Sandy Hook Video Game Prompts Everyone To Get Everything Wrong

from the know-what-you're-talking-about dept

It’s been nearly a year since the Sandy Hook tragedy and if we’ve learned anything at all in the aftermath it’s that we’ve learned nothing at all in the aftermath. Whether you’re an advocate of gun control, an advocate for the link between violence and video games, or an advocate of the NRA, it really doesn’t matter. The only thing to come out of the tragedy was a ton of talk, a boon for our stupid cable news networks’ ratings, and the exceptional vacuum in which absolutely no conclusions were drawn and nothing was done. Twenty-six people were murdered, most of them children, and the needle hasn’t moved in either direction one iota. Well done, everyone.

Wait, I forgot one other lesson we should all have learned from the tragedy: major media and a large swath of our fellow citizens somehow combine being reactionary and willfully ignorant in a way that would be cartoonishly hilarious if it weren’t so damned maddening. And now we have the opportunity to re-learn that lesson as we watch the reaction to a “video game” inspired by Sandy Hook in which everyone gets everything wrong from every side possible. Here’s how the game is described in the media:

“The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary” directs gamers to storm virtual classrooms with an AR-15 assault rifle in the same vein as Lanza and displays a kill ratio at the end. The game’s release comes less than a month before the first anniversary of the Dec. 14 massacre.

This is, at best, only half the story. What most reports omit or bury is that the second part of the game has you attempt the same assault, but you’re forced to use a sword because theoretical gun-control laws have kept you from being able to use a gun. Under the limitations of a countdown, the entire point of the game is that with a sword you can’t rack up the body-count you can with a gun. It’s an artistic statement on gun-control.

Now, I can already hear my friends in the comments section gearing up for a conversation about freedom, the 2nd amendment, and the uselessness of gun control. Don’t. Not because I disagree with you or think your arguments are invalid (I don’t), but because that isn’t what this post is about. This is about freedom of speech and the importance of artistic expression on the issues of our day, as well as how completely incapable our media and some citizens are at having even a semblance of an intelligent conversation about this. And this comes from all sides, gun-rights folks and gun-control folks, conservative or liberal, it doesn’t matter. Everyone comes out of this sounding stupid, because nobody seems to bother actually learning what this game is and is all about. Take a family member of one victim, for instance:

“I’m just horrified,” Llodra said. “I just don’t understand, frankly, why anyone would think that the horrible tragedy that took place here in Sandy Hook would have any entertainment value. It just breaks my heart.”

Great, except the game isn’t designed for entertainment purposes, it has a message about the useless reaction to the tragedy. In other words, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Because you didn’t actually see the game or the site, where you would have heard:

In an audio recording on the site, Lambourn describes himself as a U.S. expatriate from Houston who resides in Australia. There, he said, gun laws enacted after the fatal shooting of 35 people at a popular tourist destination in 1996 have stemmed the tide of violence.

Llodra missed the message. As did the NRA:

The NRA called the simulation “reprehensible,” but was reluctant to comment further, saying it didn’t want to give more ink to “this despicable excuse for a human being.”

It’s not a simulation, it’s artistic commentary, and it’s especially funny for an organization that puts out its own “games” about shooting all kinds of things. And those games are targeted to elementary-aged school children. Note: I don’t have a problem with the games themselves, only the hypocritical commentary from the NRA. This hatred of hypocrisy isn’t reserved for conservative groups like the NRA, either. Here’s champion hypocrite Richard Blumenthal, Democrat Senator from Connecticut.

“I find the exploitation of this unspeakable tragedy is just shocking,” Blumenthal told Hearst. “From what I’ve heard and what’s been shown to me, it’s absolutely abhorrent. My hope is that it will be voluntarily taken down because it’s offensive and hurtful.”

Got it? It’s shocking for anyone to exploit the Sandy Hook tragedy for their own aims. I wonder how shocking Blumenthal found, you know, himself back in March, when he said:

A “sensible compromise” can still be reached on gun-control legislation in the Senate, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said on Sunday, saying the “shock and terror of Newtown” was still a major motivating factor for lawmakers.

