LaRouche Followers Continue Video Game Assault at Virginia Tech Hearings

June 7, 2007 -
Far-out political figure Lyndon LaRouche is apparently intent upon linking violent video games to the Virginia Tech massacre.

Last month GamePolitics reported on Virginia Tech Review Panel testimony given by Don Phau, a member of LaRouche's political action committee (see: Violent Games Should be Banned Like Heroin). Phau attended the panel's public meeting in Richmond, the first of several planned around the state.

Now, Joystiq's Kyle Orland reports on testimony given by Larouche Youth Movement leader Paul Mourino (left) at the second Review Panel meeting, held in Blacksburg, where Virginia Tech is located. Among his comments, Mourino referenced game violence critic Dave Grossman and implied a media cover-up by the Washington Post:
In the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacres... Lyndon LaRouche joined such law enforcement experts as Col. David Grossman in demanding action against the manufacturers and distributors of violent point-and-shoot video games...

Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, is no exception, despite the near total media blackout of his involvement with violent video games, including "Counter-Strike." News organizations like the Washington Post... confirmed his strong attraction to these games. Yet that story never appeared in print, and only accidentally showed up on a blog site associated with that newspaper...

I ran into this phenomenon when I was in middle school. The game "Wolfenstein 3D" was free and was the first killing simulation game on the market....

These video games are creating menticide among the young generation... We also recommend that you shame, fine, or regulate all those private corporations who have participated in these projects. Proper legislation, designed to protect my generation from these games, is needed...

GP: The "near total media blackout" alleged by Mourino ignores several national T.V. news programs which gave Miami attorney Jack Thompson air time to claim that Cho's Counter-strike play led to the massacre as well as substantial play given to the issue in both the gaming and mainstream press.


"Proper legislation, designed to protect my generation from these games, is needed…"

Yeah... because you know what's best for all those in "your generation". All several million of them. Right. If you're so worried, why don't you go live with the lovely Amish people where you will never be allowed to come withing ten feet of one of those horribly evil videogames. Seriously, either sit down and shut up, or get out.

maybe people are drug dealers, murders, and criminals because of video games. We should have a special service to help people who may be crazy because of gta. (sarcasm)

It truly shows the incompetence of the investigative process when agenda seekers and massacre chasers and and conspiracy theorists are called as "experts".

Next thing ya know, members of the Eagles Forum and Fred Phelps will be called in as "experts" in Hate Crime murders of homosexuals.

Whose ignorant idea was it to call these liars and deceivers in to give testimony?

NW2K Software

These people make me want to head butt a kitten.

Atleast everyone knows this guy is conspiracy nut.

“Proper legislation, designed to protect my generation from these games, is needed…”

Explain what offense video games have committed that necessitates that we must be protected from them. Video games don't insult, torment, or kill; they sit on a shelf in a store until you buy them, and then they sit on a shelf in your home until you use them, and then they sit in your console/PC until you're done using them for now.
You look like a big boy, Paul Mourino. Howzabout you try protecting yourself from things as benign as video games. V-Tech was certainly a tragedy, but I don't demand that the government protect me from video games - I demand that they protect me from crazy people with guns.

What cracks me up is the way these nutjobs twist the events. The Washington Post had the Counterstrike mention in their earliest version of the online story, but pulled that later. Why? There's usually only one reason that a newspaper pulls a juicy tidbit like that: Their source was unreliable. Either it was an outright lie that was discovered later, or just a rumor that they couldn't substantiate... either way, it wasn't some sort of media cover-up, just an editor covering the newspaper's ass from an overzealous reporter.

- - - - -

Menticide. Okaaaaay. Brainwashing by any other name... if that were truly the case, why are there millions of stable, rational adults who played video games as kids (many still do) and never went over the deep end to kill anyone?

And people wonder why I have gotten so Hostile to the industry lately. It's shit like this, here we have undeniable proof that these people are lying deciveing bastards and yet the ESA, ECA, and other industry groups do NOTHING about it.


Sorry for the language but it had to be said, this is pathetic when such blatant bullcrap is going down and the Industry doesn't lift a finger t counter it.

Sad indeed.

As was said above, next people like PHelps,the eagle forum, Al Sharpton and others will be experts in hate crimes.

