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The Media Games

The Oslo Massacre and Violent Video Games: the Facts 343

Posted by Soulskill
from the broken-record dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Media hysteria is once again blaming a real life massacre on violent video games. But looking at every single gaming reference in the Oslo killer's manifesto shows that such accusations are ridiculous. He played games to unwind from plotting and used them to mask his activities."
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The Oslo Massacre and Violent Video Games: the Facts

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  • by ihaveamo (989662) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:16PM (#36876616)

    ..You never see THAT headline do you??

  • Massacre (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oh Gawwd Peak Oil (1000227) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:16PM (#36876618)

    Why is this being downgraded to a "massacre" now that we know the perpetrators aren't Muslim?

    Call it what it was. It was a terrorist attack. That's a superset of massacre, and it wasn't merely some deranged nut suddenly going off--it was premeditated, and it was for political reasons. But it seems a lot of people are trying to push that under the rug.

  • by Hartree (191324) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:16PM (#36876624)

    The usual silliness.

    You might as well blame the wetsuit manufacturer for making the wet suit he was photographed in for a youtube video, as it made him feel too much like James Bond.

    The problem is not that he's a violent politically motivated murderer that plays video games.

    The problem is that he's a violent politically motivated murderer.

  • Surprise surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WiiVault (1039946) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:20PM (#36876678)
    Sometimes I wonder if the reason the media goes after video games has something to do with the fact that they are often in direct competition with each other for the (mostly) finite number of media consumption hours of the average person. I seem to remember the media, at least in the US, seemed to spend an endless time demonizing the internet and focusing on worst-case scenarios back of ID theft, scams, and viruses in the late 90's when they still thought they might snuff it out. I wonder in newspapers and radio engaged in these same tactics in against radio and TV when they were the up and comers?
  • Not video games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by squidflakes (905524) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:21PM (#36876690) Homepage

    It appears that radical right wing thought, conspiracy theories, bigotry, and a healthy dose of nationalism is to blame, but god damn that's hard to shorten in to a catchy headline.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:33PM (#36876866) Journal

    What seems to be happening, typically, is that a number of groups are attempting to disown Breivik. I'm not sure why, as the media and the police have made it pretty clear this guy was a far right extremist, and hardly typical of the moderate right anywhere in Europe. Still, you see Christians nitpicking at his Freemasonry to claim he isn't Christian, conservatives trying to find ways to move him away from any kind of right wing ideology, Norwegians declaring him sort of alien species (despite the fact that there has long been a small right wing and neo-Nazi movement in Norway). I guess that's typical enough, people want nothing to do with this kind of person.

    To my mind, and I don't even play a psychiatrist on TV, Breivik seems a very narcissistic type. I mean, this guy went to all the trouble to write a 1,500 page manifesto of his mutterings, make himself uniforms (the picture of him in his neo-Templar uniform is precious), and along with some other nuts (whose doors, I'm assuming, are already being busted down) played a very bizarre private fantasy. The events of a few days ago are sadly where Breivik's private fantasy tragically intersected reality.

    It's hard to call the guy insane in the general use of the word. He clearly planned this, and if he did it himself, he's shown no lack of diabolical genius in setting of the bombs then making his way to the island to con a bunch of kids into gathering around him so he could blow them away. There's no denying that's a mad, crazy act, but this guy knew what he was doing. He still hopes, it seems, to use the court as his soap box, and while the judge has deprived of him it for several weeks, eventually this is going to go to court and the Norwegian and international press are going to have to make the hard decisions of how much of this guy's ranting they should report or not. Based upon current reporting, this will be to sensational for them not to repeat his every utterance, and so, at the end of the day, even if they throw Breivik into a deep dark hole and throw away the key, he's accomplished a good deal of what he wanted. He's got the exposure, he's got people of like mind posting all over the place trite messages about how "we deplore the his methods, but what he says makes sense!"

