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The Public & The Internet: Open Forum

Hemos posted more than 15 years ago | from the discuss-amongst-yourselves dept.

The Internet 898

brent_clements writes "With the recent shootings in colorado, and other recent shootings around the country, I have been seeing articles such as this one, touting that these kids used the "internet", played games such as DOOM or Duke Nukem and were general geeks who were picked on in school. The articles that I am reading give me the impression that by using the internet or playing these games the kids were somehow provoked by them. " I'm overstepping my usual bounds a bit, posting what's sort of an AskSlashdot, but given the constant coverage, here in the US of the Colorado Massacre, and the fact that the murderers are being styled as geeks and hardcore Internet people, I'm wondering what everyone thinks. Is the perception of this prevasive? Or, more honestly, does the Internet make things like this easier for people? What about socialization of people? Let 'er rip folks-because geeks are getting blasted out there right now.

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Tragedy/Geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921322)

Well geeks are getting a bum rap because most people don't understand us. Yes the internet does make quite a few things easier, but that's not what brought this tragedy about. Something like this could have happen even if their wasn't an internet. People tend to blame things they don't understand, this is common throughout history.
I've known quite a few people who play Doom and have been (picked) on in school and they never turned into murders. Doom and Heavy metal and being picked on may be to this situation what shaking is to nitroglycerin it may not have helped but it isn't the root cause.

Violent Games & the Media & so on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921323)

Good point... It happens often that a correlation is mistaken for causality. It's like the classic example of the study that finds a large correlation between students with large feet having high test scores. Students with smaller feet did worse. Data looks good, but the problem is that the students who did better were in general older (thus had larger feet) than the students who were younger.
The article implies that the Internet and computer games somehow contributed to this tragedy. But think of it -- how many white, middle class students have computers and can use the internet? How many of these go on shooting rampages?
Or think of this -- many lower income children do not have computers. There is a high correlation between students without computers and those that commit crimes. Does this mean that not having a computer leads to crime and delinquency?

Kwan

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921324)

Boy is this a crock. All this is a result of some lawyers trying to find a way to make money. They are alleging that Doom, Quake and the lot were what trained these kids to be killers. Well I have to say that I play more than my fair share of Quake (oh like an hour a day or so) but I still haven't grabbed an automatic weapon and shot people up. As for them being geeks? I doubt it. Face it, geeks usually view war and killing in general as stupid things done by stupid humans. The closest thing most geeks have to a war is a nerf war.
From what I've head of the Colorado case these kids were a gang. What we need to be doing is looking at the parents who allowed their kids to become this way and the school who claims to have not known a problem was starting. Excuse me, but when kids are walking around with Nazi symbols on, there is probably a problem in the making. The schools I came from didn't tolerate bullshit like that nor did the tolerate any gang related behaviour.

The Real Issue (and stuff) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921325)

I definitly agree that the social structure of high school (being the "outcasts") probably had a large amount to do with this.

And, this may not be the best place for this, but I just put this up and I was hoping some people could read it.

A (slightly) different perspective [geocities.com]

Doom DOOM Usual Media Hype and Bollocks.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921326)

Doom is kinda like a Kill Simulator, as a flight simulator would be for a pilot, making is easier to get used to the idea of spraying people with bombs, and machine guns. I agree with you in that there are a lot of other factors invloved here, but, hey, it's only a game, right??

Cirlce the Wagons and Try this at Home! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921327)


People seem too accepting of the foibles of the news media.

One of the above posters is right. It is time to "circle the wagons" and start an organized boycott of all traditional media such as T.V. and Newspapers.

They have realized for some time it is "us" versus "them". They know they can't win based on technology, so they must do it by generating confusion. At every possible opportunity THEY must attack US.

I've had the chance to be quoted once or twice in national publications such as newsweek.

The experience blew my mind and forced me to question my entire world-view.

The quotes/stories were so warped/mishapened that they did little to convey the reality I was trying to communicate.

At first I was pissed, then terrified as I realized that EVERYTHING you hear or read from traditional media MAY be just as warped.

WOW.

We rely on "the news" and "news papers" to paint a picture of the world for us. An inaccurate picture designed not to convey information, but to sell bubblegum, perfume and beer.

Back to the "Try this at Home!"

What is the alternative?

For one of my friends it is refusing to watch any T.V. if you turn one on while he is in the room, he won't say anything, but will get up and politely leave.

For me it is "watching" interesting stories on the news with the sound turned off.

It gives me the high bandwidth video, so lacking on the web.

For text and details I go to the web. No it is not necessarily more accurate then TV/newspapers, BUT it is random access (unlike T.V.) so I can skim over the B.S., and it is timely (unlike newpapers (who cares what happened yesterday))

This is really stupid people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921328)

Obviously YOU do not have a misbehaving 13 to 17 year old kid !!!

Space Invaders vs Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921329)

When I was a kid I grew up on Bugs Bunny cartoons ("He does so have to shoot you now!") and Space Invaders, Galaxian, and the like. So did all my friends. As far as I know none of my high school crowd ever went postal.

I do not think that is fair comparison. Both Bugs Bunny and Space Invaders are easily distinguished from reality. But as technology advances, games and movies can depict violence in a very realistic manner (i.e. show blood spurting out of a bullet hole as opposed to the 2 ton weight falling on someone's head). For some people (possibly already disturbed), reality and the games become harder to tell apart.

Notice I said some people. Obviously most people will still be able to tell the difference. The problem is that it only takes one disturbed person to kill many normal people.

My prediction is that as games become more realistic (virtual reality, etc) you will see more acts of violence that mimic the games.

Blaming _GAMES_ is bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921330)

Kids nearly everywhere in the world play games like DOOM or Duke but excessive violence like this only seem to happen in the States only. At least, I never heard of something similar happening in France, Germany or the UK.
How much does it take to make people see what the problem really is ?
That there are voices opposing stricter laws on firearms and guns make me shiver. Especially this guy who said something like "if only a teacher had a gun, this wouldn't have happened" ... *gosh*
I sometimes wonder how stupid americans can be ...

Now, don't come talking about your RIGHT to bear arms - you don't - go and READ your constitution.
Amendment II (1791) says: " A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed ."
That DOES NOT say EVERYONE has the right.

The "Geek" Influence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921331)

I would like to point out the fact that when I was about 12 years old, playing Dungeons & Dragons with my friends, a few instances like this happened. They immediately blamed D&D as the root of the problem.
I guess what they are looking for is a simple answer to the question, "Why did this happen?"
Make sure to be on the lookout for possible issues regarding the Internet. Don't let the government start to get involved in issues that they don't understand or care about!

You've got to point a finger somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921332)

This tragedy is yet another instance of what appears to be a detachment from society.

But who do we blame for this? The people who did it are already dead, and in north america today, when something bad happens, someone or something HAS to take the blame. If you watched any of the news casts following this event in Colorado, you may have noticed that one of the more dominant comments was: Why/How did this happnen? What could have driven two people to commit such attrocities? People want to be able to point the finger and have one quick "fall guy" to blame for all of their troubles, and for this instance, the Internet is a prime target.

Why? It's simple. Most people fear what they do not understand, and despite the Internets unrelenting growth, a vast majority of people all over the world don't know what it is, where it came from, how it works, or what it can do for you. They just hear the buzz words from the media, fail to comprehend their meaning, and in turn grow more and more ignorant to the facts.

When the media jumped on the point that these two individuals had a website that foreshadowed the events that took place Last Tuesday, people finally had something to point a finger at. Somewhere to place the blame -- a way to ease their conciense. People don't want to think that maybe they contributed to this disaster.

"No; segregating, humiliating, ostricizing, and outcasting people won't drive them to insane acts of terror, we aren't responsible, the Internet is. After all, there's no law on the Internet. Only geeks, pedophiles and other rejects of scociety use that thing...."

Those aren't my views, but they could easily be those based on someones ignorance.

I think that people are too damned scared to look in the mirror and realise that maybe WE need to re-evaluate how we treat others. Maybe we could have done something to prevent this. Maybe we can prevent this from happening again.

But no, they'll blame computers and the Internet. And some politician looking to score points, will use that in turn to support more legislative control of the internet via sensorship and monitoring.

It makes me sick to think about all the hypocracy associated with such an ignorant notion as: "The internet is to blame for this tragedy."

Next they'll tell us that Sadam Hussien is behind a secret plot to take over Europe, and that his first move was to start the war in Yugoslavia to Distract NATO.

Perhaps we need to take a long hard look at how North Amercian's "Success is everything" culture is the primary culprit, and each and everyone of us must take some responsibility for what happened here.

An unpopular opinion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921333)

I couldn't agree with you more. This is the first intelligent comment I have found about this.

