Colorado Church Shooter Was Kept Away from Video Games By Parents

December 12, 2007 -
Matthew Murray, who killed four people and wounded several others during a pair of horrific church shootings over the weekend, apparently wasn't permitted to play video games while growing up.

The Denver Post reports:
On another website, a poster named nghtmrchld26, believed by police to be Murray, said he rebelled against an upbringing that forbade him from buying rock music, video games and popular DVDs.

Meanwhile, the All Spin Zone has published a lengthy collection of Murray's online postings:
Growing up, TV, Internet/computers, video games, music, Christian contemporary music, movies and books were all extremely restricted.

Despite that, Murray apparently did play some unspecified video games:
Yeah Diamond girl, when I was a teenager my mother would do a pat down to check for music, DVDs and video games whenever I came out of an electronics store like Best Buy or Circuit City. I’d still obtain things anyways, it was like getting drugs from a drug dealer, EVERYTHING had to be done in secret. lol

I remember getting thrown around the room and hit while getting interrogated about whether or not I had video games and DVDs... I remember having to listen to everything in secret, at very low volume levels or with headphones, whether it was video games, TV, DVDs, or music/radio.

GP: It's always difficult to know whether to even raise this issue in the aftermath of a shooting rampage. However, since the Denver Post gives it a mention, I believe it is appropriate for discussion. And, of course, we know that certain critics will be pushing a video game connection, however tenuous, in any tragedy like this.

In the final analysis, Murray seems like a very depressed, very angry, very disturbed young man who had access to weapons.

UPDATE: All Spin Zone has more online messages posted by Murray. They reveal even more of his deeply troubled life.
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Colorado Church Shooter Was Kept Away from Video Games By



There is nothing to do with video games. It can be said that a child needs to know about all things. My argument is why should a child be given pistol in her hands. Just make them live their childhood Please.



Addiction Recovery Colorado

I'd say something were it not for the fact that school shootings have been going on way before Video Games were on the scene.

That's a fact Yee, Thompson and the other censors would prefer you to forget.

And yes, I know this took place in a church before someone points it out, but the reasoning is the same, it's down to social, personal, mental and physical pressures, not because of video games, never has been.

The most annoying fact is that everyone who claims otherwise knows this, and those that don't are about 4 minutes research from knowing it.

poor kid

Quick point... I do NOT want this thread to devolve into a religious debate.

I'm looking at YOU, Pandralisk.


its quit sad.
from all the countrys in the world, its amerca who got the highest score.
shame on those wasted youth.
manson talked a bout long ago, yet again no one listen, no one care.

Indeed, he had a terrible life, and do you know what angers me more than anything?

Had people like Yee and Clinton not been busy distracting people from the real problems, we would be further along the road to stopping things like this. I'm not foolish enough to hold Yee responsible for the boys actions, but he is certainly part of the reason he wasn't discovered as a risk until later, everyone was so focussed on 'Ultra Violent Games', that they ignore things like 'Ultra Violent Parents'. And that attitude can be traced back to a few individuals who know exactly who they are.

In this instance I do think there needs to be some parental accountability. Yes Matthew is, ulitmately, responsible for his own actions. He made the choice to do what he did. However one has to wonder what might have been if not for the pressure cooker he was put in by his parents.

There's no easy answer to this. His parents did have the right to raise him with whatever rules and restrictions they felt were right. They weren't breaking the law with their rules so, legally, there's no accountability. While they had the right, I'm not sure if it was the right thing to do. It all comes down to common sense and trust.

Other than that. I'm not really sure what needs to be said.

true GoodRobotUs .
so true in fact.
there are a lot of problems in usa, more important than vg( iraq any body?) not mentiong drugs, prostation, AND most importent gun control.
but no, vg are killing simulation.

Seems to me Murray's case is less of the "ultra violent video games caused me to kill," and more of a case of "ultra-conservative paranoid parents caused me to kill."


Who'd have thought that child abuse could turn a child into a seething cauldron of murderous rage?


manson talked a bout long ago, yet again no one listen, no one care.

