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Games Had Nothing To Do With V. Tech Shooting 99

Posted by Zonk
from the don't-you-love-that-they-have-to-specify dept.
GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that an inquiry into the Virginia Tech shooting in April of this year has revealed no connection whatsoever to videogames. The shooter's lack of interest in violent gaming was widely reported among game news sites at that time in the year, despite the exploration of the idea on cable television news. The official report, filed with the governor of the state, lays that 'motive' to rest. From the article: "The report, which includes a mental health history of the shooter, Seung Hui Cho, notes that during his childhood he had 'played videogames like Sonic the Hedgehog,' yet 'none of the videogames were war games or had violent themes.' This flies in the face of statements made on Fox TV news by Jack Thompson in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, which laid the blame for the incident firmly at the door of videogames."
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Games Had Nothing To Do With V. Tech Shooting

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  • *surprise* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Itchyeyes (908311) on Friday August 31, 2007 @08:53AM (#20423871) Homepage
    File this one under 'no shit'. Is anyone even remotely surprised by this?
    • Re:*surprise* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoonFog (586818) on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:04AM (#20424045)
      Problem is, off course, that this wont be reported in media. Blaming video games is a much more "sexy" headline than "video games NOT to blame". Its a sad state of affairs..
      • Video games have taken the mantle from roleplaying games in the "It Makes Our Youth Into Demented Monsters" category. It's the same old schtick. Some of these moronic accusations even make it to court, as Judas Priest found out.

        As to Thompson, I would like someone to explain what caused him.
      • Re:*surprise* (Score:5, Informative)

        by Ozwald (83516) on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:03AM (#20425745)
        I remember one of the roommates being interviewed the next day:

        "Did he ever play any games?"
        "No"
        "Did he ever play any violent games?"
        "Um, no"
        "Are you sure?"
        "Um, pretty sure. He mostly surfed the web"
        "So, no games?"

        Then they interviewed another and asked the same questions. Sorry, media, you'll have to stick with the real news.

        Oz
    • by urbanriot (924981)
      It's too late... the intelligent Slashdot community is not surprised by this, however the knee jerk reactionaries had already chalked this up to another reason people shouldn't be playing video games. NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, CNN all reported that Seung Hui Cho had an interest in violet video games when this was fresh in everyone's mind, however now gamesindustry.biz is 'revealing' that he didn't? Which one of these news services do you think had more effect on the impressionable minds of US citizens?
      • by shoptroll (544006)
        I thought the media reported later on that no video games were found in his dorm according to the police reports. I forget which media outlet it was but I know one of them had the sense to say "let's not start pointing fingers right now" in the first few days following the tragedy.
      • by amuro98 (461673)
        I seem to recall at least one segment from the 24hr talking head networks, which had plastered VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES CONNECTED TO SHOOTING on their screen while showing the reporter rather sheepishly explaining that there was no evidence that the guy played video games of any sort, much less violent ones. I'm guessing that segment was yanked from the rotation pretty quickly ;-)

        Anyways, since when is the media interested in, you know, FACTS? How many times have we seen one network get an "expert" on their s
    • Yes. Thank god "GamesIndustry.biz" can tell the marketshare that watches FOX / MSNBC / CNN - and oh - every other news outlet - and every print source - and every radio source the truth of the matter. This is a real game-changer there.

      Or perhaps it's preaching to the choir. Nah - couldn't be that. This is a win. I can feel it.
    • Is anyone even remotely surprised by this?

      I'd be willing to bet that anyone who works at E Capitol Street Southeast in D.C. is shocked, dammit. Just shocked. And saddened. And such as. The children.
    • File this one under 'no shit'. Is anyone even remotely surprised by this?
      What 20-something guy did never play violent video games? Maybe the lack of violent gaming affected him negatively in some way :-)
  • Someone gets the point - and has a proof, too.
  • "(he) played videogames (yet) none of the videogames were war games or had violent themes..."

    Jesus, he was abnormal. Why didn't anyone notice this obvious deviation from normality in time to stop his brutal rampage?