    People will compare him to Timothy McVeigh, and to an extent, it does seem that kind of terrorist act, but in some ways Breivik reminds me more of one Colonel Hitler, and I suspect before this is done, every far right culture conservative out there from American white supremacists too Western and Central European neo-Nazis to Serbian racist thugs will be declaring this guy some sort of champion. Polite society certainly will reject him, but the wingnuts, well, he's the perfect poster boy, handsome, dashing and articulately mad.

  • Re:Massacre (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RsG (809189) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:55PM (#36877192)

    I think that's incorrect. Neither is a superset of the other, however you want to slice it.

    You can have a terrorist attack that isn't a massacre. If someone used a radiological weapon for the express purpose of causing terror to further a political agenda, it would be "terrorism", but not a massacre - there might not even be any immediate deaths, though there would be terror without question.

    You can have a massacre that isn't terrorism. All that requires is a large scale loss of life to violence without an express political aim or intent to spread fear. Examples range from genocide, to indiscriminate warfare, to deliberate acts of mass murder carried out by damaged individuals with no particular agenda.

    Ven diagram is a better way to look at it. |Massacre|Terrorist Massacre|Terrorism| This was both, and can be called either a massacre or a terror attack.

    I do agree however that the media called it "terrorism" when the bomb hit Oslo and the perp was unknown and shifted more to "massacre" when it became known that the attack was domestic rather than foreign. There seems to be a certain amount of denial around the idea that this terrorist is a white christian killing his countrymen instead of a brown muslim from some dusty corner of the middle east.

  • by ideonexus (1257332) on Monday July 25, 2011 @07:15PM (#36877448) Homepage Journal

    My gut reaction agrees with you. I'm still flipping through the manifesto and a lot of it reads like what you would hear on Rush Limbaugh for the three hours that slime is on the air every day.

    This guy wasn't stupid, and his insanity is of a psychopathic nature, not delusional. He killed all those people in a cold calculated stunt for attention. He's very well read, hates Muslims, hates socialism, hates hip-hop, believes in implementing population control on 3rd-world countries, has an extensive understanding of history that is completely biased, and, most of all, extremely Christian. I can easily see this manifesto being picked up by the militias in the United States and secretly admired as a great work. Scary.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday July 25, 2011 @08:55PM (#36878492)

    False equivalency. Whenever these terrorist attacks occur, it's a right-wing terrorist behind them. From the assassination of Dr. Tiller, to the attempted assault on the Tides Foundation, to the attempt to bomb the MLK Day parade in Spokane, to the bombing of a Democratic party primary in Arkansas, to the bombing of a mosque in Jacksonville, to the suicide plane crash into the IRS offices in Austin, to the Hutaree Militia's plans to bomb a police officer's funeral and spark a civil war... and that's just a sample of the attacks in the past two years alone.

    When the left-wing eco-terrorists were operating decades ago, then yes, that was also scary and deplorable and turned a lot of people off to the cause of environmentalism. But today, right now, the terrorist attacks are coming from the right-wing, pseudo-libertarians. And they are being encouraged by Fox and Limbaugh and the Republicans, who are constantly on the air, reinforcing the notion that the government is illegitimate and that violent attacks ("second amendment solutions") are acceptable responses. The reason for the hate-mongering is clear - if you whip the masses into a frenzy, they'll get out and vote for you. And if you push some over the edge and they murder people, you can just deny responsibility.

    The right-wing has fully embraced terrorism as a means to achieve their goals. And the scary thing is that it's working.

  • Re:Massacre (Score:4, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657) on Monday July 25, 2011 @09:23PM (#36878740) Homepage Journal

    Norway will probably remember it as the Utoya Island massacre.

    That's doubtful. Not only because "Utoeya Island" is a tautology (oeya means "the island"), but because the Norwegian word for massacre implies an overwhelming force, and also has a viewpoint of the action, not the victim.

    My guess is that it will be known as the Utoeya tragedy, and, indeed, that's how a few newspapers have already described it.

