Teen Jailed in School Shooting Plot Claims it was an FPS Game Design

A Washington State teen has been arrested for an alleged school shooting plot. His father says the 17-year-old was working on a design for a first-person shooter game and that the boy’s arrest was politically motivated.

As reported by news station KXLY, Lance Timmering was arrested Monday after the principal of Northport High discovered a notebook detailing the boy’s plan to shoot as many as 30 fellow students. School authorities and local police viewed the boy’s writings and comments as a credible threat. Terry Timmering, Lance’s father, argued that his son was developing ideas for an FPS game project:

These games are on the internet now, people are making big money. Are we going to throw all of those people in jail? You do have rights under the First Amendment. There are limitations, but these don’t fall under the limitations.”

Timmering told KXLY he was concerned that recent events will hurt his son’s case:

We think it’s politically driven with what happened at Virginia Tech. Columbine was just five years ago, we have a new prosecutor in town, we think it’s politically driven.

KXLY has a video report here.

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  1. 0
    Lance Timmering says:

    Ahh and after a little less than two years, I figure what the heck; it’s time I said my peace, and set the record straight. Assuming, that is, anyone still reads this post.

    Where to begin where to begin. How about with, what my dad posted is true. Sense I was very very little I’ve had a facination writing finction, any form of fiction from zombies, dragons, midevil, vampires, etc. And also, sense as far back as I can remember, I’ve played countless hours of First Person Shooter games from Half-Life, Fear, Doom3, Half-Life2 and Crysis. For about 3 years now I have also played World of Warcraft, and look forward to playing Fallout 3 and Fear 2, some of the most advanced games of our time currently, most of which that use a game engine called Havok, which specializes in physis rendering, partical destruction, lighting, and computer AI.

    Now then, in terms of what I had mind, let’s first adress the multple comments of "Why did he bring this school?!?!" etc, etc… And to answer that, and as my dad very well put, I was making a video game, period. An industry who’s annual revenues can add up to over billions of dollars, which is more money than any of us could ever dream of making in an entire lifetime. Suffice to say, at the time in my head, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I was making a video game, so why hide it? Looking back on it, probably not the smartest choice on my part, but I honestly felt that making a video game wasn’t doing anybody any harm. Steven King, a VERY popular book writer as I’m sure most of you are aware of, has writen books of such graphic and intense proportions, that people could question him of his mental stability. But just because someone has a good imagination, do we persicute them for that?… I don’t think so. On the other hand though, if Steven King was writing a book where a plane was taken over and blown up, I highly doubt he’d write his outline in an airport. So again, bad judgement on my part, so live and learn I suppose.

    To the issue of the notebook contents shall we? Was a standard green college ruled 70 page notebook with approximately 1-2 pages of writing in it. On the first page, I wanted an objective. Anybody who plays Counter Strike knows that you can edit the game’s map, and in some cases, people render locations based upon places they are familar with for personal advantage; same concept here. The game was going to be an online shooter/RPG, and the point of it was going to be similar to that of counter strike. Only instead of a Capture the Flag kind of match, players were going to be given an objective (hense, kill 20-30 people). Now let’s get this clear, I was working on the game for THREE DAYS before somebody said something about it, suffice to say I hadn’t had all the ideas down (and that’s why I only had one location at the time). But the main idea would be that players would be given an objective, and time with their team to stratagize picking weapons of choice (hense the list of weapons in the notebook from Swords, AR-15’s, etc.) They would plan their attack to achieve their mission, and the other players would try to stratagize a way to best fend off the attacking players. I have to say, 20-30 people, yeah it seems strange, okay I give people that, most FPS games are "kill everyone you see" as one person said, however my intent for a good selling games (as with all designers) is to create something original, fresh, and something that can be played over and over with a different experience every time.

    The student I was speaking with, a good friend of mine for 3 years of high school, was a kid who also was intrieged with video games, and a most intelligent teen if i’ve ever met one. He, too has played games such as Half-Life, Fear, and Doom3; however he also has played MANY stratagy games such as Mideval Total War, Starcraft, and Warcraft3. I wanted his opinion, so I suggested the "attack" possibility of the cafeteria, and he was the "defender" telling me how he would prevent it.

