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Violent Games Blamed For German School Attack

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the games-killed-those-people dept.


Bret540 writes "A Reuters news story reports that German lawmakers are considering a crackdown on 'violent computer and simulated war games' because a youth decided to attack other students at his school. The young man was apparently already under police consideration for weapons-related violations, and was described as 'someone with no friends.'" From the article: "Wolfgang Bosbach, the deputy head of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) in parliament, said it was time to consider banning games that simulate wanton killing. 'We need effective guidelines to protect children from exposure to different types of media, but we don't need (simulated) killer games that can lead to brutalisation,' Bosbach was quoted on the Netzeitung news Web site as saying." InfoWorld has more details on the event as well.

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Life imitating art... (2, Insightful)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954814)

Its hard to imagine living in a country with legalized prostitution that you could get that upset and want to go on a killing spree. While the video game may have influenced the kid into going on a "killing spree" (the voice from quake comes to mind), thats the price of freedom. I suppose Germany is on its way to banning other articles that incite violence... perhaps a crack at the Korahn and the Bible are next considering video games pale in comparison in the levels of violence that they incite.

Re:Life imitating art... (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954950)

The scary thing is that the article talks about children, and the guy was 18 years old. Oh, also calls for a nationwide ban on paintball and lazer tag. (Bavaria, apparently, already has such a ban.)

Re:Life imitating art... (2, Informative)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955524)

Yes that is the funny thing, both incidents, Ehrfuhrt and the other one were done by young adults. In the first case the school system and being stamped a total loser definitely was the cause in the other one it is rather unclear. In the first case the weapons were obtained by legal means and the guy either learned shooting in the military or shooting club. But in both cases the usual bunch of we go on a witchhunt politicians crawl out and start to talk about how to ban things they are afraid of instead of looking at the entire situation. It is easier to sell this over lets protect the children than to go into a real analysis of the situation. I am glad that other incidents which were very similar (the Kampusch case) were done by people above 40 otherweise probably all children already would be chained down so that no harm can be done to them by the bad internet and games!

Re:Life imitating art... (1)

j35ter (895427) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955110)

Ban religious books?<br>
I think you might have a good idea there...Considering the violence these books sparked in the last few millenia!<br>
Oh, BTW, choosing between sex (free or paid :) and a killing spree, I would chose the former, so in that spirit, let them ban killing simulations and keep prostitution legal instead the other way round, as some countries, *cough* US *cough*, intend to!<br>

Re:Life imitating art... (2, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955160)

Ban religious books?
I think you might have a good idea there...

Sure, round them all up and toss them in the bonfire. We'll march around it and sing songs and chants! It'll be a fun time!

Re:Life imitating art... (1)

j35ter (895427) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955652)

Sure,I'll prepare the fire, you bring your library :)

Re:Life imitating art... (1)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16961758)

"Sure, round them all up and toss them in the bonfire. We'll march around it and sing songs and chants! It'll be a fun time!"

Think they already tried that in Germany once before - some time in the 1930s or so? Can't recall specifics, but I don't think it worked out very well for them...

Re:Life imitating art... (2, Interesting)

Apotekaren (904220) | more than 7 years ago | (#16962232)

But the funny thing with this(ok, schoolshooting rarely have "funny things" to consider, but just tag along) is that the shooter himself stated that he was doing it because the only thing his school ever taught him, was to hate. He was mad at the school and it's administration because they didn't do anything about the fact that he was bullied for years. "Someone with no friends" indeed.

Re:Life imitating art... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16962522)

"killing spree" is not a quote from quake.

part of the reason that prostitution is legal in germany is that that way prostitutes get health insurance and all those benefits. it keeps prostitutes "cleaner", gives them better chances in their life, etc. there aren't more prostitutes in germany than anywhere else, they're just better integrated into society.

The problem with this (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954842)

Why didn't playing cowboys and indians lead to school shootings? Answer: Because parents spent time with their children instead of leaving them to be raised by the television, video games, et cetera.

Re:The problem with this (2, Informative)

Andreaskem (999089) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955054)

That is specifically my point (or one of my points, as I have many). I don't know about the USA, but in Germany day nurseries are rare and parents indeed let the TV raise their children.

If somebody thinks that such a ban is unlikely, think again. Bavaria, for example, banned cell phones in schools because of a few cases of violent videos on students' phones. Instead of solving the cause, they ban the symptoms. Experts already stated that the bill is likely to pass parliament.

Re:The problem with this (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955542)

Cell phones should be banned from public schools. Not for violence, but for their sheer annoyance. There's no reason a high schooler would need one.

To the rest of your comment: it will be impossible to ban video games. That's like banning alcohol; it's so central to people's lives that it will find a way around. Especially today, with the magics of teh interweb and a computer in every home.

So, I'm not saying a ban is unlikely, I'm just saying it'll be completely ineffective.

Re:The problem with this (1)

Andreaskem (999089) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955800)

Switched on cell phones are banned from the whole school compound. If you have something very important to tell your parents, you have to ask a teacher for permission.

But about your other point: Here's [] an (unfortunately German) article with experts saying there should be an access restriction system to internet sites with those games. God knows what they have planned *shudders*

Re:The problem with this (3, Insightful)

DeadChobi (740395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955986)

I disagree that there's no reason for a high school student to have a cell phone. In my part of the US, at least, the schools won't let students have access to telephones via the school except by pay phone. When I was in high school I would frequently go places with my friends after school, and my parents' ability to keep tabs on me was what let me do this. I agree that they're annoying as all hell when a ringtone is unleashed upon a class full of unsuspecting students, but they should be turned off in class, not banned from the school. FYI, people sometimes have cell phones ringing in college classes.

Students should be treated as semi-adult in schools, and shouldn't have much of anything banned. Rather, if they use something to damage school property or disrupt class they should be punished for the disruption. The attitude of "one person used it to do bad things so it must be bad" is a terrible attitude to have since it relegates all priveledges to the control of the least common denominator. If the worst kid in school does something bad with their cell phone, then suddenly nobody is allowed to have them lest they turn into the same kind of disciplinary problem.

