korea is just as senseless as linking other killings to video games. I already know Koreans who have been harassed and intimidated as a result of what occurred. If you do in fact know anyone from Korea, please try to sympathize with them as many in Korea have sympathized with the victims of the shootings.
      • It was funny, and in no way blames koreans for this tragedy

        "I already know Koreans who have been harassed and intimidated as a result of what occurred."

        I ahve my doubts. This wasn't a government back action, it wasn't supported by a violent religous sect under protection by korea.

        This will not lead into an anti korean movement.

        In the off chance that you are not lying, you nede to stop being aruond such small mined and stupid people.

        I will not sympythize with the koreans just because they are korean, no one
      • He may have been from Korea, but his actions were his own - what does this have to do with Korea or Koreans? I have never quite understood how people can blame an entire country and its population for someone's actions.
      • Re:Starcraft (Score:4, Insightful)

        by HungWeiLo (250320) on Friday April 20, 2007 @06:08PM (#18817987)
        I never understood the whole "Korean" angle that the newsmedia was taking with this story. It was almost they're implying that his barbaric behavior somehow grew out of his exotic and foreign upbring - but he's been in this country since he was 8 years old. An overwhelming majority of Asian people who immigrate to the U.S. before the age of 10 or 11 will have completely lost their native accent by the time they are 23. Most probably, you would not be able to tell them apart from American-born Asians. If there is some lame attempt to blame this on Korean culture or upbringing for cultivating violence, then it doesn't make any sense at all. The violence and gun culture was proven to be a solely American contribution to his deranged psyche, but what probably tipped him over the edge was all the taunting due to his shyness, and perhaps over-pressure from his working-class Korean parents His sister graduated from Princeton, but he only got into "lowly" Virginia Tech and majoring in a non-traditional-according-to-Koreans thing like English - I'm sure they gave him plenty of crap for that as well, if there's any contribution of Korean culture in this matter.
  • by jkiol (1050424) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:51PM (#18815955)
    Water linked to mass murderers'! The killer at VA Tech drank water, and there is a lot of supporting evidence that other serial killers also drank water as well.
  • What about... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by richdun (672214) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:54PM (#18815989)
    ...the shooting at UT-Austin back in the 1960s? Someone see Counter-Strike in a premonition?

    Seriously, gamers aren't "grappling" with anything. It's the idiots on TV who can't seem to get ratings from speaking intelligent, well-thought, insightful words and have to resort to fear-mongering and dumbassery (TM). Nothing for anyone to see here, please move along.
    • Re:What about... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Greyfox (87712) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:15PM (#18816329) Homepage Journal
      Yes, honestly. The media in general and the 24 hour news channels in particular will say just about anything to fill another long news hour. There is currently a lot more coverage of the news than their is actual news. Or should I say, there's no news that's easy to get to. There's plenty of stuff to cover and actual journalists might make an effort to get to it, but CNN and Fox News are not News. They're entertainment masquerading as news.

      Cho was a nut job plain and simple. Beyond that the media can not add anything insightful or useful. "Nut job kills some people at a college in the USA." End of story. Ironically on NPR a couple of days ago the news went like this: "A bomber in Baghdad blew himself and 200 other people up. And in other news, we have a 2 hour interview with a guy who knew a guy who knew Cho and says this all could have prevented if only..." Well not that exactly but that's the general idea. You want to know what it's like to live in Iraq right now? Imagine this massacre at Virginia Tech happening every day and in your own back yard. Or how about Darfur, where this sort of massacre happens daily except that the people doing the killing are using machetes.

      Not that I mean to belittle the events at Virginia Tech. The people who went through that will be scarred for the rest of their lives. It's just a pity that the media can't be bothered to give that level of attention to anything that happens outside this country, whether we're directly responsible for those events (As is the case in Iraq) or not. Oh, and if any of the media is reading this, I'm pretty sure the violence in Iraq and Darfur isn't caused by violent video games either. Just to give you a heard start. Now off you go, and don't come back until you have a real story.

    • by identity0 (77976)
      Not to mention, both the Austin sniper and Lee Harvey Oswald were trained in the military. But throw suspicion at a government agency that trains people to kill? Noooo, the media want scapegoats that the patriotic citizens fear...

      Funny thing how they mention anything but the U.S. Army game.