    At the present as it stands, I STILL don’t believe I didn’t anything wrong, and that people who didn’t know made a mountain out of a mole hill and just blew the situation out of proportion. As my father stated, I received a over 50 letters of support from students,faculty, and community members,  and another letter with 35+ signatures on it which consists of the majority of the high school (200 kids total K-12). My TRUE inspiration game not from CSI, but from a REAL LIFE game I’ve read about, and have seen on the net (http://www.streetwars.net)

    For those of you who don’t know, Street Wars is a game played with waterguns, water baloons, and any water weapons to say the least. Over 100 people in real life sign up, and pay an entrence fee ($50-$100 I’m not sure). The game takes place in a real life city such as New York, Los Angeles, and even internationally in Paris. When it finally begins, each person is given a photo of someone else in the game, their age, appearence, where they work, and REAL address. Their objective: To kill their target (by shooting them with a watergun, waterbaloon, etc.) When their target is dead, they take that person’s target, and the game continues until the last man standing wins and wins a percentage of the buy-in. Street Wars is the officeal game, but I have also read how similar groups of college frats and sororities have done the exact same thing ON CAMPUS.

    Another small thing regarding my Bebo account and the user name Ubn Killed (pronounced (You Been Killed). When I was 12 i played a fantasy game called Runescape, and sense then my user name has been Ubn Killed, but the originality is not my own. When my older brother lived at home, he played alot of fantasy basketball, and being the big fan he was, he won ALOT, and his user named was the original Ubn Smoked. So being the little brother looking up to the older one, I adapted.

    The last thing I would like to address is my mental stabilty, lol, which seems (well at the time when this post was being discussed) something of interest. Whether or not I WOULD be let out on bail was based first on if I passed a phyc. test. So they brought in two guys, one who was a guy who was actually IN the vietnam war, and another guy who had been a phycologist for over 20 years and it ran in the family… And at the end of 4 hours here’s how it ended:

    Vietnam Guy: I got nothin’. You got somethin’?

    20 Year Phycologist: Nope.

    Vietnam Guy: We got nothin’.

    In other words, they didn’t see anything wrong with me. I got sentensed to a 75$ fine and 1 year probation, but after 4-5 monthes my PO called me, and said to stop calling her because it was a waste of her time. When I returned to school I graduted with a 3.5GPA (3.7 if I hadn’t been expelled), and no one at the school treated me with fear, and I went back to daily routine.

    As it stands I’m 19 years old presently, and a buddy of mine are currently designing a FPS shooter game and using Havok as our engine (very obvious fictional setting) On June 11th, a lawyer is going to perminately swipe the guilty plee off my record forever, and all that’ll be left of that history will be Google.

    Hope this answered some questions, assuming anyone reads this, but thought I’d clerify. Anymore questions… just ask =)




  2. 0
    Terry Timmering (Lance's Dad) says:

    1. Just for the record. The support letters given to the judge one of which was sign by 35 high school classmates in a high school of 70 (this constitutes 1/2 of Northports high school student body. (End of letter) To conclude, we feel that Lance was never a threat or meant any harm towards anyone here in the Northport School or the community and that the charges he is being accused of are out of line and improer when compared to his character. Lance is a friend to everyone , A teammate to many and a brother to those who have grown up with him. 57 letters in all from students teachers. Thanks for your input Signed Lance’s Dad.

  3. 0
    Terry Timmering (Lance's Dad) says:

    For the record: The notebook Lance had was a 70 page notebook with only 1 page and 2 lines in it (the start of the game) No names of people or teachers, but it did say the cooks were the 1st to take out. For the record Lance has been writing stories since 2nd grade, and yes sometimes his stories have been known to be shocking, but is that not what writers do? Lance told over 15 people about this game about a week b-4 his doom, in order to get more students to help him with it. some did some did not. Thanks Signed Lance’s Dad.

  4. 0

    Maybe those 30 named are not the player’s enemy, but the enemy’s target? An escort mission, perhaps?

    I’ve learned not to trust the word of school officials in situations like this. I have seen events that I and several others witnessed being twisted on diciplinary reports written by school faculty who have a habit of embellishing and exaggerating things.

    Judging by the support he’s getting from classmates, I’m willing to bet that the contents of this notebook differ greatly than the several varying stories we’re being told.

  5. 0
    JB ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Although we obviously don’t know the full story… Before you know it every creative people with tendencies towards violence will be jailed for crimes they may or may not do in the future. Kids stop using your imagination and skills to portray a darker side of life. You’ll only be punished and tried for crimes like attempted murder and terrorism.

    If he is just creating a game as mentioned the authorities effectively ruined this guy’s life with false charges. This will be with him forever.

    Why is V. Tech and games still being connected?

  6. 0
    MaskedPixelante ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    wow… just… wow… I’m not sure the dad was helping the case any by saying it was an FPS project. I’m going to wait for more details to surface, which if we know these video game based charges, wont take long.