Re:The problem with this (1)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956874)

Like this? []

Re:The problem with this (1)

mcmaddog (732436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16959256)

I've had professors that will drop you from the class if your cell phone rings during class.

Re:The problem with this (1)

couch_potato (623264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16961566)

I had a professor who would make you sing the Star Spangled Banner in front of the class if your cell rang in class. He said that it only takes one student singing before everyone starts turning their phones off before class. My class got treated to two performances, apparently a first for that professor... pretty sad since it was a summer class with only ten students, in a class that normally has about 30 enrolled in the fall/spring.

Cool links. []

I Don't Like Mondays (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955588)

Man, I just got to point out that disaffected kids have been killing since before computer games were about- Check out this snopes article on the above mentioned Boomtown Rats song [] It has some info on 'prior art'....

Re:The problem with this (1)

gt_mattex (1016103) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955614)


I grew up amidst poverty and as a result the TV did most of my parenting. Suffice it to say I turned out just fine.

The problem is kids today are coddled until they're too weak to fend for themselves. They can't handle ridicule and therefore break down. A few go to extremes.

Those few, like 99.9% of children, play video games ere go easy scapegoat.

Re:The problem with this (1)

jtobin (988724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16958810)

Also horsecrap. I don't think it is possible to say "yes, xyz is at fault, and nothing but xyz". I agree, coddling is a problem. I currently attend the equivalent of high school, and there are plenty of people who fit into this category. But certainly, parents not playing an active role in their children's lives is just as bad as parents playing too much of a role.

Just because *you* turned out fine, doesn't mean that everyone will. After all, everyone is different, reacts to problems differently and no one shares the same childhood (if someone is brought up by TV, there are in many cases other corollary problems). I too was mostly brought up by TV, and (thus far) I haven't exhibited any violent tendencies. However, I also doubt that if my parents had paid too much attention to me that I'd be assaulting people. I think, like most things, a combination of factors causes these problems (although IANA psychologist).

Re:The problem with this (1, Insightful)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16960476)

The problem is kids today are coddled until they're too weak to fend for themselves. They can't handle ridicule and therefore break down. A few go to extremes.

Great. Let's blame the victims instead of the aggressors. Do you apply this logic to rapes and murders as well?

Re:The problem with this (0)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16962568)

What the fuck! I'm a troll because I don't agree with someone who's essentially defending bullying, or at least blaming its victims? What the fuck is wrong with you people? Jesus fucking Christ! I knew Slashdot was full of fucking retards, but this is just too much.

Re:The problem with this (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16963460)

1) He wasnt blaming the victims. He was blaming the parents for not raising a child capable of dealing with ridicule. Obviously it isnt the child's fault he hasn't been taught how to stand up for himself.

2) Stop crying you fucking baby. Maybe your parents need to teach you how to handle being modded a troll.

Re:The problem with this (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#16963764)

Or maybe people shouldn't be going around modding people trolls and flamebaiters for no reason (and maybe Slashot's modding system shouldn't be so fucking retarded). See how you're blaming me instead of blaming the people abusing mod points?

Re:The problem with this (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16963814)

Blaming you for what? For having a tantrum? You having a tantrum isn't the fault of the slashdot moderation system or the moderators. You being modded a troll was their choice. You reacting poorly was your choice.

Why is it. . . (3, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954912)

when things like this happen, video games are blamed but when someone claims they killed/attacked someone because God told them to do it, the bible isn't blamed?

Re:Why is it. . . (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955776)

Um, I don't know what planet you live on but the Bible and the equivalent in other religions are all blamed for acts of violence all the time.

Re:Why is it. . . (4, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956400)

What I meant was, when things like the Germany incident happen, various groups jump and down screaming, "It's the video games! Ban them!". However, when someone like Andrea Yates goes and kills their kids because God told them to do so, no one jumps up and down screaming, "It's the bible! Ban it!"

Instead, what happens is the person is sent for a mental evaluation and is usually, but not always, declared mentally unstable.

Characterize that with the Columbine incident and you'll hear that they were misguided people who were swayed to action by playing violent video games.

Re:Why is it. . . (1)

sumday (888112) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955822)

duh, because if you kill someone in the name of god, you're obviously satanic.

Oh my, hold on a minute... george bush is satanic! There's a turn up for the books.

Re:Why is it. . . (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955826)

"when someone claims they killed/attacked someone because God told them to do it, the bible isn't blamed?"

Your saying the bible isn't being blamed for thousands of years of bloodshed? Your point would seem to disagree with the major selling point of most atheists...

Re:Why is it. . . (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16958020)

Not by the people on TV and not by the courts.

Re:Why is it. . . (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16958434)

When dealing with killings that revolve around religon they sure as heck do...

Re:Why is it. . . (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 7 years ago | (#16959144)

Which is pretty absurd, considering the actions of atheists and atheist states. Look at French Revolution, Communist Russia, China, etc.

Nevermind that the way some atheists talk, they seem to be in favour of violence against the religious.

As a German (3, Insightful)

Andreaskem (999089) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954920)

It's a very sad situation in Germany. The attitude towards computer games is a joke. Games get bashed for everything. Unfortunately, the ban may also include the production of violent computer games. If it passes (which, I hope, it doesn't) you may as well say goodbye to "Crysis" because Crytek is German... I submitted a story about this, too, but it is still pending...

Re:As a German (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955300)

If it does, I'd assume that Crysis would leave the country, and the developers with it, in complete disgust, and a desire for profit. Well, either that or they throw in the towel like Lik-Sang.

Every time a nation becomes more restrictive, more of the free thinkers leave for other countries. This process makes the restriction a downward spiral and the nation in question makes itself more and more irrelevant.

This process has been accelerating lately in the USA...