      (Note: I realize the vast majority of servicemen are not like Oswald, and are usually nice guys.)
  • Dr. Phil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brkello (642429) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:56PM (#18816035)
    I guess I don't see what the big deal over what Dr. Phil said. He isn't saying violent games make these people kill. He is saying that mixing violent media with psychopaths is going to set these people off. Really, if gamers are so upset by this, they are over-reacting...probably from having to be on the defensive so much from morons like Jack.
    • Re:Dr. Phil (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PFI_Optix (936301) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:10PM (#18816257) Journal
      And there's some truth behind what Dr. Phil said. A violent person when exposed to violent media will tend to act...wait for it...more violently! Wow, what a novel concept.

      Think of it this way: a conservative watching Fox News is going to have their conservative beliefs reaffirmed. An environmentalist at an Al Gore lecture will get the same. (And maybe a good nap, too. *zing!*) When you surround yourself with people and media that espouses beliefs like your own, you're going to embrace those more. If you are a violent, aggressive person and spend all your time listening to, watching, and playing violent entertainment, you are encouraging yourself to become more violent.
      • by melikamp (631205)
        That's bad news for Dr. Phil, as it implies that his audience will become dumber.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        gamers tend to be less violent, and harder to train to be violent.
        Maybe what this guy needed was some gaming and a big fat doobie?
  • by umStefa (583709) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:58PM (#18816063) Homepage
    Violent video games have become the scapegoat for societies problems with violence because they are an easy target. Violent games can desensitize children to violence, but this is the fault of the child's parent / guardian. Children have a limited natural sense of what is right and wrong, it is the responsibility of parents to help their children develop a value system that works in society.

    The problem is that too many parents fall into one of two categories:

    a) The parents who shelter there children from all negative stimulus, and then turn them lose on society at 18 without the ability to determine right from wrong themselves. These new adults now go into society without having someone to tell them what to do and act out on the impulses.

    b) The parents who do nothing to develop the child's sense of right from wrong. These parents belive that by never having a consequence for any action their child will magically develop a set moral values. Children who are raised like this can develop tendancies to lash out because they have been taught that their actions have no consequences.

    Instead of banning violent video games, we should ban bad parents.
    • One question: are you a parent yourself?

      I am. And while I agree that bad (or rather, lazy) parenting is to blame for many bad things, I find it interesting that many people who blame bad parents are not only not parents themselves, but probably wouldn't know the first thing to do should a child fall into their lap. I'm not saying that you necessarily fit this mold, but my eyes certainly have been opened about the difficulties in raising a child since my daughter was born.
      • I'm a parent, too. Regardless of his upbringing, I think we can safely assume that he was fucking nuts, as in there was something biologically wrong with his brain. It's a damn shame and frankly I feel kind of sorry for the guy-he was obviously miserable in his short life. If he was carrying around some sort of brain lesion or malformation, how much blame can you really assign to him?
      • by Belial6 (794905)
        I don't know about the parent poster, but your comment sound just like a lot that I would hear before my child was born. What I found was that I had it straight all along so, my child is better behaved, smarter, and happier than 95%+ the other kids I see. In fact most of the bad parents that I know personally, changed their ideas on parenting after their children were born because they simply are too lazy, or more often too self centered to take the time and effort of teaching right from wrong. The parent
    • Instead of banning violent video games, we should ban bad parents.

      Amen to that! There should be a fucking license. In order to get one, you should have to have a job and insurance, be able to pass some basic tests, and so on.

      We should also sterilize (as reversibly as possible) anyone who begins collecting AFDC or TANF, so that they cannot become a further drain on society.

      Anyone who would name their child after a car or a bottle of alcohol is automatically disqualified. Disqualify their relatives if they would name their child after a misspelling of same. Kill their whole family if they name their child after a misspelling of a french name like "deseray". Those genes have got to go.

      No, but seriously, I think people should have to get a high-maintenance pet. People who raise a well-adjusted pet can have a child license. People who don't can try again. Although I'm sure this will get a lot of flak from the no-cruelty-to-animals types, and I rather agree with them for the most part, I'd rather see people be bad with a pet than a child.

      A friend's wife wanted a dog. He wanted to wait, but they got it anyway (of course) because she wouldn't let it alone. Since then he has become primarily responsible for an animal for which he was not prepared. But besides her lack of interest in cleaning up after the animal and such, she sends the dog mixed messages every time she talks to it. When she's upset she still uses her stupid baby voice. She's confusing that dog into oblivion. Think about people who do this shit to their kids! That is the real reason why you see people screaming at their children in the K-Mart when they do something wrong. The kids were programmed by their idiot parents giving them inconsistent messages when they did things they weren't supposed to do, and now some part of their brain thinks they're supposed to do those things!

