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 @ 3:32pm

    Re:

    "Obviously any one capable of thinking critically and objectively can see" can see that I'm right. Nevermind that I have no objective facts or reasoning to support my viewpoint, if you can think critically and objectively you would know I'm right.

    Proof by assertion is bad logic and employing bad logic to assert your position is likely to result in people taking you much less seriously.

    "makes such deviant behaviour so easy to commit and perform that YES"

    How does it make bad behavior any easier to commit. If anything, it makes getting away with bad behavior more difficult and it deters people from engaging in bad behavior in fear of getting caught. IE: police being recorded or even regular people in public who worry that someone with a camera phone might record them doing something illegal.

    "the internet/mass media is responsible for probably more nutcases than we'll ever know submitting to their urges."

    [citation needed]

    There is no data to show this. Violent crime rates have been steadily declining while Internet usage has been on the rise.

    "Would terrorists be taking so many people hostage and beheading people on Youtube if the Internet didn't exist? Er... no."

    To suggest that 'terrorists' haven't been taking hostages before the advent of the Internet is ridiculous. and by 'so many' how many exactly? Far less than a hand full.

    and when these terrorists do take people hostage they usually do it for ransom money, or to get a govt. who has their members to release those members. They don't need the Internet to get the message across, these sorts of ransom and trade ordeals have been going on long before and will continue without it.

    So when you say "Er... no.", you are making things up. What terrorists are doing has nothing to do with the Internet.

    and regarding your assumption that terrorists are taking so many people hostage ... [citation needed].

    I know, I know, lets blame 9/11 on the Internet. and Hitler too. That was the Internets fault. Would have Hitler killed so many people without the Internet. What about the U.S. with their atomic bombs? Would they have?

    Not only have you failed to prove causation, you aren't even providing correlation. So your evidence/argument is ... a lack of correlation = causation?

    "They want to be seen. The average terrorist (I'm assuming) doesn't have access to expensive TV or radio broadcasting equipment"

    The average terrorist ... because there are so many poor terrorists out there that work alone. /sarcasm

    and where do you get this crazy idea that terrorists want to be seen. Really? They want to make it that much easier for law enforcement to catch them? If they did that then they wouldn't even exist, as scarce as they are.

    Terrorists are insanely rare, very very rare. There are insanely few of them. You really need to stop assuming and making things up when when you have no clue what you are talking about. It doesn't give credence to your position.

    It's not like there are a huge amount of individual terrorists. Terrorists work in organizations and these organizations can very well afford broadcasting equipment. What keeps competing broadcasting businesses and individuals from forming is mostly government established broadcasting monopolies (ie: the FCC) not the cost of broadcasting equipment. A terrorist organization would have no problem ignoring these if they had reason to.

    "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."

    and get caught.

    You assume that there are so many 'ghastly' acts being distributed on the Internet. What is the number of these acts and do you have a citation.

    and then you need to provide evidence that the Internet is responsible for an increase in ghastly acts.

    "The internet, like it or not, is indirectly responsible for the death of self control."

    So, wait, no one has self control now?

    Someone without self control likely doesn't have it with or without the Internet. It's not like the Internet exists and all of a sudden no one has self control.

    If anything, knowing that wrongful behavior can easily gain a lot of public attention easily provides people with more self control, especially cops and govt. officials. Isn't that why the govt wants to place surveillance everywhere? and stores and malls and banks, etc... By your logic we should ban red light cameras, mall cameras, etc... because they can better enable terrorist organizations to communicate their message to others (ie: the govt, mall authorities, etc...).

    "Any need or urge can be satisfied within minutes. "

    I have the urge to slap you in the face right now for saying such silly nonsense. Dang it, I can't satisfy this urge within minutes.

    "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."

    No, these things were just as possible before.

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