Some times I wonder if we shouldn't just have our goverment completely purged and replaced. I'm beginning to thing the country would be better off if everyone in power had to be under 35 years old.

But seeing as I'm just a jaded gamer anyway, I don't expect the ESA or ECA to actually do much about ths crap.

They never did before after all.


Oh we were all brainwashed and programed. When the signal is finally sent we are going to go batshit loco and start killing the population en mass. Don't you see? Its all a communist invasion, all the game devs are funded by Putinp! We must stop the commies, THE REDS ARE COMING SAVE THE REPUBLIC!!!!!! LAUNCH THE BOMBS!....

Oh sorry I read a full article on the PAC website.

"Menticide. Okaaaaay. Brainwashing by any other name… if that were truly the case, why are there millions of stable, rational adults who played video games as kids (many still do) and never went over the deep end to kill anyone? "

Because we are not stable. We just think we are. We have been trained by the bideo games to go about our lives as normal until the perfect moment to snap. /sarcasm

As for the media cover up, LaRouche wants the false information spread on every paper and news show in the world. If it is not, it is a media cover up.

I am sick of hearing that Cho played games. We have eye witnesses that state they never saw him play a game. We have police evidence reports that show no video games were confiscated. The only link to video games we have is a paragraph in an online article written based on unsubstantiated claims and the testimony of "experts" like Thompson and LaRouche.

Please, someone come out with some new media to be a scapegoat so that video games can take a break.

Edit: 'video games' not 'bideo games'

Need an edit button!


[fr. L. ment-, mens; mind + cidium, killing]
the undermining or destruction of a person's mind or will, esp. by systematic means such as mental and physical torture, extensive interrogation, suggestion, training, and narcotics: brainwashing "

ie, a tactic used by cults and certain "organizations" to force personal, religious, and/or political beliefs and agendas upon others. Usually beliefs and agendas presented as fact and non-fiction though they cannot be supported by FACTS and therefore must be force through "brainwashing" techniques. As opposed to fictional storylines with simulated acts which are not presented as non-fiction nor presented as the way to act in a non-fictional setting but only the way to act in the fictional setting.

NW2K Software

I am over 35, and consider myself at least as ideologically unpolluted as your post indicates you are, even if I may also be a little more politically pragmatic. I'll try to forgive your age-ist comment as over-enthusiasm for your larger point.

I think I share the emotions behind your post, but I'm not sure I agree with your solutions. I am not sure it is the place of the ESA or ECA to answer the soapbox rants of every nutjob who complains about games for the free publicity he'll gain. Sometimes I think it might be better overall to ignore such mindless slander, instead of giving it any credibility or publicity by addressing it.

Not to say I don't appreciate Joystiq's coverage, from a gamer's perspective, but even Orland closes with a run-down of mainstream reasons to discredit anything LaRouche promotes.

In any case, I favor the current focus of the ESA on these issues. I'd much rather have them defending the games industry in court, and preventing the implementation of unconstitutional legislation in states like IL, CA, MI, LA, (and soon, NY), then wasting time and clout with insignificant self-promoters like this.

Why the hell are they still trying to link video games to this whole event? It was already reported that Cho didn't even have a Playstation, let alone any video games in his room. Even his roommate went on record to say that hes never seen him play any games...

The scapegoating of entertainment media has gotten to the point of sickening. And they're not even saying a peep about just how much Cho got bullied in growing up...

@ Yuki
[i]"And people wonder why I have gotten so Hostile to the industry lately. It’s shit like this, here we have undeniable proof that these people are lying deciveing bastards and yet the ESA, ECA, and other industry groups do NOTHING about it."[/i]

Yuki you do know that the industry is not a single entity right? Really though from what I have seen these guys are hanging themselves without any real help from any of the Industry groups. Also if the Industry groups actually were to attempt to counter such utter nonsense, well that would just [i]prove[/i] them to be true.

