NY Post: "College Killer Crazy for Violent Vid Game"

February 16, 2008 -
The New York Post, a daily tabloid, has a story in this morning's edition with this screaming headline:
College Killer Crazy for Violent Vid Game

The article, written by a pair of Post reporters, claims that NIU rampage killer, 27-year-old Stephen Kazmierczak, was "obsessed" with Counter-Strike, which the paper describes as "an ultra-violent video game."

The Post quoted a former dorm mate of Kazmierczak's, Ben Woloszyn:
He played a lot of video games, especially Counter-Strike, really loud.

The Post article appears to draw a linkage between the player's actions in the game and Kazmierczak's shooting spree:
In the game, players use imaginary money to buy shotguns, pistols and other equipment they need to move around an imaginary world in which they're constantly under threat of being killed by roving terrorists.

In real life, Kazmierczak - who had become "erratic" recently after shunning medication for an undisclosed illness - purchased weapons like those used in Counter-Strike, including a Glock handgun and a pump-action Remington shotgun...

Down near the bottom of the article, the Post also mentions the killer's very short-lived stints in the Army and as a corrections officer. These episodes appear to suggest an unstable nature.

GP: While the Post article seems to confirm other reports indicating that Kazmierczak had significant mental health issues, exactly why the paper chose to focus on his past video game play is not clear. Personally, I'm far more concerned about a disturbed person with a gun than I am about a disturbed person with a video game.

We should note that the New York Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Fox News, which, as GamePolitics readers well know, frequently uses sensationalized reporting to smear video games.

Is there a connection?

Hey, as they say on Fox, we report. You decide.

I'd be remiss not to point out that game violence critic Jack Thompson alerted me to the Post report via several e-mails, one of which arrived under the subject line:
Screw Dennis McCauley and Hal Halpin and the ECA Donkey They Rode In On...

I kid you not.

Full Disclosure Dept: The ECA is the parent company of GamePolitics.

UPDATE: A piece in the Northwest Herald also mentions the shooter's Counter-Strike play:
Kazmierczak often would play the video game Counter Strike, a first-person shooting game, the roommates said, but they were quick to add that the game was nothing unusual for dormitory halls.


Of course Jack Thompson is lying jccalhoun. Unfortunately JT's diatribes have little to do with a real lack of concern for children or the well being of anyone but himself.

I really don't have the patience to post a comment on all of these articles about the latest tragedy involving the media sensationalism, but I just wish we could do something more than commment here. As much as I hate to say it, I wish we could sue the bastards that report the lies that always seem to be told.

It just angers me when people worried about the games instead of the killer's mental condition.

It just...disturbs me.

Would the ECA Donkey be Donkey Kong?

Doesn't the post say he was in the Army for awhile? Doesn't the army teach people how to use these weapons. Obviously he was discharged, but the fact is everyone points the finger at gaming and ignores other facts.... Why was he discharged? We'll probably never know cause he once got a high score in CS back in 2004.

I think the fact that he could go to the store and buy a gun is irrelevant. If i wanted to kill lots of kids at a school or place, for whatever reason, I don't need a gun, guns just make it slightly easier. The problem here is that no one on campus had a gun to shoot back.

But that's an argument that will never be settled...

Couldn't someone sue Thompson for Libel and Slander for saying that Cho played violent video games? Honestly, they really could. Same with EA and Bioware for the Mass Effect incident. Sue for libel/slander, and eventually these people will be forced to get the facts right before slamming people.

I haven't seen ANYTHING mentioned about any video game playing anywhere. As far as I know the only link to video games is Jackhole's interview where he said Cho played video games.

It's incredible.

"I assumed that attention whore got disbarred…"

The case isn't over yet. The Bar hasn't issued its ruling.


..............oh godammit. Not those fucks. Not the Westboro Bapist Church. No no no no no NO!

@ Diane:

LOL! Thanks much for sharing that site with me. I'll have to take a good look at it when I'm not weighed down by a need for sleep.