  7. 0
    aniki21 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    On the face of it, I have to admit that it sounds like a pretty weak defence. It’s not mentioned whether he named the 30 students, but there’s definitely an implication that his notebook writings were more detailed than they needed to be for a design brief.

    Still, like JB says it’s hard to know how valid any concerns about this kid might be without having more information available.

  8. 0
    CaptainZM ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It Just shows you have to be careful what you take to school. I wonder though, did some teacher just snatch his notebook or did he leave it wide open to the page displaying his designs.

    Its better to just leave it at home and not have to deal with this garbage.

  9. 0
    Devr says:

    From what I got from the video report, he wasn’t making a map of his school and they didn’t mention any notebook. So he basically got arrested for making a FPS? 😐 We need some more info on this.

  10. 0
    kurisu7885 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    And I forgot to mention, of course, certain details will be suppressed by mainstream news and crackpot wannabe lawyers. IF the note was indeed a work on a game design, that will disappear, and that it was a design, for, I dunno, a training simulator.

  11. 0
    kurisu7885 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If this was a game design Like said it should have noted that it was a fictional work. Of course, pretty soon we’ll need that in bold print when you start up games like Lord of the Rings or a Star Wars game.

  12. 0
    JC says:

    Ugh, a touchy issue. I think we’re lacking information. It is basically one person’s word against another, and a lack of clarity on the issue itself.

    I’d like to see these “details” he wrote, and have a writing expert analyze it.
    I know some people are unfairly punished, but I think they should’ve investigated more into the matter than just simply jail him.

    So far, I think we’re in the dark, and the news may be propoganda.

    From now on, I guess these details must have a disclaimer of a sort. “NOTE: THIS IS A FICTIONAL WORK”

  13. 0
    tollwutig says:

    While I think some of this is possible over reaction by both the principle and the police there is also a certain amount of stupidity on the teenagers part in this. OK so you are working on a FPS, DON’T TAKE THE INFORMATION TO SCHOOL YOU FREAKING NUMBSKULL!!! Thanks to VT people are going to be overly sensitive to any creative material that depicts violence for a while. Get used to it, it’s how our society reacts. If you feel you must work on a creative project and the project involves violence, use some ****ing common sense for Christ’s sake and do not take the project to school.

  14. 0
    Zapp Brannigan says:

    I’m going with tollwutig here wtf was he thinking bringing it to school. He could very well have just been working on the design for a game, but I’m guessing he isn’t the brightest bulb on the tree if he thought it OK to bring it to school.

    Given his stupidity we’re then brought back to the whole “not having enough info” and we never will… his actions will be mutated by the media until everyone is against him without the true events and actions actually coming into the light.

    Well I’m off to watch Fox news to get the fats behind this case and wait for JT’s comments on this recent event.

  15. 0
    John ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I partially agree and disagree with you. Yes the kid should use some discresion when working on his art given the current situation, but should he be persectuted if in fact he was just working on his form of creative expression? Seriously, the kids who draw unicorns or random abstracts are not being screened to see if they are losing touch with reality, why should someone making a game be treated any differently?

    Overall, I agree this is probably a slim-chance last ditch defense. If they saw names, people, etc they had every right to investigate further. If it was just a few maps… then wtf is wrong with this country

  16. 0
    Awol ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ok… where is the line on writing something down and it becoming a threat? To me this kid was arrested for writing something about shooting 30 people! Should the kid be checked out and maybe get some help sure thing but arrested? Granted we don’t have the full story and we don’t know if the kid wanted his notebook to be found or not. We don’t know if he named teachers or other kids. Heck the 30 people could of been terrorists or something. Maybe the kid saw Red Dawn and thought it would be cool to create something defending his school. But damn this is scary and at want point is this line drawn at. How many fiction books out there have plots on attacking Washington DC. How many of them plot on trying to kill important people of the world? I know I read a good many of them how come they don’t get arrested for threats? Again where is this fine line?

  17. 0
    Awol ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    BTW I do not agree with the kid should of known better agruement. Why should people be mindful of a subject that hasn’t any valid claims to cause harm to people. Hiding it won’t make it go away. Why should students have hide the fact they are making video games of any type? Just because a school shooting happened in the recent pass or the years ago?

    There is something wrong with this country if you have to censor yourself just to live.

  18. 0
    JC says:

    I don’t think many people read the article + heard the vid.

    There are conflicting details on it all. First, the article says something otherwise, and the video states teacher AIDES overheard him.

