Sometimes in life people do dumb things; things that are for reasons beyond logic or understanding. Some folks claim it’s because of how they were raised, some say it’s genetic, and then some say it’s because outside influences like, oh say, video games.
I’ve talked about this in depth before, how the interactive media genre is a very new and because of that, it tends to get a bad rep when people do things outside of the realm of sanity. It’s easy to blame things. In fact, it’s hardwired into our very nature to try to come up with elaborate explanations for the mysteries around us. Just look at a lot of folklores and religions and even early sciences. There’s just this little part of us that wants an answer for something that isn’t right. Many times, this manifests into crazy stories so fantastic they must be true! Just look at the whole of history and the wonders of the cosmos. We puny little humans have been struggling with our insignificance place in the universe for as long as we’ve had brains, and everything from gods to giant space spiders have been thought up to explain the whole of existence. So when seemingly rational people go out of their way to kill and murder their own kind, it not only disgusts us but confuses us. We can understand some things, like war or crimes of passion, but when an ordinary looking person just loses his senses to madness… we look for an explanation… we NEED an explanation. We start manufacturing stories to help rationalize these heinous actions of one of our own. “Something must have happened in his life,” they say in a vain attempt to understand. That’s when the blame train rolls into the station. See, as wonderful as we human folks are, we often seek the easiest explanation… which unfortunately ends up being the blame game. It’s easy to blame other people or factors for our misdeeds. A guy goes off on a murderous spree? Obviously it was the video games he played! And that’s where we are now…
Anders Breivik, if you didn’t know, is that Norwegian guy that went on a little mental vacation and murdered 77 people last year. That’s almost impossible to comprehend! Worse yet, the initial reports I read about this incident were not about how shocked people were that so many people died, rather that someone who looked like this guy could do such a thing. For whatever reason, we can wrap our brains around death and not around the killer. If you look at pictures of the guy, other than looking like a bit of an @$$, he’s seemingly unremarkable. This guy could be your neighbor or someone you hang out with for flag football. And I think that’s what makes people want an external factor to be the cause of his breakdown even more. It’s because we don’t want our normal Joe Everybody from Anytown USA to be some kind of mass murderer. It hurts our brains to think that something safe or ordinary in our eye is really dangerous, and thus, it’s something else causing the problem. Which is why, with this whole incident, our old goat friend, video games, came back into the limelight. Apparently this gentleman played quite a bit of Call of Duty, a shooting game, before going out and using a real gun on real people. He claimed that he used this game as practice to “hone his skills” in preparation for his slaughter. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the game caused his violence. In fact, many people get a release of aggression when playing games like these (except when they’re getting pwened by me! ooooooh). But the point is, the chicken came second here; the game was not responsible for making him kill people, he just decided to use this in a way beyond its original intent.
And then it came out that he played WoW. He played a LOT of wow! Like 16hrs a day a lot. (well ok, that’s not so bad… lol!) Which raised many eyebrows and, of course, became another scape goat for his anger and aggression. But to our rescue he came! Swooping down like some sort of super hero, this obvious gleaming man of impeccable honor and duty to his fellow man, set the record straight! World of Warcraft did NOT influence him and his hatefilled ways at all! Aaaaand now I’m pissed! You sir are NOT a spokesman for our cause. You are the instigator for the entire media frenzy and it’s bloodthirst for the eradication of videogame violence and even the medium as a whole. By making such proclamations publicly, all you do is bring attention and focus to it. It’s like standing in front of a graffiti’d wall and telling the cop you didn’t do it as the officer walks by. Yeah, see how far that will get you! Sheesh!
So comeon! He is nothing more than a sociopath. Nothing more, nothing less. His brain is wired wrong. Games, movies, music, writings… all these effect him differently, causing him to seeth with hate. And beyond that, anything will do this to him. It’s not any one medium’s fault. It has nothing to do with media at all. Saying videogames made him into a murderer is like saying the number two causes clouds to rain. It’s pure absurdity! They are completely uncorrelated events and thus, not connected in any way. A normally functioning person doesn’t become a killer because of books or music or games. An emotionally disturbed person just might. And that’s not even saying having bad wiring causes bad things. Sure, it makes it more difficult and you probably need to seek counseling if you find pleasure in putting cats into blenders or watching an action movie gives you ideas rather than a brief bit of entertainment… but it’s a choice thing. People aren’t the sum of their programming. We have choice beyond our function. (back to my droids thing I guess) And ultimately, as much as we hate to just admit it, the blame falls solely upon us, the individual, for our actions. It is up to us what we do. And no amount of conditioning, genetics, or circumstance can stake claim for what we do. So the point still stands, Occam’s Razor, the answer was simple and staring us in the face the entire time… The guy’s an idiot. A sociopathic idiot. And as much as you try to bend the idea of outside influence to explain his actions, at the end of the day, it’s just him, an idiot, a sociopath, a guy who didn’t control his actions… not couldn’t.