I remember that line from Bowling for Columbine. Where he said he would have done what no-one else would. Talk to them... and listen.

It sounds like he tried out several religious groups, and didn't fit in to any of them. Each time he was either asked to leave, or found himself distanced from the group. "Personality conflict".

I know it sounds cliche, but it really sounds like this guy needed a friend.

Oh, and just another thing to point out. He was 24...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

all in all.
its also the parents responspilty. after all its there child. they shouldnt be that tough. in fact they should at least give him there point of first, explain it, then give him the chioce.
why making his life so misrable. look at him now.


There was certainly a lack of trust on the part of his parents. That and a good helping of paranoia, but do we really want to qualify what they did as abuse? Like I said, there's no easy answer to this one. All we can do is analyze the facts and try to make heads or tails of it all.

i thought he was19.
dont forget also he did have some friends.
he minton it in his will.
Bowling for Columbine is one importent movie.
people, and politction should,no must have learn from it.
but alas.....

You notice the copycat stuff that's happened the past ten days.

First the Omaha killings, then the Colorado Christian killings, then I hear yesterday 6 people were shot (not fatal thank God) somewhere near Vegas. I'm tellin' ya, every time a loon goes out and does this, other loons learn about it on the tv or other media sources and then they go out and start icing people. They come out of the woodwork.

I recently had a discussion where I said that crime is actually going down for the past 15 years, and with all the 24 hour news, it ONLY SEEMS, that there is an epidemic of this killing stuff. Turns out that these things are few and far between. No country has more guns than the US, yet you don't see genocide every day!

In fact the first 75 years of the 20th century were the most bloody and horrific ever. Nearly 200 million killed in the 2 world wars, various genocides, and Cold War conflicts like Korea and Vietnam.

Guess what? No videogames then.

I rest my case.


I'd like to think I would have listened to Matthew. I've been where he was, well in the context of not fitting in anywhere. I know very well how lonely that can get. Feeling like you don't belong, no matter where you go, can be frustrating beyond measure. This is doubly true when you have parents who refuse to give you an outlet to release the stress feeling like that can cause.

A thorough examination of various articles, including postings by him, show a great deal of verbal and mental abuse, at the least, against him. Does that excuse what he did? Absolutely not! Yet, what facts we do know include that his home life was "very, very religious", that he was home schooled (not a "bad" thing in and of itself, but taken with the whole...), was kicked out of a religious school because of unspecified health issues (some articles claim mental problems but they are unconfirmed), and clearly a strict home life of distrust by his Parents (whether warranted or not isn't certain).

The (mis)users and abusers of tragedies will latch on, either screaming about "pop culture" or even "christianity", but the fact is that this individual's life was filled with, at the least, verbal and mental abuse, and possibly other health issues which didn't improve things. We know that many abuse victims may rebel in small or large ways against their abusers, and sometimes, that rebellion turns to hate on a larger scale and even may lead to violence.

It's true that it sucks to be a kid. Parents do make decisions that a kid doesn't agree with. And sometimes Parents make decisions that other Parents or unrelated individuals don't agree with. The fact is that, apparently, these Parents choose an extremely strict stance, both in raising him socially and otherwise. We can argue that it's the fault of "the Christians" but the fact remains that this was a choice of these specific Parents and that's who I hold responsible for that strict upbringing. Was it "right" or "wrong"? Everyone has their own methods. Was it earned discipline (was he untrustworthy before the discipline) or was it proactive (did they treat him this way from the beginning)? Certainly, it's clear it ended up backfiring because of the path he ended up taking. And that backfiring may have had help from other issues such as health issues.

Did the "pop culture" contribute to the shooting itself? I don't believe so, but then the only person who knows was him. Did it contribute to the "backlash"? It's possible. BUT, I believe the level of strictness was first and left him following a path that would set him at a risk of snapping in some fashion. It is, after all, just as possible that without that "pop culture" influence, that he could have committed the same act but against the "opposition" of his specific "Christian" faith. Does that mean it WOULD happen? Probably not. But he was clearly a powder keg, and his "rebellion" was, in his mind clearly from his writings, against those he felt made life horrible for him and others.

