Ten Years Later: Videogames Not Responsible for Columbine

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Ten Years Later: Videogames Not Responsible for Columbine

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Ten years after the fact, information has finally begun to emerge that Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold weren't bullied outcasts and that videogames had nothing to do with launching them on their rampage.

On April 20, 1999, the two students at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, embarked upon a shooting spree that left 12 students and a teacher dead and 23 others wounded. In the immediate panic-fueled aftermath of the massacre, inaccurate information and accusations about the killers and their motives flew freely; they were reported to be social outcasts, members of the "trenchcoat mafia," victims of intense bullying and, of course, obsessive videogame players. Rabid gaming critics like Jack Thompson seized on the incident as evidence of a generation of teenagers being turned into killers by videogames - Thompson actually appeared on 60 Minutes in the wake of Columbine as a self-professed "expert" on the social impact of games - but ten years after the fact, evidence has been revealed which shows that neither videogames nor any of the other cited "triggers" actually had anything at all to do with their decision to murder their fellow students.

"The killings ignited a national debate over bullying, but the record now shows Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold hadn't been bullied - in fact, they had bragged in diaries about picking on freshmen and 'fags'," according to a report by USAToday.com. "Contrary to early reports, Harris and Klebold weren't on antidepressant medication and didn't target jocks, blacks or Christians, police now say, citing the killers' journals and witness accounts."

"At the time, Columbine became a kind of giant national Rorschach test," the article continues. "Observers saw its genesis in just about everything: lax parenting, lax gun laws, progressive schooling, repressive school culture, violent video games, antidepressant drugs and rock 'n' roll, for starters."

But the truth, according to psychologist Peter Langman, author of Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters, is both simpler and far more complex. His studies of ten school shooters, including Harris and Klebold, found that nine of them suffered from the "potentially dangerous" mix of depression and suicidal thoughts. "It is hard to prevent murder when killers do not care if they live or die," he wrote. "It is like trying to stop a suicide bomber."

In the case of Harris and Klebold, they didn't become mass murderers because they were "disaffected videogamers who wore cowboy dusters," or because they were lashing out after years of abuse at the hands of their fellow students, or because years of playing Doom had left them unable to separate fantasy from reality. "These are not ordinary kids who were bullied into retaliation," Langman wrote in his book. "These are not ordinary kids who played too many video games. These are not ordinary kids who just wanted to be famous. These are simply not ordinary kids. These are kids with serious psychological problems."

via: Kombo.com

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From the University of NoKidding, comes another report on things a two-year-old could figure out.

My question would be, who actually thought video games had anything to do with Columbine. Please raise your hand so we can slap you.

They did it with Rock n Roll music, then D&D, then back to music with Marlyn Manson, then video games, and the next scapegoat I believe will be Facebook-style social networking, or the iPhone.

So 10 years and one book later and the conclusion comes down to "these kids had serious psychological issues"? Glad we took our time on that one.

The day when Fox News, Jack Thompson or anyone else like that says "Ok, we were wrong" is the day I start believing what they say.
People like Gabe, Tycho, Gygax, and all the rest of the people defending these passtimes admitted when they made a mistake. Why can't the attackers just do it?

It was obvious then, its obvious now

Wow, and this took 10 years to work out?

Remember how everybody was saying the kid behind the Virginia Tech shootings was obsessed with Counter-Strike?

Turned out he didn't play any video games. I don't know how all this misinformation is allowed to happen. People can just make shit up and if it's on the TV people will accept it.

Funny thing is, most people I talk to know the same thing. I have an aunt who has never touched a video game, and she says, "Y'know, I just don't think it adds up. Why would playing a game make a person go crazy?"

This comes as no surprise. I'm just glad we've definitively come to the conclusion that it wasn't anyone's fault. Now we can focus on trying to solve the problem.

Apologies Abound

This is what I've been saying all along! Sheesh...

jack thompson is a dumbass. im glad he was disbarred. good riddance

Khell_Sennet:
From the University of NoKidding, comes another report on things a two-year-old could figure out.

My question would be, who actually thought video games had anything to do with Columbine. Please raise your hand so we can slap you.

They did it with Rock n Roll music, then D&D, then back to music with Marlyn Manson, then video games, and the next scapegoat I believe will be Facebook-style social networking, or the iPhone.

you forgot about the number one cause of school shootings, TV and watching saturday morning cartoons!