    If it was overhearing, I don’t really get it, they could’ve overheard another kid saying something or that they didn’t hear the “I’m making a video game” detail.

    Sadly, I don’t think we’ll ever get the full details on the matter. The kid is likely to have his record stained just so some new prosecutor will be “praised” in the eyes of the public.

  19. 0
    Broken Design says:

    I guess it’s hard to comment without knowing more information, but if it’s true that there was a plot outlined on killing 30 students in a notebook then I say they did the right thing. Unless that’s the plot of the game, which is still messed up, but in any case why was he stupid enough to have that kind of thing in a notebook at school? Sounds like he wanted to be caught, maybe. Drawing floor plans and rendering maps of the school is one thing, jotting down notes of homicidal intentions is another altogether. Throw the book at that one.

  20. 0
    LordLundar says:

    I recall that after Columbine, there were at least two more school shootings in North America within 1 month, so yes, copycats are abound and they got away with it because law enforcement said it could not happen here.

    I can’t speak for this person’s state of mind and neither can the police. They only have the visible evidence to deal with which is a notebook detailing a mass murder attempt. It’s called erring on the side of caution and I would say the police did the right thing.

  21. 0
    Eville ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    My state sucks :(. Without notebook details I think none of us can make an informed comment but we can always err on the side we most like to defend. I believe the touchiness will either go away eventually or be integrated into what we think of as normal. Post 9/11 world and all of that.

  22. 0
    Shoehorn O'Plenty ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If this kid was truly planning on murdering school mates, then I am glad that he was caught before he could go through with it. However, it depresses me in 2 ways.

    Firstly, the mass 24-7 coverage of these sensless killings gives them so much exposure that they seem like the “norm” to disaffected students. If they are having problems, the media coverage makes acting out in rage seems more and more to be a viable option, as opposed to getting help or counselling. Add in the lax gun laws and you have depressed or mentally unstable people with access to firearms who are immersed in an environment where every little detail about school shootings is dissected on television and is explained/debated/described on every single news program. Not a healthy situation to have. Yet, these same media institutions continue to have inflammatory and dishonest guests on their shows pushing their own agenda. This is like starting a bonfire and then asking people to tell the public “What caused this fire?”.

    The other thing that upsets me is that the Massacre chasers with their anti video games agenda seem to have given society a new excuse to allow killers a chance at a reduced sentence. Again, let us imagine this teen was going to commit an atrocity at his school. He was caught early, but now he is using the furore and rumour mongering to try and get out of it. This happened in the Devin Moore case where Jack Thompson tried to put words in the murderers mouth to the effect of “I would not have killed those police if I hadn’t played that game”.
    If a man is drinking in a bar and is angered when his sports team loses, then gets into a fight and kills a man later, he would be laughed out of court if his defense tried to blame it on the game, “If his team had only won he wouldn’t have killed him”. But because many lawyers are counting on the fact that most judges/jurors are older and have no idea about video games, this “insanity by way of video game” plea is actually being attempted in courts.

  23. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “According to court documents, Lance Timmering was overheard saying “If you chained two of the three exits you could shoot the students as they came out of the cafeteria.”

    Ok, I can see why they were concerned. Still.

    “Terry Timmering says the school district did the right thing by investigating but he believes the result has been politically motivated and says the incident could have been wrapped up, without including a judge.”

    But as usual, schools are doing CYA, and just calling the cops crying wolf.

  24. 0
    Shoehorn O'Plenty ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Nekojin: I am not laying the blame on lax gun laws, nor am I saying that tighter controls would prevent anything.

    I am drawing attention to the fact that people are blaming video games as a factor in these shootings, instead of other things which I believe contribute much more, ie. exposure to media coverage of other shootings or coverage of the war in Iraq (REAL violence), the access that mentally unstable people have to firearms, the further bullying and ostracism of different “outsider” groups in schools due to their stereotyping in the news and by experts, etc.

  25. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The video segment seems like the police/school overreacted, and threw him in jail based on a discussion 2 teachers aides overheard.

    The article on the other hand talks all about this notebook, and how they considered that plus the discussion to be worthy of calling the police over.

    I’m willing to bet the kid will get off once they have someone who’s not a fear monger examine the notebook, but I can understand their reaction once they started to look into things. First they had a worrying discussion. Not in itself enough, but enough to warrant looking at the notebook. And then the notebook, which as (so far) reported, seems to raise some warning bells as well. Maybe not enough to throw him in jail, but enough to get the police involved.