I know you'd like to see counter suits, and press responses to some of the utter nonsense put out by anti-game critics. Really though the industry groups, there PR people & lawyers know a lot more about this stuff than any of us. If they aren't responding that is because it's still best to just ignore them, and let their nonsense come out for what it is, nonsense. As long as the court constitutional challenges continue to go in the ESA's favor there is no need to launch a publicity campaign. And considering how bad these bills are written it isn't likely any of them will survive a constitutional challenge.
Building legal precedent is the best means of combating such conspiracy theories. Keep quite and build the legal cases. Eventually politicians get the idea, and stop proposing legislation. Comic books, Music, & the movie industries have all succeeded against this type of onslaught. All of them used similar tactics.
What would really help though is if certain game publishers wouldn't push the envelope to an extreme and then expect the ESA to cover their asses.

That moron Mourino should know all about brainwashing and menticide since LaRouche and his cult has done exactly that to him.

Stinking Kevin,
If it were just a "soapbox" (holding a newspaper interview, blathering on their website, or sending emails about their personal, religious, and/or political opinions), I'd agree. But being described as "experts" and being used to give testimony in a formal investigation is another matter altogether. Their misinformation and deceit now become a matter of formal record and used not only in making official determinations of this case, but could then be referred to, not only by media, but by law enforcement officials in later cases.

It creates a ill conceived "profiling" catagory, based solely on misinformation and personal, religious, and/or political agendas and not FACTS about the individual or any other individual involved. Racial profiling, among other groups profiled, have been misused by those who hold their own personal, religious, and/or political agendas. Remember the Utah Mall shooting? Rebecca Walsh's story was right on the money when she pointed out that tragedies seem to draw out the agenda seekers and massacre chasers. But, to date, those agenda seekers and massacre chasers weren't using their claims to affect the investigation. Here, however, in the VTech case, they are.

And, so, yes, I'd say there is no better reason for the ESA/ECA (especially the ECA) to take a few big steps at disspelling the misinformation and deceit that has been put forth by this group.

NW2K Software

As Nightwing so kindly pointed out, i'm not bitching about Soapbox crap here, I bitching that these people get invited to political summits with no cournter point made by the ECA and ESA in many of the cases that we see of this.

As for my comment about age, it was more a point of order then anything else, but when you look at the vast majority of Politicians and authority, you see a pattern.

Every last one of them tends to be 50 or older.

Hate to say it, but thats stupid in my opinion. Just cause someone is old, doesn't mean there smart, just like just being young doesnt make you a fool, and so forth. Theres no balance in government anymore, its a bunch of old geezer scraping for power and screwing the public.

Countersuits and stuff, I don't know what the best course of action may wind up being, but ANY course of action is better then the current inaction the industry is taking.

Sorry, but I'm getting tired of spending money on games all the time, and Belive me, I'm one of the biggiest supporters of the industry, even donate to the ESA and planned to join the ECA, but with so little action, I'm getting fed up with seeing my money seemingly being wasted on doing nothing.

Sorry, but thats just how I see it. If the ESA and ECA won't act, what good are they?

I totally agree with Nightwing. This is the responsibility of the ESA and the ECA to respond to such claims. They don't have to respond to every Thompson interview or essay by LaRouche, but when these groups use their agenda to sway an investigation of a homicide, then it is the ESA and ECA's responsibility to counter those claims.

We should not sit idly by while such events happen. Fighting court battles may give us precedence but does nothing to better our image. We need to activly fight these from the beginning not when it gets out of hand.

Which is easier to fight, a smoldering cigirette butt or a raging forest fire?

LaRouche Followers Continue Video Game Assault at Virginia Tech ......


There's a cult for every sucker in the world. I wonder how such a personality cult could survive in this time of age? And I do wonder how they get their info so badly and so one-sided? Here's a solution, teach our kids not to follow those nut jobs.

That guy David Grossman needs to be seriously discredited with his "the military uses video games as simulators" because that blanket statement is factually untrue. As an employee of the military (almost for 2 years now), I find his uninformed comments endlessly rubbing me the wrong way.

Why that guy gets any traction at all is beyond me. Ignorance is bliss...

Whoops, I meant to say "the military uses video games as murder simulators", sorry. They actually do have some simulation for some things, but not anything dedicated like he claims.

"I ran into this phenomenon when I was in middle school. The game “Wolfenstein 3D” was free and was the first killing simulation game on the market…."

You naughty naughty pirate! Shame! :p
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Someday, someone is going to sue such group for slander. I hope I will be that one.

