Press Tries To Pin High Profile Killings On The Web & World Of Warcraft

from the not-this-again dept

And, here we go again. The press and "cultural commentators" absolutely love to blame new technologies for someone who does something bad. The latest is that in response to the crazy Luka Magnotta case (involving the guy in Canada who killed and dismembered someone, filming the whole thing, eating some pieces and sending others to politicians) a "cultural critic" in France is arguing that without the internet, Magnotta would not have committed his crimes.
Without the web, “the butcher of Montreal would not exist,” Mr. de Boni concludes. “This killer character is a narcissistic and deviant avatar, one of many virtual identities he invented in order to create celebrity.”
Because, of course, prior to the internet and Facebook, there were no such things as psychotic people who killed others and ate them. While the internet may have influenced the specifics of how Magnotta went about his crime, it seems ridiculous to jump to the conclusion that absent the internet, none of this would have happened. Magnotta was clearly a very sick individual. If anything, it's worth pointing out that unlike the other examples I linked to in this paragraph of sociopathic killers who dismembered and ate their victims, Magnotta was actually caught after just the first victim -- in part because he provided all sorts of evidence of his guilt online.

Meanwhile, over in Norway, where the trial of mass murderer Anders Breivik is going on, we had already noted that the press was having a field day with the claim that Breivik played a lot of World of Warcraft. That seems pretty silly considering the millions of people who play the game. However, bizarrely, the prosecution has brought it up in the trial, letting the press grandstand on the issue yet again. Even Breivik found that line of questioning to be stupid, declaring (correctly) that "it is not relevant to this case whatsoever."

But it is relevant to reporters who want to build a story about those crazy video games...

Why is it so hard to believe that there are psychotic/sociopathic people out there who do harm, and that's got nothing to do with their internet or gaming usage? These things aren't "triggered" by surfing the web or playing games. I recognize that people feel the need to look for a "reason" that these people exist and do such horrible things, but it should be pretty clear that it's a problem with them -- not their use of technology.

Of course, if we should be concerned about video games at all in the Breivik trial, perhaps it should be over the fact that a judge in the case was spotted playing solitaire on his computer during the trial:

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  1. identicon
    benjamin roberts, 9 Jun 2012 @ 6:09am

    Obviously any one capable of thinking critically and objectively can see that the point of the article (it's called reading between the lines) is that the internet (along with all mass media) makes such deviant behaviour so easy to commit and perform that YES, the internet/mass media is responsible for probably more nutcases than we'll ever know submitting to their urges. Would terrorists be taking so many people hostage and beheading people on Youtube if the Internet didn't exist? Er... no. They want to be seen. The average terrorist (I'm assuming) doesn't have access to expensive TV or radio broadcasting equipment, but he most likely does have a camera phone or a cheap little video camera and a computer nearby. The internet makes it possible for literally ANYONE with a smartphone to commit all kinds of ghastly acts and broadcast them to the planet within minutes. The internet, like it or not, is indirectly responsible for the death of self control. Any need or urge can be satisfied within minutes. Would the guy have been so eager to do what he did if he had to take polaroids and post them out to millions upon millions of people? True, there will always be pyschos who are going to do horrible things.. but the complete ease with which information flows these days has made it possible for many more lunatics to do things they may not have done in a pre-internet world. The Internet is like fire: it can cook your food and keep you warm, but it can also rage out of control and burn your house down.

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