The Internet has nothing to do with this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921334)

This is fun. We blame guns, the internet, and computer games. I guess we should outlaw all of them. Maybe fire too. God knows what one could do with an old can of hairspray and a bic..

American society has lost any sense of responsibility for our own actions. How can we expect our children to be responsible? More laws won't solve basic morality issues and the tools (guns and internet) are just that tools; not the cause.

guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921335)

and what happens when they start knocking on your door, ready to take YOU to the gas chambers?? If guns were allowed in that school (s), would this be happening to the extent that it is?

Where did they get the guns?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921336)

You don't see us US Americans being constantly trampled by any passing fasist/nazi governments do you? Maybe having everybody armed IS the answer. Or maybe you Euro's didnt learn anything from the Nazi's????? What happens when they come a knockin'?

Geek Murder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921337)

Finally, geek culture permeates every strata of our society, even those of psychopaths and serial killers. At long last, geeks too can be seen as murderous machines bent on chaos and destruction.

Nerds are constantly ridiculed throughout highschool, and this permeated into adulthood when a new form of ostracism is performed: nerds are constantly portrayed as gentle, sensitive and kind, denied of the ultimate freedom, that of senseless murder and deep sociopathia.

But finally, the latest in geek fashion has been brought to the world, live from Colorado: two apparently normal geeks, playing online games, feeding on pizza, hacking AOL, drooling over Pamela Anderson's, er, talents; two typically standard nerds stand up and claim, "we too can be senseless psychopaths who murder fellow human beings without a valid reason!"

All geeks will agree, tis a good time to be a nerd. Linux stands up to Microsoft, Quake III is about to hit the shelves (target practice!), Rushmore is playing in cinemas, and the last bastion of ignorance is toppled down: we too can be cold-blooded killers.

DonKatz

(P.S.: Sarcasm. Look it up.)

Blaming _GAMES_ is bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921338)

I believe there was a shooting in a London suburb school about 1994-95 where ~16 kids were killed along with a teacher...

They may be right though.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921339)

That was very distasteful given the situation. I cannot believe that someone would post such a comment. Creating humour out of something so blatantly evil, that in itself is a tragedy

The Internet has nothing to do with this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921340)

Why??

Simple, because guns don't kill people, it is people that kill people.
If someone does someting like this it is not because guns are available, it is because they are mentally disturbed and that can have someting to do with society. Right??

Firearms in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921341)

Let's see now, HOW many times have your countries been taken over by dictator-killing machines??? Oh, ya, and WHO always seems to save your ASS???

The real problem is that special US pecularity.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1921342)

Again, I stress, HOW many times has your country been run over by a dictator killing machine??? And school shooting arent just happening here in the states, you just happen to hear of them, cause we have the most media- types.

It's simple - bad parenting (2)

BOredAtWork (36) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921627)

Look, it's a really simple thing to understand. If Duke Nukem, Marylin Manson, Black Sabbath, or the internet is the biggest influence in a child's life, the parents are obviously not doing their job. The idea that the internet is somehow responsible for this is as funamentally insane as the act itself. If one wishes to blame anyone for this, it seems that they should be pointing at the parents of these boys, who apparently didn't notice or care that their sons were hoarding weapons, building bombs, or developing into bitter, hating, racist adults. I'm sorry, I don't mean to be overly blunt, but this stuff DOES NOT happen overnight.

Asking to government to ban this, that, or the other thing to prevent these acts of voilence won't solve the REAL problem: unbalanced kids with no parents or positive role models in their lives. Banning the guns might help, but there's still 1001 potential murder weapons in every kitchen in America. If children aren't raised to respect life, separate FICTION and ENTERTAINMENT from REALITY, and obey the laws of the land in which they live, the problem will never totally disappear, only keep changing shape. The only way kids will learn to do these things is if parents teach them to. The government just doesn't have the reach/power/ability/right to teach morals and such - it's got to start in the home.

If parents would raise their children right, teach them the difference between "real life" and "lets pretend", take them to church, and be role models instead of babysitters, we'd all be much better off. It's easy - if you don't want your children looking at porn, teach them it's wrong and disrespectful to women. If you don't want them building bombs, teach them life is to be respected. If you want them to grow up to be mature responsible adults, TEACH THEM. Don't ask the government to do it, or the school system, or anyone else. Parents should be the biggest influence in a child's life. End of story.

--

An American Legacy of Violence (1)

Mark Edwards (48) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921628)

Let's face it, we have such a long-standing
legacy of violence in this country.

When my dad was a kid, violence was sparked
by 'adventure radio shows' like The Shadow.

When I was growing up, it was television in
general. Later, it was Rock and Roll, then
Heavy Metal, followed by Dungeons and Dragons
(or maybe it was D&D followed by metal).

Now, we obviously can't handle our internet
(gasp!).

It's a sad, sad world when the media just do a
quick 'latest big thing' story, blaming all
the ills of society on whatever seems to have
taken the fancy of our youth. I say that media
sensationalism is the root cause of all of the
violence (grin).

Mark

-----------------------------------
Proof of sanity forged upon request

Everyone is a victim. (1)

plumpy (277) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921633)

Geeks: "Oh we're just an outcast minority that the media likes to pick on!!!"

Goths: "Oh we're just an outcast minority that the media likes to pick on!!!"

Gun Owners: "Oh we're just an outcast minority that the media likes to pick on!!!"

whatever. who fucking cares how you are portrayed in the media anyway? The great part is, none of those groups are outcasts or minorities, but they all think they are. Everyone wants to join an outcast minority clique.

Makes me long for the 80's when everyone wanted to be "cool" and there was a set standard for what cool was.

heh, just kidding that last part was dumb.

The Internet has nothing to do with this! (1)

Bobort (289) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921634)

I mostly agree with you, but I'd go even further to say that there's definitely something else (and more important) wrong even given the availability of guns. I think if you want to really 'fix' the problem of teenagers shooting up lots of people, it's worth the effort to get at the root cause of the problem--which I don't think is the availability of guns. There's something very wrong psychologically with a person who does this, and it goes deeper than simply being able to acquire weaponry. If it were more difficult to get guns, these types of incident would most likely occur less often, but that doesn't address the (more important, IMO) problem that there seems to be an unusual excess of people who like to do these things. I'm not saying it's an easy 'problem' to 'solve,' but I think it's certainly worth looking at.

well.. (1)

drwiii (434) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921635)

Or, more honestly, does the Internet make things like this easier for people?

Possibly, but you can probably get the same stuff (only more accurate) at your local library.

Personal/Parental Responsibility or lack thereof. (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921646)

Posted by MC BoB:

I believe the core issue is responsibility.

Most find it much easier to blame the Internet, The Media (whoever that is), Movies, Drugs, Trenchcoats, Guns, etc. Than to face the hard facts.

These kids did not just see a movie, listen to a song, hit a website and decide to kill a few people. They spent weeks planning how they were going to murder thier classmates. Where were there parents?
If your kid is walking around with painted nails and a beret with the iron cross, how could you possibly ignore it?
I'm not saying that automatically makes them a psyco, but certainly someone, a parent, counselor, pastor, or relative relized this kid needed some guidance.

How could you possibly construct 30 explosive devices without someone finding out or suspecting?

I'd like to see the parents placed on trial for not being responsible for thier children. And none of this "You can't control them" crap. When I was thier age, I posted on BBS's, Played Castle Wolfenstien (remember that one?) and knew how to make a pipe bomb, but you didn't see me killing a 15 classmates because I felt different.

These kids needed help, and thier parents should be held responsible. No gun law, metal detector, or tax credit is going to change the fact that 15 kids are dead due to irresponsibility.

Another year... (1)

Dave Fiddes (832) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921653)

...another massacre in a US school.

I'm not going to judge (I can't) especially as I live in Scotland where a "madman" walked into a school in Dunblane and killed 19 kids...but. What is going to change in the US? In the UK we looked at what had happened and didn't just sit there and say "isn't that bad" we collectively, as a nation, and said "Guns are bad...handguns are really bad - lets just ban them"

Yes. It was a knee-jerk reaction...but I think that it has probably done a lot to make things *potentially* safe here. You cannot ever legislate against psycopaths...but you can send a clear message that "violence is bad".

Given that... it's pretty easy to then disconnect fantasy games like Quake from reality. I hope.

Guns (2)

xpurple (1227) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921695)

Only problem with this, is that if you take the guns away from everybody (legigimate people), then thier will still be guns avaliable...just iligaly... And, it probably wouldn't be much harder to get ahold of one if you realy wanted to than buying a pould of dope.

IMHO, every amarican should carry a firearm, it keeps those who would use them for evil reasons from acting out, or, if they do, something can be done about it quickly.

I wasn't going to comment, but... (1)

BadlandZ (1725) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921705)

I wrote a whole huge comment, and deleted it.