Proceeds of that trial should go towards good causes, like Childs Play.

Wolfenstein 3D was shareware. You got the first three levels free, then you could mail order more if you liked. It's what put Id on the map, Doom was sold the same way.

Anyway, I was in High School when Wolfenstein hit. I'm used to hearing only people older than me talk out of their ass on this subject. Not people younger than me.


I would also add that if he talked his theories to any academic psychologists, they would find it rubbish with plenty of theoretical and empirical holes.

gs2005: Grossman's theories have been analyzed and discredited many times, but because what he says is emotionally appealing, it gets a wider audience of people who aren't thinking critically about it - IE, people who won't fact-check to see if there's any truth to it, and just accept what he says is strict fact, because he claims to be an expert.

Note first that this article was written by an MIT psychology professor. Note second that point #5 in the list specifically addresses Grossman's theories.

Grossman isn't a psychologist. Never has been, probably never will be. He does not meet the ethical standards, at the very least. Some of the data his research is founded on (the parts about military fire rates in combat situations) was found out to be fraudulent - specifically, that his original source was later determined to have completely fabricated the data - and yet, Grossman still uses it as one of the core foundations for his theories.

add: Also take note of who is hosting the article. This isn't SlashDot, JoyStiq, or a blog - this is PBS, a company that prides itself on delivering spin-free fact (or as close to spin-free as is humanly possible, anyway).

@ Yuki and Nightwing

I, unfortunately, agree. I just read over some of this man's ... well, I don't really want to give it the title of Essay. Demagogoucial rantings I think would better serve.

He provides little support for his claims other than his own support and assertions as to what they do. He uses strong language to invoke stronger images to keep people away from the reality of his argument: that there isn't an argument. His essays are the equivalent of a 4 year old stomping his feet because the boogey man is in his closet.

I take for granted that not all the 18-30 somethings are not on our side in this. Paul up there, his statement is just as sensational as LaRouche's. Anyone have an email for him, or his Youth group? I just don't understand how someone can be so...well, demonizing of something they know so little about. I realize the absurdity of the comment, people frequently fear the unknown and the new, but so rarely does it reach such epic portions of fanaticism. Dire straits indeed are these. ESA needs a formal response, as does the game industry.

For the record, the cigarette butt is the easier of the two ....

I have to agree with Yuki and Nightwing as well. The ESA's 'hands off' approach is getting annoying seeing as how more and more of these nutjobs keep getting invited to these summits, hearings, and other official events. By keeping their hands off of these folks and not fighting back, they are letting them be the ONLY voice in the room. When it’s the only voice in the room it’s hard to get people to ignore it.

It wouldn't bother be nearly as bad if there were industry professionals who were out there giving counterpoint, but that’s simply not happening. These people are basically getting free reign out of the media and politicians to push whatever agenda they want to limit our rights in this country. It’s absolutely appalling.

What needs to happen is for the industry to not just "respond" to these people, but to OFFICIALLY DISCREDIT them. They need to show people and politicians just how crazy these people are and show them that they are literally spouting LIES. Show politicians and others that to use these people to testify in a public or formal setting literally shows a lapse in judgment on their part and can seriously damage their own reputation.

Let these people be shown for what they are. Fearmongering, lying, deceitful swine who care nothing for the issue but only for their own misguided crusade.

Why do I get the feeling that Lyndon Larouche is the Emperor Palpatine behind Jack Thompson's Darth Vader?

And yeah... something tells me this guy is a bit...


...OUT there.



Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith
The Emperor: [to the Senate] In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society which I assure you will last for ten thousand years..

[Senate fills with enormous applause]

Padmé: [to Bail Organa] So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.

@ Nekojin

Thanks for the article. I really liked it (except the high contrast of the black background and the light blue font)

I like the last point:

"8. Video game play is desensitizing.