They say Counter Strike like it's news that these shooters played the game. You know whom else plays CS? Millions of other gamers! The odds aren't rare that he and many other shooters would be playing that game. Even still, it's not like the game could train anyone at being a school shooter, if even a decent one.

as for the revered Phelps, he's somewhat getting on in years, when he passes wouldn't it be a wonderful twist of irony for the surviving families of war veterans to picket his funeral with signs that say "thank god for dead intolerant asshats"

lolololollololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololol ! then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ! i'm over it ......... who the hell reads the newspaper ( except for sports section ) anyways ?


I’ve always hated him. Always. And now, even more.

Also, how is this relevent to his “cause”?"

He thinks EVERYONE is gay.

No, really, he does. He's basically using bronze-age bible-thumping to force himself to believe that he and his family are the only people EVER going to heaven, EVER, and everyone else is a godless heathen who deserves eternal damnation.

Yes, he IS that self-absorbed.

Let's keep in mind that Jacko has always said that he didn't want to ban these games just ban the sale of them to minors.
The killer was 27.
Counter-Strike was first released in 1999.
Since it is only February, let's assume that the killer hadn't had a birthday yet this year. That means that he would have been 19 when Counter-Strike was released. That means that if Jacko is telling the truth when he says that he doesn't want to ban the sale of violent games just the sale of them to minors then Jacko should not have anything to complain about because the killer was not a minor when the game was first released.
Moreover, as Counter-Strike was originally released as a mod, if such a law were to have existed back in 1999 it wouldn't have mattered anyway since Counter-Strike was free. CS was not for sale until years later.
So either Jacko should have nothing to say about this or he is lying when he has said that he doesn't not want to ban the sale of violent videogames to adults.

*Hits head against desk repeatedly*

Why don't we just give up?

Why don't we just give up our hobby and start doing something else? Maybe then these people will keave us alone. I am sick and tired of this crap. If I don't fight, I'm wrong because I'm letting them win, if I fight, then I'll be in more crap about how gamers will never accept criticism.

But if I never play games again, they can't blame me anymore.

Since when is the New York Post a reliable source of news? After VT, the Washington Post said that Cho played "violent video games", but then did their research (something Jacko never does because we all know he's right) and found out he didn't, so they retracted their story.

You know why I'm in such a pessimistic mood? Because I don't care anymore. I'm sick of this sort of crap and the people who are like the ones in the article outnumber those who DO play games. Let's face it. we are fighting a losing battle and Jack Thompson is winning despite the fact that he's putting up with a lot of shit in court, because he's getting exactly what he wants. Everyone will now hate us gamers and the only thing we can do is kill ourselves or give up our hobby.


I wouldn't be surprised if they've thrown in the original DOOM as well.

Using the New York Post as a news source is like using the Weekly World News as a news source. Next thing you know, Bat Boy will harken the end of world. By sending GP the news article with the "screw you" attached, it is Jacko citing a source known for entertaining fiction. It exemplifies his credibility.

The keyword here is "tabloid". Therefore anything they report is worth about as much as a sack of horse crap.

I would venture to say that The New York Post is just pulling that quote about Counter Strike from the article that ran in NIU's student newspaper on Friday about the shooter. Don't know how reliable the quote is, especially given that it just happens to mention the same game that our friend Jack Thompson was talking about on FOX earlier that morning.

See: http://www.northernstar.info/article/2354/

Whatever. Its useless to talk about these topics anymore- people like JT only care about furthering their own egos (Jack Thompson suffers from a personality disorder himself, anyway). The sensationalist media is just trying to sell papers.

As ALWAYS, this is a case of a person with a psychological disease going crazy. Its much easier and more politically correct to blame something unrelated like games than to actually focus on mental illness.

Are we to believe that games made this guy crazy?

Tabloid trash is still tabloid trash.