The only comment I have is the two boys who did this probably learned more from CNN about what they did than from videogames.

What I believe is wrong (1)

Ed Bugg (2024) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921718)

I can't believe all the crap that is being put out about what went wrong with the kids... On the way to work this morning I got preached by the morning DJ about how of course it was the music how can anyone listen to the music and not have it effect them... The music, the Internet, the games, it's all crap... If that was the problem then I would of gone on a shooting rampage a long time ago. I mean look at my last name 'Bugg' you think I didn't get a lot of grief about it in school, you think now that I'm in a Corp. setting I still don't get it (I can't believe the number of times peope come up to me and ask me "So I guess you got laughed at in school" [me] "Actually no, why you ask?") and I listen to music such as Rob Zombie, Danzig, Suicidal Tendencies, Mifits, just to name a few of my current playlists and I love to play DOOM/Quake type games and love it even more in Deathmatch... I've had a modem connection to BBSs and Internet since I was in earily grade school... How is it that I haven't picked others off with a gun that my father would keep... I'll tell you why, I know the value of life, I have something to strive for when I wake up in the morning and the want and need to see it continue when I go to sleep... That's something that all people going on killing spree's don't have. They can't seem to be able to graps the concept that when they kill someone in a computer game that it's different when they kill in real life. And until people get instilled with this it's just gonna go on and something else will get blamed... Anyone remember when Dungion&Dragons was made out to be Satan's handy work and would lead the kids to ruin???

An Excuse (1)

backtick (2376) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921727)

The reason, it seems to me, this is such a big problem is that every time this happens, all the counselors, media, and parents look for the person to blame. However could these little darlings do something like this?! Obviously, it can't be their fault.

Magic words, to people who're still growing up. Take away the blame, and a lot of things can start percolating in heads. I'm only 22, so High School and such wasn't THAT long ago. The people at fault are the little bastards involved, the ones doing the shooting. Leave the rest of us who play quake, use the internet, wear black trenchcoats and basically went thru the same problems while growing up *out of it*. Put the blame back where it belongs; on the head of the little psycho's pulling the trigger.

I went through high school, and never killed a single person. Yes, I had access to guns (pistols and rifles; been shooting since I could keep the barrel from dragging the ground). Yes, I used the internet (Terrorists handbook was around 6 or 8 years ago, too! And yes, if I'd wanted to plan an attack and build bombs and kill a huge quantity of people, it would have been possible to do it in a much larger blaze of media attention that these guys pulled.

But I never did it, because I'm not a complete wacko.

To Blame or Not to Blame (1)

TooOldForThis (2437) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921728)

There isn't anything necessarily bad about the internet or even games like Doom. They're just "things" and as such don't have any inherent moral value. They're neither good nor bad.

I think its safe to assume that these kids were socially deviant, and would have been regardless of their exposure to the internet, combat role-playing games, or any other "thing" that we could choose to blame for this mess.

There were apparently some deep issues such as rejection, feelings of isolation, depression, etc.... These seem to be the result of being singled out and ridiculed by other kids, and I guess in that sense there's plenty of blame to go around. Ultimately, however, these 2 (or more) kids are the only ones responsible for what happened in Littleton. They are the ones that chose to act. Unfortunately, we can only assume that they are now paying the price.

I think its important, however, to realise that while the 'net and the other things are not to blame, they did play their part. Kids like this tend to hang out on the net and find other like-minded kids - thus easing some of the isolation. In the process they reinforce their anger towards those kids who pick on them. In the process they also find resources that facilitate the destruction on the scale that we saw on Tuesday. Anybody care to bet where they got the instructions for the pipe bombs?

As for games like Doom, its my *opinion* that if there is already a predisposition towards violence, then Doom certainly doesn't help. We have to admit that some of our toys have a very real down side.

That said, do we restrict access to such things? I don't think that is the answer. Think about guns for a minute. It was certainly illegal for those kids to have guns, much less take them to school. As if that mattered.... As one of the talking heads said, a disturbed kid and only his fists leads only to a fist fight. A normal kid and a gun leads to hunting with his dad. Put the two together and it may lead to disaster. I think we can make a similar argument about the 'net and games like Doom.

The problem lies not in the net, Doom, or even guns, though all have their part to play. (Lets not hide our head in the sand on that.) The problem lies at home and at school. Unstable or unattentive parents, ridicule among other kids - these are things that *create* disasters like this one. Other things may enhance or facilitate, but without cause, there is no effect.

Like we used to say in the old days, just my $0.02 worth :-)

Kelly

Some good points (1)

Wheely (2500) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921730)

I'm not sure if I agree or not with what you said though I susepect i agree. While mindless and realistic violence (I can't see computer game violence in the same light as TV violence) may not make killers, perhaps it makes a life look cheap and easy to take. There is also some de-sensitising to brutal violence. Brutal violence for me is not loads of blood and guts flying all over the place, it's the casual merciless, thoughtless and trivial shooting of some poor trivial character on the screen. When I look back at what shocked a few years ago, it looks funny when compared with today and perhaps that isn't so much our being more "enlightened" but more de-sensitised.


Just my 0.02 (insert local currency symbol here.


Mark

Blame it all on the Internet (1)

moonboy (2512) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921732)


Sure, blame it all on the Internet. Certainly the Internet probably helped by giving them the information they needed to construct 30 explosive devices, but while you're at it go ahead and blame guns, alcohol, drugs, rock music, music videos, pornography, cigarettes, yada, yada, yada....whatever... People tend to look at things through a limited scope of perception, as though it were necessarily one thing that drove those kids to do what they did. It's much more plausible to assume that whatever drove them to do such a horrible thing involved influences from their entire environment. Of course many lobbying groups will now scream for the banning of all firearms, metal detectors in all schools, making the parents responsible, etc.

We still fail to look at the real issues and everyone wants to place the blame somewhere else. The blame is with us. We are all in some way reponsible. Just because it didn't happen on our block, doesn't exclude us from some of the blame and responsiblity. Our society glorifies violence, yet we are horrified by the results.



----------------

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein

The real problem is that special US pecularity.. (1)

caolan (2716) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921736)

This is pretty much of a world news event, and it's interesting to piece together information from the various news articles.

The irish times was one of the few papers on this side that actually has bothered to put in any quotes that it actually attributes to named students in the school. Which goes something along the lines of

"They were quiet kids, clever..."

There was another quote from a teacher along the lines of

"it was ironic that most of killings took place in the library, as they liked reading there"

or something like that, the point being that by the only comments that have been attributed to named sources, these were reasonaly normal people, that were pissed on long enough to get pretty mad at everyone.

In any other country that would have been the end of it, they would have grown out if it. Possibly been able to tell themselves that they were now earning twice as much as everyone else in their school, done the whole growing up thing and die in their beds 80 years later. Of course in the states you have the "right to bear arms", and put a stop to that pretty sharpish. Nothing like being able to put your hands on an arsenel of weapons to give you an inflated sense of power.

This is not a story of geekdom, this is a story of a country that is set up so that its easy to blow the fuck out of people at the drop of a hat :-)

C. (whos doesn't own a gun, doesn't know anyone who owns a gun, knows noone who has ever been shot, knows noone who knows someone whos been shot, and does not feel any trauma that he is denied the right to shoot people)

"There is no connection between having a gun and shooting someone, and not having a gun and not shooting someone, any you'd be a fool and a communist to think so", by someone or other whos name i forgot, died last year i think.

The Internet has nothing to do with this! (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921746)

I agree. I think the real problem is that employment for teenagers is not good these days. There is not much for someone who wishes to do something in the real world. When I was a teenager, it was easy to find a part time job and really do something different.

So what does a person do who does not feel welcomed into the job market and has no purpose? To be ridiculed by a capitalistic society? An ugly attitude forms. It can be hidden due to the shame of rebelling. One day, the kid cracks and goes postal.

The media has never addressed this issue. How odd.

Guns (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921747)

Every american should carry a firearm? Yuck! I have a SKS rifle and a 80lb bow for hunting. This allows me to bring back some non-steriod-slaugherfarm-abused-for-life-game home for dinner and eat healthy, but I would not recommend people in a big crowded city who do not get out to have firearms. Some people just do not need a high powered tool that will send a high speed projectile a mile and a half. Its silly.

The problem with our society is that we do not have a welcome job market for new teenagers anymore. Its now competitive and not very nurturing like it used to be. A newbie is likely to get ridiculed. We need more time with families and community activities to solve this, not playing the blame game of TV and video games.

They may be right though.... (1)

bpdlr (3132) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921751)


OK, I play Quake 2 and Half-Life, and I don't go around strafing people with automatic weapons.

BUT I would kill to get a copy of Requiem...