Who was responsible for the shootings? He was. No maker of any of the "pop culture" nor any of those religious individuals (his Parents or the school or others) are responsible for the shootings. There is no foresight that can decide that any exposure to the religion or "pop culture" would lead any individual down any particular path. The choices made by his Parents did lead him down certain paths, but they had no notion of where it would lead. They are responsible for their own actions, not his, like it or not.

Could anything have been done to prevent this tragedy? Certainly no legislation dictating what is or is not appropriate (whether it be a taught religious belief or various "pop culture" products or anything else) for other people's children will prevent such events. Could anything have been done within this specific case with this specific individual? Only speculation can we call on because we cannot view the infinite possiblities of alternatives. Nor do we know ALL the facts regarding this situation. Only someone who wants to abuse the families and community that suffered this tragedy would try to use it to push their agenda(s).

NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

ultraviolent ?
where are we?
a clockwork orange?

Sounds like abusive parents made him snap.

I think I just get annoyed that GP has to mention something like this, because we all know there will be carrion feeders hovering over the whole tragedy, hoping to feed from it.

nightwng2000 you have a point.
but dont forget. cause and effect.
bad raising, bad fruit.

Well said nightwing. I have to agree with you there.

Point taken about not becoming a religious flame war. But we already know that throughout the internet, it has become so. Religious blogs defending the religious aspect. Posters railing against "Christianity".

Oddly enough, it does bring to mind that Rebecca Walsh story regarding the Utah Mall shooter earlier this year about how people were jumping on the bandwagon blaming "pop culture" or the "Muslim" religion for the shooters reaction. I LOVED that article, but haven't been able to find it since. Though "pop culture" and "Christianity" are playing a more clearer role in this case than similar issues played in the Utah Mall shooting, I think the psychologist(?) in that article may still be on the right track even for this case. Can you dig up that article again? Thanks.

NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

@jkdjr25 -- I dunno...I'm looking at his comments about how he was "thrown around while being interrogated" by his parents. How is that not child abuse?


I agree, everyone knows it boils down to far more than simply media intake, what infuriates me is that no-one in a position to do anything about helping young men like this find someone to talk to, or get some help or counselling, are more interesting in bolstering their careers by making feelgood anti-video game laws. It's disgusting to see the needs of the people outweighed by the ambitions of their representatives.


I hadn't seen that. If it did happen then the parents should be held accountable.


In respect to you (its your blog after all), I will refrain from comment- but I do believe there is a significant religious element to this discussion.

The thing is that we Humans have more options as to what "effect" we'll have further down the road.

An apple rolls off the table... it's only option is to fall and hit the floor. Outside intervention may prevent it, but the apple has no options that it can make for itself.

A Human standing on a precipice (mentally or physically) has unlimited options at their disposal. The individual's life experiences, past emotions, current emotions, even genetic traits, and other factors, may make them FEEL they have limited options, but they actually have many. The "cause" of their being on the precipice does not determine the effect because the individual's effect (the choice they make) really is in their control for the most part.

NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

I actually grew up in a way similar to this kid. I wasn't allowed to buy cd(or cassette tapes) or movies(vhs in my day) unless they were Christian. Though my parents were never psycho about it and I was able to play NES and genesis. I turned out relatively well adjusted but I think that was because despite the restrictions I still had good parents. What is weird to me though is that they banned video games, dvds, etc. but guns are ok( at least I'm assuming this since he had access to the weapons).

Sometimes its a sad shame that people are restricted by their parents to become the people the parents want them to be, and not the people they will become.

Its a crying shame that it drove him to this.
And Dennis, I don't see a problem reporting on this, because within hours of similar shootings there are massive land grabs by certain people claiming its the fault of Counter-Strike, every single time...

There is a massive religious element to this, Dennis. You can't avoid the discussion about it sadly. Are you afraid of the juxtaposition of games to Christianity?

