Lessons Learned From Adam Lanza's Video Game Obsession: Blame Dance Dance Revolution

from the just-kidding dept

The Sandy Hook massacre has been back in the news as of late for a multitude of reasons. The anniversary of the shooting is coming up soon. Someone decided to release a game associated with the tragedy to send a message and everyone lost their damn minds. And, finally, the government is releasing a full report of their findings of the shooting and of Adam Lanza, the disturbed perpetrator, which includes his possessions and specifically details his video game collection.

Now, if you'll recall, the NRA and several conservative and/or gun rights organizations found themselves the reactionary targets of people who don't like them in the wake of the shooting. Much of this was essentially undeserved fervor, which effectively drowned out any reasonable middle-road discussion we might have had about the issues of firearms availability and their effects on shootings such as this. The mass media supercharged the stupid on both sides, which produced equally stupid results from, you know, everyone. Included in that everyone was the National Rifle Association, which proudly defended our 2nd Amendment rights by suggesting maybe we should shit all over everyone's 1st Amendment rights. Their argument was essentially that guns don't kill people, all those violent video games played by the person folks mistakenly misidentified as the perpetrator shot those people. Yippee for American discourse.

Well we now have a list of Adam Lanza's video game collection, and it indeed includes games of violence, such as Splinter Cell, Mercenaries, Call of Duty, and others. Case closed, amirite? Mmmm, no. Here's some other games on the list: Spiderman, Paper Mario, Luigi's Mansion, and Pikmin. Oh, and the game he reportedly was totally obsessed with? Dance Dance Revolution.

So here's the deal: people that want to draw conclusions about Adam Lanza from his gaming habits don't get to cherry-pick their facts. If we're blaming the games that include violence, surely we must include the games that don't, particularly the game with which he was most obsessed. And I sincerely want to hear the proponents of restrictions on the 1st Amendment by way of video games to argue to the world that we must restrict access to DDR, because I know exactly with what kind of reaction such an argument would be met: derision. Which is exactly what it should be met with, because all this low-hanging fruit-picking over video games is stupid.



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  •  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:47am

    I wonder if there are any enterprising researchers who would be willing to look into how many wars were influenced by politicial figureheads with deep financial ties to the military-industrial complex. We need to do something to end the proliferation of arms in order to curb global insecurity and violence -- a war on war profiteering, so to speak.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 8:33am

      Re:

      The reason for war has never changed throughout history... it's always been and always will be about power.

       

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        The Real Michael, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 9:12am

        Re: Re:

        Ditto for gun control.

        My point was sort of sarcastic in relation to the article. If video games really were to blame for Adam Lanza's murderous rampage then how come it's not epidemic, especially considering all the millions of FPS games already sold?

        About the Newtown shooting: I don't buy the official story. The very fact that they're appropriating about $20-25 million to tear down and rebuild the school stinks of a cover-up to eliminate evidence.

         

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          Pragmatic, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 3:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Evidence of what? Okay, I'll bite: in an effort to curtail your second amendment rights, teh eeeebil gubmint sent an assassin to the school to off the kids, then set up the local loser to take the fall, or something.

          Okay, how would tearing down the school eliminate evidence? Evidence of what? Are you suggesting the teachers were in on it and have squirrelled away some damning video or something? I'm talking to a guy who REJECTS evidence that contradicts his opinion.

          Start taking an evidence-based approach to your thinking and opinion-forming, and we'll be able to talk about this like civilized people. As it is, I think you're much too busy clutching an AK47-alike, twitching the net curtains nervously every time a dark shape appears in the sky, convinced it's a UN black helicopter.

          Get rid of the extremism, then we'll have solutions. As long as we have two flavors of extremists yelling insults at each other, we'll have none. Is that what we want?

           

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            The Real Michael, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 7:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well, it's pretty damn difficult to take an evidence-based approach in a case where the crime scene is being demolished, zero security camera footage released and enough holes to sink a ship. For one thing, who was that guy in the woods running away from the school but was detained by the police? I watched the helicopter footage of that live, yet not a word was spoken about him afterwards. What about how there was a grand total of one(!) ambulance on the scene and that it was way down the street? The coroner's mannerisms/behavior when he was being interviewed was very ...bizarre. Another issue I have is with the footage of the father who's seen laughing just before his press appearance where he suddenly begins trying to whip up tears before he speaks. Really strange behavior. Finally, what a conicidence that the Newtown shooting took place just after law enforcement staged a drill in the same area.

             

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    Baron von Robber, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:51am

    This just in

    The DOJ announced that Adam Lanza did have an accomplice. While searching thru Adam's collection of video games, they came upon this newly discovered co-conspirator. They described the suspect as female, auburn hair, mid 20s.

    When questioned by reporters, the lead prosecutor was quoted,
    "Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?"

     

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    Matt s, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 7:54am

    It wasnt guns and it wasnt games. What we need is more quality parenting and for people who need psychological help to get it...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    Or maybe they are just lying about the shooting....

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 8:19am

    Why does everyone blame video games and no one blames movies?

    Don't bother answering, it was a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious.

     

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    Me, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 8:23am

    What in the fuck is up with all the LOUD ASS video advertisements on TechDirt lately? Jesus fucking Christ. I can't even read the site at during the day anymore without being embarrassed at interrupting my coworkers with an ad for Toyota loudly interrupting the place.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 8:34am

      Re:

      Why aren't you using AdBlock and NoScript (among other things)? There's no need to spend your bandwidth, your CPU, your memory, etc. on ads, doubly so the offensive and stupid ones that include video.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

      Re:

      What in the fuck is up with all the LOUD ASS video advertisements on TechDirt lately? Jesus fucking Christ. I can't even read the site at during the day anymore without being embarrassed at interrupting my coworkers with an ad for Toyota loudly interrupting the place.