Re:As a German (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16961734)

This is flamebait? I wonder how the US got Einstein and Fermi amongst others...

*sound of door opening* (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16954966)

*door opens*

GUTEN TAG!!! *ratta tatta tatta*

Once, all the Germans were war-like, and mean (3, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954970)

But that couldn't happen again.
We taught them a lesson in 1918
And they've hardly bothered us since then.

Re:Once, all the Germans were war-like, and mean (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955264)


Re:Once, all the Germans were war-like, and mean (1)

TwoScoopsOfPig (900069) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955410)

So sleep baby, sleep,
The Sandman can linger
We know our buddies won't give us the finger...

But we also know that: "Once ze rockets are up,
Who care vhere zey come down?
Zat's not my department", says Wehrner von Braun

After all (1)

ralph alpha (956305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16954976)

After all, violence and wanton killing never existed in Germany prior to video games.

Oh wait...

Re:After all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16955272)

Maybe if Hitler had played videogames, he would have just shot up a school...

easy (3, Funny)

arun_s (877518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955030)

'We need effective guidelines to protect children from exposure to different types of media..'
Its called Parenting for Dummies.

Re:easy (2, Funny)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 7 years ago | (#16959180)

but ... if the parents are dummies, what will the kids who play videogames be?

Oh, I know: smarter than the both of them :-)

Putting your words where your mouth is... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16955032)

Arent't these german politicians (who wants to ban the violent games) from the same party that imposes in every schoolroom a realistic three-dimensional depiction of a human being tortured?

PS for those who don't get it, there is a crucifix in every school romm in Bavaria...

Re:Putting your words where your mouth is... (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955188)

Actually the funny thing is:
Schützenverein (shoot club) = good... Draft military after 16 with possible war entry = good games + internet = root of all evil... and an adult with 18 shooting clearly was caused by games nothing else...
There clearly is a generation gap in germany regarding this issues. Those people come from a generation which does not know anything about thos issues and clearly have a problem to see the complexities of the situation. (see also me longer comment regarding this)

Re:Putting your words where your mouth is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16955268)

And speaking of killer games, remember the hunting and shooting hysteria surrounding the Bear Bruno on the loose in the bavarian alps this spring...

Re:Putting your words where your mouth is... (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955406)

Yes I can remember the incident puts every us redneck joke into oblivion this was way worse...

Masking the real issue (3, Insightful)

r3f4rd30n (1030822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955038)

Every german politician shouts about 'banning games' and that it'll be the solution to the problem. Few are asking how the kid could get weapons and explosives.

Re:Masking the real issue (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16955514)

Blaming one inanimate object is misguided but blaming another is a good idea?

Re:Masking the real issue (1)

Shai-kun (728212) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956694)

"Obtaining weapons and explosives" is not an inanimate object.

Re:Masking the real issue (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 7 years ago | (#16957970)

Few are asking how the kid could get weapons and explosives.

The 'kid' was 18 and Germany has a mandatory military service of 9 months for men.

Re:Masking the real issue (1)

creinig (18837) | more than 7 years ago | (#16962444)

From what I know, the weapons were legally bought collectibles. Modded to be unusable when sold, but apparently he managed to undo that (likely minimal) modding. The images they showed on TV were of a pretty old hunting rifle and some really old front-loading pistol or the like. Not sure if these were the actual guns he used or just examples of what's available though.

The explosives were apparently self-made pipe bombs.

The mandatory military service doesn't even enter the picture here. For one, he wasn't in there yet AFAIK. Also the military nowadays needs far less recruits than are available, so his chance of being actually "drafted" should have been pretty slim.

Re:Masking the real issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16958550)

You mean replace one irrational misguided form of prohibition with another?

If it is guns and explosive, I wonder why the murder rate in the U.S. in 1910 was a fraction of what it is now, despite the fact that kids could order guns from the back of magazines and you could buy dynamite at the hardware store? Poverty and racism was far worse back then too, there were fewer educational opportunities, and there was a fraction of the police officers that there are now.

I could explain to you, of course, how tighly regulating or banning guns creates a black market in those goods... and public disarmament means that having an illegal guns gives you a huge power advantage, and so for criminals gun control makes gun ownership more useful and economicly desirable. And that without handling guns, kids will get all their ideas about guns from violent video games, movies, and criminals, instead of having a responsible role model teach them about guns... ...However, I suspect that you are just as irrational and out of touch with reality about guns, as the anti-video-game zealots are with video games. Everyone wants to blame some single, easily identifiable thing for government to ban, because the problem of teen violence and crime is so complicated, it just feels good to have a devil to curse at.

Why not prohibit him from violent video games? (2, Interesting)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955118)

It's not unusual for convicted criminals to be put on probation and required not to own or engage in various activities. Sex offenders, for instance, are not allowed to live near schools.

So how about adding violent (rated M) video games to that list? If you're teenager convicted of some violent crime, part of your punishment is a prohibition on owning and playing these games. That way, the 99.9999% of the population who are not influenced by these games to commit crimes won't also be punished.

Re:Why not prohibit him from violent video games? (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956834)

That's a really good point. To me, it seems utterly ridiculous to add video games to a list of prohibited actions/items for criminals on probation, but that says a lot about video games in other ways. If most people think that it would be silly to ban video games for violent offenders, then obviously those people don't think that video games are a significant factor for violence. If we keep guns away from convicted felons because we don't want them to shoot someone yet we let them play video games, then how can video games be a larger problem than guns (Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying ban guns, I'm just trying to put games in perspective)? How will some politicians respond to this? This argument can be applied to a variety of other aspects of games/movies and violence, but if you understand what I just said, there's no need for me to walk you through other examples.

Re:Why not prohibit him from violent video games? (1)

Duggeek (1015705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16957816)

Unfortunately, the ESRB [] provides those ratings strictly for consumer self-recognisance and parental benefit. They state that that are "the game industry's self-regulating body", not a department of state.

