German School Shooting Blamed on Videogames – Anyone Surprised?

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GamesBaaaaaad

The recent school shooting in Winnenden, Germany was nothing short of tragedy that left 16 people dead, including the killer – 17 Year old Tim Kretschmer. It was inevitable that somebody would try to draw a tenuous link between the shooter and videogames. This time, it’s the UK’s Times, who’ve given us some very “carefully thought out details.”

From The Times :

Remarkable parallels emerged between the video game and the 17-year-old’s rampage. In the game it is essential to hijack cars to move around. Kretschmer hijacked a car, held a pistol to the driver’s head and asked: “Should I have fun and pick off some more drivers?” Characters in the game, which is made by the French company Ubisoft and has sold 2.9m copies, wear black camouflage uniforms – the clothing Kretschmer wore on Wednesday.

Most sinister of all, Far Cry 2’s killer uses a Beretta 92 handgun, the weapon fired 112 times by Kretschmer. The game, which carries an 18 certificate in Britain, includes sequences in which the aiming, firing and reloading of a Beretta are portrayed in vivid detail. It also rewards players who shoot their victims in the head, the style of killing chosen by Kretschmer.

Also similar? They both occurred on planet Earth, and were carried out by humans. With hands. What they fail to mention in their videogame link is that fact that Tim’s father had been regularly taking him to a shooting range since he was 8, and that he had an almost unhealthy obsession with weapons. And, that Beretta? The only one of his father’s 15 guns that wasn’t safely locked away.

Thankfully, there’s one person in Europe with a little sense. Walter Hollstein, a sociologist working with the Council of Europe doesn’t think videogames magically turn people into ruthless killers.

“It’s nonsense to assume they turn adolescents into school shooters,” he said. “A variety of factors, such as helplessness, anger and loss of control, must come together for them to become the trigger, but the games themselves don’t make anyone a killer.”

This happening in Germany of all places means that South African Xbox Live users are now even less likely to be permitted to download 18+ restricted content.

Source : The Times Online

Last Updated: March 16, 2009

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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