    Seriously. I play violent games so I don't kill people. As games have gotten more violent, violent crime has gone down in the big gamer demographics...Correlation may not equal causation, but it is nicely suggestive.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by morari (1080535)
      Because it isn't politically correct to "notice" abnormalities, let alone point them out or properly treat them.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Selfbain (624722)
        I hate to break it to you but there are a lot of people that are 'abnormal' that don't go around shooting people.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)
        That sure doesn't apply in the other direction, considering all the crap some schools pull every time there is a shooting (preemptively treating any outcasts as killers which would only make them feel even more justified to go out and kill people...).
    • Introduce porn,
      Watch sex abuse statistics go down.

      Perverts are too busy having a wank to actually go out and assault someone.

      just as with games, violent people are too busy venting their frustration in the virtual world to take it out on the rest of us.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Care to cite a source on that? Every statistic I have seen shows a zero correlation, not a correlation in either direction.
        • I'll have to ask google.

          The best study I could find (the same country just more porn) showed....

          "Data regarding sex crimes, consistently and regularly recorded in police records, are clearly more available and definitive than those for quantitative or qualitative measures of pornography. It is readily obvious from the data (Table 1) that the incidence of rape has been steadily and dramatically decreasing over the period under review. The incidence of rape has progressively declined from 4677 reported cases
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            From the same study: "Among those European/Scandinavian societies investigated for any relation between the availability of pornography and rape or sexual assault, again no such correlation could be demonstrated (Kutchinsky, 1985a, 1991). For the countries of Denmark, West Germany and Sweden, the three nations for which ample data were available at the time, Kutchinsky showed that as the amount of pornography increasingly became available, the rate of rapes in these countries either decreased or remained re
            • from your quote.

              "Kutchinsky showed that as the amount of pornography increasingly became available, the rate of rapes in these countries either decreased or remained relatively level."

              There seems to be more evidence that porn = less sex crime than porn = more crime.
              • The studies go on to point out other factors besides availability of porn. And the numbers are not consistent between different societies. Every conclusion I have read has pointed to the fact that availability of porn is not a factor either way. The larger factors were making it easier for women to prosecute cases, and an overall increase in women's rights.
              • by Kinickie (981509)
                Pornography does not influence sex crimes, and there's a simple explanation for that. The majority of sex crimes aren't really about sex. It's an act of dominance, not of sexual frustration.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by xero314 (722674)

      I play violent games so I don't kill people.
      Um, now who's the deviant. I mean most people "don't kill people" because they feel it's morally objectionable.

      As games have gotten more violent, violent crime has gone down in the big gamer demographics
      You have some references to back that up?

      Jesus, he was abnormal.
      Yes Jesus was abnormal, but for some reason I don't think that was your point.
      • Hmmm. 80% troll, but I'll respond to the only part with actual substance.

        Violent Crime Statistics [usdoj.gov]; note that the drop has been pronounced since the early 90's which coincided with the release of games like "Doom" which ushered in the era of true violent gaming. Correlation does not equal causation, but the argument that games have increased the violent tendencies of the young immediately runs aground on the fact that no such increase exists.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991)
      Jesus, he was abnormal. Why didn't anyone notice this obvious deviation from normality in time to stop his brutal rampage?

      Multiple people noticed. They intervened, he was investigated by the police and committed for mental examination. The people at his school, faculty, staff, and students, knew he was likely to do something violent. They took every legal step they could.

      I know it terrifies people, but in the end there weren't any reasonable steps left to stop this guy. This kind of thing has happ
      • It was a joke...The abnormality I was speaking of was his lack of interest in violent video games.

        I know that there is nothing that can be done to stop people like this...Hell, most of them ARE stopped, but there will always be a few that get through, and they will always do damage. All the recriminations and finger pointing, and Monday-morning quarterbacking in the world won't change it. People need to stop racing to place blame, and start trying to find better ways of fixing the problem.
  • by SimHacker (180785) * on Friday August 31, 2007 @08:55AM (#20423891) Homepage Journal

    Video games WERE responsible for Jack Thompson senselessly shooting his mouth off.