Classic studies of play behavior among primates suggest that apes make basic distinctions between play fighting and actual combat. In some circumstances, they seem to take pleasure wrestling and tousling with each other. In others, they might rip each other apart in mortal combat. Game designer and play theorist Eric Zimmerman describes the ways we understand play as distinctive from reality as entering the "magic circle." The same action — say, sweeping a floor — may take on different meanings in play (as in playing house) than in reality (housework). Play allows kids to express feelings and impulses that have to be carefully held in check in their real-world interactions. Media reformers argue that playing violent video games can cause a lack of empathy for real-world victims. Yet, a child who responds to a video game the same way he or she responds to a real-world tragedy could be showing symptoms of being severely emotionally disturbed. Here's where the media effects research, which often uses punching rubber dolls as a marker of real-world aggression, becomes problematic. The kid who is punching a toy designed for this purpose is still within the "magic circle" of play and understands her actions on those terms. Such research shows us only that violent play leads to more violent play. "

These studies that have been performed have only showed that violenet play only breeds more violent play. I bet if they did a study and had a kid play Doom or GTA for several hours then put them in a room to punch another kid for no reason, they most likely will not.

Maybe I am missing something. Were Phau or Mourino invited speakers, or did they just show up to comment in the public remarks part of the program? Unless they were invited, I don't see how the LaRouche committee is afforded any substantial "expert" status by making unsolicited remarks to the Virginia Tech Review Panel during the public commentary portion of the two meetings.

The Review Panel's website provides for comments and criticisms from the online public, so maybe we all can be an experts too, if we like?

I apologize if I sound flippant, and for what it's worth, wacko anti-game propaganda really gets under my skin too. There's probably more to this story I don't know about, and I welcome and correction or insight you could offer me.

But for now I'll stand by my opinion that the ESA or ECA taking the time to seriously answer nutjob testimony like this would do little to further diminish its already deficient credibility, and possibly give it more publicity than it deserves. I believe the resources of these organizations are better spent in more mainstream and legally relevant arenas.

How is discrimination against someone based on his age a valid "point of order"? Don't all those politicians and authority figures also "tend" to be white, heterosexual males? Why not also call for all future politicians to be lesbians of minority descent?

In your first post, I took your comment as a misguided rehash of a Nixon-era joke. I find it disappointingly hypocritical that you'd seriously defend such a ridiculous generalization, when anti-game activists use the exact same appearance of "patterns," instead of qualified facts or individual accountability, to defend their positions of censorship and repression.

Or maybe you're still joking, in which case I humbly apologize for taking you seriously.

Talk about brainwashing... the LaRouchebag cult youth movement is the scariest thing I've ever seen. These people are so disconnected with reality that they can't have a civil discussion without bringing in words like 'facist' or 'nazi'. Every time I have tried to talk to them they use this tactic.

The man has been preaching that the doom of the American economy is "months away" for more than 20 years. He has set the record for the most consecutive failed attempts to run for president (and is tied for most overall attempts, which he will break next year).

The fact that people actually subscribe to his agenda makes me think I could actually start a cult of my own. Except I'd get my minions to farm gold and uber-loot in online games, not stand on street corners calling Dick Cheney the devil.

Stinking Kevin,
I checked the Review Panel's web page, which you also posted, but it's not quite clear when compared to the original article ( )

From the article:
"That suggestion was made recently to the Virginia Tech Review Panel, an elite commission appointed by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine to study the April 16th school shooting rampage committed by madman Cho Seung-Hui.

The panel, composed of a variety of experts and specialists as well as former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, held its first public meeting in Richmond on May 10th. Among those testifying was Don Phau, a member of former fringe presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche’s political action committee."

"testifying" implies something more... binding (?) than "commenting" or "offering an opinion".
But the Panel's website doesn't have the testimony or Documents of anyone other than the President of Virginia Tech.

It's not quite clear to me just what the purpose of this panel really is. It clearly implies an "investigation". Yet, it also appears that just anyone can put forth their opinions at this Review Panel.

The problem I have with this is the use of the word "investigation". If there is actual work going on here in trying to discover the FACTS of what may have happened, then those giving "testimony" are doing more than sounding off and their comments are taken far more seriously than just an average citizen. In which case, yes, valid, strong, serious counterarguments need to be made. Not to mention limiting who can give testimony.

But if this is nothing more than a Public Forum or Town Hall Meeting where people can express whatever goofballish opinion they want, then, no, no official counterargument could be made. Individuals could make counterarguments, but an organized counterargument no. BUT, the Panel would and should also make it clear that these Meetings have absolutely nothing to do with a valid investigation and that comments and opinions made by the public are not true "testimony" that will be used in considering whys and wherefores of what actually did happen that day. (Which as I've said before elsewhere we shall never know everything because the only person who did know everything about how and why is dead. And that was Cho himself.)