      Most people have no business whatsoever having children. They do not understand even the most basic principles of parenting. Frankly I have enough trouble with my pet (although she is very happy and loves me and all that, she loves me too much and is trying to get frisky with myself and my lady, which is very odd when it comes from a small parrot) and know that I don't need to be having children at this stage in my life. If I want to make a contribution to the lives of children, there are lots of other ways to do that. (Keep your dirty humor to yourself.)

  • by sesshomaru (173381) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:02PM (#18816133) Journal
    Seung-Hui Cho was 23 years old. Now, as far as I know, but I guess I'm old fashioned, 23 years old is an adult. Adults are allowed to drink, joing the army, by M rated video games, drive and by lots of guns. You know, because they are adults. They aren't impressionable children anymore.

    I consider the whole, impressionable children thing to be dubious when we are dealing with older teenagers, anyway, but I consider it ridiculous when talking about adult men.

    So, what then are Dr. Phil and Jack Thompson trying to say, that video games will turn anyone into a killer, even adults? I think it's interesting that this guy didn't commit any serious crimes until he was well into adult hood.

    To me, this represents a shift in the debate. At Jonesboro, you had children commiting mass murder, so trying to figure out what made innocent little boys into monsters makes sense in a way. This is not what we have at Virginia Tech.

    Are people going to do this with David Berkowitz now? Jeffrey Dahmer? etc? If some 40 year old murderer gets caught, are they going to check him for Counter Strike experience.

  • Nugent is smarter (Score:5, Informative)

    by WaxParadigm (311909) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:09PM (#18816235)
    Ted Nugent has a little more common sense than Jack Thomson when it comes to finding things that contributed to this event...

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/04/19/commentary.nugent /index.html [cnn.com]
  • Indifference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZirbMonkey (999495) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:10PM (#18816263)

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
    Kids picked on him in middle school. No one stood up for him.
    Kids picked on him in high school. No one stood up for him.
    Kids picked on him in college. He bought guns, and killing people.

    The only time he every really stood up for himself was when he turned violent. And at that point it was too late. I think it's the culture of indifference that caused this to grow inside an emotionally unstable loner. It has nothing to do with the music he listened to, games he played, or lack of prayer in schools. Society did nothing more than try to ignore him, while he finally refused to be ignored. And in a tragic and unforgivable way, we all stood up to finally pay attention to what he had to say.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Kids picked on him in middle school. No one stood up for him. Kids picked on him in high school. No one stood up for him. Kids picked on him in college. He bought guns, and killing people. The only time he every really stood up for himself was when he turned violent. And at that point it was too late. I think it's the culture of indifference that caused this to grow inside an emotionally unstable loner. It has nothing to do with the music he listened to, games he played, or lack of prayer in schools. Society did nothing more than try to ignore him, while he finally refused to be ignored. And in a tragic and unforgivable way, we all stood up to finally pay attention to what he had to say.

      Maybe he should have tried standing up for himself in middle school, or at the very least had the common sense to understand that sometimes people are going to treat you unfairly and maybe it's best to just blow it off. Life isn't fair. Instead of building a wall he should have made friends with someone instead. I got picked on too. That argument doesn't hold water. The same goes for high school and college. The simple fact is that he was a complete psycho nutcase that held the world in contempt and had n

    • Re:Indifference (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Paulrothrock (685079) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:24PM (#18816487) Homepage Journal

      The scary thing is that, were it not for the influence of my girlfriend (now wife and soon to be mother of my child), I could have ended up like him. In reading his "rambling and incoherent manifesto," as people are calling it, I saw a lot of what I hated about my freshman year of college. I hated that everyone seemed to be there for hedonism. I hated that fraternities and sororities and sports teams got all the attention. I hated that I was ignored by everyone around me, and I started to resent them for it.

      I was that way until I found a place where I could fit in; a smaller school, and an off-campus apartment with my then-girlfriend, and a little bit of that hedonism for myself. If this guy had someone in his life that could make him feel at home, and to reassure him that not everyone was heartless and self-centered, maybe we'd have 33 more people in the world today.

      • by melikamp (631205)

        This should be +interesting.

