Thursday, March 12, 2009

Germans Debate Banning Violent Video Games

Investigators looking through German school shooter Tim Kretschmer's possessions said they found pornographic films (Ponder. violent computer games and a collection of horror and action films that included Rambo First Blood, Freddy vs. Jason, and The Marksman.

Der Spiegel magazine reported that the 17-year-old logged onto his computer at around 7:30pm the night before the shootings, and spent at least two hours playing Far Cry 2 an "ego shooter" game in which the player sees his own weapon pointing at those he has to kill.

This particular game takes place in a fictional country, where the player has to shoot dead as many ‘weapons dealers’ as possible. Kretschmer also had the shooter games Counter-Strike and Tactical Ops installed on his computer.

In the Friday the 13th of March edition of The New York Times, reporter Carter Dougherty writes a portrait of a troubled, depressed teenager with easy access to an unsecured pistol who ended up killing 15 people before taking his own life.

Several insights have been revealed. Tim Kretschmer, 17, last year broke off a round of psychological counseling for depression. Bedroom items were detailed, as noted above. Weapons that fire small yellow pellets were also found in Kretschmer's room.

Meanwhile, media in Germany are reporting police are declaring an earlier posting to a chat room in which someone warned of an attack on a school in Winnenden is apparently a hoax.

What is also being acknowledged in a detail many of us involved in working on these school shootings have spoken about before: women were targeted.

Dougherty observed:

The brutality was overwhelming.

Of the 12 people Mr. Kretschmer killed at the school, eight were girls and three were female teachers. Several died with carefully placed shots to the head. After killing an employee of a clinic for the mentally ill, he sprayed at least 13 rounds to kill two people at a Volkswagen dealership shortly before turning the gun on himself.

...with the computer having played such a role in the young man’s life, the Winnenden shootings seem likely [to] renew a debate in Germany over banning violent video games.

“These games basically program the minds of young men a thousand times over,” said Alina Wilms, a psychologist involved [in] a long-term project treating and tracking people affected by the Erfurt shooting, who advocates a ban. “If ever it were going to be possible,” she said, “then now.”

Just to be clear: I am reporting the above as news, but I do not find any factual basis for linking videogames, violent or otherwise, in a cause-and-effect fashion with school shootings. ~ Loren

Thanks to MAH for the advance heads up on this NYT analysis. German sources are reporting the hoaxing of the chatroom "warning." Here's an English summary of those written on Friday, March 13th.


Loren Coleman said...

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Anonymous said...


Within the last two weeks, there was a Facebook threat made in Joliet, IL by a student of Joliet Catholic Academy. The threat included "Columbine" as a descriptor. It was reported by the Joliet Herald News.

John Foreman

Gregory F. Fegel said...

Er... What exactly would be the point of Germany banning violent video games if they do not also ban NATO? Aren't violent video games designed to train German youth for fighting with NATO?

Anonymous said...

Ban violent video games? Sure, they could do that, then they'd start whining because of software piracy increasing exponentially!

Games aren't the problem, the real issue is the kids psychological condition that wasn't treated effectively. He had a serious grudge against them from what it seems.

This person had serious issues, yet they didn't do anything about him having weapons in his possession? Airsoft rifles don't count.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it seem a little strange that he only killed females. Maybe video games aren't the real problem here. Perhaps they should dig a little deeper.

debatejulio said...

I think the debate goes on whether violent games promote or may leave uncovered sicoticas.A violent behavior should be assessed from there on whether to ban or not but put everyone in the same bag.