As far as I'm aware, the ratings can't be legally enforced outside of sanctions/penalties within the gaming industry.

Besides, there's a chance of mis-placed ratings [] ...

  • Under "T for Teen" ratings, you'll find titles like Battlefield 2142 [future, guns, war, blow-stuff-up] and Medal of Honor: Heroes [same, but WWII]. War=violence, and yet "suitable for ages 13+" However...
  • Under "M for Mature" ratings, you will find titles like Dungeon Keeper [1 and 2, both are whimsically comical, and as unrealistic as it gets]
    Neither of these titles advocates war in any way (except for the implied "war between good and evil")
  • Check under "E for Everyone" (yes, even those under 10) ratings and you'll see Need for Speed: Most Wanted [excessive driving, property damage and evading authorities] Of course it's safe! Your child won't be driving a car for another 10 years or so! They will have long forgotten the zany antics of running from the cops. </sarcasm>

I have to return this thread to the sentiment of so many others here today; it's not the games, the game-makers, or the game-platform-makers... it's the parents. Why do people deny that parents are the directly culpable party when it comes to the misbehavior of minors? That's right! When that makes them the culpable party.

Blaming the games is like blaming Hollywood for all the... [ahem] would-be stuntpersons appearing in the Darwin Awards [] every year.

In that light, if I suggest you shoot yourself right now, and you go do it, would I be guilty of murder? Nobody would be able to prove it.

Then there's Robert Patrick Modell [] ; but that's just an X-Files episode. []

Excerpt from "Pusher":
[After MODELL's acquittal, he runs into MULDER and SCULLY in the foyer.]
MULDER: Your shoe's untied.
[MODELL looks down at his feet, quickly gets the "joke" and then meets MULDER'S steely gaze once again, slightly amused]
MULDER: So how do you do it?

In further news... (3, Funny)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955124)

Germany has banned "human nature" in hopes to put an end to violence. Results pending.


Re:In further news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16955914)

You mean like an extermination of humans?

Re:In further news... (1)

talis9 (166451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16959480)

While I agree Human Nature[1] is a crap band, I think banning them is going a bit far

[1] Australian boy band

Re:In further news... (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#16960638)

Possibly true, but Human Behavior [] is pretty cool, in a trippy, vaguely menacing way.

The situation is much more complex than this (5, Informative)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955136)

Germany already has the strongest laws in the world regarding this. The main problem is, that the causes of the incident are not very clear yet. The main problem in germany is that once an incident happens, the usual 5 or 6 politicians crawl out of their holes and the minute this happens they cry to the media they need more enforcement regarding the internet and regarding games (in the 80s it was movies, that has worn off)

The problem in this case is, the guy, a young adult, being 18, you become entirely adult with 19 in germany, left a note on the net sort of a help cry which led to this incident, the games definitely were not the cause of this, though they might be a small part to the puzzle as probably was other media. The main question to this case is, why did no one really notice upfront, and why did the last message of him go mostly unnoticed and how did this young man (he was not a child anymore) develop such a hatred that he did not see any other solution anymore than to do what he did (he did not come from a broken background, he had a nice family and generally grew up in a suburbian environment).

The main problem for the usual bunch of politicians this time is, that the media does not buy the cheap, lets ban what we do not understand trick anymore. To my suprise yesterday evening I saw in german public TV ZDF a very unbiased view to the whole issue and the general consensous in the press so far seems, that lets do a more rigorous ban on something those guys simply do not understand is not the solution you only remove a small part of the puzzle why the causes themselves seem to be elsewhere.

Have in mind the last two incidents were done by young adults, one being definitely member in a Schützenverein (which is sort of a shooting club) but those bonehead politicians never even mentioned the word. The general consensous in this generation gap of politics is, young people = games are a media form we grew up with and can deal with it, internet = opportunities

Old people = internet root of all evil we have to control it, games = root of all evil we have to ban it.

As far as I can see at least there seems to be a slow generation shift in the general media towards younger people who have a clearer view regarding this complex net of causes and results. People like Stoiber (being over retirement age), Merkel (slowly creeping against retirement age) and others simply do not get it. They are on a witch hunt without result because it is easier to target something they do not understand than to look at the real causes which are maybe harder to solve or impossible to solve on the side of politics.

Re:The situation is much more complex than this (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956560)

For all the backbiting and discord between the US and its long standing European friends, your analysis sounds very familiar.

I'm not sure the fact that we share an apparently-universal experience with weaselly politicians too old to understand the internet is encouraging, or discouraging, however. :|

Re:The situation is much more complex than this (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956680)

I do not think it is weasally, I think more along the lines of a huge generation gap in understanding certain media. Politicians tend to be rather old, and old people tend to have two problems generally, they develop a certain paranoia about things they do not understand and they do not understand a lot of newer things. And yes weasly politicians are a huge problem worldwide, same goes for lobbying, as far as I understand german politics as an outsider from a neighbouring country, the political system has shifted hugely to a lobbyist influenced onem (it used to be more hidden in the past but there always was a strong link) But the cry for a games prohibition is not lobbying influenced it is really more along the lines of a generation gap!

The real front lines (1)

rodia (1031082) | more than 7 years ago | (#16962846)

> For all the backbiting and discord between the US and its long standing European friends, your analysis sounds very familiar.

I think the real front lines are not between the two continents, but between the the people who want us to believe they are (among them many "weaselly politicians") and the rest of us. This school shooting discussion is a good example: most people here just seem to use their brains and come to similar conclusions, no matter where they live.

bye, r.

Re:The situation is much more complex than this (2, Informative)

ishark (245915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16957154)

To my suprise yesterday evening I saw in german public TV ZDF a very unbiased view to the whole issue and the general consensous in the press so far seems, that lets do a more rigorous ban on something those guys simply do not understand is not the solution you only remove a small part of the puzzle why the causes themselves seem to be elsewhere.