--

Barry de la Rosa,
Reporter, PC Week (UK)
Work: barry_delarosa[at]vnu.co.uk,
tel. +44 (0)171 316 9364

Thank you Salon (1)

aheitner (3273) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921753)

The only journalistic voice of reason.

Even my home paper, the Washington Post, is guilty of poor journalism on this one.

We should definitely start an email campaign to authors of bad articles (and of good!) on this foolishness. Geeks have to protect our name.

I can't believe this (2)

aheitner (3273) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921754)

Haven't these absolute idiots in the media ever heard of kids playing Cowboys & Indians? Cops & Robbers? Since when have little boys not had toy guns growing up?

As someone who writes computer games, I find this extremely scary.

They may be right though.... (1)

kid (3373) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921757)

Heh Heh. That's funny.
My opinion in this is that the only people who believe this media hype about Doom & Internet resulting in violence, would be granny. My impression is that the world has grown up enough to realize the Internet just makes things easier; good and bad. And that the media hasn't quite grown up as much yet, still pushing that angle.
I don't know anyone who feels the same way as the media. What do you think?
Exclude: my mother (73), email's & surf's regularly.

What's the problem here? (2)

mhkohne (3854) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921761)

I think we need to spend some time figuring out why these school shootings keep happening. It's important that we gain an understanding. I'm just gonna give my thoughts and then come what may:

As a little background, I'm a 30 year old software engineer (a programmer who thinks about it first), I'm married, and I do plan to have children. My wife is a school teacher in a school district on the edge of Philadelphia. Her district has a very wide range of income levels, so I hear about the whole range of wierd student and parent behaviours that teachers have to deal with.

When I refer to 'our parents' I'm refering to those folks in their 50's and 60's like my parents. When I refer to 'kids' I'm talking about anyone under 18.


Speed of change: These kids are growing up in a world that's changing on an almost daily basis. If you are a little slow learning how to fit in, then by the time you get a clue, the rules have changed.


Over-stimulation: The way kids play today is a LOT different from when our parents grew up. TV provides a rapidly changing series of loud, attention-grabbing scenes. The stories behind much of what's on TV revolve around someone beating someone else up for some reason. Games for dedicated game machines and computers are mostly about violence in one way or another, and like TV they provide rapid, loud stimulation, and everything is resolved by violence.


Parental over-work - The TV and Game machines probably wouldn't be so bad, but many parents are working longer and longer days. They don't get home until late, so the kids watch TV till mom and dad come home, and when they do come home, they don't want to yell at the kids, so they let the kids do whatever they want (I've seen this with my cousin's children). Alternately, they don't want to be bothered with the kids, so they plop them down in front of the TV. Either way, the kid is getting more TV time than parent time, so where do you think they are going to pick up their outlook on life? And if a parent is over-worked, how are they going to notice that little Bobby seems depressed?


Responsibility - Many parents simply don't want to be responsible for raising their children. They don't discipline the children at home, so by the time the kids get to school, they have no respect for authority of any kind. Or they put so much pressure on the kids to do well and get into honors programs that the kids break down when they don't make it. Or when the kid gets a bad grade, instead of working on making sure Johnny does his homework, they call and yell at the teacher!


I'm not saying that any of these things have to do with the latest shooting (I don't know that much about the families involved). But I will say that NONE of these things ALONE would be enough to send someone over the deep edge. But taken in combination with a hundred different things I haven't mentioned...

Thanks for reading.

The Internet has nothing to do with this! (1)

petdr (5259) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921780)

Hear! Hear!

What I find amazing about America is your fascination with carrying guns. Here in Australia we had someone go on a rampage with a semi-automatic gun and kill 40 odd people. Our response was to make semi-automatic guns illegal and make it harder to obtain guns in general (pity it took a massacre to make it happen).

Why in America does it seem to focus on what factors made the people do it, and not on why don't we try and make it more difficult for people to obtain guns and then go and do these things.

Isolation not the Internet (1)

bgfay (5362) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921781)

Begin rant here.

I teach school and have taugth at a suburban school very much like the one in Colorado. I now teach in an urban "small school". The difference is that in a small school kids are known and groups are splintered.

The problem is that schools are too large and so kids go unknown there. At home parents often hold jobs that keep them out of the house for far too long and so kids go unknown there. And kids then find other ways to attract the attention that they both need and deserve.

As for video games and the internet, well, we do have a problem. My wife and I lay in bed last night trying to think of something in our popular culture that isn't linked to violence, sex, lying, war, oppression, or the like. We figured out that Sesame Street fits the bill but beyond that, well, not much.

What is happening is that violence is glamorous. By this I mean that it is shown as something that is not painful and nearly desirable. A character in a movie is hit by a car, but he holds on to the hood and goes for a wild, wacky ride! Gee. Funny, when my brother was hit by a car the only thing that happened was an extended stay in the hospital and all of us praying that he would not die.
The internet is not the problem. Doom and Quake are not the problem. Mel Gibson movies are not the problem. But consider the total package. Put all of these things together and feed them to young kids. There's a problem with that. We have to face it and it's up to us to figure out a way to do something about it. The answer is not to ban any of this stuff. That would be ridiculous, ineffective, and against our values here in the USA. But there are other ways.

When I was a kid I played some video games. My friend's family gave him a computer to fool around with instead. I learned how to beat the Atari 2600 in my sleep and he learned how to take apart, rebuild, and program his computer. When my kids come along and the decision comes down to a Playstation or a Linux box, we'll see what kind of machine we can build together.

End of rant.

Usual Media Hype and Bollocks.... (2)

NeoTron (6020) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921786)

....Sociopaths and Psychopaths will be sociopaths and psychopaths, no matter if they are geeks, farmers, politicians, terrorists, Ordinary Joe Bloggs, that "nice quiet man a few doors down", yer uncle/aunt, or whoever.

How can you _possibly_ blame Doom for these two characters doing what they did? I play Doom etc. but I'm not going around spraying bullets.

No. There are too many factors involved with what these people did, ranging from America's "achievement culture" - whereby if you're not good at sports/science/anyhting else, you're no good at all, to America's Gun culture - "It's in the Constitution, Son!", to lack of parental care/education, and a WHOLE lot more. Pinning this one on the fact someone may be a geek, play Doom or whatever is just Plain Nuts.

Silly Media!

Media trying to come to grips with changin' times. (1)

itp (6424) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921787)

Of course, no journalist would *dare* put the blame were it rightfully belongs: with the person responsible. Somehow it seems unacceptable to them that an 18-year-old can truly be a criminal.

Nobody is really talking about putting the blame on the person responsible, because of course they're to blame. They're also dead, so in this case, it's a completely moot point. However, it /does/ make a lot of sense to try to figure out why it happened, if only to prevent any more tragedies like this one. And contrary to popular slashdot opinion, bombarding children with the message that violence is acceptable, fun, and cool may just have a detrimental effect.

--
Ian Peters

Are we all killers? (1)

itp (6424) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921788)

Ok, I'm getting really tired of seeing this logic over and over. Nobody is saying we're all going to be killers! Just like nobody says that /everyone/ who smokes will die of cancer, merely that it is a health risk. And yes, I'm sure people blame the kids, as they are the ones finally responsible. They're also dead, which makes that point rather stupid. Besides, if we just blame the kids, than you've done nothing to prevent a tragedy like this from reoccuring. If, however, you make some effort to determine /why/ this happened, even if you are wrong, you are at least making an effort to stop this trend.

--
Ian Peters

To Blame or Not to Blame (1)

itp (6424) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921789)

There isn't anything necessarily bad about the internet or even games like Doom. They're just "things" and as such don't have any inherent moral value. They're neither good nor bad.

This is technically accurate, but also naive and completely non-constructive. Everything is just a thing. It's the message we take away from things that is important.

I think its safe to assume that these kids were socially deviant, and would have been regardless of their exposure to the internet, combat role-playing games, or any other "thing" that we could choose to blame for this mess.

You really should share this amazing insight of yours with the experts, so they can stop wasting their time doing research. Because of /course/ your environment has no effect on you! What a rediculous idea!

--
Ian Peters

Personal/Parental Responsibility or lack thereof. (1)

itp (6424) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921790)

I believe the core issue is responsibility.

I agree completely. Parents, authority figures, all seem to be abdicating their positions of responsibility, clutching to some contributing factor and claiming that this is the fundamental cause. I believe that video games which portray and encourage violence are probably not healthy. This is not the relevant fact, however. What is relevant is that parents are not watching what effect this is having on their children and making personal, case by case decisions.

--
Ian Peters

An unpopular opinion... (continued, oops) (3)

itp (6424) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921791)

Sorry, I accidentally hit submit prematurely.