        Prompted by the recent events, I've read the diary of Eric Harris a few days ago, and I was blown away by how coherent and rational his reasoning was. He describes both why and what could happen to avoid it. I think that the biggest mistake people make in judging these guys is when they label them as "insane".

        • I'm sorry but I can't see the thought of premeditated mass murder as being rational. Sure, they may have had some reasoning in their mind that follows some logical process but just the simple fact that these people were thinking about and then commiting mass murder makes them 100% irrational. Thais is exactly why the defense for committing murder in an act of rage is called temporary insanity.
        • Re:Indifference (Score:4, Informative)

          by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy AT gmail DOT com> on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:08PM (#18817247) Journal
          Anti-social behavior is considered a hallmark of "insanity" (a term which no self-respecting psychologist would ever use). You can be rational, and still be seriously mentally ill.

          I don't think there is any question that he was rational. He acted very rationally all the way through, with tons of forethought and advance planning.

          Does that make him sane? Fuck no! He was nuttier than a fricking squirrel convention. Just from what I've read about the guy it seems like he fits the DSM-IV definition of a Sociopath quite well. I don't know how the hell they committed him and missed that.
      • Re:Indifference (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:40PM (#18816767) Homepage Journal

        The even scarier thing to me is that were it not for the fact that I couldn't afford to go to a four year school, I probably would have ended up like him. I was picked on from sixth grade until I got out of school with a CHSPE at the age of fifteen. I was the big kid who was a mama's boy and thus a total pussy. So the only time I ever got into a real fight (and not just picked on by bullies) I gave the kid two black eyes and a bloody spot on his forehead from beating his head into the ground, and got expelled from the school by the administration which was too lazy to do its job. (This was Del Mar Middle School in Santa Cruz County, for those who keep track of such things.) The scary part of that story is that due to my ineptitude he ended up sitting on my back at one point, and I actually blacked out completely and when I came back to myself, I was sitting on his back and beating his head against the ground. (You can tell by the way I keep bringing that up that I am still both enthralled and repelled by this fact.) During that time I could have easily strangled him or gouged both his eyes out. It's a good thing all I did was get up and sit back down on him.

        Frankly, I was basically the same person until about the age of 23 or so. It took me that long to "grow up", or something. That's when I stopped being a total mama's boy. Very strange that once I became more willing to commit violence, I became less violent in my heart. There's some kind of bizarre lesson there.

        Schools need to make stopping bullying their number one priority for a variety of reasons. The MOST important one is that kids who grow up as bullies grow up into bullies. It creates a whole zero-sum kind of bully mindset that frankly I find to be pervasive throughout American society. But the other reason is that it could have the potential to stop crap like this from happening.

        A lot of people say that harassment is what kids need to break out of their shells and become one with the game, but that's certainly not how it happened for me, and I maintain that it is helping to maintain our culture of alternating anger and apathy.

      • So you're saying, in a candid sorta way, "I wouldn't do it, but I understand why he did."

        My college freshman year was extrememly lonely too, but I fell in with a bunch of alcoholics the second semester and promptly flunked out. The beginning of the end was when I found out: They don't take roll! We'd go out Wed-Sat and sleep most of Sun-Tue. We'd gotten to the point the waitress would see us and just bring over the pitchers of Kamikaze and Bud (some liked mixed liquor, others just beer...me, both!).

    • Re:Indifference (Score:5, Informative)

      by laxpeter (996124) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:27PM (#18816529)
      Except for the fact that many people tried to help him all along the way: College suitemates inviting him to dinner and trying to talk to him, one on one attention with professors, etc. Society repeatedly tried to reach out to him, and he coldly ignored us.
      I'm really at a loss for where you're getting this idea of him being ignored, or even picked on, when all of the reports have shown the exact opposite - someone who forcefully ignored the rest of the world's attempts to include him.
      • Re:Indifference (Score:4, Informative)

        by soft_guy (534437) * on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:41PM (#18816783)
        I wish I had mod points because you are right. I haven't heard anything about him having been picked on.
        • I've seen that some people who knew him said he was picked on earlier in his life. But I've also seen that other people tried to reach out to him. I expect that both accounts are true. There are plenty of bullies out there, but there are also compassionate friends as well. Friendship is a two-way street though; if someone actively rebuffs your attempts to befriend them, you're not to blame for leaving them alone.
          It doesn't appear to me that this guy was a loner reaching desperately out for friendship a
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by j-turkey (187775)

      The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

      Kids picked on him in middle school. No one stood up for him.
      Kids picked on him in high school. No one stood up for him.
      Kids picked on him in college. He bought guns, and killing people.