    I agree that there was overreaction. With the parents involved, it’s clear that they know about what the kid is up to, and the police likely already tore the house apart looking for a weapons stash. Give the kid a break already and admit that it was all a misunderstanding and panic as a result of recent events…

  26. 0
    JB ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I’m sorry, but can you explain to me why individuals, based on mental health examinations and suspected of being an imminent danger to themselves or others, should be legally allowed to purchase fire arms? Explain to me why people like Seung-Hui Cho should be allowed to purchase weapons legally?

  27. 0
    andooroo says:

    I agree completely with Nekojin. As mentioned before, there is no proof that he was even planning to shoot up the school. And all of this, I think, is just to implicate video games as sources of more violence, and the drive-by media (to use Rush’s expression) is just trying to ‘prove’ their point.

    And all of this reminds me so much of that Harris levels urban legend, back after Columbine, how his DOOM levels were ‘designed to look like’ the school.

  28. 0
    flamingsquirrel says:

    Great, sucks to be this kid. Not helping that they forgot to mention the VT shooter was like a hermit, didn’t play games etc. The “early reports” of the VT shooter playing games was just jack thompson being an asshole

  29. 0
    Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Shoehorn: Please leave gun control issues out of the matter, OK? Tighter gun control laws won’t keep guns out of the hands of people who plan to use them illegally.

    In general: This is still overreaction. Does the kid have a history of mental disturbance/illness? Is he prone to acting out in violence? People are being absurdly reactionary over these school shootings, and jumping at shadows.

  30. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “When Guglielmino asked him about it he said he was just playing a game though she noticed a notebook with the word, ‘Assassination’ on the cover.

    Timmering told police he “had gotten his inspiration for the assassination game from the CSI TV show and the internet. He stated it had been play, had been made up and he had no intention of physically carrying it out.”

    Ah, the infamous notebook.

  31. 0
    BlueWolf72 says:

    some how I dont believe the part:

    Lance Timmering was arrested Monday after the principal of Northport High discovered a notebook

    So the principal was strolling in the hallway/classroom and said hmmm lets look at that book.

    If anything he was told and wasnt even told the correct information.

  32. 0
    Greatnocturn says:

    ok here its boiling down to me.

    A asian kid releases a map of his school on counter-strike. maps normally take weeks and WEEKS to complete. V tech happened less than a month ago! the kid had a highly detailed map.

    than a cracker says that he was just “talking about making a FPS game”
    bull crap.

    conclusion: can the cracker for conspricy to commit a crime. cause on his page he says he has guns and swords. forgive the asian cause he was harmless and making a map compaired to conspiricy is BIG diffrence.

  33. 0
    Matthew ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “…A notebook detailing the boy’s plan to shoot as many as 30 fellow students.”

    Going by this report (which is almost certainly biased, but the question is how much) they did the right thing. A plan to kill students at a school is evidence of conspiracy to commit murder however you dress it up.

    The game plan argument could only succeed if it were really arranged like a game. Does it mention victims by name? Are there any weapons or powerups strewn about on the design? Do they have spawn points? Does it go over the top, with (e.g.) zombie stuff or demons? Does it give a single linear plan (go here, then go there) or is it based on choices (what if the player goes in here?)? How does it end, with an exit, a boss enounter, or suicide/no ending? Does the kid have other game plans or any history of game creation? All these things could be used to determine whether or not it was a real threat or actually just a game plan, but it still resembles a plot to kill and so should be investigated as such.

  34. 0
    qAaRoN ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    There truly needs to be more information on the entire matter, but one thing I would like to know (despite the fact of having a notebook that mentioned the killing of 30 classmates) is if the boy actually put classmates in the FPS project. Just because the design layout was that of his school, doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been something along the lines of a Rainbow Six style game. If that’s all it was, what are they going to do? Throw Tom Clancy and the Ubisoft development team in jail and claim they were going to go ahead with an assault on Las Vegas?

    In all seriousness though, this case can go either way. What people who are worried about copycat shooting at their schools and just the general safety of school students need to pay attention to are the facts in this one. Not the self-proclaimed “video games only lead to violence” idiots that get up on their soap boxes and preach for their 15 minutes of fame.

  35. 0
    Pixelantes Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    tollwutig, the kid who made the Counterstrike map was doing that outside of school. Didn’t help him one bit.

    The details about this partcular case are a little vague, and there’s a pretty good chance (IMHO) that the whole “I was just working on a FPS design” are just a clever legal defense tactic, but still, these two events illustrate the sad reality of fear mongering in the US.

