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:

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 11 Jun 2012 @ 1:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Video Game Psychology

    "All that isolation amounts to something dangerous. In this case it's sort of disturbing."

    Just out of curiosity, would you apply the same metrics to people who play offline videogames excessively, watch excessive amounts of TV or DVDs or any other activity that involves even less human interaction (albeit virtual) than MMOs? You do seem to be addressing MMOs as if they are somehow unique in this respect, but is there really anything unique about them in terms of people with mental issues that demands they be treated separately?

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.