REAL FACTS which surfaced:
He was a B student.
He was seen as respectful to others.
He was not a loner (even having been a part of the chess club in school and having received praise from other college students).
He was on medication for an undisclosed mental condition.
He was released from the Army for an undisclosed condition.
He received praise for his college work, which included work with the criminal justice system, including prisons.
He lived with a woman at some point (haven't seen any interviews with her).
Neighbors say he was, for the most part, quiet.
His medication obviously was working decently with little to no negative side effects (hence, the previous positive statements about him).
His erratic behaviour began shortly after stopping his medication.

So, movies, music, tv shows, books, video games, magazines, whatever, clearly had NO significant effect on the first part of his 27 years of life. Not to the degree of violence he now suddenly showed.

So, what are the potential events that ACTALLY led to this event?
The cessation of his medication may have put him in a different frame of mind than what he had been in for almost 3 decades.

And with that differing frame of mind, some event occurred that set him off. An event which he may have actedly differently to had he been on his medication.

His reasons for going off his medication? Unknown.
The event that occurred during his being off his medication? Unknown.

Speculate all you want. The Truth, The WHOLE Truth, And Nothing But The Truth beats out agenda seeking guttertrash any day of the week.

NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

The New York Post has been, for as long as I had lived in New York, to be a tabloid right up there with the National Enquirer. No one in the Daily News or the Times took it seriously. It's filled with inaccuracies and sensationalism. It bends it's views to match Murdoch's, just like Fox. But I guess that is what people eat up, and is yet another reason why Rupert Murdoch is so rich.

Nightwing - "He was released from the Army for an undisclosed condition."

So instead of blaming the Army mentality they blame video games.

EVEN THOUGH the main purpose of any army is ultimately to kill and of course not be killed.

Why can't we place the blame on the person who committed the crime? Responsibility.

Additionally, it should be noted that their 'source' for saying he played these games are former dorm mates. I remember when someone set fire to my high school, everyone pretty much said whatever they wanted to reporters just to get on the news. There's so much that could be wrong with reporting stuff like that. They could be lieing about Kazmierczak, they could be lieing about being former dormmates, they could be lieing about what games.

In other news, a drunk bum at the scene said he saw the devil posses the souls of the living, and that the pink elephant will never be able to play the piano again.

I wouldn't even blame the Army. We don't know why he was discharged. It may have been a legitimate reason. It may not have even been due to mental health reasons.

Why does the media not want to blame the individual who committed the act? Because "responsibility" doesn't sell, "sensationalism", at ANY cost, does.

NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl



The fact that you can go buy a shotgun at a store is the problem here. Not video games.


what the ny post isnt saying this newspaper is


The post needed a juicy story and telling it how it is and what it is like well that is just not fun!


What baffles me is WHY this is still selling? Replace NIU with V-tech or Columbine and it's EXACTLY the same story. When (god forbid) another tragedy of this nature strikes, it'll be the same then, the VERY same phrases. "Ultra-violent", "obsessed", "murder simulator". Aren't the public getting bored of reading the same article over and over?
Bad enough the tabloids profit from tragedy, worse still the people who want to buy it


The point is not that the army should be blamed, but that actual military experience would probably have more of an effect than any video game experience.

"The New York Post, a daily tabloid, has a story in this morning’s edition with this screaming headline"

Keyword: "Tabloid"

Why would I want anything written on my toilet paper/fire kindling seriously?

Screw Dennis McCauley and Hal Halpin and the ECA Donkey They Rode In On…

Now I'm really mad!

Wait, "pump action Remington" I blame the Evil Dead series.

Screw Jack Thompson and the big fat donkey of half truths and getting on TV for tragedys he rides on.

Lets face it, no one's blamed Frogger for jay walking. Lets not even get me started on Pitfall. I have yet to see this game get blamed for rope oe vine swinging. Video games, as a whole, are a source of entertainment. To some they enlighten and to others it is a escape of boredom.

When a doctor saves a life and is interviewed THEY would never say "It was all possible from the video game training I received"


I'm betting that he had Schizophrenia. Based on what little information is available and the fact that his behaviour shifted erraticly after he ceased taking the medication that sounds like the most likely scenario. Especially if you understand why people in his position willingly stop taking the meds.