    How the fuck did we get here? And why aren’t smart (I’ve lost hope for politicians and police already) people voicing their concerns about these sort of developments (incl. the Boston Aqua Teen Hunger Force stupidity)?


    I hope to God the first person to violate that new law is some police officer’s son.

  36. 0
    Meggie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Judging by the notebook, this was more of a hit-list situation than map-creation situation. Either way, I want to hear more.

    # flamingsquirrel Says:
    Great, sucks to be this kid. Not helping that they forgot to mention the VT shooter was like a hermit, didn’t play games etc. The “early reports” of the VT shooter playing games was just jack thompson being an asshole

    The article says “Early news reports also suggest that Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui also played these types of games.” How about throwing in “unconfirmed” or God forbid, citing where these “reports” came from. These unchallenged, half-assed comments are what are making people connect VT with video games.

  37. 0
    Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @JB, others: “I’m sorry, but can you explain to me why individuals, based on mental health examinations and suspected of being an imminent danger to themselves or others, should be legally allowed to purchase fire arms? Explain to me why people like Seung-Hui Cho should be allowed to purchase weapons legally?”

    That’s a very good point, but there are already laws in place regarding this. What is needed is better ENFORCEMENT of the existing laws.

    Virginia’s gun laws: Max 1 gun per month, State AND Federal background check. Other than that, fairly lax overall. http://www.stategunlaws.org/viewstate.php?st=VA

    There is one very important question that SHOULD be asked in the Virginia Tech case. Are the health care providers that Cho was diagnosed by required to submit the diagnosis to any government agencies? If they were, and failed to do so, then they may be culpable in the matter; their lack of reporting may be a critical matter. If it was reported properly, the sale may have been blocked by either the State or Federal background check.

    And again, even with enforcement, that won’t stop them from buying a Glock (or even a Zip gun) from some thug out of the back of his car…

  38. 0
    Spicyragnatz says:

    “Timmering does not fit the profile of the school shooters…”

    That’s right… he apparently has open communication with his parents!

  39. 0
    Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @GoodRobotUs: “This is getting more and more a matter for the 14th Amendment.”

    What does the 14th Amendment have to do with any of this? The 14th deals with Citizenship and Civil Rights, especially with regard to racial discrimination. How does that apply to gamers?

  40. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    The 14th deals with equality before the law. The father is basically alleging that the prosecutor is treating his son differently than other kids who might have written disturbing artistic work, just because of recent events (VT). IE he’s alleging that had this merely been a poem, song, or short story, it wouldn’t have come to this, but because it was a video game design, the kid is being more harshly treated than someone else, due to a bias on the part of the prosecutor.

  41. 0
    Vinzent says:

    So…if this was just an FPS design, why was he planning on shooting 30 students? Was he intending to model actual students for his FPS? If so, that could really hurt his case. It would also speak to some serious mental issues.
    I think that’s what this report is missing. Did the kid have a history of: being bullied, making dangerous comments or threats, mental instability?

  42. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    To all you people who think the kid was stupid for bringing his notebook to school:

    “Shut Up!”

    If any of you have ever done any creative writing in your life, you would know that notebooks go with you everywhere. Just because you are writing something that could be conceived as controversal, does not mean that you should be writing it in your attic or basement so that no one could possibly be offended.

    If anything, they should arrest the kid he was talking to as an accessory in attemted murder or something else totally stupid. If the kid was talking to another kid about such a thing, it was for these possible reasons:

    1. The other kid was in cahoots with him and they were discussing the plan.

    2. The kid was talking to his friend seeking emotional support or help in getting over this bad desire to kill.

    3. The kid was discussing a game or story idea with his friend to get his friend’s opinion on the concept.

    The first one is dangerous. The second is a cry for help. The third is totally harmless.

    I think that we do need to get more information though. Unfortunately, we will not be getting any from such biased sources as this news station. I would like to see the police report and the contents of the notebook in context. I would also like to see the school’s report on the event. They are supposed to file an incedent report for school purposes.

  43. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    “So…if this was just an FPS design, why was he planning on shooting 30 students?”

    Likely the teacher’s aides extrapolated that number out of thin air, probably just counted his classmates, or the number of people in the cafeteria at the time they overheard him. But without the notebook contents, it’s hard to say.

  44. 0
    Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Jabrwock: That’s a shaky legal stance, at best. There are other, better approaches than a 14th Amendment plea. In this case, it’s not a video game – it’s a [i]claim[/i] of a video game, with the evidence being in written form.