How convenient. I had to write a paper and I think this is the perfect topic. Why video games have nothing to do with shootings.

I know we all know this is obvious, but it's good that there's now at least an official study we can cite in arguments. Still really obvious.

No surprises here.

xmetatr0nx:
So 10 years and one book later and the conclusion comes down to "these kids had serious psychological issues"? Glad we took our time on that one.

Well I'm glad our planet has the resources for finding things like this out.

It was a real brain burner.

The_root_of_all_evil:
The day when Fox News, Jack Thompson or anyone else like that says "Ok, we were wrong" is the day I start believing what they say.
People like Gabe, Tycho, Gygax, and all the rest of the people defending these passtimes admitted when they made a mistake. Why can't the attackers just do it?

Because the general public have already forgotten about Columbine and who said what. All they know is the half-assed wild theories shouted out by Jack & co. I doubt any major news outlet will run a story on this as "front page" stuff. Hence, Jack & Co are never held to account by the public. Its sickening really.

Although I was surprised to see they weren't bullied and/or repressed by their peers. In fact, these are probably the same sort of bastards who picked on me when I was in school. Fuckers.

You know what? This is like how people think steroids will kill you. There were about 3 deaths a year related to steroids, smoking kills many, many more, and yet no one questions or criticizes that. I think violent video games are a way to let out stress, except in the form of virtual bullets into monsters.

10 years...way to guys, glad to see your on top of things *facepalms*.

Pandalisk:
It was obvious then, its obvious now

But the world will ignore this, because this harms their ignorant ideas of video games.

JWAN:

Khell_Sennet:
They did it with Rock n Roll music, then D&D, then back to music with Marlyn Manson, then video games, and the next scapegoat I believe will be Facebook-style social networking, or the iPhone.

you forgot about the number one cause of school shootings, TV and watching saturday morning cartoons!

Arguably, the number one "cause" of all mass shootings is TV news coverage of mass shootings. Of course, no TV news coverage would ever report that...

-- Steve

Khell_Sennet:
They did it with Rock n Roll music, then D&D, then back to music with Marlyn Manson, then video games, and the next scapegoat I believe will be Facebook-style social networking, or the iPhone.

It's already happening. A headline in today's (technically yesterday's - the 15th) Daily Mail: "Twitter 'makes children immoral'". It goes on to say that "celebrities such as Johnathan Ross and Russell Brand use Twitter", proving that not only are they still technophobes who cannot let even the most minor scandal past and let it go, but they also see a correlation between a series of messages left on an answering machine and Twitter.

Anton P. Nym:

JWAN:

Khell_Sennet:
They did it with Rock n Roll music, then D&D, then back to music with Marlyn Manson, then video games, and the next scapegoat I believe will be Facebook-style social networking, or the iPhone.

you forgot about the number one cause of school shootings, TV and watching saturday morning cartoons!

Arguably, the number one "cause" of all mass shootings is TV news coverage of mass shootings. Of course, no TV news coverage would ever report that...

-- Steve

Because if they did, they would be the cause of TV news coverage of TV coverage, and they would promptly disappear in a cloud of meta and logic.

Wow, because the so-called experts fueled by the right-wing pundits declaring video games to be responsible for Columbine using the logical fallacy of association had so much concrete proof and credibility to begin with?

"At the time, Columbine became a kind of giant national Rorschach test,"

Quoted for (poetic) truth.

Common Sense isn't so common anymore.....

Well, at least someone actually bothered to do some research at some point, and realized that these kids were already WAY out there before the videogames got pulled in.

Took them ten years to figure this out?

Lovely.

Fistful of Fail.

Singularly Datarific:
I think violent video games are a way to let out stress, except in the form of virtual bullets into monsters.

this. i have no job so i have lto of spare time on my hands. and with this damn recession on finding one is damn near impossible without 10 year degrees and 20 years experience. so in between surfing the job sites and reading the job adds in my local paper i play games on my ps3 and my pc. i in no way feel inclined to shoot anyone in real life cause when im playing my games, all my troubles dissapear. video games are probably the only reason im not living in a mental hospial cause without them, i think i would have gone insane by now (well some of my gaming mates say im crazy, but not the kind that would land me in the nut house).

i personally think that guys like jack thompson got kicked out of arcades and tabletop game clubs back in the 80's and are now taking that anger out on us video gamers by blaming video games for anything that goes wrong, heck, im surpriced they didnt try blaming video games for 911

Finally evidence comes out that supports what the rational world has known from the get go. Violent video games don't lead kids to kill, they lead psychotic kids who are prone to killing to kill.