So it’s cool to exploit the tragedy to pass the laws you want, but not cool to exploit it to advocate for passing…the same damn laws you want? Which you didn’t know was the message of the game, because some reporter called you up, told you someone made Doom but set it in Sandy Hook, and your head exploded into a shower of dumbass responses. What the hell?

So, please, please, please learn this lesson: thou shalt know what thou art talking about before talking about it. I know, it’s really hard, especially for ratings-driven controversy whores like the media or grandstanding politicians, but just try it out. In other words, it’s entirely possible to hate what happened at Sandy Hook while still leaving room for artistic, even controversial, speech on the matter. Cowboy-up, Americans, this really shouldn’t be too hard.

Filed Under: , , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Sandy Hook Video Game Prompts Everyone To Get Everything Wrong”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Wally (profile) says:

You do realize..

You do realize that most of the theoretical gun laws that would ban them completly are based on asthtetcis of the weapon itself right.

By current military and NATO standards, an assault weapon is a weapon that can switch between semiautomatic and automatic firing modes…that’s all it is…the media is responsible for skewing those standards to get ratings and as a result when people see an AR-15…which is only ever a semiautomatic version of a .30 ot 6 with an assault rifle asthetic to it…they all go on as if it were actually an assault weapon just by how the damn thing looks.

The fully automatic firing of weapons in these cases are also severely skewered by mainstream media…in full automatic mode, the M16 assault weapon takes only 4 seconds to empty a 30 round clip…The guns that were fully automatic in any of these cases were modified ILLEGALLY….

Ok so now that gun control is out if the way…I think that the game makes a rather interesting thoughts pop into my head…

First thought is how much more tragic and bloody would the Sandyhook shooting would have been if say a katana were used?

The other point it makes is quite clear…it’s not the guns we need to worry about, it’s about the person misusing the gun or object to to very bad things that might not be beyond there control. I can tell you that with my own clients that It’s hard to predict that kind of behavior or trigger that would indicate someone who is about to shoot a bunch of people through misguided rage. Hell even the TSA hasn’t had much success in behavior specialists being able to spot people who rampage like that…the LAX shooting proves the difficulty in it.

Zos (profile) says:

Re: You do realize..

how did i know the very first comment would go ahead and say “fuck the point of the post, let’s beat this stupid fucking horse some more”
accompanied by a wall of text that no one gives a shit about because yes, we do all realize that. and we’re also pretty sure that people right this very moment AREN’T being massacred in australia, which is why the AU was referenced in the post, not bloody stupid fashion regulations like we get here in the wake of tragedies.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re: You do realize..

Your last paragraph is actually worse because it’s confusing. You argue in the first sentence that we need to worry about the people, but then spend the rest of the paragraph saying that it’s too hard to do anything about the people because you can’t tell what will set them off.

The unifying aspect of all mass shootings is that the perpetrator had some form of access (legal or otherwise) to a gun and enough ammunition to kill a bunch of people with it. If you can’t easily track all the people and the gun lobby fights you on background checks, the guns and ammo are the only other aspect of the equation over which you have any control as a society.

I’m not calling for gun control, but there are only so many places where you can make inroads on the problem and its got to be either with guns/ammo access or people.

Rekrul says:

Re: You do realize..

You do realize that most of the theoretical gun laws that would ban them completly are based on asthtetcis of the weapon itself right.

Actually, Connecticut went ahead and additionally defined “assault weapons” based on weight. Which means that larger handguns are now considered “assault weapons” simply because of how heavy they are.

I'm_Having_None_Of_It says:

Re: You do realize..

First thought is how much more tragic and bloody would the Sandyhook shooting would have been if say a katana were used?

If you’re too bloody lazy to read it, this is what happened: Three children and four adults, most notably Lisa Potts, were injured in the attack.

