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Times Online Points to Games as Motivation for Planned School Attack

| 19 Nov 2009 20:15
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Predictably, the fact that a French boy played World of WarCraft is the only story that matters, even though he did not go through with the planned attack on his school.

A 13-year-old kid was arrested in Beauvais, France on Tuesday for attempted murder. Known only as Bastien, he made a post on his blog hinting an attack at his school and his parents, seeing the post, called the police. The authorities shut down Saint Esprit college, a Catholic private secondary school, and barricaded the front entrance. Bastien allegedly left his home with his father's shotgun and 25 cartridges, but upon seeing the police at the school's gate, ditched the gun in a field and ran off. He was later found in an internet cafe by his father. Bastien's friends said that he played World of WarCraft.

Those are the only facts known, yet the Times Online found it necessary to run with the headline "Computer games fan 'planned school massacre.'" It is upsetting that even an attack that was thwarted is blamed on the fact that the perpetrator played videogames. With games becoming so ubiquitous, that biographical detail has almost no bearing on stories of this nature. It might just as well be reported that Bastien played basketball, or that he enjoyed drinking Coke.

According to the French prosecutor, the boy, usually an excellent student, stated that he was upset that he recently received bad grades from his teachers and that he was planning to kill them all because of it. Hmm, maybe the academic pressures of a very competitive school atmosphere pushed Bastien to the edge of possibility committing murder? Maybe? Nah, it was clearly videogames.

It is just sloppy reporting by an uninformed writer, especially since the article describes WoW as a "hugely popular online game in which the player takes the role of a fantasy warrior from the Middle Ages." Yeah, right. The Middle Ages had orcs.

I don't know about you, but I'm disgusted.

Source: TimesOnline via GamePolitics

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