People with a chemical imbalance have a tendency to stop taking the meds because their behaviour evens out. They start to think that they are cured so they don't need the meds any more. This tends to lead into either a vicious cycle of starting and stopping or a tragedy like what happened here.

So Jack sends a TABLOID article to Dennis and he thinks he made some kind of point? Between that and Fox News he really isn't even trying for any reputable news sources.

i'm tired of coming up with witty ways to say Jack Thompson is a fuckhead.


where are you from? LTIC there were waiting peroids and background checks.

Let's not forget that the Army teaches individuals how to SHOOT. So, um, wouldn't that negate JT's Counter Strike theory of teaching the player how to shoot?

I play lots of violent video games, and I haven't killed anyone.

so... he said screw you... That's REALLY not something a lawyer would say... a clue as into Jack Thompson's future?

Wow, that headline sounds like a PARODY of sensationalist anti-video game media. The sad part is that it's real...

Best article so far on the killer...


Sullied in the comments section as Jack Thompson refuses to read this article and instead posts his press release. Thank you, Jack. This guy spending over a year in a mental hospital, his reluctance and refussal to come to grips with his mental illness, and his abrupt ceasing of medication (ask any psychologist what effect that has.... you know soo many, Jack. Or at least you quote them hap hazardly). Nor could this have anything to do with the killer having mimmicked negative behaviors in the past due to the exposure and attention it rewarded him with (mimmicking a fellow inpatients cutting behavior).

Nope, it's that fucking video game. Everyone who's played it is a walking timebomb waiting to explode. Well, with luck, this students killing spree took out five of his fellow timebombs. Sixteen just injured... shame. If he had trained a little harder he could have taken more of his fellow unstables out of the general population. Goddam, I feel so dirty for typing that. That's just evil... is this the mental condition you train yourself to exist in, Jack?

The fucking instant I heard about the school shooting I knew that the media and Jack Thompson and all those assholes would be jumping to exploit the students' deaths.

It's amusing how these school shootings get blamed on Counter-Strike, one of the most unrealistic shooters ever. You can get shot several times and run around like nothing happened, you can reload all your guns very quickly while jumping around, you can snipe people with 100% accuracy, as there is no scope sway....

That, and moving a mouse on your table and clicking is nothing like holding a gun and shooting it.

Its looks like the communications media in EE.UU has some kind of "deal" between them, because when a media say something the others say the same thing without "own trial" its sad.

"In the game, players use imaginary money to buy shotguns, pistols and other equipment they need to move around an imaginary world in which they’re constantly under threat of being killed by roving terrorists."

Unless you're, you know, playing as a terrorist.

Couple things to point out here:

-Counter-strike is a deathmatch game.
-While there are shotguns and handguns, there is no Remington or Glock
-The game characters where jumpsuits and vests. Kazmierczak's dress (or Steinhäuser's for that matter) aren't similar.
-There's no reward for killing hostages.

Andrew Eisen

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Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MechaTama31So, between pulling a game from one chain of stores, and forcing editorial changes to a media source, only one of them strikes you as being on the edge of censorship, and it's the game one?07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Andrew EisenHave gamers ever tried to ban a product? Can you be more specific? I'm not clear what you're getting at.07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Mattsworknamethey should have expected some kind of blow back. But I didn't participate in that specific action07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MattsworknameAndrew Youd have to ask others about that, I actualyl didn't have much beef with them till last year, so I can't speak to there history. I simply feel that gamesutra chose politics over gaming and chose to make enimies of it's prime audiance. For that,07/28/2015 - 8:40pm
Andrew EisenI'm still not clear on how Gamasutra was lacking in accountability or what it was lacking in accountability for.07/28/2015 - 8:38pm
MattsworknameAndrew: You and I agree on most of that. I don't diagree that there should ahve been other actions taken. Now, I do want to point something out, casue Im not sure if it's happened. Have gamers ever tried to have a product banned?07/28/2015 - 8:37pm

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