Unfortunately, like in any religion, there are some that take it far more seriously than others. Imposing it on people, forcing them into corners that they cannot get out of. Its just a tragedy that someones idea of "good" got warped accidentally, leadin to this.

I think the problem here is not so much the religion, as:

a) The interpretation of the Religion
b) The Parents lack of understanding, they blindly believed everything they were told about the 'evil' of modern media and didn't bother to research for the sake of their son. They were brainwashed by popular 'gossip' about Media and failed to see their own actions were doing far more damage than Media ever could.

does anyone think that this is going to go unnoticed by the people who have a soapbox to stand on and an agenda to push?


Nope, not in the slightest, and that's the most disgusting fact.

For several decades now America has done almost nothing but scapegoat over these tragedies, it has done nothing productive the deal with the problem and so the problem has continued as has the scapegoating.

Basically, these tragedies are going to continue, until government stop trying to find something to blame and actually starts dealing with the real problems.

I'm glad JT is busy with his disciplinary trial and is permabanned from here now. Even if video games weren't involved, you know he'd use this as an excuse to go on the warpath again. Not only would he say Murray was a gamer with little to no evidence to back him up, but he'd also try to use this as evidence about how his faith is being attacked and persecuted by the likes of us. :P

The truth of the matter is that it's really a question of how the mental health care system has consistently failed at helping young adults, particularly young males. Until we realize that's where the problem truly lies, and not with things like video games, will we actually begin to figure out why this keeps happening. Fortunately it seems that the news media is beginning to wake up to this, as evidenced by their coverage of the Virignia Tech shooting. It looks like they're looking elsewhere for serious answers and not trying to pin it on facile ones like video games like they used to.

Regarding Murray's upbringing, actually I kind kind of understand. I have a friend who was also brought up in an ultra-strict and religous household. She had been through a bad marriage and been forced to move back in with her parents after her divorce. She sufferers from Apsergers syndrome and depression and is currently fighting to get disability as she is unable currently to get and hold a job. Her therapy sessions have been helpful, but not as much as she'd like. It got to the point where she couldn't stand it and she said had she not gotten herself out of there, she would have killed someone or herself. She currently lives in a nice halfway house furnished by the state and she says she's a lot happier there than she was at her parents' home.

With that in mind and based on everything I had read about Murray's life in other news reports, it's easy for me to understand what happened. Clearly he resented the idea of religion being forced on him and he lashed back. This does not excuse what he did by any means, but it helps to make what he did make sense.

"I remember getting thrown around the room and hit while getting interrogated about whether or not I had video games and DVDs… "

that there tells me the problem lies with bad parenting.
also, that they banned contemporary christian music is unexpected, i wonder why?

i'm a bit confused as to where the church fits into this, was the guy/ family Christian?

i dont know about every one else here but i use video games as an escape and a way to release stress and anger

im never gonna keep video games from my kids

I'm curious about who will use this to their advantage in the future. The anti-christians, the Anti-Gun right's people, or some other group I can't think of.

Bad parenting creates little monsters. End. Of. Story.

(I will, of course, forgo the rant on Fundamentalists at GP's request.)

If you try and force a worldview on a young (teenaged) person, hiding him/her from things that have no ill effects when coupled with strong parenting, treating DVDs, music, and video games as evil - with no reasoning, just brute force - you will create a person at best ill equipped to deal with adult life, and at worst? Read the headlines.

~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

This sounds like a case of rebelling against his upbringing. Every time I hear of a child with extreme restrictions on what content they are allowed to view, I wonder how they will rebel when they get older. If they are forced to listen to Christian music, will they form a Death Metal band? If they aren't permitted to watch television, will they own a huge library of ultra violent films? I know people attempt to protect their children from things that might harm them, but complete protection harms them far more. When they get older and are suddenly exposed to new content and experiences, they will have no clue how to react.