      We don't allow autoplaying ads on the site. If you see one, the best way to inform us is to note what the ad is for (if you can also figure out where it comes from (i.e., what ad network) and then use the contact us link to let us know, so we can investigate and smack around which ever ad network failed to follow our policies.

       

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    Jack, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 8:27am

    If only there was a group who actually cared about ALL of our rights and didn't shit others to bolster their pet cause... It seems that the people who love the 1st shit on the 2nd and those that love the 2nd shit on the 1st. And both of them shit all over the 4th, 5th, and 6th...

    Reminds me of the dicks, pussies, and assholes speech from Team America.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    And I sincerely want to hear the proponents of restrictions on the 1st Amendment by way of video games to argue to the world that we must restrict access to DDR,
    Now if you can find another reason to ban games like DDR.... They are, after all, clearly way more harmful to the psyche than first person shooter games. /oh, please! :-)

     

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      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 8:41am

      Re:

      Now if you can find another reason to ban games like DDR....
      Hey, I have it! (Properly paid for) research will clearly show that games like DDR are addictive and lead on to "harder" stuff like participation in reality TV shows and should be banned "for the good of the public" (well it works with drugs, right?)

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    I usually connotate low hanging fruit with items that can be usefully acted upon in a short time.

    The video game blame game is, in my opinion, much more a narcissistic show of swatting at imaginary elves. Turbo charge that, add some hairspray, cocaine and non regional diction and drive the whole package into a million living rooms and THEN we have the evening news that's news worthy for the new(s) generation.

     

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    The Logician (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    The Common Thread

    The media's obsession with blaming video games is both unwise and counterproductive. They ignore the clear common thread running through every mass shooting of the modern age: in every single incident, the perpetrator has always been revealed to have been taking prescribed psychotropic drugs. Addictive drugs which have been shown to have dangerous side effects capable of causing mental instability and a lack of empathy. The pharmaceutical companies knowingly produce these drugs, deliberately crafting them to be addictive so as to create a guaranteed customer base and income source.

    The logical course of action would be to confront these companies and hold them accountable, as well as forbidding them from producing these drugs any further. There are alternative methods for dealing with mental issues that do not require these dangerous, mind-altering drugs. They would not profit the pharmaceutical industry, however, which is why they do all they can to keep us from knowing just how truly effective they are. Nature's design provides everything we need—chemical processing only causes harm to us and all those around us.

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:58am

      Re: The Common Thread

      But if we stopped just jamming pills down peoples' throats, that means we'd actually have to treat the problems, rather than pretend the pills made them go away, and that would be hard... /s

      Sarcasm aside, I'd say the first step to eliminate or even just cut down events like this is a shift in social thinking, getting society to drop the stigma associated with mental health issues, so it's no longer considered shameful to admit to having a problem and seeking treatment.

      Currently, with how society sees mental health issues and the treatment for them, far too many just bottle their problems up, causing harm to them, or in more extreme cases, all those around them, when the pressure gets to be too much for them to handle themselves.

       

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 11:14am

      Re: The Common Thread

      " in every single incident, the perpetrator has always been revealed to have been taking prescribed psychotropic drugs."

      Er, my understanding is that Adam Lanza was specifically NOT taking the drugs that would normally have been prescribed, which is why many people are blaming his mother....

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 11:24am

      Re: The Common Thread

      Really so nature provides us with everything we need? So parasites, genetic defects, starvation, malnutrition, don't exist? There is a reason that humanity has spent millennia beating back nature - because nature is not nice.

      Repeat after me: correlation does not imply causation. Even assuming that said correlation is statistically rigorous or even valid it is better covered by a third variable: instability. Unstable people are more likely to receive medication. Spree killers are unstable by definition.

      I'm not even going to start on what is wrong with your lack of knowledge on psychotropic drugs and the drug development process.

       

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    Zos (profile), Nov 27th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    if we're judging people by their video game collection, mines way more violent than his, thank Satan you can't see my porn collection.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 12:38pm

    “If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills, and listening to repetitive electronic music.”
    ― Marcus Brigstocke

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2013 @ 3:55pm

    If looking at this one particular gamer is enough to prove anything, by looking at the millions of other gamer videos on Youtube laughing and fooling around may prove that games are safe doesn't it?

     

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    FM Hilton, Nov 28th, 2013 @ 11:06am

    Lack of substitutes

    Sure, blame the games, the gamers, anything that trips your trigger, but the real problem is that Lanza was mentally ill/disabled, his mother was in complete and utter denial (she bought guns for him, was planning to buy him one more for Christmas) and also enabling him by allowing him to dictate to her what she was going to do. She was as mentally ill as he was, by not being a parent, or being afraid to be a parent.

    She should have had the guts to call in the professionals and have him committed-there were more than enough signs that he was going to go off shortly-if not to her eyes, anyone else's. Adults can be involuntarily committed for a time if they are judged to be a danger to themselves and society.

    No game, video or otherwise, on earth is responsible for a total psychotic break in anyone.

    But everyone blame games because they can be banned. Mental illness can't.

    Guess what caused the shootings? It wasn't the video games.

     

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