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Maybe Video Games Don't Make Kids Kill

Roblimo posted more than 14 years ago | from the don't-blame-pacman dept.

The Media 319

diagnosis writes "MSNBC has an article on Lieutenant Colonel Grossman, an overzealous Army guy, and his new book. The book attempts to blame things like Colombine on games like Doom ("Death simulators"); the article refutes most of Grossman's claims and actually deals with the subject reasonably. I think that, given the coverage negative, reactionary material available on the subject gets, MSNBC's more reasonable view deserves at least as much notice."

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... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469668)

Kids who become violent have far bigger problems, than playing too much Quake. Rather, obsessive (not "obsessive") gaming could be their way of dealing with their other issues.

And of course the vast majority of serious gamers aren't violent in real life(DUH....).

First Quantum Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469669)

This post did not exist until you saw it, at which point you collapsed its wave function
(shame on you!) and caused it to gain cid=4.

Re:FIRST POST: How to get it (1)

antizeus (47491) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469670)

I've been using this trick today to keep other people from the typical "first post!" gloating. Now it's out in the open for any moron to see. Thanks!

Re:FIRST POST: How to get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469671)

Sorry old chap, that how Open Source(tm) works;)

Re:First Quantum Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469672)

If you get the Quantum Post and nobody reads it, did you REALLY get the Quantum Post?

'Death Simulator' is fair for Q3A (3)

warmcat (3545) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469673)

Q3A is the only game I have on my machine (after I finally tired of Q2 earlier in the year), and if you look at it with an open mind it really is a simulator of death, gore, bloodsmears, injury, damage and aggression.

If it has any effect on the players, though, it is in the form of catharsis; look at the chat that goes on between people playing. And compare it to most American movies: there is a similar level of explosions/intestines per hour, and nobody raises an eyebrow.


Umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469674)

How can a man who has probably taught people to
kill with their bare hands accuse video games of
teaching people to kill :)

On a more not-so-serious note, he hasn't played Quake either methinks.

i'm tired of people... (3)

Joram (124992) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469675)

seeking to blame outside influinces such a TV, and video games, or whatever for violent behavor. I beleive that this violence is not the cause of video games, or TV, or movies, or the internet, or space aliens.... i believe that there is something fundamentally WRONG with these kids, and they have easy access to fire arms. if given the choice between taking a copy of Quake, or taking a gun out of a kid's hands. i would choose the gun every time. btw... this is my first post on slanshdot, ever... it is also almost 5 am in hte morning and i have been awake for 34 hours, so sorry if this doesn't make much sense

If Death Simulator, then also Life Simulator (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469676)

If Q3 et al, is a death simulator, its just as much a life simulator ( respawning ). Every good Christian recognizes in the FPS a celebration of the miracle of Resurrection. ;)

Wow, they ignored the prime point (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469677)

Correlation != causation

saying "violent kids play more quake" doesn't show any connection between them. It's like saying that lung cancer causes cigarette smoking. In fact, the opposite is true.

-Dave Turner, AC of convinience

Virtual violence = realworld violence? (3)

BJH (11355) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469678)

This debate has been going on for a long time - TV was a big offender in the 70s and early 80s, movies got a lot more violent in the 80s and caught their share of flak, and from the end of the 80s it's been common for people to point the finger at videogames/computer games. It still doesn't change the fact that there has never been any hard evidence for a relationship between fantasy violence and real violence.

Personally speaking, I believe that there is a link; but it takes two to tango, and you need someone who is already on a hair-trigger for them to be stimulated enough by a game to injure or kill someone else.

Guns don't kill people - (2)

cdlu (65838) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469679)

People kill people!
Same for games. I play shoot-em-up games a lot. I enjoy them. I don't have any particularly violent tendencies.
The article is long winded and i am winded from reading it :) but i'll make my point simple and clear:

The availability of firearms (and ammunition) in the US is the main reason for the high shooting rates in the country. All the games do is increase people's accuracy and decrease their surprise at the effects of the weapons that they are using.

All in my own humble opinion and exhausted stupor.

Not This Again.... (1)

tomservo3000 (120994) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469680)

I still can't believe that anyone in their right mind would think that there's any connection to video games and violence. Video game review T. Liam McDonald had some interesting words about this subject, and he mentions the shootings at Columbine, and also mentions Carl Grossman. I think it's a very good article, and that he makes some very good points.

ZD-Net also put up a story on the subject:,4586,2399 619,00.html?chkpt=zdnnstop

Will this ever go away?

Re:i'm tired of people... (2)

Digital_Fiend (41244) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469681)

The whole reason the video game/easy access to gun spacegoat is so popular is for a couple reasons:
(1) 95% of the general public does not play these games (Doom, Quake, etc.) so because of this, it's easy to say "oh, yeah, it's Doom" even though the only description they have of it is someone who has also obviously never played it, or played it very little.
(2) I really do think it may be because of bad parenting.. If the child is never taught that murdering or acts of violence are wrong, that is a definite reason (in my opinion) why someone would be more likely to do it..

It's much easier to blame violence on something people have never heard of than to think that maybe the nuclear family of America is breaking down.. Scapegoats are the perfect remedy for pesky reality.


Re:i'm tired of people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469682)

I don't believe that there is something fundamentally WRONG with these kids, I believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with these kids daily enviroment...

Pacman taught me to be a cannibal (5)

webslacker (15723) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469683)

Mario Bros. was the reason why I played around my local sewer.
QBert was why I broke my arm trying to hang from the ceiling.
Frogger was something I thought would be fun to play on the freeway
Gauntlet told me that drinking ale would increase my health.
Ninja Warriors taught me that in the military, only white soldiers are allowed to have guns, and black soldiers are only issued knives.

Anyone else out there been negatively influenced by a game?

Closed psychology (3)

esperandus (97729) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469684)

Sorry about thelack of sleep. Finals?

It is the accpeted opinion of (most) of the scientific community that tht brain structure (and behavior) of any individual is a product of his genetic makeup and the interactions of the environmnet to which he/she has been exposed upon that genotype. Regardless of the degree which you think television and video games actually influence a person's psychology, it seems reasonable to assert that such large parts of our social evrionment (check the stats concerning averaqe # hours spent playing TV/games in US; we see somtething like 8000 murders before we turn ten) are bound to have an effect on the way a person thinks and acts.

Past studies have attempted to dicover whether or not a causal relationship exists between actual physical violence and such vicarious participation/observation--that is *all other things being equal*, whether children with frequent exposure to violent content are more likely to be violent than children which are not exposed to violent content on a regular basis. Nobody is trying to 'blame' their behavior exclusively on their environment in order to escape accountability for their actions (although I hold a determinsitic viewpoint concerning human behavior, implying that we are not morally 'responsible' for our behavior since we had no choice in it, I still maintain that accountabiulity must be preserved in order to safeguard social order until we can better figure out how the brain works [shrug]).

Given the opportunity, anyone would take away the firearms from the children you mentioned. However, the issue is whether the children who do posses firearms are more likely to use them if they are exposed to violence on a regular basis. I believe it is too difficult to tell at the moment--although I tend to see such exercises as a cathartic activity, individuals certianly become desensitized to the idea of violence and its common manifestations (entrails, death-rattles, screams, etc). It is most certainly conceiveable that such exposure does have a destructive impact upon an impressionable child's behavior and life.

My point? Be more careful before you make such huge assertions. The jury is still out on this one, and is likely to be so for some time yet. As for me, I will at least think twice before recommending 'death simulators' to any children I am even partially responsible for--the danger is too great, and my intuition tells me that something is dangerous about exposing children to too much violence too soon.

hope you get some sleep and feel better.


There's also an interesting Salon article (5)

NearlyHeadless (110901) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469685)

Salon [] also published a skeptical article [] on Grossman back in May, when Littleton was in the news.

Sublmiinal messages (1)

esperandus (97729) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469686)

Ninja Warriors taught me that in the military, only white soldiers are allowed to have guns, and black soldiers are only issued knives.

Joke all you want, but you have to wonder about how much subtle things like this really effect you. Seemingly innocuous things are often more sinister, and sometimes have quasi-hidden agendas (like disney or George Lucas). The subconscious is a strange place; who knows what really goes on in there (I know its weird. I just woke up from a dream in which I was a claymation man with three fingers and no neck running through a swamp full of giant malevolent animated tupperware).

Ive always wondered why advertisers spend so much money on similar saturation-bombing techniques that we dont really conscioulsy notice if they are completely ineffective...