To continue with my rant, I think that violence in media is something that needs to be looked at, but not in isolation. In combination with other factors, children are being left to their own devices, with very little guidance from responsible adults. When they are faced with messages like the one I mentioned above, well, I don't think it causes them to become killers, but I don't think it's healthy, either. Certainly it's easy to just claim that portrayed violence is the sole cause, which isn't fair, but isn't it slightly ludicrous to claim that it has no effect whatsoever?

Regarding the `Goth' scene -- I'll be the first to admit that I know relatively little of what is actually entailed in being a Goth. However, from what I have seen, it seems to focus or dwell on death, depression, pain ... I'm struggling for a point here. While I don't think it's fair to claim that this is bad out of hand, I do think that parents should be worried if their children are growing up in an environment like this. In combination with other factors, I think that this can certainly be detrimental to their well being.

Hmm. It's early, and I didn't sleep last night, so this is coming out a lot more ranty than I'd like. I guess my main point is this -- yes, the media is being narrow minded to try to blame this tragedy on one cause, but we would be equally narrow minded not to consider the effects of portrayed violence on our youth.

--
Ian Peters

An unpopular opinion... (5)

itp (6424) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921792)

I realize this probably won't be the most popular opinion you'll read attached to this article, but I'm going to step out on a limb. There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction going on here, on two counts. First, the media, for seizing on violent computer games and the internet as a possible `cause' of this tragic event, but also, the slashdot community for dismissing this possibility out of hand.

Several of the (few) posts at this point make the following argument -- "I play violent video games, and I've never killed anyone, so that theory must be wrong!" This is a fundamental logical flaw. If the statement were "violent video games turn everyone into killers", then a simple counter example would be sufficient. However, merely stating that violent video games have no effect on you doesn't disprove a relationship. I'm not necessarily claiming that there is one; just that this argument is flawed.

Now, to claim that there is a relationship. Several people have pointed out that violence predates the internet and computer games by a large margin. This is certainly true. I could sit here and make the argument that violence has never been this realistic, but I don't think that's the point. I do think that mindless violence, which is being portrayed more and more, in many different forums, is problematic. I was recently playing Quake Team Fortress the other day. As I entered the game, I was greeted with the message "Kill, Kill, Kill!"

--
Ian Peters

This is really stupid people (1)

Leimy (6717) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921797)

I think it is truly sad to see such immaturity and lack of responsibility on the side of the parents. In this day and age with both parents at the workplace, no one can keep an eye on their kids like they used to. It's a shame that things like this happen but don't blame the video games, blame the kids and the parents. If your kid chooses to model his life after a murderer or thinks that killing someone is cool and they do it, then you obviously have not had a good talk with your child in a while.

AM I RIGHT or AM I RIGHT.


I can't believe this (1)

Leimy (6717) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921798)

If you are going to blame computer games then you should blame cops and robbers, those violent lullabies we sing to our children (They all ran after the famers wife... cut off their tails with a carving knife)
(and if the bough breaks the cradle will fall and down will come BABY cradle and all)

It's all bullshit.

It *IS* the Media! (1)

Mr. Shadow (6994) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921804)

For the past 35 years American culture has been subjected to a barrage of increasingly mindless & violent movies, TV shows and yes, video games. To even suggest that children and young adults haven't been affected by this is ridiculous. Of course, everytime something happens, the News media and Entertainment industry come out blaming guns, phases of the moon, PMS or something instead of the real culprits...themselves. They are the one profiting from showing these images. People seem to forget that young children/teenagers are not rational creatures who can separate reality from fantasy. (Why do you think the Marines like to recruit 17-18 year olds? It's because they can brainwash an 18 year old to believe all that "Sands of Iwo Jima" bullshit.) When "The Wild Bunch" and "Straw Dogs" came out 25-30 years ago, they were the most violent movies ever made. If you were under 17 you couldn't get in. Take a look at the stuff that's on TV now..."Die Hard" or "Air Force One" for example. Psychopaths coldly murdering innocents. Didn't Alan Rickman and Gary Oldman look BAD blowing away people? Yeah, I know they were the bad guys, but gee, they look so cool.

One other thing (1)

aphr0 (7423) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921812)

One thing no one seems to have thought of.. who wants to start a betting pool of when the first lawsuit will be filed? I got 10 bucks on 2 weeks from today. Lawsuits are as american as mom, apple pie, and guns.

It's actually very simple. (3)

Ethan Butterfield (7481) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921814)

Society sees a couple of its members doing something really, really, REALLY bad.

Society doesn't like this. It gives Society a bad name.

Society tries to do whatever possible to convince itself that these Bad People(tm) were never a part of Society to begin with.

The first step is to find "obvious differences" between Society and the Bad People. Well, violent computer games and the goth subculture are in the limelight these days...let's use that!

(cue all those media shots of the items with the Doom logo in evidence bags)

Are we all killers? (1)

confuzn (8621) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921826)

We all have access to the same information that the kiddies got off a website. Are we all going to kill? So far throught this whole thing no one has blamed THE KIDS. The two children that killed all of these people are not being held accountable. Isn't this wrong?

Are we all killers?:2 (1)

confuzn (8621) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921827)

I understand they are dead, but I think the media can get off of the band wagon. I have heard the killings blamed on hitler, pot, trenchcoats, internet, the fact they are pathetic kids in school, and other crap.
sorry about the two posts but I screwed up.

The Knee-Jerk Mafia (1)

EJB (9167) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921831)

You really must read this [salon.com] article on Salon magazine.

The first line says it all: "In the land of no good explanations, the man with the daffiest explanation is king."

Everone's looking for an explanation, and the Internet is just one things fingers are being pointed at. Other things are: Kosovo, trenchcoats, Goths. (I wonder what kind of upbringing these boys had)

I guess this quote from the article explains why the Internet stands accused:
"But clearly there are deeper fears at work. We are eternally concerned with what technology will do to us -- how it will change our minds, change our lives, affect our livelihoods."

With over 50% of US families having access to the Internet, I don't think many people will take this finger-pointing seriously.


responsibility (1)

EJB (9167) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921832)

It depends on what you mean with discipline. If you mean being able to set limits, okay, I agree.

If you mean 'though love', hitting, yelling, continuus blaming, criticizing etc, I'd be willing to bet that's what those kids' parents did.

If your life at home is like DOOM, then it's not a great stretch to bring DOOM to school.

[Then again, that may not be the case. But according to reports, their parents were not very involved with the community. You'd be surprised how easy it is to hide child-abuse.]

relentless media bla. (1)

magister (9423) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921836)

Some one has to point thier finger. Why not at the computer indrustry, they have allready done it to the TV brocasting.

Computers: the scapegoat of the future. ive played all of thoes games, ive never killed anyone (flys and roaches, but i wont count thoes right now), nor ever really wanted to. I would like to play a game of quake in something like the matrix, i guess they did also, and forgot no one could respawn.

Competing models of social interaction. (3)

K. (10774) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921853)

What drove HAL crazy? Being programmed to tell
the truth and being told to lie.

Society on the Internet is *in general* a meritocracy. You're judged by your ability to communicate, by your intelligence. But then when you go to school, those attributes become irrelevant, or worse, are turned against you. You're ostracised for the very same things that are an advantage on the Internet. This does not lead to a stable mentality.

I didn't have too much trouble in my school, mostly because I was a sarcastic little bastard who'd verbally rip anyone to shreds who tried to mess with me - and I had biker friends :) (and a high threshold for pain :(). But I accepted quite a bit of the grief that came my way because that was the way things were. If it had been pointed out to me that there were other ways for things to be, I wouldn't have been so quick to accept the hassle.

K.
-

--
To the extent that I wear skirts and cheap nylon slips, I've gone native.

guns (1)

redbook (10969) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921859)

your society (sadly) glorifies the possession of firearms. people do not need guns to lead normal lives.

talk about blaming games or music is utterly bizarre in that context.

Media trying to come to grips with changin' times. (2)

earthy (11491) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921870)

I think it is actually rather encouraging that the media point to FPS games as a reason for the Columbine killing. It shows that they are becoming mainstream and there is nothing anyone can do against it anymore. Just look at the past for more examples of this: the supposedly 'bad` influence of comics, the 'corrupting` influence of agressive action movies, even TV shows have been 'credited` as cause for rampant behaviour.

Ofcourse, no journalist would *dare* put the blame were it rightfully belongs: with the person responsible. Somehow it seems unacceptable to them that an 18-year-old can truly be a criminal.

On a last note: why do people think that ready availability of information on bomb-making (or drug-making for that matter) is all that's required for people to actually go out and make bombs (or drugs)? There *is* such a thing as availability of the physical means to do so, and it need not exist. Knowledge doesn't kill. Knowledge *cannot* even kill.