Comprendez? If it doesn’t have bullets in, it’s easier to stop. I STILL can’t believe that someone once told me on a forum that guns are considered a human right in some places. Are you one of those people who think that way, Wally?

Guns should be in the hands of those who can use them safely and appropriately, i.e. don’t give them out like sweets to nutters.


And now for something completely different...

The sword is probably being undersold in this game. A good sword at close quarters is nothing to scoff at. Traditional katanas were judged by how many bodies they could slice through in one stroke.

You do NOT want to be at the business end of a real sword if you’re unarmed.

The term bloodbath would not just be a figure of speech here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: And now for something completely different...

The answer to this question is zero.

Traditional katanas were made out of pig iron and were very inflexible, prone to breaking often even against leather armor. The katana was also not a primary weapon in the first place.

Aside from that, it’s true, you don’t want to be on the end of a sword. Any sword.


Re: Re: And now for something completely different...

Traditional katanas were made out of pig iron and were very inflexible, prone to breaking often

Katanas were made of very respectable iron by modern standards. Similarly respectable steels were available even 1000 years ago.

You are falling into the usual trap of assuming that anything ancient is necessarily crap and that no one knew how to do anything before the industrial revolution.

The basic design of the “automatic pistol” is over 100 years old. Other repeating firearms date back 140 years.

The database technology that likely powers this website is 40 years old.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: And now for something completely different...

I’m actually not. Tamahagane was pig iron and it was what was used in Japan.

The folding technique was required ot make their ore not useless, but it still wasn’t good, and much like european smiths, the average smith wouldn’t spend ridiculous amounts of time forging a quality masterpiece.

Therefore, the average katana was in fact, a weak sword. A well forged katana was on par with European swords of similar quality.

They had no mythological cutting power however. Damascus ingots I believe were the super amazing alloy available thousands of years ago, but that wasn’t used in the medieval period. Secondly, European iron was in fact plainly superior to the tamahagane (pig iron) used in Japan. So I’m not saying that respectable steels were not available, just that Japan’s steel was of poor quality.

Their smithing methods were developed to minimize this weakness, but that doesn’t magically turn it into a strength.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 And now for something completely different...

There is something wrong here.

Tamahagane is 1% ~ 3% carbon, pig iron is 3% ~ 5%

Also Katanas use diferential hardening which transform it into steel, further because of how its made the outer shell is hard and the inner core is soft creating something that is really strong and malleable.

Anyways I still believe that China made the best steel in the world in ancient times.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 And now for something completely different...

Which is it? Is it iron or steel? I ask because it’s a very important distinction. European iron was weak and brittle because the forges they used didn’t get hot enough to make high quality carbon steel. The east, however, had been practicing the art of making carbon steel long before it was prevalent in the west. Steel is made with a very well distributed amount of carbon in iron to give it greater flexibility and strength and it was done with a crucible furnace that got as hot as 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. The Japanese were able to do this. In fact, the same method is still used today because it is the best known method for making steel.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 And now for something completely different...

I don’t really have time to go over the history of metallurgy and smithing techniques and why they were employed, why folding was necessary for Japan but not as much for Europeans, or why Japanese swords were in fact insanely brittle compared to European ones (one was expected to hit metal, one broke when hitting unarmed opponents).

Again, you’re forgetting that alot of these more difficult techniques were required just to make weapons on PAR, due to their low quality materials.

Mastercraft of each kind of smithing were fairly equivilent, but Europe had better quality core materials to work with. European smithing was highly prized in general, especially armor, which was rare and expensive in Japan and was significantly better than any of the leather or lamellar armor they were using.

Yes, Katana was designed for cutting, it was jus plain old more prone to breakage. And again, if you are going to talk about mastercraft weapons, you cant compare against the average european sword, which is what too many people do. Proper carbon steel forging or extensive folding were the mastercraft level, NOT the average level.