Re:Pacman taught me to be a cannibal (2)

First Post (41034) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469687)

Xenophobe taught me to be afraid of foreigners ;)

Just a Symptom of a Larger Problem (4)

Coldraven (99514) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469688)

Looking back to the early 80's, when home computers were beyone the budgets of a lot of people, a lot of kids I went to school would amuse themselves pretty much in the same manner as previous generations had before them; setting anthills on fire, smashing windows, and carving pinstripes along the sides of cars with a can opener.

In all of these instances, few of the parents felt *their* child had any problem; if anything, it was "a phase everyone goes through, they'll grow out of it", etc. And through such denial and resignation, a small number of people do turn out to be okay, but the rest are pretty much neglected through such action.

Compound this with many adults wanting to take a break from watching their own offspring and it's easy to see how print and broadcast media, along with the web and simulation/roleplaying games have been villainized over the years.

Re:... (1)

esperandus (97729) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469689)

And of course the vast majority of serious gamers aren't violent in real life(DUH....).

I dunno about you, but if this guy got his hands on a recording of the err...words that come out of my mouth when I play quake, he might think otherwise.

Re:Umm (4)

Q*bert (2134) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469690)

"Stop teaching our kids to kill! Resign your post at West Point." ;)

Vovida, OS VoIP
Beer recipe: free! #Source
Cold pints: $2 #Product

Not another one... (2)

BrianH (13460) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469691)

Yet another moron blindly jumping onto the "videogames are evil" bandwagon. I personally have to wonder how many of these moral and upright citizens have even played a modern video game. Hmmm, lets see...if I shoot a person in Quake they disintegrate into a pile of chunky giblets, if I shoot a person in real like they fall to the ground and scream a lot. Blasting my enemies in Quake requires me to move my mouse over 9 square inches of my mouse pad, firing a real gun accurately requires a hell of a lot more skill. The point of the mayhem in games like Quake and MK is to prove yourself superior to your opponents fighting skills ans enjoy yourself, the point of shooting people is to kill. So I have to ask...where are all of these similarities that people keep talking about?

You can't find any because there aren't any. Video games are just! They are an enjoyable test of skill, not some "train me to be a warrior" digital boot camp. I have been playing so-called violent video games for nearly a decade now and I've never once thought about actually shooting a person. The moralists who keep imposing their views and insisting that we're breeding a generation of killers are overlooking the HUGE psychological leap that has to take place in order to make a normal person switch from shooting pixels to shooting people. The only people likely to make that leap are those whos mental conditions weren't exactly normal in the first place, and society cannot allow itself to be regulated to the point where it's "safe" for it's least stable citizens to lead a normal life.

So out comes that evil word: Accountability. I know it's been said a million times, and will probably be repeated a million more, but people need to start being accountable for their own actions. Parents need to take long, objective, and honest looks at their children before allowing them to play these types of games. If your kid has already been diagnosed with a behavioral disorder DON'T LET THEM PLAY THESE GAMES! It's that simple! If your kid is on medication or seeing a counselor/psychologist for behavioral problems, and that kid goes and shoots 5 people after playing an hour of Quake, it's the parents fault, not the software manufacturers. Parents are the only people who are really qualified to judge their childs day to day mental health and decide if they can handle seeing onscreen violence. If they make a bad choice, or worse yet, choose not to get involved in the choices of their childrens video games at all, then they alone are exclusively responsible for it's consequences. I take reponsibility for my kids. My 5 year old daughter isn't allowed to sit in my home office while I'm playing Quake, she isn't allowed to watch violent movies, and the most disturbing on screen image she's been exposed to is Team Rocket in the Pokemon cartoon. It really takes very little effort for parents to monitor what their children are doing as long as they're willing.

I dunno, this argument reminds me of the parents that took their suicidal son to Yosemite a number of years back, and then tried suing the National Park Service after he jumped off a cliff (claiming that there should have been guards and handrails for chrissake). Children learn by watching their parents, and if parents aren't willing to take responsibility for their children, you can't honestly expect them to grow into responsible adults.

Btw, it was kinda nice to see an MSNBC author research his facts before posting though. Most reporters would just slap up a quicky article claiming that "another credible source" has released new "findings" confirming video game violence. Objective reporting on the Web...I'm impressed!

Ban the Army! (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469692)

Armies train people to kill!

Interesting that you can get a whole bunch of people to kill another whole bunch of people who they don't know at all, when under different circumstances they would "hold the door open" for each other, or even share food with each other.

Shows a certain not so good side of people.

We were born with an ability to kill abstractly

Art With a capital F (1)

kermyt (99494) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469693)

One more time just for those who did nit get it the first few times... Life does not imitate art.

Re:Umm (2)

WowTIP (112922) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469694)

Hehe... Right on...

It reminds me a little of back in the 80's when swedish authorities wanted to censor a lot of games because of the violence. But after a while when computer journalists began asking questions they had to admit that they never played the games, or even saw them.

Re:Guns don't kill people - (2)

ironhorse (118782) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469695)

good point on the guns. Television and videogames are no less violent in say... England, but they have effective gun control and a lot less shooting deaths. Trying to stop violent media sources is ridiculous. And it is not a new problem. I just finished read Edmund Spnecers The Fairy Queen which was published in 1596. You better believe it glorifies violence, and from a christian perspective. How many people over the last four centuries have killed somebody because of the Fairy Queen? I don't think violent TV and video games has nearly as significant a de-sensitizing effect as news media. Real violence makes kids violent, not fake violence. We have a destructive culture- our wealth was founded on violent oppression. Violence has always been part of our heritage. Blaming it on video games is absurd.

The Blamming game. (1)

Felinoid (16872) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469696)

Today it's FPS before it was Role Playing Games and Heavy Metal.
Also movies catch the blame too.
It's just parents trying to find a quick blame so they don't have to be responsable. I'm not saying they automaticly are I am saying they grab at the first chance to asign responsability elsewhere so they can say they are not.
However thies are token shards and not really the problem or even representive of the problem. Instead they respresent the posability that the parent might have recognised the signs if they had known what to look for. Being fair short of a PhD in child psycology they wouldn't have known what to look for. But thats not comforting to a parent who lost a child.
Instead blame must be assigned to something tangable. Something evil. Something they themselfs disaprove off. Something like Role Playing games, Heavy Metall and violent video games.
I know what I want to blame... I'll blame poorly writen software. :) Yeah thats it...
But in all sereousness FPS are escapism like movies and role playing games. Not trainning for violence but a way to leave it behind.

3rd rejected story to be posted later! (OFFTOPIC) (1)

Frac (27516) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469697)

1999-12-10 16:07:55 Grossman's book slammed on MSNBC (articles,news) (rejected)
1999-12-01 13:57:51 Intel/Dell acknowledges Coppermine bug (articles,intel) (rejected)
1999-12-06 09:21:22 Merced Simulator posted online (articles,news) (rejected)
1999-12-06 14:17:26 3dfx Open Sources Glide API (articles,news) (rejected)

I'm not bitter (okay, maybe a little bitter), but seems like the slashdot submit news process is grossly inefficient. May I suggest that there is a reason should it be rejected?

i.e. (rejected: redundant)
or (rejected: CmdrTaco thinks it doesn't matter)

Re:i'm tired of people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469698)

Children have always had easy access to firearms. Therefore, is the the child, the ease of access, or the firearm? Perhaps the parent.

Ritalin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469699)

The Army used to ban kids who were once on Ritalin or other such drugs because the potential for instability was much too high. No one seems to want to touch the effects these drugs may have had on the Columbine kids. (Luvox was found in the bloodstream of one.) Not in the media, not in Slashdot, nowhere except for "conspiracy wacko" fora.

Fund-a-mental change (3)

synesthesia (120307) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469700)

This type of argument kind of cuts to my quick. I'm not convinced that Quake is the reason these kids turn out to be violent. Another likely explanation might be that kids tend to play more Quake (or whatever the shoot-em-up flavor of the month is). Can these "researches" rule out the possibility that people with a proclivity to violence naturally seek out violent games? I haven't read any reasearch that is able to prove which comes first, the psycho killer or the game. Personally, I would rather have the neighborhood psycho play Quake than start torturing the neighborhood cats.

Also, does anyone else see an alarming trend in America to seek out scapegoats? It seems to me like we are engaging in one crusade after another that seeks to lay blame for people's actions on the objects that they use to act. . .blame the guns for murder and ignore the fact that the gun doesn't get up and shoot someone on its own, blame sport-utility vehicles for vehicle fatalities instead of the drivers, blame condoms for letting people have sex. I don't know, as I see it, at some point we all make the decision to behave either more or less responsibly. If someone goes off and shoots up a school full of kiddies, they made the choice to behave that way. The game certainly didn't make them do it.

