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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??

    • by mcvos (645701)

      I didn't see any video game headlines either until I came to Slashdot. If there's any media frenzy, it's about rightwing extremism. My newspaper was all about how he claimed to be a cultural conservative christian freemason who produced his own ideology about starting a European civil war. And they compared recent killing sprees in the West to the Malaysian concept of amok [wikipedia.org].

      I still need to read TFA, but this is really the first time I've seen anyone mention games in relation to the Oslo killings. The violent

  • 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 Kenja (541830)
      Massacre is the verb, terrorism is the noun.
    • It was a terrorist attack. That's a superset of massacre

      Don't think so. Many battles have ended as massacres, and yet they involved no targeting of civilians for political ends.

      You're full of shit.

      • by IrquiM (471313)
        And you also have terrorist attacks that have ended without massacres!
      • He's confused as to the technical sets that massacre and terrorism overlap on, but he's right about one thing. It is a terrorist attack, as he did try to affect a change via fear. The media has also shied away from the term, which makes it seem like they're reserving the word for "those people".
    • Re:Massacre (Score:5, Interesting)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:41PM (#36876986)
      For what it's worth, I'm far more terrified of domestic terrorism than Islamic terrorists. The KKK, neo-nazis, "Christian"groups like "Hutaree," various well-armed militias, animal rights psychos, pro-lifers who seem to think life is worth less outside the womb, and random nuts with guns... There are more home-grown terrorists than there are foreign terrorists, they generally know their targets better and raise less suspicion, and there have been more domestic terrorist acts than foreign terrorist attacks.

      Neither are likely enough to lose any sleep over or vote for someone to protect me from those evildoers of course. Fox news scares me even more than any type of terrorist combined.
      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        Somewhere there is a government official reading this and feeling their job is working. Keep everybody scared and they'll do what ever you ask.

        • I think you missed the last line there, about how both were trivial concerns. And government officials are trying to construct -foreign- terrorism as the big threat precisely because it's so much less real than domestic. A domestic terror attack is more likely. Happens on politician X's watch? No big deal, after all, he's keeping you safe from the the threat he was telling you he was protecting you from.
      • 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.

    • Re:Massacre (Score:5, Informative)

      by omglolbah (731566) on Monday July 25, 2011 @07:01PM (#36877258)

      It wasnt "downgraded".

      Here in Norway it is still being described as a terrorist attack.

      The attack at Utøya is described as a massacre while the bomb was obviously a bombing.
      These two attacks has to be differentiated when described for clarity so they are described that way.
      Overall it is described as "the terrorist attacks" or a variation of that.

      Do not for a second think this is some "downgrading" because of the nutjob being Norwegian.

      I dont know who you feel are pushing it under the rug, but I dont see anything like that happening -here-.

      • by sorak (246725)

        I assumed that the American media was downgrading it because it is a Christian attacking Muslim civilians, rather than the reverse. Maybe I'm wrong, though.

      • by chrb (1083577)
        It was downgraded in some media. Slate has an informative article that analyses the phenomenon: [salon.com] "Indeed, in many (though not all) media circles, discussion of the Oslo attack quickly morphed from this is Terrorism (when it was believed Muslims did it) to no, this isn't Terrorism, just extremism (once it became likely that Muslims didn't)."
    • by glwtta (532858)
      I think you're trying too hard: "terrorist" describes the motivation behind an attack, "massacre" describes its scale; a thing can be one, both, or neither.

      One is not inherently juicier than the other.
    • by bky1701 (979071)
      Right-wing Christian fanatics aren't terrorists, silly. They're either freedom fighters or mentally ill, depending on public perception. Meanwhile, a Muslim man so much as complaining about the state of affairs is obviously a terrorist. It's just like the communists, jews, witches, pagans... you're "other" so you must be oppressed, we're "us" so we can do no wrong.
      • by hey! (33014)

        Of course you know what that means. Based on this one datapoint, family values cause terrorism.

