Columbine Book Downplays Videogame Link

July 7, 2010 -

Dave Cullen’s comprehensive recounting of the April 20, 1999 school shooting in Littleton, Colorado is built upon innumerable interviews, police files and media reports, along with videotapes and writings made by the killers— Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris—themselves.

The shootings, which played out on live television over the better part of a day, impacted Americans and other people around the world intensely, as was the attackers intent. It also caused society to scramble to look for reasons why this tragedy happened, and some were quick to point the finger at various elements of culture, including violent videogames.

While it’s true that both Harris and Klebold were fans of the game DOOM, Cullen’s reconstruction absolves games, and violent movies and music as well, of any direct blame. The book cites data from research done by both the FBI, 2000’s The School Shooter:  A Threat Assessment Perspective (PDF), and the Secret Service’s 2002 study, The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Imitative (PDF), to assist in dispelling popular myths about school shooters.

The Secret Service’s document studied every school attack between December 1974 and May 2000, covering 41 attackers across 37 incidents. 59 percent of the attackers expressed “some interest” in violence, whether it be games, book, movies or other media. Only one-eighth exhibited an express interest in violent videogames.

The Secret Service document also helped to dispel the myth that such shooters are loners. Only one-third of the attackers were characterized by others as loners.

In Columbine’s case it boiled down to Harris being termed a psychopath by FBI Agent Dwayne Fuselier (whose son was a Columbine student at the time of the shooting), while Klebold was labeled a depressive. The combination of the two personalities, explained Cullen, helped to form a murderous dyad, similar to Leopold and Loeb, Bonnie and Clyde and the Beltway snipers of 2002.

All in all the book is a fascinating story of not only the shooters, the victims and the aftermath for both the survivors and the community, but also a look into how the shuffling feet (corruption is probably too strong a word) of bureaucracy delayed the release of information after the shooting, while also burying data on and complaints against Klebold and Harris that could have put them in jail before the tragedy.


Comments

Re: Columbine Book Downplays Videogame Link

Nice to see the book will help refute and downplay the video game link.  But it's not going to stop the "video game cause school shooting" trend.

 

 

Re: Columbine Book Downplays Videogame Link

BTW, OT, but...I know I kvetched the other week about off-topic stories on GP, and I don't want to be one of those guys who just gripes and never praises.  You guys are really kicking ass right now; you've posted something like twenty great stories just these past two days.

You're doing a great job, and your efforts are appreciated.

Re: Columbine Book Downplays Videogame Link

I thunbed through anotehr Columbine book a couple of years ago looking for references to video games. The book was 500+ pages long and mentions video games twice. Both in a list of other interests of the shooters. Neither time put any emphasis on the game play.

It really is only people with agendas who emphasize the gameplay.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Columbine Book Downplays Videogame Link

I think "downplays" is the wrong word; it implies that there WAS a video game link and it's being swept under the rug.  I think "refutes" is a better word.

Re: Columbine Book Downplays Videogame Link

We're all going to have a different interpretation of the semantics, but I, myself, prefer "put into a more reasonable perspective".

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

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

Re: Columbine Book Downplays Videogame Link

When your talking about something like this semantics are important. What you say can and will be used against everyone by those agaisnt video games. Remember these are politicians and lawyers that we are dealing with so we must consider the correct terminology or provide them with ammunition.

Re: Columbine Book Downplays Videogame Link

But the semantics are important.  "Downplays" suggests the opposite of "puts into a more reasonable perspective".

Re: Columbine Book Downplays Videogame Link

This book has been out for quite awhile.  No offense, but I expected this story a few months ago.

By pointing this out, I kinda set myself up for the "Then why didn't YOU run this story?" speech, don't I?  ^^;

"HEY! LISTEN!"

"HEY! LISTEN!"

Re: Columbine Book Downplays Videogame Link

quite nice to know,m unfortunately it won't silence people who fervently bleieve violent media was the one sole cause.

 
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Andrew EisenWhen I write about these massacres, I don't use the shooter's name or picture. I'm not saying everyone has to play it that way but that's how I prefer to do it.10/25/2014 - 12:44am
Andrew EisenYep, it's why the news media stopped spotlighting numbnuts who run out on the field during sporting events.10/25/2014 - 12:01am
Matthew Wilsonin media research its called the copycat effect. it simply says that if the news covers one mass shooting shooter, it increases the likelihood of another person going on a mass shooting.10/25/2014 - 12:00am
Andrew EisenAgreed. It bugs me that I know the names, faces and personal histories of a bunch of mass shooters but I couldn't tell you the name of or recognize a photo of a single one of their victims.10/24/2014 - 11:51pm
AvalongodAgree with Quiknkold. @Mecha...if that worked we would have figured out how to prevent these long ago.10/24/2014 - 11:32pm
MechaCrashUnfortunately, you have to focus on the perpetrator to figure out the whys so you can try to prevent it from happening again.10/24/2014 - 10:55pm
quiknkoldpoor girl. poor victims. rather focus on them then the shooter. giving too much thought to the monster takes away from the victims.10/24/2014 - 10:15pm
Andrew EisenFor what it's worth, early reports are painting the motive as "he was pissed that a particular girl wouldn't date him."10/24/2014 - 10:12pm
quiknkoldwell then I suck as a man cause I ask for help when necessary :P10/24/2014 - 10:07pm
Technogeek(That said, mostly I was making the smartass evopsych comment because your post seemed like the kind of just-so story that has come to dominate 99% of its usage.)10/24/2014 - 10:04pm
TechnogeekHell, Liam Neeson built his modern career around it. Cultural factors likely play a far greater role than you appear willing to admit.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
TechnogeekSeriously, though, the idea of "because women are protectors and that's why they never commit school shootings" is, at best, grossly overreductive. There's nothing inherently feminine about being willing to kill in order to protect one's offspring.10/24/2014 - 10:03pm
MechaCrashThe "toxic masculinity" thing refers to how you have to SUCK IT UP AND BE A MAN because seeking help is seen as weakness, which means you suck at manliness, so it builds and builds and builds until something finally snaps.10/24/2014 - 10:01pm
quiknkoldthere, I'm done. And thats what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldand I am not spouting Evopsych, technogeek. tbh I never heard the phrase till you said it. I'm going off my observations.10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldmoreover, the guy who did this isnt even white. He was native american according to the news report I read. Also that he went for a specific target. That's a much different picture than a certain Sandy Hook guy who will not be named10/24/2014 - 9:53pm
quiknkoldbut I am also certain nobody in their right mind is committing these shootings singing the Machoman song. these are sick individuals who have given up on life10/24/2014 - 9:51pm
Technogeekevopsych lol10/24/2014 - 9:49pm
quiknkoldWhen you suffer from mental illness, youre more likely to go by instinct. yes. I came off as sexist.10/24/2014 - 9:46pm
quiknkoldmore on somthing they are fixated on. Post Partum Depression is an example. This is why a woman is less likely to go off on a rampage.10/24/2014 - 9:44pm
 

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