On another note, I find the argument that these games increse the accuracy of these psychokids to be rather spurious. Anyone (I'm waiting to get flamed for this one)who has actually fired a pistol AND played a game that simulates the firing of a pistol knows that the computer just isn't a substitute and won't improve your accuracy. There is a big difference between holding a rather heavy firearm at (more or less) arm's length and hitting a target AND cradeling a mouse in your hand (or scrolling a trackball, pressing arrow keys, etc) to aim and fire a simulated, weightless, recoilless firearm. I just don't buy the fact that Quake makes for more accurate shooting. I don't shoot anymore, but I know that Castle Wolfenstien (sp?) didn't improve my acuuracy one bit.

But alas, we live in a society that likes easy answers and lets face it, its relatively easy to point our fingers at a computer game and say "there lies the cause of our (your) ills!" But once we take the video games away, we'll be pointing our fingers at something else, violent books perhaps. Eventually we will run out of objects to point at, and we'll see that everyone is left pointing at each other.

I'm glad the the journalist didn't fall for this guy's book because the esteemed Lt.Col. seems to have substituted military credentials for rational thought. Perhaps instead of writing/reading a reactionary book (a book that appears to shamelessly seek to profit off of recent school tragedies)we should all just sit back and invest a little thought in the matter.

Just my .02 cents


--not sayin' I have all the answers, but I don't trust the ones I've been gettin'--

WANTED: Wile E. Coyote Quake / Unreal Tournament (5)

Effugas (2378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469701)

Quake is no more of a murder simulator than a mosh pit at rock concert is a virtualized lynch mob or gladiator pit.

Quake is a game where people fight back, are similarly armed, *have the expectation of death(and rebirth!)* built into the game design, and where, at the conclusion of a difficult match, all the (still surviving) combatants generally *congratulate* themselves with effusive praises of "gg"(for Good Game)!

For crying out loud, there's a thing known as context which pundits, attempting to earn themselves a reputation, a salary, and maybe a few cheap votes, seem to try to remove from human nature. (And it's ironic, really--programming context into a computer device is brutally complicated!) One doesn't need to be an expert on even mammalian behavior to know that violent play is a genetic predisposation--most species do so, and we're no different!

But even a tiger cub knows the difference between playfully biting its brother's neck, and just ripping the trachea out wholesale. You know what? I think there's an off chance that we do too.

The author seems a bit to enthralled with rating systems, though. The most interesting event of 1999 will probably end up being the release--and very effective suppression--of the South Park movie. What, exactly, did the mighty R rating, the model of rating systems everywhere, protect sixteen year olds from? The frankest look at the ridiculousness of rating systems ever concocted? The plain truth that life cannot be wholly described in extrasyllabic language? What? (Oh! I just stepped on a nail! I am presently experiencing inscrutably excruciating amount of pain!)

But, you what what? Blaming cartoons for the sins of the child is a time honored tradition in America. What is reality to get in the way?

Yours Truly,

Dan Kaminsky
DoxPara Research

Ok - Enough Bullshiet (5)

Redking (89329) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469702)

Mr. Kent (of MSNBC) writes:

"Lt. Col. Grossman's book seems to revolve around a few basic themes:

- Exposure to violent entertainment desensitizes youth to acts of violence and leads to aggressive behavior."

Plain and simple, this is true. If you view/do something over and over again, you are desensitized to it. It doesn't have the same effect after many repetitions. Does it lead to violence and aggression? No, but it doesn't prevent violence either. I don't think the world would suffer if we reduced the amount of violence present in the media.

"- Violent video and computer games are an ultra-effective way of instructing murder."

Yes. An old military rule states that one must perform an action 500 for it to "stick" but 5,000 times for it to become second nature. I've used the MACS before to hone my marksmanship skills and it really is just a Super Nintendo with a plastic laser light gun in the mold of an M-16. Anybody who has played "gun games" at the arcades pretty much have begun to learn the basic fundamentals of marksmanship.

Computer games such as Quake Deathmatch? It teaches kids the concept that life easily restored by hitting the spacebar. I'm not talking about your 13+ kids now, but the eight year olds who have just warezed Quake 2 and are playing it. Who cares if you die? Who cares if I shoot wildly, friendly fire is OFF! Hostage down? Who cares, he'll be back next round! Some concepts of violence in video games will rub off on kids. Ratings won't stop the eight year old AOL pirates.

"- Youth crime is rising in America as is the amount of violence in video and computer games"

Probably not. The reason youth crime is rising is because of the lack of parent's responsiblity. Lock your f*cking gun cabinents. Keep your gun and ammo apart. If you see your kids making pipe bombs, stop them. If you see your kids playing a game you don't like, stop them. If you see your kids downloading hardcore porn, stop them. Talk to them. Geez, I thought it was obvious.

The only way to stop kid violence is for parents to take action. Talk to kids, talk to unpopular kids, talk to "in crowd" kids, talk to geeks, talk to athletes, talk to band members. Whatever. Anything.

People shooting people? It's been happening for a while. Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. Colin Ferguson on the Long Island train, the day trader in Georgia, too many bother listing. People like to point out that all of the sudden it's kids and their video games. Wake the hell up, it's the irresponsible parents.

To stop adults from shooting each other, make stricter gun laws. Banning guns is not the answer. However, no matter what laws we produce, some nut will go on a shooting spree. Therefore, Carpe Diem and live everyday to its fullest.

Other points: everybody knows that shooting someone in the head will do more damage then anywhere else. We don't need video games to tell us that - it's pretty damn obvious.

BTW, I play Quake X, Half-Life, Doom X, Jagged Alliance, Delta Force 2, all the violent games. Yes, I have learned military and gun related stuff from playing these games that I probably wouldn't have if I didn't, but it doesn't mean I'm going to shoot people.

Re:Virtual violence = realworld violence? (5)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469703)

I would just like to put in a word from my own personal experience. I have played almost every violent computer game out there and I really enjoy a lot of them. There was one time, that I really thought a game went over the edge.

After playing Carmagedon, I really shouldn't be driving. Carmagedon is a 3-D style racing game in which one of the main objects is to run over pedestrians. Running them down makes a nice splat and you get points and more time to continue the race. Without running anybody down, you only start with like 30 seconds to finish the race, just not possible.

I had played this game in college when I didn't have a car, so I didn't notice anything for a while. But as soon as I got home and got behind the wheel, I found myself looking for pedestrians! It was really more of an uncontious thing. I'd be driving and I'd see a group of people and I'd really have to activly tell that this is reality and its not right to drive my car into a crowd.

The only upshot to this, is that when I realized I was thinking like this, I quit playing the game and the feelings wore off in a couple weeks.

Given this, I'm not sure that shoot 'em up games are the best thing for anybody that has access to guns. Given my experience with cars, I'd imagine that playing shoot 'em ups makes you look at the gun in your hands a litte bit differently. Especially, if the gun belongs to somebody else and you have not really been trained to use it.

Obviously, computer games aren't the only factor here, in fact probably not even the main one, but I think that most of us here are too quick to say, "I play them and nothing bad happens to me, so it must be alright."

Cute article... (2)

pb (1020) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469704)

I often don't like it when journalists try to be cute, but this article was amusing.

I find it sad that no one ever draws the obvious connection, that perhaps kids with a predisposition to or fascination with violent behavior seek out violent games and TV shows. That seems to make the most sense to me.

Remember, guys, Duck Hunt doesn't kill people, angry Lt. Col.'s do. All Duck Hunk encourages is shooting that dog. And you know what? It doesn't work. He still snickers at you!

However: five of the top ten games of 1999 were Pokemon games? That's enough to make me want to shoot someone... :)
pb Reply or e-mail rather than vaguely moderate [] .

Re:Umm (1)

fart_face (49245) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469705)

Here, here.
You just about hit the nail on the head.
Nothing to add, just reiterating the point...

HATE causes KILLING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469706)

Ain't it so bloody simple?

Don't throw bricks, if you live in a glass house.