      The only time he every really stood up for himself was when he turned violent. And at that point it was too late. I think it's the culture of indifference that caused this to grow inside an emotionally unstable loner. It has nothing to do with the music he listened to, games he played, or lack of prayer in schools. Society did nothing more than try to ignore him, while he finally refused to be ignored. And in a tragic and unforgivable way, we all stood up to finally pay attention to what he had to say.

      Did kids pick on him in college? It sounded to me that his interpersonal problems involved his being awkward around women moreso than being picked on. Furthermore, he was (to use the technical term) fucking nuts.

      I don't think that this is the same case as the Columbine shootings.

      I don't disagree that the situation likely had little to do with the music he listened to or the video games that he played.

    • by melikamp (631205)

      I completely agree with you, and I am pleasantly surprised by the mods' reaction. Concerning the last point... People will listen, but, unfortunately, it doesn't seem like that many of them will hear what he had to say. The common opinion about these shooters is that they are total psychos. That is despite the fact that they leave behind lengthy diaries where they explain (for the most part, cogently) their motives and reasoning.

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      Kids picked on me in middle school. No one stood up for me. Kids picked up on me in high school. No one really stood up for me. Kids picked on me in college (in the midst of the typical reckless wanton hedonism). I ignored them, found a small cluster of friends; I'm graduating in ~30 days, and have accepted a job in California for over $70k/yr. (In the midst of even more reckless wanton hedonism, surely, but I think I'll manage somehow.)

      Is he right about the existence of a culture of indifference, a cult

    • "I think it's the culture of indifference that caused this to grow inside an emotionally unstable loner. It has nothing to do with the music he listened to, games he played, or lack of prayer in schools. Society did nothing more than try to ignore him, while he finally refused to be ignored. "

      I think if society were really so much to blame, we'd have a lot more of these shootings. I would agree that society has room to improve, but I think some of the responsibility rests on this guy's shoulders for not do
    • Slaughtering people and standing up for yourself are two different things. What this incident has reminded me is that some people are shunned because on some level we know that they are more then awkward, they are dangerous.
    • Re:Indifference (Score:5, Interesting)

      by g2devi (898503) on Friday April 20, 2007 @06:42PM (#18818373)
      Personally, from what I've read in his manifestos and the news, he wasn't picked on, but he did have a profound sense of isolation and a profound sense of desperation. He was too introverted for business school so switched to literature but wasn't talented there either. No-one seemed to understand him no matter how many people tried (and several did if you read the reports...he wasn't abandoned by society). He had no future, no hope for a future, and he felt could understand him and since so many had tried to reach him but failed, there didn't seem much hope that anyone could reach him.

      Basically, he was at an agonizing dead end. What some call "a dark night of the soul" and others call "hitting bottom".

      There are at least 7 places to go from there:

      1) He could do something drastic to change his life. When you have nothing to lose, you have no fear of the consequences and you're immune to criticism because there's nothing "they" can do to you that's not already done. More than a few great people started off with the mantra "Oh yeah, well I'll show them".

      2) He could luck out...either find people who can connect to him (the internet is great that way) or find a passion that could absorb his time and keep his mind off his isolation.

      3) He could become more spiritual and realize that even in suffering there is meaning, and that while there is life, there is hope. It sounds corny, but people have gone through a lot worse and have come through it.

      4) He could just give up life and go quietly.

      5) He could just numb himself to everything with drugs or alcohol.

      6) He could just give up life and go in a "blaze of glory", either by living recklessly with a death wish.

      7) He could just give up life and go in a "blaze of glory", either by lashing out and taking down as many people with him as possible.

      Most people see themselves to options 1-6, but option 7 is definitely an option if the person *completely* looks outside himself through hatred and jeolosy instead of inwards at his own deficiencies. If there's nothing inside, there's no fear, no pain, no pride, no empathy, no love, no loneliness, no remorse, just raw hatred, and final payback becomes the reason you were born, and getting back at "them" in the name of all those like you becomes the meaning of your life.

      At least that's my theory. Only he would know for sure.