    -Don

  • Here I was wondering how video games could not be involved at a shooting at vTech [vtechkids.com]. It's amazing the lengths of madness Dora the Explorer can send people to. *tsk* *tsk*
  • Maybe if he had played such games, he would have gotten it out of his system in a virtual world instead of the real one. Rumor has it some studies find comparable criminal violence has decreased precisely because games provide a safety valve, relieving such psychological pressures.
    • Do you know where I can find this study?
    • Exactly!

      From tfa:

      The report, which includes a mental health history of the shooter, Seung Hui Cho, notes that during his childhood he had "played videogames like Sonic the Hedgehog," yet "none of the videogames were war games or had violent themes."

      Obviously, to prevent further school violence we must encourage the youth of today to play violent games, not repeditive puzzle games with bad disco music.

      I suggest we start a fund to provide low-cost or free copies of Manhunt to inner city youth. Think of the c

      • except that Manhunt is incredibly boring.. Soldier of Fortune could be good.. the first one had something like 26 different damage zones, I played the demo a few times just to test them out. I more thought it was cool because of the programming involved, and the ability to make games more tactical, rather than because it was 'killing' people though tbh..
    • If viewing violence turned people into psychopaths, you would have expected the majority of urban Romans would have been psychopaths. The arena, in fact, provided just such an outlet (bread and circuses), and the Emperors and other officials pretty much depended on them to keep order in crowded metropolises like Rome.

      I'm quite certain that there are a certain breed of lunatic out there that would be inspired by violent games. But then again, these are probably the kinds of guys that would get inspired by
      • by zimus (68982)

        But then again, these are probably the kinds of guys that would get inspired by newspaper articles, Victoria Secret catalogs or household appliances.
        Dude have you seen a garbage disposal? Mmm... sexy.
    • by gruntled (107194)
      You can make your own study. Lay out the line for violent crime rates in the United States (available from the United States Department of Justice, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/viort.htm [usdoj.gov] )
      Notice that the line peaks at around 1994, and then drops dramatically, declining by more than 50 per cent to 2005, the most recent figures available.

      Then you need to gather data representing the share of people who play videogames (available from studies like this http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/75614.php [medicalnewstoday.com]
      • You're not seeing the big picture. If I take those same video game statistics, and overlay them with a line of regression for the number of SUVs in the United States, you'd see that an increase in video gamers has a direct correlation with an increase in SUV ownership. In short, video games cause global warming!

        Give me a break...

      • by bcattwoo (737354)
        It can also be shown that global warming is caused by the decreasing number of pirates.

        While this is just a WAG, I would say that the random acts of violence that might be caused/prevented by playing violent games would constitute only a very small fraction of the total. The positive effect of video games couldn't even come close to explaining that 50% decrease. In fact, I would guess that the effect of video games (positive or negative) would just be noise compared to whatever other factors are at work.
        • by gruntled (107194)
          Hmm. Can't be subtle here. OK, the generally accepted theory for the decrease in violent crime over the past decade has been the general aging of the population; simply put, the more past 30 are, the less likely you are to commit violent crime, and the population of 30 and unders peaked in the Nineties (tail end of the baby boom) and has been declining ever since.

          However...

          I always like to use these graphs when I'm dealing with somebody who insists that something he abhors -- movies, television, music, vide
      • Both trends coincide with the dot.com bubble [wikipedia.org]. The economy has been known to have an effect on crime. ("Crime in the US is also concentrated to certain areas. It is quite common for crime in American cities to be highly concentrated in a few, often economically disadvantaged areas." [wikipedia.org]) In fact, weather has been known to have an effect on crime. Tempers rise as temperatures do, and who wants to burglarize a house in the middle of a thunderstorm or blizzard?