When I was in High School (1)

barogers@iserv.net (11860) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921874)

I was in a group that would for the most part would have been classified as a "Trenchcoat Mafia" had our school not been less accepting of the differing groups, since at our school the jocks didn't run the show. We played doom and quake, even on the schools network. Many had trenchcoats, a few even owned guns, (under parents name if under 18) and we were never in a fight, or threaten to fight someone, by fists, hardguns, or rifles. We played Magic, some played AD&D, none played sports. Perhaps the only main differing media-hype statistic is that we didn't listen to MM.
What you wear, play, listen to does not turn you into a humankind hating, gun-happy terrorist unless there is something else wrong, something that cannot nessessarily be represented by clothing or the contents of your hobbies section of your web page. Unfortunatly, when it isn't highlighted for the mass media to see, they will place the blame on what is evident, regardless of how blatently incorrect it is to anyone who spends a few clock-cycles on it.

another media `smart`idea (1)

The_Wind (11976) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921878)

That's what it's, in spain we also had a media telling that it was internet fault that those sick boys killed so many. They did forgot that getting a weapon in the USA it's easier than getting the driver license. If there're so many weapons in one moment or another they'll be used and someone will be killed. That's the truth, it's not internet, it's education and the guns.

Media folks are awesomely stupid (4)

A Big Gnu Thrush (12795) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921892)

I agree with this. Here in Atlanta, one of our local radio idiots was talking about the influence of Marilyn Manson on these devil worshippers, and how we would hear a lot more about the music and how it was to blame before this was all over. Keep in mind, he was saying this at a time when the exact identity of the shooters was not known. The police had not even secured the building. When I got home that night, CNN was showing the cover art to Rammstein and playing up the fact that these two spoke German to each other.

Then came the video of Doom. I noticed the player in Doom had the shotgun (may favorite weopon in Doom) and had not yet got the chain gun.

Of the 1800 students at Calumbine (sp?) High School, how many do you think have played Doom? How many have listened to Rammstein?

Certainly any male old enough to hold a joystick has played Doom. No mention is made of the total prevalence of Doom on personal computers. It's an immensely popular game.

The media looks for some trait in the personality of these kids that will help mark them as members of a counter culture, but the traits they come up with are mainstream.

Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Doom. Not all teenagers listen to these bands or play first person shoot-em-up video games, but they are not counter culture.

The fascination with Hitler is disturbing, but not uncommon in confused teenagers. Most grow out of it. The strange posts to AOL (if true) are disturbing, but AOL is a very mainstream outlet for kids to express their uninhibited thoughts in anonymous chat rooms. There is nothing unusual about doing this.

These two were disturbed, they needed help, but the media looks at normal, everyday trappings of teenage culture and places them on a stage as oddities. They are not oddities.

Questions that should be asked: How did these guys manufacture pipe bombs in their garage without their parents noticing? What legitimate warning signs were missed? (e.g. did they threaten someone verbally, had they tortured animals in the past, was there a history of non-lethal violence leading up to this.) But the media plays clips from "Du Hast" and shows 640x400 screens of monsters getting blown away with a shotgun.

There's no easy answer to this one, but it's difficult for me to believe that these kids were instilled with any morality or belief system.

School shootings are a uniquely American phenomenon and in a uniquely American way, pop culture will blame pop culture for the evils of our pop culture.

This is typical response to a tragedy (2)

finkployd (12902) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921896)

It seems everytime an unthinkable tragedy occures, the "I have a special agenda" people come out in full force to explain to us (in our shocked and upset state) that this whole tragedy could have been avoided if only their viewpoint was adopted and acted upon. See, video games really ARE bad, this proves it. There really IS too much violence on TV, see where it leads? This is all because of that evil music, etc.
I even saw one of the congressional representatives of Colorado on TV yesterday lamenting that the state never adopted a more strict weapons policy for the schools!!! I can see it now, two deranged teens prepare to enter the school and start executing people when the notice a "Gun Free School Zone" sign, and turn back, defeated.
Please, policies weren't going to prevent this. This was a result of kids ever growing lack of repsect for life, both their's and other's. When you feel your life is so meaningless that you plan to kill yourself anyway, it's probably not difficult to take other's lives. I for one would like to know why kids (not all, but more than ever before) no longer seem to respect life at all.

My $0.02
Fink

Firearms in the US (1)

El Cabri (13930) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921923)

I am happy to live in a country that makes
the seemingly bold assumption that the relations
between individuals must be handled by rules
common to the whole society rather than by
the possession of devices made to kill.

The "State" is defined as an organization that
has the monopoly of the usage of violence,
which can be used to defend the society against
domestic as well as foreign aggressions.

Why the hell should individuals be allowed to
possess and carry objects whose only purpose
is to kill other people ?

I really hope that you americans will soon
understand how senseless this tradition is.

Where did they get the guns?? (1)

BenJamin.G (14082) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921926)

hate to say this but me too.

I Live in australian and a couple of years ago something similar happend like this, in tasmania. The govenrnment took the hard road and banned semi-auto weapons, and military sytyle guns as well.

But for all of this I don't know if in the end this will ever happen in the USA, please don't get me wrong here, I don't see anything inherantly(sp?) wrong with the owning of fire arms but it seems that "gun culture" has become too much a part of the psyche of the USA.

on another note, It seems that people in this world are moving too fast to care anymore, when I went to High School in Aust, (btw I am english) I had a realy bad time, I was what you could of called a "goth" (No MM there though, cure bauhause and sisters of mercy type) and a loner, you know the sort of kid who wasnt good at sport, had a few leaning difuculties (i wasn't diagnosed with dyslexia till I was 17) and well had, well no friends, I was alone, and Tried to kill myself on many an occasion, why am I saying this, I think I just want to say that I survived, 25 this year, got a reasonable job, and just want to say that if any one who reads slashdot, ever needs to talk, out poor their heart about any problem, I listen, I have sat with many people through dark nights of the soul, I as I have survived, want to help others, If anyone needs to talk drop me a line at my work based email address ben@iaa.com.au


Benjamin

(don't realy know why I have typed this if I have rambled too much, please forgive, even though I live on the other side of the world, what happend made me cry)

The culture (1)

glh (14273) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921928)

In todays postmodern society, people are just looking for something to pin the blame on.

No one is responsible for their own actions, it's always someone/something elses fault. With this type of outlook I think we're going to see things get a lot worse before they get better, IF they get better.

I play video games all the time (Starcraft mostly) and used to play DOOM, etc. I admit that I get a bit rowdy when I play these, and as a kid in high school I think it might have even affected my tempermant a little.. But in reality, that could NEVER be the sole reason for such an awful thing as this. Sure, it might not have helped much, but if video games and the Internet
were the #1 contributor, guess what? There wouldn't be any high school students left. Every high school in the US has geeks, and I'm sure they all get on the Internet, play Starcraft, and doom/quake/whatever.

Our culture needs some absolutes, some morals.. until then things are going to keep deteriorating. In this society there is a decreasing moral code, and every man is doing more and more as he see's fit. These High School kids apparently saw that it was fit to go ahead and waste their peers.

It's a bummer that the stereotype of "geek" is now heading toward the dark side.

What can we do? Well, voice our opinions of course. I for one will be praying.

The kids had other problems. (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921931)

You can't blame Doom, the Internet, or anything else. Look at the millions of counter-examples of kids playing that stuff and turning out perfectly okay! When I was a kid I grew up on Bugs Bunny cartoons ("He does so have to shoot you now!") and Space Invaders, Galaxian, and the like. So did all my friends. As far as I know none of my high school crowd ever went postal. (Or should the new phrase be, "went high school"?)

These kids had other problems. Right now people are looking for something to blame. It's hard to accept that there is nothing to blame. Except maybe the kids' parents and teachers for not recognizing this ahead of time and getting them help. Maybe. What are the warning signs? Being a geek and a loner? Hell, that description probably fits 99% of the people reading this. It certainly fit me back then.

Ever read John Brunner's novel Stand On Zanzibar? That book scares me. It was written in the 60's and takes place about a decade or two into the 21st century. And every day reality matches that book just a little more. One element of the book was something called "muckers" -- people who run amock and go on a killing spree. Well, we seem to have no shortage of muckers these days. I predict it'll only get worse as the population increases, both due to there being more people of every sort and therefore more psychopaths; and because too many people living too close together tend to snap a little bit easier.

blame to avoid change (1)

romana (14716) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921933)

its easier to look for something to lay blame on quickly (and preferably something 'newsy'), than to try to solve the problem. from an outsiders point of view, the US gun laws are a miracle of insanity. formed when militias were needed as there was no army, to deal with colonial opression, you now have a situation where kids are given booties and guns at birth!= slight exageration for effect - i hope!
we have only (thankfully) had a very limited experience with mass random(ish) shootings in australia..and the last one led to incredibly tighter gun laws, despite the nra and gun lobbies having kittens.
look for solutions not scapegoats.