Anonymous Coward says:

I live in Connecticut and I E-mailed my senators to tell them that Lambourn and this game is famous now specifically because of them. It’s all very well for people to claim that Lambourn is milking Sandy Hook for publicity, but even if that were true, I have to ask the question: Whose fault is that? Who stood on their soapboxes and decided to pay attention to The Slaying Of Sandy Hook rather than just ignore it?

Here’s what would have happened had politicians, the media, the NRA, and all of you sanctimonious blowhards not rushed to decry Lambourn as this awful person: He’d have released his game, a small number of people would have played it, and then it would have quietly faded into obscurity. Even sillier is the fact that it keeps coming up because somebody who thinks the game is offensive or wants it banned, yet they keep propelling it into the public sector when they could have ignored it and it would have been GONE.

The sad thing is, there are level headed debates we could be having here about the appropriateness of this game, about its artistic merit, and how valid it is in expressing a message like gun control. Or you could have just let Lambourn make the game, ignore him, and realized there was nothing of value was lost. Instead, you attacked him on a personal level, called for censorship, and demolished any chance you had of understanding the valuable role controversial media plays in society. So instead of getting him to shut up like you wanted, you’re just giving him all the exposure he could ever want, even if he did intend this to be a publicity stunt.

True to Streissand effect, when it starts, you can’t stop. You unwittingly continue to fix the spotlight on the issue and provide fame and exposure to the media product you wish would go away. TSOSH has only been out for a few days, but because of the people who wanted the game to go away, Lambourn has more publicity and free advertising than he could have ever dreamed of.

In short, to everyone grandstanding about this game and asked for it to be banned: The Slaying Of Sandy Hook is your Frankenstein’s monster. You created it, and now you can’t stop it.

another anonymous coward says:

Re: Re:

Yes, glad someones getting this right. I tweeted one of the tweets that first snowballed this thing saying that their fuss is going to increase the game’s popularity – and all I got back was a dig at my amount of followers.

Lambourn has called no-one names, and the opposite can be said of everyone who has called him a sicko and other kinds of verbal abuse because of what ‘fox’ or some other shitty one sided news site told them.

Which, ironically is the fact that the news stations are making money off of this coverage and indirectly exploiting the tragedy – all the news sites trying to get cheap views recycling the same misinformed ‘aussie freak creates sick video game about sandy hook’ bullshit.

Now, what I wonder is if Lambourn expected this kind of outrage and subsequently more people actually play the game and formulate their own opinion – and therefore push them to contact their representatives about stricter gun control (the goal of this game)

Also, theres another mode where gun control legislature went the other way allowing the teachers to have guns. This results in the highest body count.

s0beit says:


While I am certainly not against ‘offensive’ works of art (whether or not I agree with them, and notice the quotes around ‘offensive’), kinda mad there isn’t a level where other people have guns, as opposed to the killer having a sword. (I’m going to guess there’s some artificial time limit)

What a terribly contrived and frivolous statement to make.

Seriously though, I wouldn’t be mad if this WAS a game about racking up kills and nothing more. Maybe it’s because I’m a hardened internet user who’s seen too much dark humor, horrible acts of cruelty and various kinds of artistic expression ranging from the most inert to the most insanely offensive thing anyone could ever conceive – but nobody was hurt by any of those things.

I understand what the author is trying to say, but should we really be pushing for a revolution in perception during emotionally charged events? I actually like that things have changed relatively little in the grand scheme of things. (Except laws, that is, those did change, unfortunately)

I prefer a world where people stick to their convictions during times of intense emotion to a world where people’s logic is blinded by it.

I understand that the author wishes people remain completely logical even in the face of emotionally driven topics, but that’s human nature.

As far as video games goes, people should be able to publish whatever it is they want to publish. Politicians and the NRA are not people you trust for honest commentary.

They can’t say “this game does nothing” or “I agree with the message of this game, despite it’s crudeness” or “what a retarded game, this isn’t how it would have occurred in real life” because you’d seem callous. It’s all PR.