Children turning to killers by twisted entertainment: Part XVI It's the 1st person shooters, please please please, no more sequels

Re:3rd rejected story to be posted later! (OFFTOPI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469707)

thats happened many times to me

I think maybe what the problem is... they should have some rejected bin that bored posters can look through before it gets permanetly deleted... because many times.. I've submitted something, and one of them will reject it, then a couple days later, it's posted saying someone else submitted it... probally because a different poster thought it was newsworthy, while the poster that read mine thought it wasn't. It's not so much the 'credit' thing... it's just the fact that it could have been news sooner that it ended up being. And isn't news all about being as current as possible?
I mean... when I submit a story and it gets rejected... then 4 days later it's on here.. I always say "yawn.. old news..."
Anyways... I think that maybe slashdot should do some analysis of operations... remember it's *us* that make your site what it is... Im gonna go AC today.. :)
my suggestion... is to let us have a semi annual suggestion rant day or something... we love it here... but we also want to keep loving it here (is anybody reading this? :)

Re:Sublmiinal messages (1)

deefer (82630) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469708)

I was a claymation man with three fingers and no neck running through a swamp full of giant malevolent animated tupperware
Don't fear the household products any more!!! Give up the 10 tabs of LSD before bed, and you'll be fiiine! :)

Re:Virtual violence = realworld violence? (1)

ekidder (121911) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469709)

About a year ago, when I was still in school, the topic of my psychology class shifted to 'does TV make people violent?' (The class was Motivation).
The exact details are lost to the airs of time, but apparently there was a huge study about it, tracking kids for 10 years or something like that.
The results of the study were:
Violent children watch a lot of violent TV.
Non-violent children don't watch a lot of violent TV.
However, the researchers could not determine whether exposure to violent TV caused someone to be violent, or whether being violent just meant you liked violent TV more.
I'll have to dig around in my psych books for more information.

Of course... (2)

Deosyne (92713) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469710)

Of course MSNBC debunked a book that may lead worried parents to believe that video game violence may translate to the real world; with the recent releases of Age of Empires 2 and Ascheron's Call, and the approach of Christmas, they couldn't have the sales figures dropping now, could they? ;)


Re:Guns don't kill people - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469711)

Gun controll is the answer? Guess what they have in the Netherlands. Thats right, gun controll. Fat lot it does those dead kids there now. Personally, I want my weapons to be available in order to defend myself from these crazy kids.

More on the subject.. (5)

Skinka (15767) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469712)

Stomped did a great interview of Col. Grossman [] a while back. What makes this interview good, is that it wasn't done by some sensationalist TV-show trying to exploit Columbine, but by gamer orientated site. They gave Grossman space to ellaborate on his views, rather than just have him say "murder simulators" a couple of times. Seeing Grossman on "60 minutes", I thought he was just another tight-ass wanting to ban all games, but it turns out he is not. I don't agree with all his views, but he does have some good points.

There was also a follow up [] to the interview, plus a lot more to read at the comments page [] .

Where are the parents? (1)

FelixTheFelineFrenzy (124648) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469713)

No matter how many times people blame something else for a problem in society, I truely believe it falls back onto the parents. I'm not just saying this either I speak from watching my 5 year old nephew play with his friends. My sister has taught my nephew all the good things, like 1)guns are bad (keeping it simple for his small mind) and 2) shooting someone is bad (in play and in real life again just to keep it simple.

On my last visit I observed my nephew at play with his other street pals. I was amazed. He played like any small boy but the other kids woo youd think they were teens when they are only 5-8 years of age. Two of the young girls were using language that would make even a seasoned sailor blush, the other boys were "killing" each other and were arguing about how the other wasnt "dieing" right. After an afternoon of playing my sister spends the next hour deprogramming my nephew so that crap like that doesnt mess with his head. Around 10o'clock I went back outside to find the same group of kids still playing in the steet. Now I don't know about you people but when I was that age, when the sun started to set I was inside in the comfort of my home.

There you go REAL world proof that when parents don't do the job of parenting and spend less time watching their kids that they go bad. Who taught you that killing was bad?

Two Cents In The Bucket (TCTB)

Re:Ban the Army! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469714)

> Interesting that you can get a whole bunch of people to kill
> another whole bunch of people who they don't know at all,
> when under different circumstances they would "hold the
> door open" for each other, or even share food with each
> other.

Interesting comment. There are a number of cases during the
American Civil War and in the First and Second World Wars
where the opposing sides would bathe in the same river and
trade things in the morning, having a good time together, and
by the afternoon were shooting at each other in pitched
battle. The war was a job, the killing was work, but otherwise
there were no hard feelings, and "enemies" could get along
great in other times.

Mr Foobar, whose nick has disappeared...

Re:'Death Simulator' is fair for Q3A (1)

Skinka (15767) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469715)

Q3A is the only game I have on my machine (after I finally tired of Q2 earlier in the year), and if you look at it with an open mind it really is a simulator of death, gore, bloodsmears, injury, damage and aggression.

To me Q3A is about one thing and one thing alone: Winning. I want to win the game, and the only way to do it is to frag the opponent before he rails my ass. It has nothing to do with blood and gore. Flying bodyparts and bloodstains are actully a bad thing, because they eat the framerate. I, like any serious Quaker, go for FPS rather than graphis, so I naturally turn blood etc. off with "cg_gibs 0".

Because he knows what the Army went through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469716)

Our Army studied the behaviour of soldiers in combat in Korea. This was probably the first time anyone studied it in a systematic fashion.

The psychiatrists found that people normally don't kill, even when being attacked. They just point their weapons in the air and fire. Not the stuff of winning armies. Basic training was refocused to include stand up cut outs, aiming at human silhouettes, and bayonetting storefront mannikins. It works.

The FBI noticed the same thing with police officers in the early 60s. Cops were shooting at bank robbers, but deliberately aiming wide, and still aiming wide even when they were being shot and killed. The weapons training was changed ala Army Basic, and now they go for the no-reflex zone. With no guilt.

What Q3 and Doom do, is teach you to be comfortable shooting at human silhouettes, and to level your weapon. It worked for Kleybold etal. Even though he was a lousy shot, he knew enough to aim at people if you want to kill them, something he wouldn't have known without Q3. That, and they were stoned on prescriptions, like Luvox.

I don't see how your statement attacks the author's credibility. You're not smart enough to know it, but it validates his credibility. The military guy knows what it takes to turn people into killers.

Re:Ok - Enough Bullshiet (2)

finkployd (12902) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469717)

Probably not. The reason youth crime is rising is because of the lack of parent's responsiblity. Lock your f*cking gun cabinents. Keep your gun and ammo apart. If you see your kids making pipe bombs, stop them. If you see your kids playing a game you don't like, stop them. If you see your kids downloading hardcore porn, stop them. Talk to them. Geez, I thought it was obvious.

Wow, you just found the solution and you didn't even have to write a book or go on a talk show!

Seriously, you are right, but no one is going to buy it. It's much easier to allow the internet to raise your kids, then act suprised when it does a poor job. That way, the blame is always somewhere else, somewhere we can point the blame and rally against. But not ourselves, heavens no.

And this whole thing about these games training you in some way. Those who actually ARE trained for combat must be laughing their asses off. Games are not ANYTHING like it.


look at untrained armies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469718)

Look at any Arab army in the Middle East, especially the Palestinians. What is the news coverage of them? It's young soldiers shooting in the air whenever an incident goes against them, which is nearly always.

Nobody has ever taught them how to handle a weapon, and of course, nobody is going to. Pretty hard to overwhelm an enemy when you don't shoot at them, but the Arab generals will never figure that out.

Re:Art With a capital F (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469719)

Uh and the people who buy trendy clothes from C.K. DKNY, etc., etc. Wouldn't they be immitating art? Since C.K. T.H., DKNY, think their designs are art, and people want to be like that art, they buy the clothes, so they can immitate

He's cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469720)

I like a beer and a cigar every now and then, and I like guns. And I like sex. A lot.

Grossman da man!

Re:More on the subject.. (3)

FelixTheFelineFrenzy (124648) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469721)

Col. Grossman says .... Thus, in my opinion there is a continuum that can be outlined ranging from "negative" (i.e., most harmful) to "positive" (i.e., least harmful or even helpful) activities:
-10. Point-and-shoot violent video games: violence modeling, no repercussions, no discipline, no supervision, no sportsmanship, no reality check, no suffering on the part of the player, no energy expended, desensitization to human suffering, rewards for inflicting human suffering, combined with teaching marksmanship skills and making killing an indiscriminate reflexive action.
-9. Push-the-button, "first person shooter," violent video games: violence modeling, no repercussions, no discipline, no supervision, no sportsmanship, no reality check, no suffering on the part of the player, no energy expended, desensitization to human suffering, rewards for inflicting human suffering
0. Viewing contact sports in which good sportsmanship is modeled.
+2. Playing well supervised, highly disciplined and structured contact sports such as paintball or football.