        • by bky1701 (979071)
          Artificial morality based on outdated works of fiction which claim to be the one and only truth are, in fact, responsible for almost all terrorism.
    • by syousef (465911)

      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.

      It was only downgraded on slashdot. In real life he has been charged with terrorism.

  • 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.

    • I dunno... I watched Natural Born Killers the other day, and killing people seems pretty fun. But I should download some first-person shooters and train before I go and get that semi-automatic.

      Oh, by the way, did anyone check what movies this guy watched? Not that a MOVIE would have anything to do with his actions... I mean, that would be absurd. A movie is just pictures on a screen, while video games are clearly both the motivation and the how-to guides of murderers.
  • If you play a video game as "training" to commit a violent act in the real world, the game is not the thing making you a violent psychopath, you're already there.
  • 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.

  • Personally I think Monopoly is the root cause of all the financial problems we're having for the past years.

    • by hyfe (641811)

      Personally I think Monopoly is the root cause of all the financial problems we're having for the past years.

      2.5% unemployment, 520$ billion dollars stashed away in a goverment fund for later spending, universil healthcare and ridicilously good unemployment benefits (80% of your last salary, available for 100 weeks as long as you're looking for a job). Apart from the odd massacre and a holier-than-thou-attitude we're fine thank you.

      • by Fuzzums (250400)

        just to be sure: I was referring to the subprime mortgages, wallstreet and we're-too-good-to-pay-sales-taxes-like-everybody-else-amazon and everything related to that.

  • Pft (Score:5, Informative)

    by hyfe (641811) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:35PM (#36876896)
    If your media makes a big deal out of him gaming, read better media. If you can't find any, stop reading. You're probably better off.

    His manifesto actually (readily available in english) makes a big deal out of how pretending to have a gaming addiction is really usefull for hiding nefarious activities. He wasn't a gaming addict, he was using it as a cover.

    Also, if your media is one of those who kept harping on about this being muslims long after it was clear he was Norwegian you're probably better off without them either (I'm looking at you NY Times). The american coverage of this incident has been pretty much abysmal, and I'm sorry for being able to read english. I wish I couldn't.

    However, while his gaming certainly didn't affect him, it's pretty clear that the fact that he was taking a coctail of anabolic steroids did. He even described it himself in his manifesto. To which extent we won't know until later, but we'll figure it out. There's plenty of time, and we have to grieve a bit of first.

    Signed
    A Norwegian
    (Also; Glenn Beck; May you burn in hell)

  • by audunr (906697) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:36PM (#36876916)

    It has been mentioned in the media here in Norway, but it's really not part of the discussion about why he did this. His political beliefs (anti-Islam, anti-Labour Party, etc) is the focus now. In addition to how much of a lunatic this guy really is.

    The manifesto is full of details about just about everything, so it's easy to pick one small thing and focus on just that. Remember that this document is something he put together and published before the bomb and shooting, knowing that it would be read trying to find an explanation for what he did. If he expected to die, this was to be his legacy, I guess. So who knows how much of it is true and how much is how he wanted us to look at things.

  • Its so predictable that some people will blame video games and the media when these things happen It really reminded me of the interview Michael Moore did with Marilyn Manson in Bowling for Columbine I really recommend people rewatch it as its still true now http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrHFB2KP8fc [youtube.com] Maybe its the way that governments conduct themselves that should have the finger pointed at them before they start with the media - unfortunately its much easier to blame someone or a video game rather than
  • Because this document is going to be a political football for weeks to come, can anyone point me to where I can download a copy of this manifesto and see the nonsense for myself instead of having it cherry-picked by every pundit with an ax to grind? I see quotes from it all over the internet, but no link to the primary document.
    • by ideonexus (1257332) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:53PM (#36877182) Homepage Journal

      Found it. Thanks Wikipedia:

      http://www.kevinislaughter.com/wp-content/uploads/2083+-+A+European+Declaration+of+Independence.pdf [kevinislaughter.com]

      In looking for this, I found a Right Wing blog arguing that he was motivated by the belief in Evolution, another blog arguing that he was a liberal Al Queda sypathizer, a liberal blog arguing that he would be a member of the Tea Party if he lived in America and all of them using this 1500 pages of batshit insanity to justify their positions.