Same in France. I was very surprised a couple weeks ago, while watching some hi-rating newscast where they interviewed a child physchologyst about video games. I braced for the usual "videogames are the root of all evil", and was pleasantly shocked to hear the guy answer something on the line: "if you parents find that videogames are eating up too much of your kid's time, look at their environment: if they are finding refuge from reality in a game, this means that something is wrong in the environment they live".
It's good to see that after the initial wave of demonizing, games are seen as a symptom and not a cause.

just do as i did (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 7 years ago | (#16957604)

send this text [] to the politicians.

won't help but hopefully would show them the disapproval of the population.

No violence in Germany before damned video games (1)

ConfusedSelfHating (1000521) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955164)

It is well know that Hitler played ET on an Atari 2600. The Schlieffen Plan was previously known as the ColecoVision Congo Bongo Strategy (damned historians rewriting history). God knows the impact of the Gizmondo's Momma Can I Mow the Lawn on the German mentality.

Are Germans So Weak Minded... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955326)

That playing a violent video game makes them go out and kill people? It would appear that their leaders think so. Maybe you guys should get some who don't have such a low opinion of you...

I've high hopes that we can do the same in this country.

christian democrat party? (1)

Masque Noir (924309) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955610)

Am I the only one that is disturbed by a party called christian democrats? "Power to the people... as long as God agrees!"

Re:christian democrat party? (1)

cptnapalm (120276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956540)

Perhaps not.

But I fail to see much difference between that and socialists, communists, fascists, libertarians, or any other ism: "Power to the people... as long as they agree with us!"

(I lump libertarians in here because in a social order run along libertarian lines, those non-libertarians would lack the power to enact their understanding of a proper social order.)

Re:christian democrat party? (2, Informative)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#16957192)

Christian democrats are historically the conservativ parties of many western european countries.

The name partially stems from the close ties those parties had to the local churches and monarchs 100-150 years ago (nowasays the ties are way more loose and a political non influence clause of the churches into politics has been mandatory for decades) and partially stems from the fact that early social democratic and communist movements were outspokenly atheistic.

Since most countries in europe have a relatively relaxed christian view, this is different to what it sounds to american ears. In most countries of europe those conservative parties are more on the left side of the political spectrum than the US democrats.

And no in most of our countries we do not have those religious boneheads you people suffer from in the US.

The reactions which basically were triggered in germany do not have anything to do with the political spectrum of the party, similar reactions were issued 3-4 years ago by the social democrats when the shooting occurred in Ehrfuhrt.
But have in mind that every protestantic influenced european country has its fair share of taboos. Sweden it is the alcohol and prostitution, in germany it usually it is media in england it used to be porn and prostituion.

The funny thing is that historically catholic countries have none of those taboos. Western european catholic regions polictically and socially, with the exception of Bavaria which is the closest you can get to a catholic Taliban region you can get, tend to be socially and politically very relaxed regions. This might historically stem from the fact that catholizism is more forgiving regarding sins, so things do not run into becoming taboos and become easier socially accepted. I know myself it used to be different in the history, but I am speaking of the present here and I am speaking of western europe only, not eastern Europe, where the perfect counterexample is probably Poland!

Re:christian democrat party? (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16959586)

We wouldn't want you to forget Poland.

Re:christian democrat party? (1)

Alphager (957739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16957380)

You should be even more shocked, as they are currently ruling this country. The christian part of the name only implies the christian values of tolerance, peace etc. (basically the new testament). The CDU is open to people of all faiths, to gays, transsexuals and lesbians.

Re:christian democrat party? (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#16963518)

Lots of European countries have "Christian Something" parties. They are Christian by name only. Anyone can join, and they don't particularly defend Christian ideals, even though they tend to be right-wing parties (by European standards). The name is a historic artefact, not a religious fact.

Ill Parenting Blamed For German School Attack (4, Funny)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16955730)

When I was 12 we got our first computer, a 386 and I started with the PC version of Mortal Kombat, then.. Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, Quake, yadda yadda, all the violent FPs, full of 'satanic' symbols, fowl language, blood, gore, sweat and more fun than you can shake a stick at. but I had parents that tought me the basis of right and wrong and what was real and not real. and I turned out just fine, except.. sometimes, when shopping in an over crowded mall I have fantasies about God mode, two Uzis and and unlimited ammo.

Re:Ill Parenting Blamed For German School Attack (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16962158)

sometimes, when shopping in an over crowded mall I have fantasies about God mode, two Uzis and and unlimited ammo.
Perfectly normal. But if you happen to have fantasies of naked people, then we would be concerned and would advice you to talk to your mindcontro...euh, priest as soon as possible.

Games not the problem (1)

RayMarron (657336) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956116)

Games aren't the problem. The blame for this lands squarely at the feet of Judas Priest. Dee Snyder's probably involved, too.

Couple of points FTA (3, Interesting)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956490)

Christa Stewens, family minister for the conservative-led state of Bavaria, called for a nationwide ban on war games like paintball and laser tag, in which players hunt down and pretend to kill each other with guns firing paint balls or laser beams. "The federal government must finally ban (simulated) killer games... Bavaria has had such a ban in place since 2002," Stewens said in a statement.

Paintball and LaserTag, Simulated Deathmatch, OK maybe not fit for minors. I laserTagged my way through 1985 never made me want to kill anyone, but I can almost see her point.

She added that children should also be prevented from playing violent computer games.

Restricting M rated games to people of Mature Age is also acceptable.

The federal government has so far refused to ban such games.

Ahh, the system works.

The opposition Greens warned against banning violent computer and war games.

Opposition? Soory, here in the US we don't allow such things.

Volker Beck, a leading Greens member of parliament, said it would be better to focus the debate on the proper use of computers and not jump to conclusions before it was clear what motivated Bastian B.

Clear Heads working in government, I am shocked. Now I know why we call'em foriegners.

This 18yr old was due in court for weapons violations. Hmmmm. I wonder what his otivations could be. Notice no call for banning the weapons and explosions he used. Maybe they should just mandate that every teen must be laid at least once before graduation, as long as we are talking about motivation.

