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

May 9, 2007 -
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.

Comments

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

@tollwutig
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

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.

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.

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"

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.

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.

What, exactly, did he write in his notebook? It's a little hard to tell what's going on from the details we're given.

I agree, we need more info before we can formulate opinions.

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.

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.

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.

Minority report anyone?

"Columbine was just five years ago"

Correction, it was 8 years ago.

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.

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?

[...] 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. … …Sportzia More [...]

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.

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.

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.

June 11th Lance was fine $75.00 for Disorderly Conduct - Like I said, it was a game . (Lance's Dad)
 
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