        Methinks the drop in crime was due to lower unemp

        • There's still a correlation. Correlation does NOT imply causation. The GP was just coming up with some causative theories, you've come up with some more. But just because there turns out to be no causation between the rise of videogames and crimes doesn't mean there's no correlation.
  • Can you put that on a post-it for me, and entitle it 'SHIT. I. ALREADY. KNOW!'.
  • by MooseMuffin (799896) on Friday August 31, 2007 @08:58AM (#20423947)
    Jack Thompson now has all the proof he needs to show that non violent video games are just as dangerous as violent ones!
    • You say that as a joke, but I wish he'd try to blame something like a school shooting on some harmless game like Sonic. That would certainly make him look like a fool.
    • But two years from now, when he actually DOES start to do that ... well, you won't be laughing then, will you, funny man?
    • I don't understand the delay in getting a Shoot Jack Thompson Dead video game out on the web or on store shelves? What exactly is the hold up? This would be far more appropriate, not to mention fun, than the games about Columbine or V Tech...and I can't imagine he would protest this, would he? You don't know Jack...Thompson!
  • What's the word I'm looking for? Oh yeah! Scapegoat!
  • wtf people. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:07AM (#20424089) Homepage
    There was one thing and one thing only that caused this horrible event to occur...Cho was a crazy fuck. There is no reason to dip into his past, no need to point the finger at anyone...it was no one's fault. The ONLY thing that could have been done to prevent this is if he were under lock and key in an institution. Short of that, this was going to happen. Why? Because he was a crazy fuck. In the words of Chris Rock, "Whatever happend to crazy? What, people can't just be crazy no more?"

    Look. This is past. Cho is dead, the unfortunate people who were in the right place at the wrong time are dead, let their families and friends mourn in peace.

    • No way! Now we know that videogames didn't do it, we have to find a new scapegoat! Maybe violent movies, or music...Would violent music be more likely to drive someone to murder than the current pop crap on the radio?

      • by Pojut (1027544)
        I dunno man...Fall Out Boy has put homicidal thoughts in my head more than once...in general, those thoughts were aimed at myself just so I could stop the horror of it all.

        Then I remembered I could just turn it off. Close calls, lemme tell ya. I don't even turn on the radio any more for fear of becoming a raving lunatic (as opposed to just a plain ol' lunatic, which I achieved many years ago...I think it was seeing Vanilla Ice in TNMT 2 that did it...)
      • Maybe it's just me, but most people I know who listen to death metal, etc. (myself included) are pretty laid back. I had to deal with this same bullshit when Columbine happened because I also wore black and listened to KMFDM and played Doom...same "symptoms", yet I had no inclination to murder people. I still don't, and my choices in clothing, music, and video games have gravitated *further* in the "scary" direction since then. People who listen to and genuinely enjoy pop music scare me a LOT more than p
        • by Pojut (1027544)
          I get plenty of looks whenever I wear a Cannibal Corpse shirt or my Pig Destroyer shirt that says "Trauma is Sexy" on the back...I especially get a bunch when I'm wearing my Cradle of Filth shirt that says "Dead Girls Don't Say No".... ...then again, I can understand why...8D But yes, I am in the same boat as you. I am the most chill, laid back, happy person you would ever meet...and I listen to black metal, grindcore, etc.
    • Re:wtf people. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spyrochaete (707033) on Friday August 31, 2007 @10:47AM (#20425537) Homepage Journal
      Don't oversimplify by calling him a crazy fuck. Read some of the materials linked in the description. Having read them myself I really pity Cho. He was socially awkward, moved to America from his native Korea, had no friends, and was devastated when his novel was rejected for publication. He voluntarily participated in psychological examinations and various modes of therapy many times. He lost his only confidant when his older sister left for university. He longed to be normal but spent so much time alone that he didn't have the benefit of society correcting his little inappropriate expressions.