Absolute Bunkum (1)

matbag (15189) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921943)

People will always try to find someone to blame. I use the internet, and have done so for a few years, I've played Duke Nukem, Quake and Doom, I was picked on in school and I am proud to be called a nerd or geek, yet I have never been inclined to pick up a shotgun and blast away at real life people.
I'm not surprised that these comments have been made, it's a knee jerk reaction. All I have really to say is to look a little closer to home before pointing fingers.

The Internet has nothing to do with this! (1)

Snow-Man (15639) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921946)

I believe it's more a society thing than an availibility of guns thing. while I was in Europe for a little while I always kind of got the impression that everyone was somewhat more mature regarding, mostly, sex, guns and education. I suspect that even were guns outlawed in the US people who wanted to do such things as these would get them anyway.

Role Models (3)

warwick (16544) | more than 15 years ago | (#1921966)

I was cynical at first. I read the stories in the paper, on the web, and watched on TV. I wondered aloud if the parents were a factor. Then I remember a link from Slashdot: an article about kids in Idaho written for Rolling Stone. I realized that people of all ages make decisions on their own. Sometimes these decisions are well reasoned and sometimes not, as evidenced by this week's tragedy.

I talked to a friend of mine at lunch yesterday about Colorado and the killings. He and I agreed that the problem was communication. The kids (the shooters) had something to say and, they thought, no one to listen. How many times have you been hurt emotionally and felt "too whipped" to say anything to anyone. A friend or loved one says, "Hey, how are you doin'?"; is your standard reply "Fine" or are you willing to open up when you need to.

The shooters expressed themselves in a way which they believed everyone would (finally) understand. Don't blame the internet or parents. Let's let them take some of the blame themselves. Ozzy Ozbourne, DOOM, computers, and Bill Clinton aren't to blame for your behavior. You are.

responsibility (1)

Darth Maul (19860) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922016)

Yep, it's the parents these days pushing
responsibility for their children's upbringing
off onto the schools and the good ol' Democrat
social programs. Then the parents can sit back
and blame society when things go awry. Remember
back in the 80's when everyone started to think
discipline was bad? Well, now we're reaping what
we sowed.

Also, this whole labeling of the "geeks" and
"outcasts" just makes me sick. It was great
when yesterday, the NBC "Internet correspondant"
said "Well, after I logged on to the Internet..".
Right there you know to stop listening ;).

It's not DOOM and Quake that made these kids
crazy. They were already crazy. And something
didn't click that killing people was a bad
thing. Quite sad. I'm just glad I got out
of High School when I did...

It's just the whole social outlook on life anymore
that's really screwing things up. Parents don't
want to discipline their children because they
think they should be all nice and fluffy all the
time. Well, then you get kids that don't know
how to behave properly, and don't quite understand
consequences the way normal people should.

-Mike

My take and the evils of the Media. (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922020)

I blame mostly the media for this. You see this on the news about how one person did this and it happens 3 more times. The media gives these kids the idea. It's like the qoute from 'Young Guns', "I'll make you famous". You shoot-up a school, what's going to happen about it? You going to known all over the world. At the least, 90% of the people on this earth want to be reconized and these people are now reconized. I feel that they are giving these 2 kids what they really wanted.... Just something for you guys to think about.
"The pen is mighter than the sword... But what if you can't write?"

Well of COURSE it's the Internet... (1)

zagmar (20261) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922031)

...Because it couldn't be that high school inherently alienates teenagers when they need the most nurturing, and it certainly couldn't be that maybe they had a lousy homelife and that's why they didn't know that mass murder is not the way to solve problems.

I wonder...if they were big Voodoo Glow Skulls fans, would that be blamed? ("And when they get a load of me/I'll take them on a killing spree/ with my gun/and then you'll see what I call fun." or "...but when I kill your girlfriend/you'll wish you were my friend!")

What's the deal? I think the point made yesterday (that Quake et al. are more ways to release that violent intent than build it up) is very salient. The fact is, there is very little in the human experience that can be explained as "he did this because of this." Most attempts to make such a statement fall victim to the fallacy "because of this, therefore this." Like (a few centuries ago) "because I've never _seen_ a black person (or any group considered subhuman at the time) read, obviously, they can't read." The media is perpetuating the myth of simple cause and effect in human interaction. There are always going to be millions of reasons why people do antything. Blaming the internet or games like Duke Nukem is just farking retarded.

guns (1)

hoppy (21392) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922040)

Totally agree with that, All kids here in Europe (in France at least) play doom, listen to american
bands but we never had a such bad fight.And we dont have firearms easily available.

Well of COURSE it's the Internet... (2)

Stephen Williams (23750) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922048)

...Because it couldn't be that high school inherently alienates teenagers when they need the most nurturing, and it certainly couldn't be that maybe they had a lousy homelife and that's why they didn't know that mass murder is not the way to solve problems.

I totally agree with your comment about school. I was verbally abused by my classmates for about two and a half years at school, for various reasons. My experiences of school lead me to believe that the only way to avoid such treatment is:

  • Be good at sport;
  • Follow the crowd like some kind of sheep;
  • Never, ever behave differently in any way from the popular kids.

I heard news reports in which the reporters were saying things like "no-one has any idea why these kids did what they did". I have a suggestion. I suspect it's because they were psychologically unstable - for whatever reason - and years of verbal abuse at school pushed them over the edge.

Violent Games & the Media & so on.... (1)

AsmodeusB (27311) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922070)

The media is just continuing its spree of not having a clue. "Oh my ghod! They played violent games! Online, no less!" (they have to have something about the net (or perceived net) in every article :-)

In my opinion (of course), games don't kill people, guns don't kill people, napalm doesn't kill people, its a lack of tolerance which kills people (or rather triggers people to kill other people).

Americans and guns (1)

davedavedave (27890) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922073)

"It's disgusting what these kids did.... how can such things happen in our society"

Then

"It's every American's right to own a gun!"

Am I the only one who sees some incompatibility in these two statements? Yet this seems to be the attitude of so many Americans. They condemn such actions (rightly so), but then insist that laws to control guns are impinging on their freedom. Duh!

Excuse me, who is HAL? (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922076)

"Do you realize that most of your audience does not know who HAL is?"

HAL, or more formally HAL 9000, [stanford.edu] is the computer on board a spaceship in the movie "2001, A Space Odyssey". [afionline.org] He had issues.

Circling the Wagons (0)

CricketGod (29826) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922082)

That comment should be moderated up. It's the most succinctly put expression of what I've been thinking about this article since I saw it. There's no reason to be so militantly defensive, or to accuse everyone of accusing.

That said, I certainly do not believe that games and the internet will escape without some stabs in their general directions. As others have already said, this is certainly not the place to throw blame with this never-ending 'it-wasn't-my-fault-so-it-must-have-been-theirs-an d-they-must-pay' mentality.

It's now a crime to be intelligent... (1)

gcoates (31407) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922099)

I've just found this jem in today's (London) Times. At then end of the usual "shock horror, they learned how to make bombs from the internet" story was this quote.

"Last year local authorities in Washington DC issued a pamphlet offering tips on how to tell if a child is a secret bomb-maker.
"Generally these teenagers excel at academic activities," it said.

Where did they get the guns?? (1)

cycler (31440) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922108)

The issue here isn't what made these boys commit multiple murder as how the hell did they get the guns????

As a european I'm stunned that americans doesn't see the cause:
That civilans have semi-automatic guns at home!!!
A home with kids in them????
Have you all lost your head?

Then republicans go out and say that the massacre could have been avoided if the school staff carried guns!!
In other words, the school in america are so bad that the staff must carry guns to protect both themself and the children.

Why are americans so obessed with guns??
And why should they have advanced military guns?

Plz ignore spelling errors, I'm not english nor american.

//Christian Wallentin

probably not worth our concern... (1)

torcail (32727) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922131)

After having read the article, it does sort of appear that the author is using this event because they have an axe to grind regarding Doom, etc. (good thing they weren't into Carmageddon). Anyway, my first impression is that it should be filed under "backwards subliminal satanic messages" in popular music and other such nonsense.

From what little information I have obtained about this incident, I can't help but get the impression that there was a strong class separation dynamic that could have fed this rage.

When everyone is done grinding axes and jockying for media approval, I'd be interested in seeing what the real investigation turns up.

Circling the Wagons (3)

superboy (32995) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922133)

While I don't doubt the ability of mass media to oversimplify any bad situation, I have noticed that many groups who feel they have been mentioned -- at least in passing -- after this tragedy are taking it as if they're the targets of some kind of blamefest.