    Norway will not forget, but they will remember it a different way than the US remembers 9/11. Norwegian culture is not based around revenge, and although there are those who in anger calls for it now, the Norwegian way would be to embrace everything the perpetrator was against, like tolerance and religious freedom. And expect the Labour Party to win overwhelmingly at the next election. That's how Norwegians will cope, by distancing themselves from the perpetrator and everything he stood for.
    But they will always remember the tragedy.

  • Re:Massacre (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @07:43AM (#36881782)

    I agree, and I said to my girlfriend quite early on when this was hitting the news it was unlikely to be Al Qaeda, and, in Norway, was probably the far right, particularly when we heard about the shootings being carried out by the same guy that set the bomb, and the fact both attacks actually worked, the more news that came in about the fact the guy was ethnic Norwegian and it became more clear.

    The profile was just wrong for Al Qaeda in Europe, but that's precisely what's scary. Al Qaeda has shown itself to be terribly inept, sure the Madrid train bombings worked, and sure 7/7 worked, but look at the latter- 4 suicide bombers and 52 casualties, vs. one gunman here and 76 casualties. The 21/7 bombings failed miserably, the failed London car bombs and subsequent Glasgow airport attack were a flop, the bomb attack in Sweden only took out the bomber and one else because he fucked up, and the underpants bomber failed miserably.

    Al Qaeda relies on taking people who are willing to sacrifice their lives, and this by and large means taking on people who are, to put it bluntly, pretty fucking stupid. Because they're stupid enough to kill themselves, rather than do what this guy did- stay alive and create even more carnage, it almost certainly means they're pretty unlikely to be able to even pull off the plot succesfully.

    Of course there are exception, 9/11 of course being the most notable, one might argue a large part the reason the plot succeded was because the US was innocent and naive to the threat of such terrorism at the time, but a degree of competence was required to learn to fly the planes.

    But generally I fear the likes of the resurgent IRA activists, far right extremists, and outright nut jobs than I do Al Qaeda in Europe. Look at Derrick Bird, the guy who just lost it one day and went on a shooting spree in Cumbria, England- even he killed 12 people + himself, that's roughly the same as the number of victims per attacker in Al Qaeda's most succesful attack on UK soil to date - 7/7, and the only reason he didn't kill more is not because he was stopped, but because he seemingly came back to reality for a moment, realised what he'd done, and killed himself- if he was a determined attacker, he could likely have increased that count more. A similar story occured at Virginia Tech where a lone gunman who had simply flipped was more devastating and catastrophic than 7/7.

    If we're going to consider terrorism a priority then we should at least be rational about it- stop profiling muslims and do a little more to deal with the real threats- the ones actually capable of doing some real damage. This Anders guy was smart, educated, motivated, but politically went off the rails, those former traits demonstrate how much more deadly a home grown extremist who wants to cause carnage more than they want to die rather than vice versa as commonly seems the case with most Al Qaeda attacks. Or to put it another way, the genuinely idealist, motivated, extremist intent on causing carnage is a far bigger problem than the brainwashed idiot, who basically just wants to die so they can go on to live a life amongst their freshly granted quota of virgins, the latter of which includes most of al Qaeda, because nearly all of al Qaeda's most vocal ideologists don't actually have the balls to follow through in furthering their ideology themselves.

    As a Brit however, I also agree with you, it's nothing to lose sleep over, god only knows if the blitz didn't take out my grandparents, the IRA didn't finish my parents off in the 70s and me off in the 80s, and Al Qaeda haven't been able to touch me in the 00s I'm not likely to live in fear of terrorism if not only because that would mean terrorism was effective, and people not altering their lives because of it, means it's not- terrorism can only be terrorism if it actually effects change through terror. These people are such statistically insignificant threats to daily life that they should be treated as such, and thought of as such- less likely to cause you any harm than a rogue lightning strike hitting you on the head at the end of the day.

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin

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