      I'm not justifying what he did, and of course I empathize much more with the victims and their families, but Cho's story is sad, not infuriating. No human being is "just" anything. If everyone shared that willful ignorance mankind would have no will to learn about its own nature.
      • by Pojut (1027544)
        my saying he was just a crazy fuck wasn't intended to gloss over whatever things he had to go though (although it did sort of do that...) Perhaps a better way to put it would have been an ANGRY fuck, as opposed to a crazy fuck.
    • by steveo777 (183629)
      There's actually more merit in what Pojut has to say than I believe the poster knows. Though after looking at a few comments on other threads, maybe he/she does. But I recall seeing a lot of footage and reading interviews with students who tried to reach out to the kid and befriend him. But gave up because he wouldn't even talk to them. So it's not like you could blame it on 'the institution' either. And everyone gets bullied, but it sounds like this kid was possessed or something...

      I'm a big proponen

  • then it sounds like they drew their own conclusions on the root cause without ever having any evidence that they should have been investigating video game links in the first place. Looks like the investigators were already trying to implicate videogames instead of using the available evidence to draw a conclusion.
  • Fox News B.S. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ExE122 (954104) * on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:14AM (#20424181) Homepage Journal
    Maybe if he had played violent videogames, maybe he wouldn't have shot students. Perhaps he would've rather gone after terrorists [bettybowers.com], demons [youtube.com], or evil mind-controlling aliens [scientology.org].

    Jack Thompson is just another idiot on Murdock's payroll who talks out of the part of his body that most people poop from. If he wants to start blaming video games, then he needs to be blaming the media (i.e. himself) as well.

    While I do think that violent games desensitize us to some extent, I don't think they are at all the cause of the problem. Seung Hui Cho was just another angry kid, as were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. They felt cast aside, rejected, and victimized because they didn't fit in with their peers. So took their anger out on the world around them...

    Honestly, I'd think being involved in an online gaming community, no matter how violent the game, would've probably helped. Many people (likely the Jim Thompson type) percieve those addicted online games as being anti-social. Yet from what I've seen, most gamers seem have an elaborate network of online friends. This could've given Cho, Harris, and others a sense of community and a place to "fit in" or at the very least, escape from the world around them.

    What I do think is a very real and disturbing issue is that they decided to carry out their anger with automatic weapons and how easily they could obtain them. The reasons behind this have very little to do with video games...

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      What I do think is a very real and disturbing issue is that they decided to carry out their anger with automatic weapons

      Agreed

      and how easily they could obtain them.

      Cho had obtained all of his weapons legally...IIRC he had nothing but pistols (correct me if I'm wrong).

      Frankly, I'm GLAD that he obtained the weapons legally. Now bear with me here, I know this is a hard thing to swallow, but still...look at it this way. Say he had gone to that gun store and they refused to sell him anything...that would ha

      • by poor_boi (548340)
        I think you are making some unfounded assumptions about how easy it is to get guns illegally, and what kind of guns they would be when you found them. I think you are perhaps imagining some sort of evil underworld bristling with high caliber automatic assault weapons. In truth, the majority of illegally obtained guns used in crimes are eventually traced back to a legal sale by a licensed gun shop. Chances are very good that had Cho not been able to buy a handgun from a gun shop, he would bought a handgun
  • Could we all get the name straight?

    In writing, Virginia Tech or VT (use the former if you're worried about confusing us with Vermont).

    In speech, VT (Vee Tee), Tech, or Virginia Tech, please. Not "Vah Tech", please (yes, it even bugs me when Jim Rome says it). How often to you call Georgia Tech "Jah Tech", or Virginia the "Vah Caveliers"?

    Sorry, off topic, I know.

  • by Rhaban (987410)

    The report, which includes a mental health history of the shooter, Seung Hui Cho, notes that during his childhood he had 'played videogames like Sonic the Hedgehog,'
    All Sonic games should be immediately banned from the entire world, for the safety of our children.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:24AM (#20424293)
    Will we now hear the big "no connection to games" story on faux news? Certainly not. We won't hear a thing now. Until the next shooting where someone happens to have some game that's considered violent or at the very least somehow controversal, and bang, we'll be bombarded with "games are bad" pseudoinformation for weeks.