This individual took it to an extreme. He murdered people. That is no one's fault, but his own. Even if his parents were the worst people on the planet, his actions are his fault. One just has to wonder, would things have been different if they allowed him more freedom and choice. Would things have been different if they put pop-culture in perspective, rather than shut him off from it?

@ Nightwing

I agree with you completely.

You see? That's the kind of shit that makes people kill.

From the article:

Carl Raschke, a professor of religious studies at the University of Denver, said he believes Murray was "under huge psychological turmoil."

"It seemed like he was involved in his own spiritual battle against the empire of Christianity," adding that one of the screen names, nghtmrchld26, is taken from a video game in which characters battle evil demons.

Looks like some are already trying. It should also be mentioned that his parents may have referred to him as a 'Nightmare Child', I think possibly there is some grasping at straws to blame media on this occasion.

Sigh... So he DID play video games. Although unspecified, ANY game is enough to convince dense politicians and lawyers that it's the games that corrupted him. Even though there had to have been some 'corruption' already considering he had to secretly go against his parents' wishes to get them.

And yes, there are unavoidable religious elements to this, but I believe Dennis means he doesn't want us to drop the main topic, which is the Colorado shooter, and devolve into a bunch of people insulting or theatening eachother over their religious differences. In other words, stay with the topic, and keep it civilized. That's my interpretation, anyway.

To those complaining about this not turning into a religious discussion:

Go back to just about any thread over the past several weeks and look for any of a certain person's screen name (he'll remain nameless) and you're welcome to discuss religion with him there. Like Dennis, most people contributing to this blog are simply sick of that type of discussion.

This is not about religion. It's about two parents who went overboard in trying to control their child, who heaped plenty of mental and (if comments above are true) physical abuse on their child, and are now probably shocked (SHOCKED!) that he would snap and do something horrible like this. Whatever the reasoning of the parents, whether it was religion, video games, whatever, they were wrong to treat their child in this manner.

Even with these facts out there ,there is still going to be alot of people blaming videogames for this horrible crime.Yesterday I saw Dr. Keith Ablow blame the internet and videogames for the tragedy in Colorado and Virgina tech on Neil Cavuto's on fox news , regardless of the fact that the virgina tech shooter did not play violent games.As soon as I find the link, I will post the link to the video here.

It's bad parenting. No different than if the cause of the bad parenting was drugs or alcohol; in this case it was religion leading them to make very bad decisions and do bad things.


Growing up, TV, Internet/computers, video games, music, Christian contemporary music, movies and books were all extremely restricted. All those things carried this……mystique about them. They were like these mythical things imbued with incredible power straight from Satan, all run by Satanist covens operating out of Hollywood, Washington D.C.(when Bill Clinton was in office), and abortion clinics. Except there was one problem…………the senior pastor and his close church friends and their families all watched TV/Cable TV, had the internet, listened to at least some non-Christian music and all listened to CCM, video games(including those satanic “T” and “M” rated ones), and all, especially the senior pastor, had “R” Movie collections. Me and some of the other non-elite church youth and members asked about these contradictions but never received any answers.

You know, with double standards like that, it's not surprising the poor young man was driven to distraction...

Sorry Dog_Welder. Whilst it isn't the fault directly of religion for these parents and their terrible examples of child abuse, you do have to question where the parents got the motivation to treat the child as such. It may or not be about the religious beliefs of the parents but people will think it, and it will be discussed. Belief is a personal thing, so I don't think anyone here will blame all christianity for parents beliefs. Much like the majority of people here won't blame all Islamic people for the terrorist attacks in North Africa this week.

The parents treated the child badly, there is no denying that, but without understanding the parents motivation all you are doing is glossing over the situation. It could have been their own bad upbringing, it could have been their personal beliefs, religious or otherwise. Until you look into the parents and their mental health in particular (for treating someone like they did, applying no trust whatsoever to an adult!), you can't rule it out yet nor include it like it is a confirmed fact, which is the difference between most people's thinking here and the JT way.

I can't think of a time where either a single atheist or group of atheists shot up a church, flew into a building, or shoved people into a gas chamber.
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