School Shooting Averted, Story Plays Up Link to Games

Authorities in Beauvais, France believe they have prevented a possible school shooting by a 13-year old “computer games enthusiast."

A TimesOnline story details the unfolding events under the unfortunate headline “Computer Games Fan ‘Planned School Massacre.’” Suspicion was initially raised when the boy, named Bastien, left extra early for school, eventually leading his parents to a blog post of his that read: “This is my last message because Tuesday November 17, 2009 will be the last day of my life. Sorry to leave you…"  Police were alerted and sealed off the boy’s school, Saint-Esprit. The teen apparently saw police at the school and avoided it, ditched a shotgun and 25 cartridges in a field along the way. He was found later at a cyber-café.

A friend of Bastien said that, “He always wanted to go into the Army. He loved battles. He was passionate about history, warriors. He played video games up to one or two in the morning…” Other buddies told reporters that Bastien was a World of Warcraft player.

Even the Mayor of Allone, Christian Sadowski, painted Bastien as a gamer, saying that he knew the boy was a fan of computer games, adding, “Many young people end up finding it difficult to tell the difference between dream and reality. He played his little fantasy on the net and then carried it out.”

The boy was anxious about an upcoming parent-teacher conference as a result of receiving less-than-stellar grades.

GP: Glad they caught him obviously, but the secondary focus on games in this article is gratuitous as is usually the case.  But as we, and Lorne Lanning, know, this is how the mainstream media rolls. At least they didn’t call WOW a “murder simulator.”

Update: GP reader Soldat_Louis rounded up and translated a handful of other stories and media outlets that played up the videogame link:

• "Considered as a good student coming from a normal family, the middle school boy, a video game adept, (…)" (Le Point)

• "According to a police source, ‘bad grades could be the cause of the murderous intentions’ of the student, a video game adept."  (France-Soir)

• "It’s on his blog that the student, a video game fan, has published his intention to make a name of himself (…)" (Le Télégramme)

• "The kid is considered as a good student. He comes from a normal family. He is a video game adept and maintains his own blog. (…) [The attempted shooting] revives the memory of [the Winnenden shooting]. Perpetrated by  Tim Kretschmer, 17-years-old, also a video game adept, (…)" (La Dépêche)

Soldat_Louis also pointed us towards (and again translated the relevant part) a debate over “How to protect your children against the dangers of the Internet” that took place on French radio station RTL this morning.

Véronique Fima of the Action Innocence nonprofit group apparently came to the defense of games and gamers in the debate, while noting that in the case of the Beauvais story, the Internet played a positive role and assisted in stopping any violence.

On the point of videogames, she stated, “First of all, I wouldn’t want them to be incriminated in the first place (…) rather than knowing that he was a video game aficionado, I would like us to ask the question : what was the deep discomfort that made this child act that way (…) All children and teenagers all play video games, yet they’re not all mass murderers."

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26 comments

  1. sharpshooterbabe says:

    At least Véronique Fima stated that this had nothing to do w/games. Finally! Or the problem wasn’t games. One of very few adults that don’t say that. I’m not complaining. I’m glad the authorities stopped him before he did harm. That child needs to be told what is reality & what is fantasy. But they didn’t say what games he played. Hopefully it was GTA.

     

     

    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  2. Magic says:

    Lorne Lanning is right – the media want to sensationalise this (as they do all similar tragedy stories) so they can grab the attention of the public and get exposure. They always present easy answers, to persuade simple-minded people or to intrigue the more intelligent person who is curious.

    It’s absolutely ridiculous, we’ll REALLY have to work hard to get the media to stop this bullshit.

  3. cpu64 says:

    "Obviously false if you actually PAY ATTENTION to the facts. The farewell letter he left behind is MORE then enough to tell us that he damn well knew what he was doing and that he wasn’t just mixing up fantasy and reality…."

    True, if the kid has left a note saying that he would go kill a few people, then himself, but would BRB once he respawns, then YES, there would be some serious reality/fantasy judgment issues with him.

  4. Monte says:

    “Many young people end up finding it difficult to tell the difference between dream and reality. He played his little fantasy on the net and then carried it out.”

    Obviously false if you actually PAY ATTENTION to the facts. The farewell letter he left behind is MORE then enough to tell us that he damn well knew what he was doing and that he wasn’t just mixing up fantasy and reality….

  5. Adamas Draconis says:

    Actually, at the risk of awakening the grue, I have to ask one question. Where in the world is The asshole Jack Thompson?!