Opposite of what they think... (3, Interesting)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956744)

Well, I can drag out the tired old arguements of alcohol prohibition in the U.S., and the U.S. war on drugs... they are a dead horse, but it deserves some beating just because so few people understand the concept...

Currently, software developers use a lot of discretion in what they produce, and they do a pretty good job making sure the games are not sold to minors and not marketed to them. They might not do a perfect job, but there are a clear and established set of guidlines that they follow, a set of guidelines that stores follow, and it works OK.

Ban violent video games, and instead of violent video games being sold in legit stores, by legit companies, you are going to instead shift that buisness to the black market, who will not be able to compete in quality but instead will outdue each other in how graphicly violent, demented, and disturbing the games can be, and they will sell them online from outside Germany.

You never ever ever improve a situation by driving a product from being sold by legit buisnesses to be sold by the black market. It won't reduce violent video games, it will make them more violent. It will not make violent video games harder to get, it will make them easier to get. Just like any high school kid knows, it is way easier to get weed than alcohol... and any gun owners knows that it is cheaper and easier to get an AK-47 on the black market than to legaly purchase a modest licened pistol in most places... this kind of legislation is just going to drive the production of video games into the hands of those who most want to exploit children.

All attempts to ban victimless crimes fail... and they fail because the government can't revoke basic laws of economics. If there is sufficient demand for a product, there are going to be people more than willing to supply the product. Even in the U.S. where there are paramilitary style drug squads, and over a million people in prison because of drug charges, there has not been any permanent decrease in drug use since the war began. And I hardly imagine that Germany is going to be willing to go as far enforcing a video game ban as the U.S. has gone with it's drug ban, so it will not even be as effective as the U.S. war on drugs.

Violent games in Germany (1)

brouski (827510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956828)

Doesn't Germany already closely regulate violence in video games?

HIS Letter (sorry, german only) (1)

hungrigerhaifisch (938532) | more than 7 years ago | (#16956940)

Ok, for those of you who can read the language: []
I personally find it pretty insightfully, almost as much as the fact that it, together with the boys website was immediately taken off the net. It just goes to show, how repressive the German state is, and how such a terrible incident is used as justification to make laws designed to take away my freedom as a gamer and my responsibility as a sane/more-or-less-moral person in general.

nothing to see (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16957026)

These are just the usual suspects. Every country has them, mine isn't free of them, sorry.

The good news is that aside from the parts of the media already well known for being less than acurate and very sensationalist in everything, the media is offering a slightly more interesting picture this time.

The one thing that bothers me, however, is that apparently the police have shut down his website, where the young man had published his diaries and other texts, stuff that would give a much clearer picture as to his motivation. Luckily, some media are reprinting excerpts, and they do make for interesting reading. Needless to say, games have a very minor part.

Re:nothing to see (1)

Lucan Varo (974578) | more than 7 years ago | (#16962370)

What was his website? The Waybackmachine or Google cache are great for this sort of thing. You'd think they were designed for it.

Ban Psychos (1)

Romwell (873455) | more than 7 years ago | (#16957384)

My guess is that every normal person played some sort of war game with one's peers during childhood, or any other game involving "shooting" and "killing" (Lil' Crimstoppers anyone ?). If you go into a toy store, it seems like half of the toys are toy weapons or are related to military. This has been true for ages, and has not been a problem. When Crime and Punishment came out, it caused quite a disturbance in society. If you think of it, this book might have much a stronger effect than any videogame. Yet it is being studied in schools now. The point is - the person who might be 'affected' by a video game is not normal to begin with, since otherwise we'd already have been dead for centuries. Hence isntead of banning games, it would be more effective to ban mentally unstable people from the society (or at least maintain surveillance over them).

There is no blood in german games (2, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#16958482)

There is a law in germany banning blood in videogames.

Hence, publishers releasing games in the european market will edit the blood out for the entire multilingual release, since the rule of the smallest common denominator (germany's hemophobia) applies. For games going to europe: Any images of blood are to be logged as critical bugs.
Now, in the U.S., however, the same rule applies to nipples (which reminds me, I'm undercafeinated).

So I'm really not surprised that they're taking another step down the slippery slope of censoring games. It's not going to DO anything about real violence, like hiding nipples is not going to stop the desire for nipples, but it's not the actions of a sane mindset, it's a hysterical show, starring a straw man.
After all, the waltz will cause wanton sexuality, I mean, rock and roll is the devil's music, no wait, I meant comic books will turn kids into axe murderers... er, no, that's pot: smoking reefers turns kids into violent psychos. Yeah... games are bad, mmm-kay?

Re:There is no blood in german games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16962310)

There is no law in Germany that prohibits Game Developers from using blood and gore in a game. Games like Doom3 or UT2k4 are rated 18+ and can be purchased by any adult legally without any adjustments made to the game. But you were not entirely incorrect. There is a governmental agency in Germany (the BPJM) that testplays games and they can put any game to the so called index once they find the game in its current state might have bad influence on teenage gamers (This is done mostly with games that include Nazi symbols or when a gamer is encouraged to torture people and gets rewarded for it)

Re:There is no blood in german games (1)

Andreaskem (999089) | more than 7 years ago | (#16962832)

Just to correct your statement:
The USK (German version of the ESRB) puts an age recommendation on video games. I think possible is 0 for everyone, 6, 12, 16 and 18 years. As far as I know, games with a 16 or 18 rating must not be sold to people below that age (children younger than 14 are not even legally allowed to buy anything on their own, so the others are not that important). Retailers may face fines for doing so. In Germany, you have to have an ID card at the age of 16, so it is possible to verify your age.

With some titles, however, the USK may deny such a recommendation. The BPjM can only put games without a rating on the "Index". Games on this "index" may not be sold openly or advertised. People must at least be 18 years old to buy them. There is a second index. Things on this list may not be distributed or anything.