      I've dealt successfully with people who were at the end of their rope and willing to either give in or were so obsessed with "them" that they were stuck in a downward spiral. I don't know if my experience is valid of 7s, but if my experience holds true, the best way to deal with 7s is to be empathetic and to use the socratic method and patient nonjudgmental listening to slowly chip away at his vendetta (without telling them what they should think) and redirecting his passion to (1) or some place else more constructive, because what other people do with their lives doesn't matter nearly as much as what you do with your own. This would only works if you know the source of their vendetta and I'm not sure that was clear to those around him, so I'm not sure if I could have helped any differently than those closest to him.
  • Someone could also argue this is the other "CSI effect" After commiting a murder as a crime of passion, a new criminal realizes the he will be caught and sent to to jail or even killed. The perception is genetic science insures he(or she) will be caught. They then decide to 'go for it' and settle every grudge in the time before they are caught because there is nothing else to lose.

    We need to restrict access to police dramas depicting successful investigations!

    Oh wait that's stupid. :/

  • http://www.gamerpride.com/index.php?option=com_con tent&task=view&id=317&Itemid=95 [gamerpride.com]

    Just mentioning the fact that my website, GamerPride.com, is strongly behind the fact that this had nothing at all to do with gaming.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:16PM (#18816343)
    as Ars Technica points out [arstechnica.com].
    • by trongey (21550)
      Well, if that won't convince people that video games are bad the I don't know what will. And I've actually been thinking to downloading the free trial of WoW. Crap.
  • by nuzak (959558) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:18PM (#18816399) Journal
    Going by all the accounts of his roommates, Cho didn't play videogames. Not that this will stop all the scapegoating and justifications, which is just human nature after all.
    • ...Cho didn't play videogames...

      Maybe that was the problem. Maybe he should have played a few to vent his rage.

      In my younger years, we were not so protected. We had toy guns. We played violent games. And, perhaps, we learned something about violence - when it was appropriate and when not. As best I recall, only one guy - in the Texas tower - went nuts with a gun on campus.
      Now, there are so many attempts to insulate young men from violence in any form ( including complaints about a statue of a war veteran who has a gun! ), and yet

  • It's really hard to blame games for a crime when its commited by someone who has a long history of mental instability who has been in and out of various instituations for half his life. You can argue that violent video games promote certain amounts of aggression (I'll buy that, in fact), but it's hard to prove that video games promote levels of mental instability to the degree that this person has shown.
  • Knee-jerk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by russotto (537200) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:22PM (#18816451) Journal
    Knee-jerk reactions like this just go to show that people with an agenda will use anything to support their agenda, even if the simplest check reveals it doesn't do so. Anyone remember when Mayor David Dinkens used a stabbing to call for gun control?

    So, who has jumped on the VA Tech bandwagon:
    Gun control proponents (obviously)
    Gun control opponents ("let them shoot back")
    Violent game opponents ("It was just like a first-person shooter")
    People who want more funding for mental health programs.
    People who just want to put weirdos in nuthouses
    Security people ("A rent-a-cop in every classroom keeps everyone safe. Oh, and us employed")
    Security consultants (obviously)
    Drug warriors (he must have been high to do that)
    Drug legalization proponents (if he'd just smoked a little weed he'd have had a better perspective)

    OK, I made the last two up. But Ariana Huffington (who falls into several other categories) validated "drug warriors" for me, though referring to legal drugs.

    Personally, I blame Microsoft and SCO.
    • Let's add prostitution proponents.

      Seriously, if this kid were getting laid regularly, do you think he would have done that?

      It is just NOT NATURAL OR HEALTHY for young men to live abstinent lifestyles. If the government took money out of abstinence-only education (hopefully alleviating the sex-phobia most young girls have), and put it in to hiring prostitutes for all the depressed 14+ year old boys who are going mad from their instinctual demand for procreation, we may just end school violence and teen suici
    • I suggest we blame the lack of video games in his life, and say that if he'd only had video games to relieve his stress perhaps he wouldn't have snapped.

      I'm not really a gamer, but the idea of turning the tables on the assholes who were more interested in pointing a finger as part of their political agenda than in learning about reality amuses me.
  • Dr Phil (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Keruo (771880) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:25PM (#18816503)
    You know, Dr Phil is common joke in Europe.
    He's excellent sample of generic level of education in US.
    You can be a retard and still manage to be called a Dr.

    I'm not sure if anyone in US takes him seriously, but here you'd take Conan O'Brien more seriously than Phil.
    • by Night Goat (18437)
      No, we don't take Dr. Phil seriously. Well, there's the Oprah devoted, but you'll have the easily duped anywhere. Oprah has that much pull with the people who run daytime television. She can put unqualified friends of hers on TV if it's packaged right.
  • Why do people like Dr. Phil feel the need to bash gaming even when there's absolutely no evidence to support their claim?

