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
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2012 @ 6:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Paul, once again you are trying to hard to take an extreme position.

    The medium isn't the only thing at fault here, that is clear. However, this guy is a very specific case of someone using the media available as a significant part of his criminal persona.

    Would he have killed without the internet?

    Well, considering how much the internet was part of the build up, part of the crime, and part of the conclusion, I would say that without it, he might have done something different. His build up (suffocating kittens in an online video) required the audience to be outraged for it to have value. Just killing kittens without anyone knowing likely wouldn't have meant anything to him.

    In the same manner, he even put the actual murder online. Why? Because without the audience, his need for attention was not fulfilled. Killing and dismembering the victim wasn't enough, it had to be truly public and covered overwhelmingly by the media for it to have any real value to him.

    Mailing the body parts to high profile destinations is all part of trying to get the attention.

    So the media is part of the deal, without it he may not have ever gotten to the point he did, because there would be no reward on his scale that meant anything to him.

    Now, do you blame the media for it? Nope. It's no different from a copyright troll or a patent troll or someone used DMCA to try to shut down an opinion they don't like - they are using something to their own advantage, but it really isn't a good reflection of the entire system. Just as you defend "the internet" here, you need to realize that the other outrages you rail against really are in the same league. You may not like it, but there is reality for you.

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