I'm going to attempt to take apart his FPS argument.

violence modeling: so paintball (which he rates so well) does not model violence?

no repercussions: When you get fraged your down 1 pt. That pt. has to be made up or else you lose. No one likes to lose.

no discipline: so how many hours do people spend playing FPS games? They seemed to be disciplined enough to practice just like you would do in football.

no supervision: turn the coin. What parent can you see standing behind their kid telling them "you should of switched to the RL, your rail sucks"???

no sportsmanship: *sigh* after everymatch that I have ever played the losers give props to the winner. "gg whoever" "nice job". And their is always the "nice shot" "good one" phrases that pop up during the game. So you have the occasional bastard that just offends people but you have the same in organized sports.

no reality check: whats he driving at? the reality check for me happens when ive spent a little longer then i wanted playing and im going to be late for work.

no suffering on the part of the player: Ok so is he saying that football players suffer when they lose, not really they still get paid. Or maybe he is referring to getting shot in paintball, hell i know that hurts like a bitch especially when they don't clock the guns. In FPS players suffer. You run around with loads of ammo/armor/weapons make one dumb mistake, your dead. You have to start over.

no energy expended: energy is expended, electricity is used, the little muscle used in moving the mouse and the flinging of the mouse that ive seen a few times would constitute energy expenditure.

desensitization to human suffering: in this world if we all weren't a little desensitized we'd all be crying and be unproductive everyday of our lives

rewards for inflicting human suffering: ok back to football, a 300lb defensive lineman gets paid millions for inflicting pain on the QB. I get my frag counter incremented by one when I kill someone. where is my million dollar payoff. But remember he rated contact sports as OK and if you actually play football its a good thing. Hell I guess I should play football make millions blow it on cheap woman and cocaine like the Dallas Cowboys, then I'd be a role model for society.

Stick a fork in my I'm done.

Why? (1)

garagekubrick (121058) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469722)

A few questions... Why is it that in the early 90s it was reported that one in every four black men would be either dead or in prison by the age of 25 - yet considering this statistic was based largely upon ghetto youths - how many of these young men had access to Quake? Why did nobody care that inner city schools needed metal detectors installed? Why wasn't it important chest beating news when a friend of mine's father who teaches in an inner city school had a gun pulled on him by a student? Why is it only when it happens to a largely middle class, affluent suburb that we actually care this happens in America? Why does this sort of thing not happen in Britain, where I'm living at the moment, where there is no easy access to guns? Why is it that I play Counterstrike at least three times a week, have experience with firing firearms of all sorts, work in special effects simulating gore and violence of all sorts, got picked on as a kid, and my father took me to see Alien in a theater when I was four, yet I have never shot a living entity in my life, and have no urges to do so? Why is it when the media ran that same clip from "The Matrix" over and over covering the Columbine shooting, they showed the assault with guns - but never showed people running up walls or stopping bullets with their mind? To paraphrase David Cronenberg "The problem with censors is they do what psychotics do. They confuse fantasy with reality." I wish J.G. Ballard's Running Wild was still in print. Prophetic Mr. Ballard, who is usually on the ball predicting the development of our psychopathology, who inferred that adolescents living in a sterile middle class suburb go apeshit and violent when they are cut off from cultural dealings with violence and sexuality. On a case by case basis, with accurate fact checking, one would see that essentially no link can be proven between violent cultural material and actual violence. The British Film Institute published an entire issue of its journal, Sight and Sound, devoted to using the latest data from clinical psychologists and sociologists working in the field, and were able to refute a concrete link between the two. The fact is that for psychopaths, any cultural material could become the trigger for their psychosis because they attempt through force of will to make fantasy reality. The violence in culture is just gravy that they fit into their train. There has never, NEVER, been irrefutable evidence of a link between the absorption of violent media and violent behavior, despite attempts to do so for the past century. Lt. Col Roger Ramjet has a serious major malfunction. At least he has let us know that a former West Point instructor believes the U.S. military is brainwashing ("desensitzing") its recruits with mind control programs. Which is hilarious news to me - I thought they were supposed to be developing "combat awareness". But then again, what do I know, I never taught at West Point.

Shoot all the parents........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469723)

....that blindly let their kids watch ultra-violent movies and play adult rated games?

I believe that the *some* under 14`s could be warped a bit by repeatedly killing virtual people and watching splatter-fests. The thing is though this is all getting a bit serious now. Up until a few years ago a game was simply a game, now they are increasingly becoming virtual worlds to escape to.

Simply because graphics are now becoming very closer to reality there is much less of an imagination jump. I can imagine thousands of 12 or 13 year old boys around the world that are excluded and bullied every day and their only pleasure in life is when they get home, start up quake2 or kingpin and happily imagine they are killing the people they hate. Now understand we can(and do) do that without problems, as can most under 14`s.
But don`t you think there are some that can get so sucked in that they wander the school halls imagining a crosshair target the bullies heads?
I certainly would hope that this kid does not have access to guns. Remember these games are pretty recent, there is no precident for these experiences in the history of the human species.
And within a year or 2 (with the PS2 and 4th-gen 3D cards)graphics are going to be almost perfect, no more blocky characters, realistic gore splatters, pools of blood oozing, etc. You think games makers aren`t going to use the new technology to make violence more realistic? Yeah right, the would love all the negative publicity. I guess we can be almost thankful the soldier of fortune game is coming out on todays technology. An alternate reality where killing is realistic and fun is not something under 14`s should be playing.

Of course a disturbed under 14 can be violently triggered by a bully going too far, his own imagination, a movie or a hell of a lot of other stuff.

But i believe that the idiots who cry for these games to be banned can have a very strong case in court, if the disturbed can retreat into a violent world were they can brutally kill their enemies with no consequences for themselves then maybe the game can be a more powerful trigger than anything else in society.

Obviously anyone over 14 can safely play these games and enjoy them for what they are.
But kids imaginations are powerful and intrude on reality (ever watched kids play with toy cars or Gi Joe).
I believe that any parent who lets the under 14`s play at being a killer and watch movies rated 15 or over should be fined instantly, no trial.
And repeated convictions should result in jail or at least a responsible parenting course to be taught to at least care about the upbringing of them instead of just throwing the kids in front of a tv or computer and ignoring them.

Sorry to talk jibberish but i`ve been working all night.............

There is a Christian FPS... I kid you not... (2)

garagekubrick (121058) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469724)

Called The War in Heaven, by Eternal Warriors. Check out this [] .

Re:Virtual violence = realworld violence? (2)

SuperMux (19189) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469725)

I had played this game in college when I didn't have a car, so I didn't notice anything for a while. But as soon as I got home and got behind the wheel, I found myself looking for pedestrians! It was really more of an uncontious thing. I'd be driving and I'd see a group of people and I'd really have to activly tell that this is reality and its not right to drive my car into a crowd.

I have had the same experience with driving right after playing Carmageddon. Right after I got into the car, I had a strong urge to ram the other idiot drivers off the road. The feeling wore off in a few minutes though.

I thought about why I only had this experience with this particular game, and it ocurred to me that in this case, playing Carmageddon and driving a real car are actually very similar activities (especially if you play with a steering wheel control). The controls and visual feedback in Carmageddon correspond to those you get while driving a real car.

What happens when games become more and more realistic? Right now, firing a gun in Quake is very different from firing a real one, but in the future it migth be hard to tell the difference. Will people playing "Quake 11" get the same urge I felt after playing Carmageddon, whip out their gun in the street and start fragging? Personally I think it could happen to people already on the edge and in posession of a gun. But I honestly don't think any computer game, however realistic, will cause normal people to go out and buy a gun, load it, and shoot people with it.

Obviously, computer games aren't the only factor here, in fact probably not even the main one, but I think that most of us here are too quick to say, "I play them and nothing bad happens to me, so it must be alright.

My thoughts exactly.

Re:Because he knows what the Army went through (2)

toriver (11308) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469726)

The military guy knows what it takes to turn people into killers.

What, sitting with a mouse and keyboard looking at a monitor should in any way be connected to the ability to hold a physical gun in your hand and pull the trigger?

you've never been in the Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469727)

Basic training is all about turning ordinary, nonviolent people into killers, but only on command. It isn't easy, but it works. And yes, the military does use Super Nintendos as a most important part of the process.

Desensitization goes to the heart of women in combat. Few men can normally put up with the sound of women in pain. Even the Israelis found that out. BT now conditions men to ignore their screams, even to laugh at them, except this training doesn't seem to turn off upon reintegration into civilian life.

