Earlier this week it was reported that 17-year-old German rampage shooter Tim Kretschmer was a fan of the first-person shooter Counter-Strike. In the past, video game violence critics have sought to link Counter-Strike to school shootings in both Europe and the United States.
New reports suggest that Kretschmer played another popular FPS, Far Cry 2, on the night before he killed 15 people and himself. In the U.K., the Times reports:
The teenage gunman spent the night before his spree playing a violent video game in which a heavily armed mercenary tracks down and kills an arms dealer, police revealed yesterday… Tim Kretschmer spent from 7.30pm to 9.40pm playing Far Cry 2, in which the player takes on the role of the killer.
Remarkable parallels emerged between the video game and the 17-year-old’s rampage. In the game it is essential to hijack cars to move around. Kretschmer hijacked a car… Characters in the game, which is made by the French company Ubisoft… wear black camouflage uniforms – the clothing Kretschmer wore on Wednesday.
Most sinister of all, Far Cry 2’s killer uses a Beretta 92 handgun, the weapon fired 112 times by Kretschmer [GP: Actually, the player controls a number of different weapons in the game]. The game… includes sequences in which the aiming, firing and reloading of a Beretta are portrayed in vivid detail. It also rewards players who shoot their victims in the head, the style of killing chosen by Kretschmer.
The Times quotes video game critic Lieutenant-Colonel Dave Grossman on the supposed influence of violent shooting games:
You can see their influence in the way these school shooters aim and shoot accurately and move from one target to the next, moving through people dispassionately.
But Walter Hollstein, a sociologist with the Council of Europe, disagreed:
It’s nonsense to assume they turn adolescents into school shooters. A variety of factors, such as helplessness, anger and loss of control, must come together for them to become the trigger, but the games themselves don’t make anyone a killer.
In additional news related to Kretschmer’s rampage, Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for a tightening of Germany’s gun laws.