    Under the current climate, can you honestly say that a song about violently gunning down classmates [i]wouldn’t[/i] get intense scrutiny? I do agree that there’s been a great deal of overreaction, but I don’t think it’s discriminatory.

  45. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Didn’t say it was a good argument. 😉

    Still, it is a valid argument to say that the only reason he’s getting more scrutiny, than say, last year, over such an incident, is because of VT.

    Last year he might have been suspended for a day. This year he’s hauled into jail and given $10,000 bail… So clearly he’s not being treated equally. The law itself hasn’t changed in that time, merely it’s implementation by the prosecutor, in response to recent events.

  46. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Also the court was presented with a letter of support from a lot of his classmates, so I doubt he was socially isolated in any way.

  47. 0
    AJ says:

    I don’t buy this kids story at all. Using the video game issue to use as a defense is stupid and makes the gamer community look worse. OMG, kids who play video games are also masterminds of murdererous plots. This would be closer to JTs training on games seem closer to home if he is simulating his school and naming a body count already.

  48. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    “Using the video game issue to use as a defense is stupid and makes the gamer community look worse.”

    Even if he really was designing a fiction situation? Had it been a short story, would it make writers in general look bad?

    “This would be closer to JTs training on games seem closer to home if he is simulating his school and naming a body count already.”

    The body count so far is a fictional element described by the news article. They don’t directly link it to his game plans. As for the location, you write about what you know. This came up when that kid made a CS map of his school. I’ve written scenarios for wargames that involve my neighborhood, does that mean I want to kill my neighbors? No, it just means I’m incorporating local elements into my creative process…

  49. 0
    pixelante_ninja ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah… I’m not buying it, for him to mention 30 students means that either they all play counter-strike with him at the same time (not likely), he was angry, acting out, and not serious about it, or he actually planned to do it. Whichever it was it looks like someone using games to explain away violent behavior, only done by someone in a group who doesn’t usually do it, gamers themselves. After all, no group can be free from violent behavior, he probably believed the game would get it worse then him. However, I don’t think anyone at all will believe him. After all, scapegoating is the job of the media and politicians, and I doubt a child and his father will be able to do it nearly as successfully.

  50. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    The body count was written in the notebook describing using weapons in this game “with the objective of killing 20-30 people”.

    The police/school then extrapolated that, and assumed he was talking about killing his classmates, presumably since the setting was at the school.

    Again, until the actual contents of the notebook surface, we’re just speculating based on panicky statements by fearful school officials and a prosecutor who could potentially have an axe to grind.

  51. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “I still would like to see more information though.”

    Ditto. I’m guessing though, that this one will disappear into the woodwork until the trial resumes at the end of May.

  52. 0
    jakethe8lf ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The US needs to get over terrorism. The US has never been safer.

    This guy should’ve been investigated, at the very most, not arrested.

  53. 0
    Brandon St. Germaine ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    None of us know what was written. You’re all jumping to defend videogames, and it’s kind of scary. Videogames CAN do wrong. People CAN be bad people. Yes, if it was a game design or creative writing, then it’s VTech paranoia. If it is a detailed list of people he planned to kill, than you all have to eat your hats.

    This is a pre-mature report, anyway. Shame on the media’s immediate coverage and excuses to jump to conclusions.

  54. 0
    P01s0n says:

    There should be a legitimate investigation. The fact that there was a notebook with plans to kill 30 students is something that I would look into.

    The fact that he was designing a FPS is something to be proud of in the gaming community and those may have actually been part of a FPS, but I doubt it. There is one thing that we need to get over though, as jakethe8lf said, the United States just need to get over terrorism.

  55. 0
    Grendal says:

    More information would really be helpful in this case, but one thing strikes me. Did anyone here ever play the game “Assassination” in middle or high school? Basically the game revolved around a group of people one of whom ha d a list of all the players’ names. That person would distribute names to the various players of other people on the list (sometimes only one sometimes more than one) and that person became the target. Your objective then was to be the first person to hit them with a rubber band (at least in the brand I played) while the person named had to stay “alive”. The rub is only the person with the main list knows all the players.

    I’m not saying that is the case, I don’t know near enough to make an actual decision on this kid, but this was what immediately came to mind when I read the article.

  56. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I agree, had this been a one off instance, I’d fully agree, but there is habit, particuarly among those who know least about them, to label Video Gamers as ‘Potential School Shooters’, this is thanks to the likes of Thompson and Burrell, who do the equivalent of making the ‘Dirty immigrants, stealing our jobs and women!’ speech, i.e. using every negative stereotype and ‘down the pub’ assumption to make video gamers and games synonymous with ‘scum’.