    What does the average audience get? That every time there is a report about shootings, games are involved. And the immediate connection is that whenever there's a shooting, games are involved (because you only hear of those where some kind of connection can be made). Result? Consult your imagination.

    It's not that the news lie to us. Well, not always. But they do something that's about as bad, they select and skew stories. Everything that fits their agenda gets reported. Everything that goes against it is squelched. And of course, if you only hear that A is bad or B is good, you start to believe that this isn't a selected few cases, but that it's the way it is.

    Be careful when you hear a few stories about something. It could be that you get to hear the occasional stray exceptions instead of the rule, because that's what furthers someone's agenda.

    And yes, that should be common sense, and probably is on this board. But where else if not in a thread like this would a "no shit, Sherlock" information fit in?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Trepalium (109107)

      Be careful when you hear a few stories about something. It could be that you get to hear the occasional stray exceptions instead of the rule, because that's what furthers someone's agenda.

      It has nothing to do with agendas. The exception is news, the rule is not ("man bites dog is news, dog bites man isn't"). No, what you should be suspect of is self-appointed experts like our friend Jack Thompson here, who use speculation as if it were well established fact in order to further their own personal crusad

      • But that's something COMPLETELY different! Thinking that TV rots your brain is braindead, and it's been shown that it doesn't. While those dreaded computers and those boom-bang-ratatata games, that's something I don't understand and I don't like, so it has to be the culprit. Isn't that obvious?
  • by spyrochaete (707033) on Friday August 31, 2007 @09:24AM (#20424301) Homepage Journal
    I read many of the documents on the Cho repository last night so I can't recall which had this quote, but one of his former roommates said that it was conspicuous that Cho played no video games at all whereas most university students did. This proves nothing but is a possible argument in favour of video games as a way to relieve stress. Of course, Cho had a very abnormal personality so he's hardly a baseline upon which to formulate opinions of average people.

    Aside, these documents are a fascinating read. If you're interested in psychology, security, forensics, or criminology you will find much interesting material here.
  • i watch those cop shows all the time and I always rute for the underdog. If only they had some 2x4 with nails in it that could really give that cop a run for his money, if only he'd brought an uzi etc...

    Seriously, I don't know why they show them on TV when all there doing is slowly turning me into a terrorist.
  • by Loosifur (954968) on Friday August 31, 2007 @10:28AM (#20425283)
    The bottom line is that people go on shooting sprees because they're batshit. But if you want to make a desensitization argument, I'd look at the news, frankly. Look at an hour of CNN or any other cable news outlet. You'll see much more in the way of realistic depictions of violence than from an hour of Battlefield 2, or what have you. Having grown up watching horror movies and playing Mortal Kombat I can tell you that neither of these things prepared me for seeing an actual dead body in real life, and I can safely say that I would have to be off my rocker to look forward to killing someone.
  • As stupid as Jack Thompson is and as much as we'd like this to be an "I told you so," The report basically said that he played Sonic, therefore violent games didn't have a role. A "no shit" conclusion. If investigators found that he played more violent games, they and the media would have jumped to the conclusion that playing those games must mean those games played a role.
  • Don't you see?

    This was all caused because he had a "lack of interest in violent gaming". If violent games hadn't existed, he wouldn't have had a lack of interest in them! You can't have a lack of interest in something that doesn't exist!

    Think of the children!
  • Clearly his obsession with Sonic the Hedgehog fostered his robocidal tendencies. What happened at V-Tech was a warning. It would only have been a matter of time before he took out his rage on a REAL robot. Thankfully the system works and stopped Cho before that could happen.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog? Oh, so he was one of those weird "Sega" kids (if you don't know who I'm talking about, you probably are one). If his parents had bought him a SNES he'd probably have been normal. So obviously, his parents are to blame.
  • Jack Thompson is a hack, we saw that in our last discussion on the topic. Please, don't feed this troll by posting news about him. This discussion here and now is kinda pointless.

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