Hitler new this. He found Germans couldn't kill German Jews. That's why he spread the death camps around different countries. German guards for Polish Jews, Polish guards for Russians.

You ought to read up on the Einsatzgruppen.

Read Grossman before you dismiss him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469728)

I've read an earlier Grossman book, _On_Killing_. He knows much more about people in the real world
actually kill than anyone else I've come across, including that CNBC commentator. Some of the numbers having to do with killing during close combat are amazing: until recently, soldiers in the front lines tended to not fire or intentionally miss when faced with the prospect of killing the enemy. Firing rates during the Napoleonic war, the first and second world wars were from 1-5%. During Korea, it rose to 50%. And Vietnam, about 95%. The difference? Post WWII, the Army introduced realistic stimulus-response fire training.

Just like what is now provided to every school child via violent video games.

None of this says what will make an individual psychotic snap, of course. But today's psychotics are much better trained and armed than those of yesteryear.

Douglas Ridgway

How can video games be accosiated with killing? (1)

SenorVaca (117807) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469729)

I can understand why people can blame FPS video games with death, but I can't understand how any evidence is procured. I remember in the Comombine (correct me if I spelled that wrong) shootings, the media was saying things about how the stuents involved int the shooting played violent video games. As far as I know, so does every other teenage boy with a computer! This really cannot be used as evidence that video games lead to vioence.

Reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes.. (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469730)

.. one of the strips had Calvin watching a really violent TV-show, and saying something like (not excact quote): "Does video violence glorify violence? Sure. Does it lower our tolerance level for violence? You bet. Does it cause violence? That's hard to prove...." followed by the moral (:-)) "the trick is to ask the right question". The point is that, while both video and computerviolence, may glorify murder and violence. It is really hard to prove that it causes it. People have tried with studies concerning the fact that a lot of kids that plays violent computer games, is aggressive and violent in the real world. The problem is that it is very easy to jump to the wrong conclusion. You can say that: "this proves that computer games causes violence". But in reality any good statistics professor will tell you that this is abusing the statistic facts. It is a sort of "chicken and egg" situation. Does computer games cause violence, or does violent kids have a tendency to play violent games. My opinion is that it is a little of both. Although I'm not trying to say that it can be proved. I just think that people that have a potential to be violent could be triggered by graphical violence. On the other hand, alcohol causes a lot of grief for some people. Even lethal accidents with "innocent" people involved. Does this mean that we should ban all alcohol? I don't think so. Rather than taking the extreme way out, without even knowing the real facts, we should focus on trying to help the people that do seem to get affected by computerviolence. Parents have a tendency to blame the games, when they are the ones that should be held liable, for not looking after their children.

Re:Ok - Enough Bullshiet (NOTE!) (2)

metacosm (45796) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469731)

Youth crime as a whole in America is going DOWN .. not UP... Crime and violence by youth are declining. Violent juvenile crime arrests have fallen by 25% since 1994. Don't listen to the hype!

study done in Perth (1)

sugarboy (125106) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469732)

Funny, but the Auditor General here in Perth has just completed a 5 year study that concludes that children playing "violent" computer games won't grow up to be any more violent or abusive than kids that don't...

Re:Fund-a-mental change (1)

cburley (105664) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469733)

You make two great points about people blaming both guns (for violence) and condoms (for sex).

Put together, though, it occurred to me how ironic it was that, while the availability of both guns and condoms clearly does involve a statistical increase in the chances of something going wrong (a gun being mistakenly fired, a condom failing or being used incorrectly), resulting in injury (transmission of sexual disease for a condom) or death (ditto, or an abortion later on)...

...many of the same people who campaign against the mere availability of guns also are (or were, 10 or so years ago) campaigning for forcing condoms on children whose parents were doing everything they could to prevent their children from engaging in sexual activity.

Imagine trying to teach your child non-violence as a lifestyle, and having the local school give him real, live guns and tell him "violence is okay, it's in your basic nature, you're gonna do it, you might as well do it right" against your will!

Food for thought. Not very nutritious, perhaps - just a lite snack. ;-)

(Personally, I'd like to think children could, as of a certain age - say 11 or 12 - be capable of knowing how to use both condoms and guns while also thoroughly understanding the reasons they should, themselves, not use them except in very specific instances. But though I'd like to think that, I'm not nearly confident enough to oppress others by forcing their children to learn all about condom or gun use.)

No catharsis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469734)

Life not only imitates art, but art conditions life. You're already conditioned, and don't know it.

If someone dunked the Star of David in urine, you'd be calling for hate crimes legistlation. If the portrait of Simon Wiesenthal was smeared with feces, you'd be in the street.

The Cross was dunked in urine and displayed as art, and instead of outrage, you paid for it. The Virgin Mary, the Christian equivalent of Weisenthal, was smeared with feces, and you cheered.

Why? Because you were taught to. You've never given this discrepancy any intelligent thought, and I'm sure your government schoolteachers never asked you to.

Art is not about thinking, it is about feeling without knowing why. This is why Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Mao, and every other totalitarian wanted to control art. This is why the National Endowment for the Arts is so controversial. Art in the hands of government trains people to kill.

And yes, the NEA financed both of my realworld examples.

Re: shooting skill (1)

SEAL (88488) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469735)

You're absolutely correct with regard to shooting accuracy. Quake isn't going to help at all. A game with an electronic gun might help a little, but there's no recoil to deal with.

The MSNBC article has an interesting quote:

"The FBI says that the average experienced law enforcement officer, in the average shootout, at an average range of seven yards, hits with approximately one bullet in five."

... which is pretty sad. I used to be in the military, and I still pride myself on excellent marksmanship. At 7 yards, I can guarantee you that I would make a head-shot on a stationary target every time. And I sure as hell could shoot better than 1 of 5 on a moving target at that range.

But if someone had never shot a real gun before, they'd be much less accurate. The article goes on to debunk this Lt. Colonel quite a bit (pointing out that the kid in Kentucky was shooting at a crowd of 50 people and that he really couldn't miss). It also pointed out that the kid had prior shooting experience, although the Lt. Colonel's book incorrectly asserted the contrary.

The Lt. Colonel appears to be jumping on the fear and paranoia wagon in order to improve his cash flow. If he's really been in combat situations, then he should know better than to spew this kind of crap.

Best regards,


Re:Just a Symptom of a Larger Problem (2)

JamesSharman (91225) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469736)

I agree. I think the whole situation that has arisen stems more from the current political climate than any specific link between games and violence. The current social/political thinking is that whenever soething goes wrong, someone or something must be to blame.

To a very limited degree it is proberbly true (pause for shouting to die down). We all remember the adrenaline rush we got when first playing Doom. However to point to one thing and say this is the cause is foolish.

I would liken this to the historical debate as to the cause of world war 2. You can point to a number of events and say "that was the cause" but it's simple not true, all that can be identified is a few sparks, it doesn't change the fact that europe was a powder keg to begin with. In the same way, something about our society is bringing out people with violent tendancies, maybe a peice of music, a film or a videogame was the spark but if you had removed the game or whatever it would have been something else. People would like to be able to find a cause they can burn at the steak because it makes them feel more secure.

Re:Guns don't kill people - (2)

Tekhir (32379) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469737)

Games can only increase accuracy if you have a pointing deivce that works like a gun. There are very few of those for computer and finding them is the main difficulty\ly. Arcades on the other hand have tons of games with guns. At the local arcade about 1/3 of the games have gun like controllers, 1/2 of those are force feedback.

Re:Wow, they ignored the prime point (3)

Wntrmute (18056) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469738)

> Correlation != causation

Exactly. The scientific method teaches you that. One of the famous fallacies along these lines is the "Low self-esteem causes you to fail in school" that has dominated our education system for many years now.

Yes, there is a correlation between low self esteem and poor school performance, however, as education experts have started to realize, they had the causality mixed up. Newer, better done studies are proving that poor perfomance in school actually causes low self-esteem. (which makes sense really)

This totally goes against the education theory of the last 20 years. This deliberate building of self-esteem actually is useless, because it doesn't attack the root cause, poor school performance. Help these kids learn, and the self-esteem will follow naturally.

I can easily make a similar argument about violent video games:

"Being a violent individual causes you to play violent video games."

Makes perfect sense. Obviously, those who are violent would prefer violent entertainment. The fact is, I can't prove this, but those who say violent games cause individuals to become violent can't prove it either. I can just as easily argue the reverse.