You should run a survey if you want actual human opinions absent hyperbole and emotional terrorism.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: Lacking

There is a level where teachers have guns. It is unlocked after playing the level with the sword. Unfortunately, the game is programmed insomuch that the teachers are worse than Stormtroopers when it comes to shooting things. I was shot at twice and both times the teachers missed at close range. Seems that the designer was making a political statement with that too.

anonymous dutch coward says:


Switzerland also has a lot of firearms distributed among its population. About half the number of that in the USA, but still a serious number. Why is it I never hear about shootings like Sandy Hook from Switzerland? Is it because of gun control, or simply because the Swiss are a more sane and responsible people?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That has some merit. In this case, however, it seems insensitive and controversy for controversy to call the game “The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary”. Had the game been called “gun is soul or guncontrol” or something (lame like that) not feasting on a tragedy, it would still be pretty controversial, but likely make headlines of more reason than the current name has. The “dickwolf” scandal is puppies compared to something like this…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Controversy for controversies sake is part of free speech. As for feasting on a tragedy, is that to be the sole preserve of politicians and other who would restrict personal freedom? The UK ban on handguns, after a similar tragedy at Dunblane was a result of such feasting, it has not stopped gun violence on the streets, but makes it impossible to take up pistol shooting as an Olympic sport.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I seem to remember Britain getting a gold medal for rifle shooting, so methinks you’re exaggerating a bit there. Yes, the terms of gun control are a bit onerous on sport shooters, but we haven’t had a gun massacre like Dunblane (or Sandy Hook, or Columbine, or…) since Dunblane. As for violence in the streets, I grew up in London and live in Glasgow – neither city known for their peacefulness. Somehow, we fail to be awash in the gun violence so beloved in ‘Mericuh. Sure there are bad hotspots, but they still fail to compare.

Anonymous Coward says:

Everyone misses the point here.

Ratings and votes. That’s all. Yes the guy who made this game was making a statement, a comparison, but the media picking up knows it’ll outrage people, especially if they leave out just a few facts about it that they damned well know.

The politicians are using it to grandstand, get more support from the public, and know they too are lying and leaving out important information that makes this a non-issue, perhaps even would bring up civil discussion about gun control in the US.

They DO NOT GIVE A SHIT about the actual message of the game, they only want inflammatory discourse on it so you see things their way and they gain more money/power/ratings/votes.

This article is feeding the trolls. Sadly, in this case, its necessary to do so, to point them out to the people about how they are being misled by those they look to for truth, information, guidance and leadership. You call them out for missing the point, but you should be calling them out for intentionally misleading the public they supposedly are there to serve. They have tons of people to check these things…you really believe they didn’t have staffers look into this and brief them in full before these releases?

That’s the travesty of America: we still believe the media and government even though know they are lying. We believe we’re powerless to change this. And those in power know it.

Rekrul says:

I played this game. In fact, I downloaded a local copy just in case it gets taken down. I did this not because I actually like the game, but because I don’t think that such things should disappear just because some people are offended.

As for the game itself; Beyond the subject matter, the game is a chore to play. The main character plods along like he’s walking through a tar pit. It takes forever to go from one end of the hallway to the other. That in itself pretty much negates any kind of enjoyment anyone would get out of playing this game. I didn’t even realize that there were other modes because Once the timer hit zero and it gave me the totals, I quit it out of boredom.

Well, that and the fact that I only managed to bag 16 of the little SOBs. 😉

Greevar (profile) says:

What a surprise.

People jump to shock and outrage because somebody made a game that comments on a tragedy without taking any time to engage in critical thinking so they can analyze the purpose of that game. Why do any due diligence when you can just jump on the moral outrage bandwagon and thrash at the guy blindly while clinging to the same old ignorant mantra? Freedom of speech is only valid when it doesn’t make anyone butt hurt, apparently. This “think of the children” chestnut that is used as an excuse to ignore civil rights is exactly why this guy is getting all the undeserved vitriol.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...