But right now, the "testimony" being given is being protrayed as something more than just people "getting things off their chest", as it were.

And I'm not complaining about your comments. I just have a tendancy to narrow things down. Sometimes, it's a bad habit. :)

NW2K Software

The reason people commit crimes are many and video games aren't one of them. People commit crimes because the dead-end job they work doesn't provide them with enough money, or maybe they can't even find a job. Some people just get bored so they go commit crimes because they think its fun. Some people are addicted to alcohol and drugs. Some criminals are trying to get even with a society that has constantly given them the short end of the stick. Bad parents, corrupt police, corrupt politicians, and religion are all also popular and understandable reasons. History has shown that when there is a problem with crime it is usually related with the law of the land. Why can't we learn from past mistakes? We have thousands of years of it to look at. Crime isn't anything new so why continue to blame new forms of media. I mean before Rock, Metal, Rap, D&D and Video Games society did have similar problems. Once one becomes aware of this the answer to the issue obviously has little to do with video games.

Guys, it's LAROUCHE. Having them speak out against us is probably the best thing that could happen to the video game industry.

As Phantom says, having LaRouche and JT against is is a bonus, all we need now is for Fred Phelps to join in and we have the complete set.

While I try in general not to complain too much about people complaining about my complaints anyway, but I don't ever take your comments on this board as less than sincere. I always like to read what you have to say here. Narrowing down is almost always good, I think.

I too am unclear under what pretense the LaRouche committee "testimony" was given. I must admit I am only assuming it was unsolicited, and given during the public commentary part of the program. I wasn't there for either meeting, and didn't have a chance to watch on C-SPAN.

I think there's at least one point I haven't done such a good job at expressing so far here. As Kyle Orland's Joystiq article suggests, LaRouche might be a beneficial political adversary to have.

There are lots of people in the 'mainstream' (including many of those 'clueless but influential white males over 50') who know about LaRouche. They may not know anything about video games, but they do know the LaRouche committee's reputation for promoting irrational theory and extremist policy.

For many in the mainstream, I think any LaRouche association automatically carries an implication that is more like the opposite of "expert testimony." So my initial thought was, as anti-anti-game activists, why mess with a boon like that?

the start of my last response was intended @ nightwng2000 in particular -- sorry!

Best way to respond to any of the LaRouche drones is with a simple question: "Is the Queen of England still selling drugs?"

Yeah, she sorted me out last week ;)

It's kind of good to see in a way, it signifies the start of the whole 'Computer games are designed specifically to teach children how to kill!' idealologists sinking into the 'Tin Foil Hats' section where they belong, with all the people who claimed exactly the same thing about Comics, D&D and Rock and Roll.

fuck these nutcases, no one outside their movement takes them seriously anyway. i dont even think thompson does.

Actually, I remember the case of Jeremiah Duggan, weren't some of these violent thugs that work for LaRouche involved in that?


They have less credibility than Jack Thompson!
And that's saying something!

It is surprising these people are such loonies. I wonder what the hell they are smoking or drinking to think there are such "cover-ups" for the industry. The media wants to find things wrong, but there's only so far they can go before a libel suit hits or something.

Wow, I'm surprised none of those nutjobs have yet showed up here to call us impotent or to defend their "beliefs"

Oh, I hope they do, LaRouches' racism against English and Jews is known even over here, I'd love to have one of his people here to defend themselves without him to be their 'thinking brain for the stupid'.

I think you all miss the point. No matter how crack-pot any theory is, there are those who will believe it, or take bits and pieces and believe it. Mostly because no one is openly challenging it at this point.

I think we take for granted that its common knowledge that LaRouche is a nutcase. Even if the industry just has someone standing next to him to look at the Committee and shrug in like -well, what do you want me to say to that-, I think it would benefit us.

And plus, no harm can come from the industry just having a presence there, LaRouche / Thompson being present or not. If it's part of the industry that will be debated and contended, then let us at least be there and show some concern over the issue, instead of just ignoring it and pretending it wont effect us.
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