So, to sum up, it is precisely as the original poster said: Correlation != Causality... There are some people in this world that need to recite that to themselves 50 times before they go to sleep at night.. :-)


Re:WANTED: Wile E. Coyote Quake / Unreal Tournamen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469739)

A most exclent point. However for the un-educated I have provided a translation of you last peice of sarcasm.

Oh! I just stepped on a nail! I am presently experiencing inscrutably excruciating amount of pain!"

A point I need to add to this: people seem to go on about de-sensitising people to bad language / violence etc.. But by removeing these things from culture you will sensitise people to it. The real world is full of violence and bad language and the last thing kinds need to is to out into this world expecting plesantville.

Re:Guns don't kill people - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469740)

Gun controll is the answer!!!

I live in the Netherlands to and I sure would not want to be near you when you start shooting at everybody you would classify as 'crazy'.
You having a gun too only results in more shootings and more deads!

What about Pokemon? (1)

JamesSharman (91225) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469741)

Everyone seems to be going on about the media targets like doom/quake/carmageddon etc.. But what about Pokemon?

If you stop and think about it this game/cartoon teaches kids to capture innocent animals and then make the fight with others.

re:nothing to add (this is offtopic) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469742)

then don't fucking say it, or say offtopic in your subject. Learn some fucking netiquitte. "Me Too" adds nothing to the conversation, and in a medium like this, wastes everyone's time. If it's already been said, don't say it; Think before you post, and maybe we can get slashdot back down to 100 posts/article. That is, readable. I'm not some sort of elitist. I wasn't "here before anyone else." But in the last few weeks, the number of comments per article has skyrocketed. And that makes me waste more time here to get less data. And that pisses me off.

Re:Just a Symptom of a Larger Problem (1)

Ozric (30691) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469743)

The problem is that we have changed the young males role. We have ask them not to fight and get in touch with their feelings and be more passive like girls. We have not ask the same of girls their rolls have not changed. It is not the games , it is the pent up frustration about what they want to do and what we have ask them to do. Remember sayings like boys will be boys and thing like that. Males have been conditioned to fight and be aggressive you can just ask them to change, or you get big responses of bottled up rage boiling over. Let the boys fight and be destructive, That is what we do and that is what when have done from the time mankind first stood on 2 feet and could carry a club.

Also you have the media scaring the hell out of everyone, the schools are safer now then they have ever been. Have you seen the real numbers on the schools? Your teen is much more likely to get killed anywhere but school.

Games are the problem ? Yea right, just a bunch of morons looking for an easy answer to a complex problem.

Re:Fund-a-mental change (1)

pnot (96038) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469744)

Put together, though, it occurred to me how ironic it was that, while the availability of both guns and condoms clearly does involve a statistical increase in the chances of something going wrong (a gun being mistakenly fired, a condom failing or being used incorrectly), resulting in injury (transmission of sexual disease for a condom) or death (ditto, or an abortion later on)...

I think this is something of a stretched analogy. Remember that the desire for sex is a very strong, fundamental instinct built into (virtually) everybody. And while a lot of people get a kick out of firing a gun, I doubt that many would rate it as more pleasurable than an orgasm. Would you prefer never to fire a gun, or lifelong celibacy?

The fact is, young people *do* have sex, whether society condones it or not. Either you teach them to do so safely or you end up with lots of STDs, unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

High School, Columbine, and Doom (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469745)

What people like Grossman really fail to realize is that games like Doom and Quake may actually PREVENT teen violence.

I don't know about any of the rest of you, but I HATED high school. I went to school in a small rural town, where the jocks, preps, and other such idiots ruled the school. If you had any intelligence or individuality you were persecuted and treated with hostility. I hung with a group of other outcast people that weren't widely popular, but were good people. All the insanity about the "Trenchcoat Mafia" really angers me, because it amounts to nothing more than hysteria generated by the media to single out different people even more so than they have been already, which creates fear and suspicion on the part of all those who "fit in." In freaking out about the Columbine shooting, they are doing nothing more than perpetuating and increasing everything that is wrong with high school to begin with. Furthermore they are also allowing administrators to enhance our police state even more by installing more security cameras, metal detectors, microphones, etc, and allowing unreasonable searches and other invasions of privacy. One would think that they wanted it to be more like a prison than an institution of education, which is ironically the way I viewed it when I was in high school.

I honestly hated high school and most of the moron students and totalitarian staff, and sometimes wished that some sort of fighter plane would miss its target and accidentally drop a bomb on the school on a day that I was sick. But instead of plotting my gameplan for going in one day and blowing a bunch of people away, I contented myself to playing with my computer a lot of the time. And yes, that included many enjoyable multiplayer Doom fragfests. It was a great outlet for all of that frustration, and allowed me to get rid of it in a fun and harmless way. And I met some really cool people in the process.

So, all these people who are criticizing video games, the internet, literature, and any other form of expression as making youth more aggressive, should think about the fact that many of us are interested in these things as a means of coping with all of the REAL aggression that is imposed upon us by "normal" people.

Re:No catharsis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469746)

heh. god forbid you make fun of jews, but christians are fair game in politically correct america. it's ok to hate wasps because we're such oppressive, evil people (white devils, great satan, cracker, etc.], but god forbid you say anything about so-called oppressed groups.

so yes, we are conditioned. some of us that is...

check out this interview with col. grossman (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469747)

go here to see the interview []

i submitted this to /. but they didn't post it up. very interesting read

Re:'Death Simulator' is fair for Q3A (1)

jpr1 (115308) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469748)

sure alot of games are filled with blood and guts, with your whole objective is to kill everybody.. but the keyword here is not blood, or killing it is "game". videogames are exactly that, games.. they have no effect on any normal person that would cause them to act the games out in real life. if the person is influenced by a game to go kill people, well guess what if it wasn't for the videogame it would have been something else that "made" them do it. its stupid people blame things like that school shooting on a video game and sue the makers of it... they act as if there was no bad people in the world before videogames. what videogames did hitler play? i don't think people honestly believe games have any effect on their stupid kids, but instead see a chance to cash in on a big lawsuit like every other american. instead of announcing they want to sue everyone after their kid shoots up a school, how about they just announce "we were bad parents, we didn't pay attention to our kid and never noticed he was stockpiling guns in his room." or "our kid f*cked up, and now he has to deal with it by sitting in jail for the rest of his life, and we won't be filing any stupid lawsuits because we understand people make mistakes and they have to pay for them." god i hate lawyers, it seems like ever since that idiot that spilled coffee on herself at macdonald's and sued them and won like a million bucks every american walks around with the attitude "hey if i have some kind of accident or if something happens to me then i'm gonna sue anyone and everyone that is directly and indirectly involved because the world is not perfect and someone has to pay for it!" ugh sorry to rant about lawyers.. just fed up.. when will it end?

Re:What about Pokemon? (1)

m3000 (46427) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469749)

Yea, fake make-believe animals that faint (not die), and that from a cartoon basis, actually like to fight. I haven't heard of anything remotly like a kid actually playing "Pokemon" on an actual animal due to Pokemon.

Guns nor people kill people - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469750)

Guns don't kill people.
People don't kill people.
Bullets kill people.
Guns just make the bullets go really fast.

Of Course They Don't (1)

BradyB (52090) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469751)

If games caused people to behave oddly then more people would be jumping around on that building in New York that looks like the Qbert game board. And more people would be running around trying to eat ghosts and power pellets. Next they'll be saying the pokemons are the devils creation sent here to ring in Armageddon.

If parent would quit using games as a baby sitter then people might not think this of games. TV violence is a lot worse than video games for one reason. You actually see real people getting killed, hit, punched, shot. Oh and I think there has been an increase in this kids killing their peers incedents because of mass media coverage bringing it to all the kids in America. If someone was on the edge that would push them over thinking that someone will remember what they do in the same way. I didn't even watch one second of the Colombine shooting coverage. I just saw still pictures. My kids don't need to see that.

Re:Guns don't kill people - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469752)

Ever notice that viagra is the blue pill?

LOL! Funniest sig I have seen in a long time!

Actually, they don't fall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469753)

when you shoot them. It's a common misconception. If a weapon existed that when fired, would knock the other person down from the force of the bullets, it would, by the laws of physics, also cause the person firing the gun to fall. It's not instinctual either, according to studies. The real reason people fall when shot is because they think that's what they are supposed to do. I kid you not. It's those who don't fall even when they have a few bullet sin them that tend to cause the most trouble for the police

Re:Ok - Enough Bullshi*t (2)

cmarkn (31706) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469754)

Youth crime is rising in America
This is probably the most prevalent bit of disinformation being spread today. Youth crime is not rising in America. It is, in fact, falling. Study the FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) [] , specifically see the arrest statistics sorted by age [] , to see that overall crime is down, both in actual numbers of crimes known and per capita. It would be more accurate to say that the reporting of youth crime by the news media is rising, not youth crime itself.