If there was a world wide ban on talking about suicide and we got rid of all information on it would suicide rates drop? Yes, without a doubt. But should we live our lives like this? Where we don't aknowledge depression or violence because it could lead to more of it? No, life is harsh and brutal, we make the best of it and try to see the positives.

Fucked up kids will always find a way to break our hearts. If videogames or violent movies didn't then something else, even time itself, would.

I wish the media would stop jumping on the correlation=cause bandwagon. Just because violent people play videogames doesn't always mean that videogames create violent people. As far as that goes, if we're going to ban something just because of correlation, why hasn't anyone brought up the one universal thing all school shooters have in common, school?

[sarcasm]

It's a guarantee banning school would put an end to school shootings

[/sarcasm]

Get your facts straight Escapist. This is news is about 10 years old.

skorpion352:

Singularly Datarific:
I think violent video games are a way to let out stress, except in the form of virtual bullets into monsters.

this. i have no job so i have lto of spare time on my hands. and with this damn recession on finding one is damn near impossible without 10 year degrees and 20 years experience. so in between surfing the job sites and reading the job adds in my local paper i play games on my ps3 and my pc. i in no way feel inclined to shoot anyone in real life cause when im playing my games, all my troubles dissapear. video games are probably the only reason im not living in a mental hospial cause without them, i think i would have gone insane by now (well some of my gaming mates say im crazy, but not the kind that would land me in the nut house).

i personally think that guys like jack thompson got kicked out of arcades and tabletop game clubs back in the 80's and are now taking that anger out on us video gamers by blaming video games for anything that goes wrong, heck, im surpriced they didnt try blaming video games for 911

Actually, I think they blamed Flight Simulator. I don't think there was any evidence that it was used, they just blamed it because it was a possibility.

We dont ban stuff like Tylenol because you can swallow 4 containers and die from overdose. Why? Medicinal effects. Video games provide solid entertainment for many people around the world. And it remains solid entertainment when they take it in moderation, and when they understand to not bring their games to real-life.

Edit:QFT

Khell_Sennet:
From the University of NoKidding, comes another report on things a two-year-old could figure out.

My question would be, who actually thought video games had anything to do with Columbine. Please raise your hand so we can slap you.

They did it with Rock n Roll music, then D&D, then back to music with Marlyn Manson, then video games, and the next scapegoat I believe will be Facebook-style social networking, or the iPhone.

I got $50 on 4chan.

Computer-Noob:

skorpion352:
[quote="Singularly Datarific" post="7.107351.1782967"]

i personally think that guys like jack thompson got kicked out of arcades and tabletop game clubs back in the 80's and are now taking that anger out on us video gamers by blaming video games for anything that goes wrong, heck, im surpriced they didnt try blaming video games for 9/11

Actually, I think they blamed Flight Simulator. I don't think there was any evidence that it was used, they just blamed it because it was a possibility.

yeah your right, they said terrorists were using flight simulator to 'Practice' so that why they took away the plane explosions in the newer versions, but remember before videogamesgot enough attention for people to blame them? they were blaming Music, and tv, the world just wants someone, or something, to blame, just so they feel better, dont bother trying to stop the worlds dumber people doing this, its about as easy as telling duke nukem hes a prick without getting your head ripped off and your neck shat down. and anyway, videogames ten years ago were too primitive to inspire real shootings, even if they are considered 'Classics'

A little late, the damage was done long ago. Yet the growing popularity of games, and the fact they don't turn people into psychopaths will inevitably shape the debate. Yet until actual exposure, people can believe such nuttery that playing a violent video game unleashes the inner barbarian. Many will happily deny agency in others, yet expose them to it, and then ask them if it made them violent? Might get a little light going on in their brains.

Gah more psychological theories on how we have so little control, once exposed to stimuli that drive us supposedly bonkers. Determinism is such nonsense. Who here has enjoyed a good mêlée in game, and then gone and hacked someone apart with random sharp implement? No correlation.

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