      • It's hard to see how a guy who advocated a return to conservative Roman Catholicism, hated Islam, fancied himself one of the Knights Templar and despised and blamed those he viewed as Marxists as responsible for most of the ills of Europe as anything but a Far Right nut.

        • 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 swillden (191260)

            I can easily see this manifesto being picked up by the militias in the United States and secretly admired as a great work. Scary.

            I don't see why you find that scary. Would you also find it scary if a nutcase killed a bunch of people after publishing a manifesto that is a slightly more extreme version of your political positions (whatever they are)?

            The manifesto and the guy's ideas ultimately had little to nothing to do with his actions. They were justification and window dressing, but he could have used a completely different set of ideas just as well. And there may well be plenty of people in the US who would read his manifesto

            • 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.

      • Extracting info from the document or convert from a Word file to a PDF file +
        translation service
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        providing you have the Microsoft Word/Office software (preferably Word 2007 or newer).
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        allows you to view, print and copy Word documents, even if you donâ(TM)t have Word
        installed. Just do a search for the key word âoeWord Viewerâ at the following site:

        Clearly it's not his use of video games which make him a whack job but his excessive use of windows
        and proprietary software.

      • by syousef (465911)

        Found it. Thanks Wikipedia:

        http://www.kevinislaughter.com/wp-content/uploads/2083+-+A+European+Declaration+of+Independence.pdf [kevinislaughter.com]

        In looking for this, I found a Right Wing blog arguing that he was motivated by the belief in Evolution, another blog arguing that he was a liberal Al Queda sypathizer, a liberal blog arguing that he would be a member of the Tea Party if he lived in America and all of them using this 1500 pages of batshit insanity to justify their positions.

        The way the news is going on, I was expecting it to be a modified Call of Duty manual, but it doesn't even get a mention till page 900. There is some cosplay too. Clearly that should be banned as well. Also the writing of 1518 page documents. Clearly that is the devil's true number. Let's ban reading and writing too. They convey terrorist ideas every day!

  • by IrquiM (471313) on Monday July 25, 2011 @06:57PM (#36877210) Homepage
    Not here in Norway at least.

    The facts are, he was a right wing nationalist, conservative christian and idolizing the Knights Templar and the crusades.
  • Am I the only one who thinks that the attempts to manufacture outrage here are pretty half-hearted?

    There hasn't actually been any media "hysteria" around video games with this story, but I guess one hard up for ideas editor of - what is it even, an Australian gaming blog? - decides that there's life in the old girl yet.

    Slashdot dutifully carries the thing, to stoke the requisite "nerd outrage" side of the story, but even that pretty much sputters out.

    Can't we just agree that this one is not going t
  • One thing I noticed when reading an article about the shooter was when they were mentioning his gun ownership. They noted he had 3 firearms registered under him: a rifle, a shotgun, and a Glock. They did not use the generic term pistol or handgun like they did with the rifle and shotgun, they specifically mentioned the gun manufacturer. When I saw this, it made me stop and think for a minute.
    • by arth1 (260657)

      They noted he had 3 firearms registered under him: a rifle, a shotgun, and a Glock. They did not use the generic term pistol or handgun like they did with the rifle and shotgun, they specifically mentioned the gun manufacturer. When I saw this, it made me stop and think for a minute.

      You're barking up the wrong tree - this is cultural. Glock is the military handgun in Norway. If the rifle had been one used by the Norwegian military or universally known, it would have been named too, not just described as a rifle. Ruger Mini-14 would be meaningless to a Norwegian audience, but in a country with conscription, most people know what a Glock, AG-3 or HK-416 is.

  • by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @04:26AM (#36880990)
    Doesn't everyone play games now? Aren't we reaching the proverbial 'all murderers eat bread' argument by this time?

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