There are actually a few funny cases with censorship in German games:
1. Half Life: Every Soldier was replaced by (badly modelled) robots.
2. Counter Strike: (This one's hilarious) People do not die. When an enemy loses all his hit points, he sits down on the ground and shakes his head. I'm not kidding.
3. Soldier of Fortune 2: Everybody got replaced by robots. There even was a new introductory video that explained a different story to justify the robots.
4. Command an Conquer Generals: Suicide bombers were replaced by washing machines on wheels that exploded on contact. IIRC some other things were changed, too.
I don't have to mention, that there was no blood in these games, either. The international versions of these games are (or were, dunno) on the "index".

The "index" of video games, movies, music... is available here. [] You have to select "Ja, ich möchte die Inhalte von sehen" (Yes, I want to view the contents of in the menu. Then you can select "indiziert". Optionally, you may select "Beschlagnahmt" and a law to view the second index.

Re:There is no blood in german games (1)

Andreaskem (999089) | more than 7 years ago | (#16962914)

I forgot to mention a few popular titles on the "Index":
Every non-German version Unreal Tournament game. (The German versions don't have blood, I think)
Almost every non-German Resident Evil game.
Almost every non-German Quake game.
Almost every non-German Doom game.
F.E.A.R. (English)
Far Cry. Although developed in Germany, the English versions are on the "Index". The German version was done after the others where "indexed" to be able to sell the game in Germany, I think.
I don't know if some of these games even have a German version.

another funny case (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#16963550)

"Contra" was called "Probotector" in Germany, and the soldies have been replaced by robots. Even on the Gameboy version, where you couldn't actually see any blood or anything graphically violent.

I blame... (1)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16958730)

I blame otherwise inept political demagogs for violence worldwide. Lets ban them!

Oh, shit, there goes the neighborhood.

Translation of "farewell letter" (3, Informative)

cianjo (884149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16958798)

(Translator's note: This translation is for the benefit of all who don't know enough German. It sends a chill through my bones. I don't see much how videogames could have spurred him on, he seems to have had plenty of momentum of his own...pretty much a repeat of columbine if you ask me.)

When you know, that you can't be happy anymore in your life, and the reasons for this accumulate from day to day, then there remains nothing less than to disappear from this life. And therefore have I decided. There are probably people who would have gone on, would have thought "It'll be ok", but it won't.

I am told that I have to go to school, in order to learn for my life, in order later to live a good life. But what will get you the fattest car, the biggest house, the most beautiful woman, if it's all just shit in the end. If your wife begins to hate you, when your car uses petrol that you can't pay, and when you have nobody that will visit you in your shit house!

The only thing that I really learned in school was that I am a loser. For the first years at the GSS (school?) that was true, I fell for consumerism, and afterwards strived to make friends, people who don't see you as a person, but as a status symbol.
But then I woke up! I recognised that the world as I saw it didn't exist, that it was an illusion, that mainly is produced by the media. I noticed more and more what kind of world I lived in. A world where money rules everything, at least in the school it was only about that. You had to have the newest mobile, the newest clothes, and the right "friends". If you don't have those you're not worth noticing. And I call these people Jocks. Jocks are all, who on the basis of expensive clothes or pretty girls, stand above others. I detest these people, no, I detest people.

I discovered when I was 18 that you can only be happy, when you follow the crowd, watch out for the society. But I couldn't and wouldn't. I'm free! Nobody is allowed to enter my life, and he who does must bear the consequences! No politician has the right to pass laws, that forbid me things. No bull [policeman?] has the right to take my guns away from me, at least not while he's wearing them at his own belt.

Why all this? Why must I work? So that I'm crippled and at 65 can go into retirement and snuff it 5 years later? Why should I bother to reach something, when it's all shit in the end because I will croak sooner or later?

I can build a house, have children and I don't know what else. But why? The house will be torn down sometime, and the kids will also die. Pray tell, what kind of meaning does life then have? None! So everyone has to give his life a meaning, and that I will not do in that I crawl around some overpaid manager's ass or to piss around with Fascists who want to tell me that we live in a popular government.
No, there is another possibility to give my life meaning, and this I will not waste like all others before! Maybe I could have lived my life completely differently. But society has no place for individualists. I mean real individualists, that think by themselves, and not the "I wear a riveted armband and am alternative" idiots!

You all started this revenge, not me. My actions are a result of your world, a world that won't let me be how I am. You all made fun of me, the same way I did with you, only I had a completely different sense of humour!

From 1994 to 2003/2004 it was also my endeavour to make friends, have fun. When I came to the GSS in 1988, it started with the status symbols, clothing, friends, mobiles etc.. Then I woke up. I realised that my life long I was the goon for others, and that they made fun of me. And I swore revenge!

This revenge will be carried out so brutally and ruthlessly, that your blood will freeze in your arteries. Before I go, I will come down on you like a ton of bricks, so that I won't be forgotten! I want you all to recognise, that nobody has the right to invade in someone else's life under a fantastical disguise made of law and religion!

I want my face to be burned in your heads!

I won't run away from it any more!

I want to bear my part of the revolution off the ejected!


I thought it over, that most of the students who degraded me are already gone from the GSS. So i have two things to say:

1. I didn't go to just one classroom, no, i went to the whole school. The people who find themselves in school, are under no circumstances innocent! Nobody is! In their heads runs the same program as in the earlier years! I am the virus that will destroy this program, it's totally irrelevant where I start with it.

2. A large part of my revenge will be directed at the teaching staff, as they are the people who invaded against my will in life, and helped me to stand where I now stand; on the slaughter field! These teachers will find themselves in the same situation as the whole damn school!
Life as it stands today sure is the most soulless thing that the world has to offer! S.E.W.R.D - School, Education, Work, Retirement, Death. That is the life story of a "normal" person nowadays. But what is really normal?