There is a reason for the spread of this lie, however, and that is to distract from the total failure of the immoral attack on human rights disguised as a war on drugs. The illusion of increasing crime, and the designation of scapegoats such as video games, disguises the failure of current government policy, leading to increasing the power government has, allowing it to push the failed policy even harder. A vicious cycle -- the more powerfully the government pushes its drug policy, the worse the policy fails; the more it fails, the more scapegoats the government uses to increase its power to push that policy.

By the way, the FBI page is not very conducive to reading the UCR. The sections with information are not linked, but they are there if you poke around enough.

Re:Guns don't kill people - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469755)

I load up a game of CounterStrike and get my Sig P220 .45 ACP out and point it at the screen at the little people. I can hit pile of poopoo at 50 yardz now.

Carmageddon at fault - nope ! (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469756)

I wanted to run over pedestrians and push other people off the road WAY before Carmaggeddon came out. Carmageddon has merely allowed me to practice so that when I finally succumb to "road rage" I will run over pedestrians with skill and style.......


On a more serious note, psychiatry (sp?) has long recognised that cars represent "defended space" and people are naturally more agressive when "their" space is intruded upon. So these desires to run over pedestrians are perfectly natural, and have little, if anything to do with playing car games. Just don't transpose thought into action!

Re:Guns don't kill people - (1)

mountain (17902) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469757)

At the local arcade about 1/3 of the games have gun like controllers, 1/2 of those are force feedback.

Yes, but, they're rather on the light side. And you can get quite sore arms from using them, I'm asuming real guns are heavier and have more kickback and don't have unlimited ammo. (I have, however never actually handled a real gun; so correct me if I'm wrong).

Re:Read Grossman before you dismiss him (1)

Wntrmute (18056) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469758)

Right... But Wrong...

Your facts are right, but the conclusion is flawed.. US Military is now trained using stimulu
s-responce techniques, but there is a big difference between these:

Stimulus: See human sillouette on other side of hill.
Responce: Take quick aim with my M-16, fire.

Stimulus: See obvious fantasy character on my computer monitor.
Responce: Use my trackball to move a crosshair on top of it, press my keyboard to circle-straife, press my trackball button to fire.

Just because I can reflexively do one, doesn't mean I will ever be able to refelxively do the other. The hand-eye coordination and behaviour in entierly different.


No connection! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469759)

Though their statistics may be true, that violent games make violent kids, it is actually the opposite way. There is a difference between saying "Violent games make violent kids" and "Violent kids play violent games." Violent kids play violent games, because they are probably entertained by them--but the cause for their violence are not the games, but something else. Stating that games make kids aggresive is like saying that "Shotgun Bubba" hunts deer because he played too much Deer Hunter. The reason, that "Shotgun Bubba" may play Deer Hunter, is that he likes hunting deer--but the game Deer Hunter is not the cause for this. Another example is that many people play sports games because they also like playing these sports in real life. People that like soccer might be entertained by FIFA 2000, where they can see all their favorite players. But certanly, playing FIFA 2000, won't make somebody become a proffesional soccer player. The point is that the article just states two facts, but shows no correlation between them. This would be like saying "Brushing your teeth causes you to become violent", and your facts would be that all people that were violent brushed their teeth.

I'll agree. And what are the LC's non-military (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469760)

non-military credentials? Be he a psychiatrist? Be he a psychologist? Be he any kind of licensed therapist? I be seeing the "Lieutenant Colonel" identifier on his name. I not be seeing the "Doctor" identifier on his name. "Lieutenant Colonel" means he is used to leading military units. Military units train to kill the enemy (among other things). So he must know what causes people to kill. But military units also have Physical Training (push-ups, jumping jacks and running). So physical training teaches people how to kill. Logical. Assuming you buy into his rank as having any validation on this subject.

Re:FIRST POST: How to get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469761)

Then you're just as bad as the first posters.

Intent. (1)

Zaphod_B (87330) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469762)

My belief in the past was that games/movies/TV did not teach kids violence. This point of view changed when I met a 5 year old boy who had been playing doom since he could hold a mouse. This kid had no concept of death or dying. Every day he would often make threatening comments to people - adults or kids - around him. Killing was only a game to him. I am absolutely convinced that had someone put a gun in his hand he would shoot someone just as easily as if he was playing Doom. He wouldn't do this out of malice, but because he did not know the difference between games and reality. That's the danger of video games.

Now, his parents did not put any effort into teacjing him better. This is definitely part of the problem. Good parenting, explaining about games, may help avoid some of the damage done, but children left to themselves will still be harmed.

I'll repeat the important part - The danger is not that games will cause kids to harm someone out of malice, but that they will do it because they don't know the difference.

So detailed knowledge of the body is evil? (2)

CPol (112725) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469763)

Even though he was a lousy shot, he knew enough to aim at people if you want to kill them, something he wouldn't have known without Q3.

He knew to aim at people if you want to kill them? What other reason would there be to aim at someone? To ivite them over for Hannukah?

Enough with the semantics though, more to the point, the guy wouldn't have known where to aim if he hadn't played quake? How about walking down to the library and picking up any medical or history book? Would that in turn make people who have a knowledge of basic human physics killers? Why then doesn't more doctors go berzerk instead of postal workers? And why do people who doesn't play computer games actualy kill others, pure dumb luck? Since they can't know where to aim, they haven't played quake.

Yes, there is a connection between watched violent behaviour and expressed violent behaviour. But it's much smaller than say, the connection between endured stress and violent behaviour, or the connection between dysfunctional upbringing and violent behaviour. And if you study you will notice that there is a causual connection between watched violence and expressed, but there has not been a conclusive study to show how much of that is direct and how much is shared (ie the "do people who watch violent movies become more violent or do violent people watch violent movies?" dilema). (Disclamer; I haven't seen one mentionend in any of the sociology and social theory classes I've studied.)

Re:Actually, they don't fall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469764)

That's why you use hollow-points. Fragment inside human tissue and most likely will sever a major artery. That can drop them in a few seconds.

Re: shooting skill (2)

bjohnson (3225) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469765)

One little nagging question...were those targets shooting _back_ at you?

Notice, the quote is about a _shootout_ at close range, not shooting on a practice range.

Bad guys shooting back at you do not stand there and give you a nice stationary target.

Go look up the statistics on soldiers firing in combat. In some cases, _hundreds_ of rounds are expended per hit.

Virtual violence != realworld violence, not wholly (2)

clearcache (103054) | more than 14 years ago | (#1469766)

Personally, I don't think we can point the finger at any single cause of the problem. Do TV, movies, realistic "death simulator" games play a role in developing violent tendencies? Sure. Do the home environment, the school environment, the friends a kid keeps, and parental involvement (or lack thereof) in their child's life also play roles in youthful violence? You bet your sweet ass they do. Do genetics play a role in a predisposition to violent behavior? Probably. All of these are contributing factors to the social engineering of a 14-year old killer.

I _do_ feel that as "death simulators" (gotta love that term) become more and more realistic, it is going to raise the thrill level the player feels while playing the game. I _live_ to experience extreme I play games that allow me to escape from reality and experience things every now and then that I'm not going to experience sitting at my desk writing "killer" Perl code. (That's same reason I love poetry and perform some "heavy" classical music every now and then...they all allow me to experience a wide range of emotions) The more realistic the game, the more real my physical and mental reactions to my sensory input are. The difference is that I have a strong enough moral (and psychological) foundation to know that, while it's really thrilling to blow some guy away on the screen, it's not appropriate for me to walk out on Park Ave. one day at lunch and start taking shots at cabbies because they drive too damn fast...and goddamn it, I'm going to make NY a safer place for everyone (except cabbies)! Some children are lacking that social buffer that stops most of us from acting on our more primal urges.

That's what the real issue is. Is it the resposibility of video games to develop social responsibility? Of course not. It's the responsibility of the families, the schools, even the immediate peer group to engineer social responsibility in future generations. If those institutions have failed, it is unfair to point the finger at a violent video game (an aggravating factor, but not a direct cause).

Re:Ritalin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1469767)

Considering that every one of the shooters in the school shootings the past few years has had a phychiatric drug in their system, someone needs to seriously look at the effects. The drugs might alleviate part of the problem, but can also distance one's mind from reality.
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