    I like Tom's Hardware reviewers comment: Look at how many millions of people play games yet haven't shot-up their local school.

    You might as well blame driving cars for it, or drinking coffee, or any other thing mostly everyone has done at least once.

    I bet most perpitrators of gun crime has watched Dr. Phil at least once, therefore that MUST be it.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      because people like Dr. Phil are mean little people who take joy in selling snake oil and billing it as a solution to complex problems.

      Problems that take habit changes, self evaluation, and the help of others can not be solved in a 10 minute blurb, or a book.

    • by guruevi (827432)
      1) It's easy to do (just as you can blame kiddie-porn for all the rapes and teenage mothers in the world)
      2) It makes him look smart (hey, you have something to say and it sounds reasonable, he must have a PhD)
      3) He's actually a moron (no contest on that I guess, he is just like any other shrink: explaining what you already know in words you don't understand)
      4) It appeals to the masses
  • Violence is part of the human psyche. Dictators and id10ts have been killing years before electricity. There were murders far before indoor plumbing. Hence, sure we have video games and killing, but murder and criminals have been around since dirt. If video games made you violent, I'd be the most violent mofo out there (I've played hundreds of hours of Rainbow 6:Las Vegas in just the last couple months). My dad brought me up with guns and I was a marksman in the Boy Scouts before I even hit my teens.
  • by geekoid (135745)
    Politicians and grand standers will jump right up and blame us, sitting and taking it is a luxury we don't have.

  • The Texas Chainsaw massacre was also a real event. Later it was the subject of popular movies and other well-sold stories. Should there be a video game built around this? Sure! Why not? Play the part of the fleeing student. Play the part of a SWAT officer. Play the part of the crazed assailant. Why should anyone miss the opportunity to make millions from real-life events. Do we ALWAYS have to cry about wasted life and all that? If we were really concerned, why aren't we complaining as loud about t
    • Just to point out, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was not in itself a real event any more than the Blair Witch crap was. It was, however, based in part on the strange and disturbing case of Ed Gein [wikipedia.org]. More than one Hollywood thriller stole pieces from this man's life.

      And no, they didn't have video games back then. :-)
  • by minus_273 (174041)
    Man I hate those republican neo-cons. Just look at what that right wing blow hard Rush has to say [kotaku.com]

    read it if you can. this is something that will make so many on slashdot's blood boil. how dare he. Heck i can understand why the submitter to slashdot would submit every other article from kotaku but this one. Stuff like this should not see the light of day. The ideas he presents is so outrageous and ignorant.

    Compare this to the response of a progressive like Ny Gov Eliot Spitzer [gamepolitics.com]. This my friends is why i su
  • Fred Phelps and his crew of assholes are planning to protest at the funeral of one of the slain students. How much do people want to bet he finally gets shot this time?
  • This is something to consider... When you purchase an over-the counter gun in the U.S., you are required to fill out Form 4473 [atf.gov]. Question 12 f asks,

    "Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes having been adjudicated incompetent to manage your own affairs) or have you ever been committed to a mental institution?"

    All the purchaser has to do is answer "no". If they answer "yes", they will not be permitted to purchase the gun.

    Next an instant background check is made, however, only the

  • I think there's much more of a hard-wired biological component to this tragedy than most of the main stream media realizes. This guy obviously had serious mental issues that no amount of hand-holding and therapy sessions could fix. Looking for some sort of external stimulus for his behavior misses the point completely.

    Nobody likes to think that some people are just screwed from the get-go, that their wiring is defective. We all want to think that we do things or say things to help mentally ill people cope

  • I watched online an interview by NBC of one of this guys suitemates (shared a common area among three rooms).

    The NBC guy first of all asked a few times if he had ever seen the killer playing Counterstrike. After one or two questions like that the suitemate answered, no, all he ever saw him doing was typing in Word.

    Then the NBC guy shifted gears, and proceeded to ask if there was not some secret underculture of Counterstrike/violet video game playing at the school in general (after all, it must have been th
  • by CPE1704TKS (995414) on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:02PM (#18817145)
    One of his suitemates was interviewed by Chris Matthews of MSNBC. Matthews was blatantly trying to get at the video game angle, asking the suitemate if he ever saw Cho playing video games, but the suitemate said emphatically "No". He never saw Cho do anything on his computer except type stuff on MS Word documents.