Example: Just last night I was mystified by someone very wound up about this subject. It turned out that, to my amazement, he felt that as a gay man who wears a trenchcoat a lot (bear with me here, this is a real example), the world was accusing him and his social group of this crime.

Frankly, I haven't noticed any particular pattern to media descriptions except that they're flailing about trying to get a handle on these guys. Matt Drudge, of all people, had an article where he pointed out some dozen or so different attempts to categorize them (Marilyn Manson fans, Hitler enthusiasts, vampire game players, fingernail polish wearers, the works) and made a little light of the actual journalistic depth of these attempts. If internet chatheads (and I'm one, believe me) are one of these categorizations, I guess it's natural for us to jump a little when our turn comes up on the big random attempt-to-explain-it-all wheel, but my point is that being loudly offended and raising a new stink isn't going to help, and I hope we think twice before going down that road.

In short (too late), no, I don't think that the Internet made these guys do this. Neither do you, I expect. Anyone who sits and thinks about it will realize that the major players here are someone who didn't bother or didn't succeed to instill a sense of morality -- or at least respect for life -- in these guys, and ultimately, beyond even that, responsibility falls on the shooters themselves. We all know it. I hope we all realize it. I suspect strongly that, like usual, after a couple of weeks we'll all get past the attempts to find some element of their lifestyles onto which to shift the blame.

Media folks are awesomely stupid (2)

eyepeepackets (33477) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922136)

Be careful what you swollow when dealing with news media of any sort -- they make their living by convincing folks to consume their product and thus reply on all the same bs tactics used by business in general. In short, they'll say and do just about anything to get you to consume their product and have very little regard for truth, honesty or any sort of ethics.

Two wackos in Colorado go on a bang-binge and kill a bunch of people they don't like but, because they like to play Quake and they have web pages on AOL, the "internet" and violent computer games are a "contributing factor" in their decision to do shoot up their school.

I'm convinced that reporters and commentators for news businesses are hired only after they've been verified as being logic-free morons who are quite ready to voice opinions in the absence of knowledge and facts so deadlines can be met, ratings can be acquired and advertising can be sold.

An unpopular opinion... (2)

dstar (34869) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922150)

Computer games are not the problem.
The problem is the social setting of high school. When I went to school, I was a nerd. I was, of course, tormented and teased, as no doubt all nerds are. I survived.
I've been watching. In the decade or so since I graduated from high school, it seems that he division betweenthe nerds and the jocks, the ins and the outs, has gotten worse. A lot worse.
More, since teachers tend to be afraid to interfere, the jocks get away with doing worse.
"He was such a quiet kid..." goes the common refrain.
Of course he was. That was how he survived in the jungle of high school. Maybe no one would notice he was intelligent if he kept his mouth shut.
These kids, it seems, banded together to defend themselves. I suspect this only got them ostracized further -- after all, they were a 'gang'. As if high school football teams are often less than a gang...
Folks, we've got a problem. We are driving our intelligent children out of society. Look at what we say -- "Intelligence is good!" -- and look at what we reward -- physical strength. Is it really any wonder that we hve kids going nuts when they have what we claim to value, and we punish them for it?
We have a problem.
I don't have a workable solution.
Does anyone?

The Internet has nothing to do with this! (2)

RNG (35225) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922153)

Come on guys, the internet has nothing to do with this. These are things (murder, sex, pornography, satanism, etc.) that have existed before the internet. The only thing that changes with the advent of the internet, is that these things are more accessible since you can search with the click of a button.

If being exposed to these things can turn you into a violent axe- (or in this case gun-)murderer, there's something wrong with you in the first place. If you have been drowned in such excessive doses of violent TV/Internet images that you actually feel the urge to act these things out in real life, there's something wrong with your social surroundings ...

I realize that our US friends (I live in Europe) treasure their right to carry arms, but the simple availablilty of these guns makes things like this much more easier to happen. I have always found the prevalence of guns in US society somewhat puzzeling (yes, I lived in the US for a few years and know what I'm talking about). Maybe if guns were not so easlily available, these things wouldn't happen so often ... then again, maybe these kids would have used knives or razor blades instead ...

The Real Issue (2)

Krist Jesus (38258) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922170)

This is what happens when you treat humans like animals. The cause of this is not video games, or guns, or the internet. The problem is sticking developing young in a cage together and encouraging them to abuse each other.

This is not a crime perpetrated by abnormal people. These were very rational individuals who simply felt like they had nothing to live for. When people abuse you to the point where you hate yourself almost as much as you hate the abusers, the cultural values of kindness and care that we rely on to organize our society fail.

The thing about them being geeks, is that they were successful. They committed themselves to a violent course of action, carefully prepared it, and flawlessly executed it.

The only solution to this problem is to create a society where all people are accepted and diversity is encouraged. But of course the media and the government won't realize this. They're having a fun time blaming it on Hitler.

We've got a bit of self examination to do (1)

Hagus (39725) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922177)


Seriously. We have to ask questions about this kind of stuff. We have to defend out rights as well - puritans and the mis-informed, who may have what they believe is best for the world at heart - are going to latch on to **whatever they can** to use for blame in this tradedy.

That's a shame. But it's human nature - if something like this struck at your heart and family, you would be ready to blame anything as well. But a perspective on the rational must be maintained.

Instead of beginning to learn towards the insane, how about we ask questions like this:

What were the socio-economic circumstances that led to this event? What created an environment for these children whereby influences like Doom (alleged influences, that is) could have such a severe impact?

It's easy to blame Doom. It's easy to blame the media. But what's hard is to blame yourself. Through creating a culture of popularity and stratifying our schoolyards, we create boundries that people seek to break through with dramatic acts. If you are deemed a geek, then a geek you are. How do you change it? How do you get respect? How do you gain a 'higher level'?

Answer: you purchase items that place you in the higher strata class. You dress in a manner that befits a member of that class. You behave and act as if you were a member of that class. You assimilate.

If you are deemed a member of a class, and you can't break out of it, or you loathe every other class for simply being unlike you, and you can't change these circumstances ... you break. Anger follows. It's then that you're vunerable. The things that you like and respect (Quake?) become your weapons against those other classes. You'll show them. You're different, so what? You'll show them what it means to be a jock/geek/black/white etc.

Am I getting it right here? Comments? So in summary, I think what needs to be examined is not gun laws, or computer games, as they are but bandaid remedies for wider social concerns. Consumerism and a stratified culture and pecking order place enormous strain on those who aren't within 'acceptable bounds'.

Its all *CRAP* (1)

HandyAndy (40441) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922182)

People need a scapegoat, and since it is their first inclination to blame the internet, computer games and violent movies ... it is MY first inclination to say that they are just people wanting a simple scapegoat.

I think the problem goes a lot deeper. Im no sociologist, but i am educated in the general area. It seems to me that all of this is the symptom of SOCIAL development (albiet BAD social development), and not TECHNOLOGY development.

I think that it actually all starts with economics and increased unemployment due to frictional market changes, but i wont go into that...ultimately it means that the current workforce is working too hard to look after their children, and the higher number of unemployed dont have the money, incentive or even the *desire*/*care* to look after kids.

The kids take on role models and take them to the exptreme when they grow up. You can fill in the rest.

Handy (age 19)

Childhood Hell and Dragons (1)

Bronze (40443) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922183)

This is just like the old days when people said "He Play Dungeons and Dragons and was learning black magic from the game", or "He listened to Ozzy Ozbourne!"

Maybe it has something to do with the soundtracks in the game - was Doom done by Devo?? If its different than a Pogo stick for some people then its evil!

Hey... (1)

tenchi (90280) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922208)

they gotta blame something right? Why not the internet and computer games? But really, how many kids are on the internet? How many kids play violent computer games? Doom and Duke Nukem and Quakwe and the rest of the classics have been around for years. But how often do we see internet kiddies and computer games making these kids slaughter each other? I know it does happen but it is kind of rare. But the world has to blame something because we all know kids can't think for themselves and make their own decisions.

Hey... (1)

tenchi (90280) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922209)

and that last statement was intended to be sarcastic, BTW, if you werent able to catch that.

Internet/Television are not to blame (1)

xHost (93751) | more than 15 years ago | (#1922210)

Its really sad and tragic at what had occured in Colorado recently, however why does the media and most people blame the Internet, Games, Television, Movies, et al for these events ?

Sure, these kids played a lot of DOOM, Quake, watched NBK too many times, but I seriously doubt that these things are to blame. Personally, I've been playing games likes this and watching violent as hell flicks since I was a kid and I haven't killed anybody yet. Even books like the Bible (which is taught to most kids) have bloody and gory details in them.

I think for cases like this they should be examining the families the kids were in, what shape they were in mentally, what happened in their lives recently, etc .... Unfortunatley, most people and the media love to fingerpoint and find a simple answer to a complex problem.
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