Normal is described, as what is expected by society. Because of this, nowadays punks, hobos, murderers, goths, gaus etc. are labelled as un-normal, because they don't, can't, or won't adhere to the expectations of society. I shit on you all! Everybody has to be free! Give everyone a gun and people's problems will resolve themselves without third party intervention. If somebody dies, then he's dead. So? Death is a part of life! If the relatives can't cope with the loss, they can commit suicide, nobody's stopping them!

S.E.W.R.D. begins at 6 years here in Germany, with schooling. The child finds his own stretch of society, and begins in the following years to be forced, to follow the majority. This defeats, what turns on teachers, parents, and not least the police. [?] Compulsory school is an eupehmism for forced school, because you're forced to go to school.

If someone is forced, they lose a bit of their freedom. You're forced to pay taxes, you're forced to obey the speed limits, you're forced to do this, you're forced to do that. Ergo: No freedom!

And such is what we call the popular government. If the people want to reign here, it's called Anarchy!


After my actions some fat politicians will still beat out stupid proverbs like "Sure we hold everything together" or "We have to try to get through this together". They only do that to get attention, to present themselves as the Solution. At the GSS it was exactly that... nobody would look at that fat piece of shit called the headmistress, but when the theater performances are on, then she stands up first with a bright grin on the stage and presents herself to the mass!

Nazis, Hiphoppers, turks, the State, civil servants, the faithful... they are all vomit-inducing and must be destroyed! (The term "Turks" I use for all HipHopclams and little gansters; they come to Germany because the conditions are too bad for them at home, because of war, and then they come to Germany, the social office of the world, and then scoop it up. They should all be gassed! No Jews, no Niggers, no Dutch, but people! I'M NO FUCKING NAZI) [Oh the irony...]

I hate you all and your ways! You must all die!

Since my 6th year of life I've been taken as a sucker by you all! Now you have to pay for it!

Beause I know that the Fascholizei [Fascist + Polizei; nice creative use of language!] won't publicise my videos, school copies, diaries, everything, I took this upon myself.

Lastly I would like to thank the people who mean something to me, or those who were ever good to me, and to say sorry for all this!

I'm gone...

Re:Translation of "farewell letter" (1)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16963346)

I'd be very interested to see just how many other people his age feel similar with society the way it is today.

I can absoloutely understand a lot of what he has said there, quite a bit of it -I don't condone his actions but understand his frustrations with life / people and the world in general - most definately (at least most of his points)

This is only going to continue to happen with society how it is, people will snap - this will keep happening, banning games will prove nothing.

crackdown (1)

Kanasta (70274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16958802)

"a youth decided to attack other students at his school"

Shouldn't the crackdown be on youths rather than games?
Or maybe schools.

Yes. I think removing either youths or schools from society will definitely prevent the same kind of tragedy happening again.

Parents at fault here (1)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 7 years ago | (#16960906)

I think we can all agree here that the parents are at least partially at fault. I remember being younger growing up in Europe, playing army games all the time. Running around with wooden sticks pretending they're machine guns and gunning each other down, with guns, grenades (fake ones) you name it..

I would personally have a hard time killing a fly, so I really don't see how this whole "video games are bad" can be applied to the general population, there MUST be another variable at play here.

Throughout my years of video games, I have had next to zero supervision from my parents since they did not know what these computers are or how to work them, but I didn't need any, because I know what is a video game and what is not. To this day I cannot see anything in a video game that has affected my judgement in real life when it comes to life or death decisions.

Sometimes I try very hard to think and come up with an idea of what the real cause and nature of these school shootings are but I`m at a loss. The only thing that comes close to mind is how the kids these days grow up a lot quicker. I think it comes with all the sex and violance on TV, in magazines, and on the Internet, but most importantly the "freedom" that people have today to express all these forms of "art" that were not available to them in the past 100 years must play a role in it, I`m sure of that.

So while video games may be a contributing factor, I think they are only a small potion of the problem. I think instead of banning the "problem" we should take a look at ourselves as a society and look for problems in ourselves, rather than those who create the games.

More education at home and a warm family will always prevail over violent video games and "hooligan" friends that your son is hanging out with, I know it has worked for me, and I`m sure it will work for 90% of the population ...if we let ourselves try.

Parents aren't the answer to every problem (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#16963580)

I know, parents are always to blame on Slashdot. But read his farewell letter. I don't think his parents had much to do with his problems. Neither did video games.

video game violence! pfttt.... (1)

chibiskuld (907068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16962006)

Next time the parents should tell the kid to play a game like, "Tales of the Abyss", that preaches killing is bad, before letting the kid step into the arena. :P Honostly that's what most games are missing is the lack of understanding, that even on a real battlefield, no one likes to kill ... or die for that matter.

Confusingly few details... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16962492)

... in the linked article. Go here for more details, and best before you comment:,1518,449814, 00.html []

it's not video games or parents; it is the society (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16963306)

Please read his goodbye letter...the reason is obvious: society puts more and more people in the social gutter. Society only has time for the rich and famous...the others are material for the meat is not video games or bad parents that lead to this type of action!

Once again... (1)

JamesF1 (918998) | more than 7 years ago | (#16963706)

Once again we find ourselves looking at a group of lawmakers who have the situation the totally wrong way around. You can argue and argue and try and prove that violent games cause people to commit crimes like this - but there are far too many cases to the contrary for that to be conclusively true. I'm sure many Slashdotters play violent games, and I doubt that the majority (is it too presumptuous to say 'any'?) of members have ever seriously considered shooting up a school, or such - let alone gone and done it.

Violent video games *do* have an effect on people, let's not bypass the issue, but they people they tend to have this "devastating" effect on are people that already have a tendancy towards violence or exhibit a sufficient lack of discipline.

Surely the key to ensuring that people don't take stuff in video games too seriously, is to ensure that children are disciplined and educated enough to understand that the simulated world != real life? I'm sure that the majority of the population understand this - but once again people are looking to penalise the masses for the actions of a few, rather than spend the time to inform, educate and discipline those few.
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  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>