    MAYBE WE SHOULD BAN MS WORD INSTEAD.

    What I found striking was that the suitemate said there was never anything aggressive about Cho ever. He never got excited or angry, and even when they tried talking to him, Cho never reacted with disdain or disgust... he was simply emotionless. He said he never saw him do anything violent ever, and he only saw him either in his room or watching tv (wrestling and SpikeTV).

    MAYBE WE SHOULD BAN WRESTLING AND SPIKE TV.
  • As a victim of bullying as a child (up til about 16 when I beat the hell out of a bully who pushed me down a short flight of stairs and there was no more til I graduated) I understand *EVERY SINGLE TIME* one of these people breaks and kills a lot of people.

    You have years of tormenting- never stopped by authority figures- perhaps even tacitly supported by some of them.
    And you have a gun and you can put a stop to all of it.

    Fortunately, I didn't go down that road but bullies are way too tolerated by school au
  • If he played CounterStrike, he'd no doubt be using hacks like all the other kiddies. After realizing how !133+ he was in real life, he would have turned the gun on himself without killing a single other person.
  • by moz25 (262020) on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:52PM (#18817801) Homepage
    As I understood from some of the news reports, Cho was already "on the radar" as a disturbed person as early as 2005. In fact, I believe the report said he was considered mentally (*) ill according to one of his psychologists.

    What I've been wondering is: how come that someone who has "blipped" on the radar at least several times as a very disturbed person can still legally buy a gun? Now I know that a persistent person will be able to get a gun no matter what, but can we *please* make it a bit harder than going into a store and paying with your CC?
  • Over reaction? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Matti-han (923613) on Friday April 20, 2007 @07:32PM (#18818935)
    It is true that parents and society will always point to the things that are different from their own childhoods as causes for violence, obesity, poor academics, and a host of other woes. It is also true that those parents will always fight to interfere with those activities, be it by denying it at the home level, or by writing to those congress men and women to whom they are constituents. This is their right, and even if in their masses they manage to get laws passed, we (usually) can depend on the supreme court to defend free speech and our rights. So KISS and Marilyn Manson keep rocking, shows like The Shield still get broadcast time, and violent video games are still legal to sell.

    However, there is an insidious culture that is coming to be common practice in our society. It comes from having half of the world's population of lawyers in one country. We now live in a day and age where a woman can spill coffee on herself and successfully sue for millions of dollars. Just imagine if, instead of not playing any video games as seems to be the case, Cho played Counter-Strike. Think of the huge class-action lawsuit that would most likely follow. It's easy to contemplate, because it would be expected. Today we no longer await one trial on any large publicly known crime, but two: the criminal trial and the civil.

    With people like Dr. Phil and Jack Thompson blaming video games, and getting as much media time as they do, how likely in the future will it be for video game makers to get a fair civil trial? That those two did so without even bothering to check facts, and the media's willingness to report such until proven otherwise, reflects a growing trend of belief that violent video games are strongly connected to young people that commit these types of armed massacres.

    The pro-video game groups are making a large point out of this because they are fighting a losing battle to change the minds of Americans regarding these issues.
  • I think even most delusional people can readily tell the difference between make-believe violence and real-world violence. I'm just not that concerned about violent video games, movies or TV programs. I indulge in them myself on occasion. But I am concerned about the local and national news because its major theme is real-world violence, where real people really suffer, die and do not respawn in just a few seconds.

    The local news always leads off with a sensational report on some horrible crime in the area, and the national news always reports on the latest suicide bombing in Iraq and the steady stream of dead and maimed soldiers. We Americans have made it clear that we see large scale, organized violence (i.e., war) or the threat of same to be our preferred solution to nearly every problem we face in the world. When, invariably, we kill innocent people, our generals shrug their shoulders and "regret" the "collateral damage". They always blame it on the other side, claiming "they made us do it".

    And then everybody is stunned, shocked and surprised when an individual in the US does the same thing on a much smaller scale. The VPI shooting was basically a slow-motion suicide bombing. As horrible as it was, the same thing happens almost daily in Iraq, killing about the same number of people. And why? Because some guy has serious psychological problems, a sociopathic personality and an almost complete lack of empathy for other human beings. The only difference is that one of them was elected to office, and because of the power we continue to let him have, many more people have died and continue to die as a result than died in Blacksburg a few days ago.

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