     

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  6. Brokenscope says:

    It’s not a rifle, it’s a shotgun, rather important difference.

    In France pump shotguns with a magazine capacity of less than 3 shells(I believe) are not regulated. Break action shotguns are also unregulated.

  7. Magic says:

    It’s not absolute proof, per se, but it looks highly likely. He’ll need a damn good explanation. Carrying more than one bullet surely reduces the chance of him going out to attempt suicide.

  8. Beacon80 says:

    Do they even know he was planning on going on a rampage?  The description of his blog sounds more like a suicide note than anything else.

    Admittedly, carrying a shotgun and a box of shells raises some questions in that regards, but I still feel like I’m not getting a complete picture here.

  9. Unrealevil says:

    Also, the comment sections on three of the articles (Le Télégramme has no comments) that Soldat_Louis sent in have people pointing out the ridiculous focus on video games, and saying the focus should be on how he obtained the gun so easily.  And mocking the phrase "adepte des jeux vidéo".

  10. Michael Chandra says:

    At least the Dutch media don’t bother mentioning the game-part. -_- They’re a bit more neutral in that. Hey, he was gonna go after his teachers. That suggests he had a hard time at school, not a game issue.

  11. Glasofruix says:

    Well, that’s surprising ’cause we’re not supposed to own guns here (it’s strictly prohibited), maybe for hunting purposes (with very strict verifications) but there’s a limitation of what kind of gun you can have. So yeah, i’d like to know where this little idiot got his gun.

    EDIT: Kay, just red some articles provided above, the kid took his father’s hunting rifle, the father is to blame here. Oh, and btw french papers are as accurate as faux news when it comes to sensational.

  12. Brokenscope says:

    I find it odd how inconsistent French gun Laws are.

    Okay not really, gun laws tend to be inconsistant when they aren’t an across the board ban.

     

    Also, if this was in the United States, people would be demanding to know how he got his hands on the gun, and ranting about how we need to fix our gun laws.

  13. DarkSaber says:

    I was talking about in the USA, but if you want to be facetious then: "That’s no excuse!"

    ————————————————–

    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  14. Hackangel says:

    Look at the update, from the translations of Soldat Louis:
    • "Considered as a good student coming from a normal family, the middle school boy, a video game adept, (…)" (Le Point)

    • "The kid is considered as a good student. He comes from a normal family. He is a video game adept and maintains his own blog. (…) [The attempted shooting] revives the memory of [the Winnenden shooting]. Perpetrated by  Tim Kretschmer, 17-years-old, also a video game adept, (…)" (La Dépêche)

    It’s obvious! Normal families fill you with murdering intents.

    The point is, saying a kid is a video-game adept should be something as trivial as saying the kid rode a bike or eated cereals. Not all kids do it but you can find an imense number who do.

  15. DarkSaber says:

    "Véronique Fima of the Action Innocence nonprofit group apparently came to the defense of games and gamers in the debate"

    Now if only the ECA was a bit more pro-active about doing that. Once in a blue moon doesn’t cut it.

    ————————————————–

    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  16. GrimCW says:

    i’ve always wondered how they can add such things into their stories when i was tought adding unfounded information and personal opinion is a big no no when writing.

  17. Neeneko says:

    “Many young people end up finding it difficult to tell the difference between dream and reality. He played his little fantasy on the net and then carried it out.”

    Ever notice the people saying this often have trouble telling reality from fantasy themselves?

  18. GrimCW says:

    are there any adults who honestly don’t play games? even Jack Thompson admits he plays GTA, maybe not for fun, but he has admitted to playing it :p

    kinda funny.. since then he’s all but stopped mouthing off about the game too..

  19. GrimCW says:

    sounds like a copycat crime to me, trying to mimic columbine or some crap.

    as for joining the military or fantasy battles, ummm.. militarys one thing, but a few people enjoying fantasy battles or fighting have been insane enough to try and create their own fight. Sounds like to me he was just doing that, he became enthralled and wanted to go for it. You can’t blame games on that, books, movies, folks tales, and songs all give the mind something to play with as well. But without half of that, we’d all be idiots.

     

    not to mention the war history buff thing probably puts that ahead of the games, the games were probably an outlet he became bored with IMO.

  20. Father Time says:

    "Many young people end up finding it difficult to tell the difference between dream and reality"

    Yeah it takes me 10 minutes at most to realize the thing I just dreamed didn’t happen. As for video games no teen has difficulty knowing they aren’t real (unless they have serious problems).

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

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