    The reason I quote the 14th is not just because of this incident, but because it is becoming a trend. A trend of attacking and stereotyping one group of people purely out of ignorance (proved by the fact that most of these ‘experts’ either can’t tell a commercial game from a freeware one or are deliberately blurring the line) is, at least to my eyes, fast becoming nothing more than a case of discimination.

  57. 0
    Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Grendal: I not only played Assassination (we called it Killer) in high school, I organized and RAN a game of it. And got thrown out of the computer room for firing disc tracer guns at each other over monitors.

    The teacher who ran the computer room never once thought that we were plotting actual violence – because she actually KNEW us. She thought – correctly – that we were engaging in a bit of horseplay that did not belong in the computer room.

    As someone else on GP mentioned, video games are, in a sense, this generation’s equivalent of Cops & Robbers or Cowboys & Indians, games that should be familiar to virtually every male over the age of 40… and probably quite a few under that age, as well. The biggest difference is that with violent video games, nobody gets forced to play the, “bad guys” (Well, in Counterstrike, you take turns – but nobody is repeatedly forced to be the bad guy because of being unpopular).

    One point that I keep coming back to on this matter is, what is the deal with the objective to kill, “20-30 people”? I haven’t seen an FPS yet that had a target kill count… it’s usually, “kill everything in sight,” or, “kill everything except these people who help you.” The whole “20-30” bit strikes me as a bit odd.

  58. 0
    Pawsie says:

    Well… now that ‘was’ a stupid idea.. and bringing that note book to school. Though jailed.. maybe suspended and talk to the parents and figure out what’s happening.

    People are jumping the gun again.. though few people know what to do now a day when a grown college student is able to get a gun and a lot of violent teenager underage have rants and emotional problem without anything they can do to legally obtain a gun.

  59. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah, I know what you mean, I guess it’s just the blatant laziness of the politicians that really irritates me to be honest, it feels like discrimination, but at the end of the day, it’s probably more just like ‘pre-meditated ignorance’, and that’s just as sad from a politician.

    And yeah, Thompson is a special case, for one thing he’s a compulsive obsessive, he gets obsessed with something to the point where he pursues it way beyond the point of reasonable and intelligent discourse.

    Strangely enough, Obsessively Offensive Behaviour ranks far higher on the FBI’s ‘warning flag’ list than Violent Media. Frankly, it does leave me a little concerned about him.

  60. 0
    Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    AFAIK, there has never been a 14th Amendement discrimination case based on pastimes, hobbies, or other recreational activities that has succeeded. You’d be fighting an uphill battle with that one. In law, as with many other matters, it’s best to pick your battles carefully.

    Given that the vast majority of American males who have gone through their teenage years in the past 35 years have played video games at some point or other, it would be hard to find one that DIDN’T. It makes it that much harder to take the, “Video Game Killer,” nonsense credibility. However, the people who are older than that have a hard time reconciling video games at all (except for those who have played with a Wii – they’re being converted rapidly, or so I hear), so it becomes an easy scapegoat.

    When they target video games, or even just violent video games, they’re not actually attacking a specific target; they’re painting with a broad brush, making sweeping generalizations. And while that’s not a BAD thing (the ability to make generalizations and see connections is one of the hallmarks of a sapient mind, after all), it becomes a problem when the generalizations get so broad that there’s a huge segment of the “target” group that don’t fit the generalization at all.

    And then, there are the people like Thompson who attack specific targets with the mindless determination of an addled terrier.

  61. 0
    Thabor says:

    “What is the deal with the objective to kill, “20-30 people”? I haven’t seen an FPS yet that had a target kill count…

    In Thief 2 and Thief 3 there is a cap on the number of people you are allowed to kill. Go play almost any MMOG.. They have volumes of missions where are particular kill count is needed.

    It amazing to me that people think he should have kept the notebook covertly at home. He’d have already been hung, for secretive, reclusive, plotting if he had done that.

    I know it isn’t the obvious conclusion, but even if he hadn’t been working on a game he could have just been trying imagine how to survive an attack by somebody else.

  62. 0
    Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Thabor: Having a maximum on the number you’re ALLOWED to kill is different from having a goal of killing a specific number, and bringing MMORPG quest conventions into a discussion about FPS games is incredibly disingenuous.

    I agree that there’s probably much ado about nothing – especially since so many of his classmates are apparently willing to stand up for him – but the number requirement on kills stood out, to me. *shrug* Maybe there’s really nothing to it… it just seemed a bit odd, out of place, given the genre of game being discussed.

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