Feds Release Virginia Tech Report: No Mention of Games

Despite claims by Miami attorney Jack Thompson and followers of Lyndon LaRouche, a federal government report on issues related to the April 16th Virgina Tech rampage makes no mention at all of video games, much less as a causal factor.

The 26-page report to President Bush was issued on June 13th and was a joint effort by Health & Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt (left), Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.

Leavitt was certainly aware of claims that video games were involved, so their lack of inclusion seems especially pointed. In particular, the video game issue was raised during Leavitt’s April 22nd appearance on Meet the Press as well as during a subsequent joint press conference with Utah Gov. John Huntsman.

Meanwhile, a state-level commission continues its own research into the rampage. As the federal government report notes:

This report does not seek to investigate the specifics of the Virginia Tech tragedy itself. That work is currently being done by the Virginia Tech Review Panel appointed by Governor Kaine. Instead, this report summarizes the major recurring themes we heard in our visits across the country. It includes critical steps state and local leaders identified to address school violence and mental illness at the community level.

As reported by GamePolitics the Virginia Tech Review Panel has heard testimony blaming video games on three occasions from members of the Lyndon LaRouche PAC.

Video Games in the Mix as Utah Guv, Bush Cabinet Member Discuss Mass Shooting Events

As public officials attempt to sort out the root causes of the Virginia Tech massacre, it seems clear from their comments that violent games will get a long look, along with gun control and mental health issues.

As reported by the Associated Press, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (R, left) and U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt spoke about the VTU shooting at a Friday news conference. Said the Governor:

For all of us, it was a wake-up call. One could blame guns. One could blame access to the media. One could blame video games.

Utah, of course, experienced its own deadly shooting event earlier this year when 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic killed four people at a Salt Lake City Mall before being shot to death by police officers. Investigators said they recovered no video games from Talovic’s residence

Utah NPR affiliate KCPW reports Leavitt as saying:

Inevitably we’ll have conversation about guns. We have video games and the media and its impact. Inevitably we’ll hear conversations about mental health…

Leavitt, who appeared on Meet the Press last Sunday to discuss the Virginia Tech rampage with host Tim Russert, described the search for causes as “incredibly complex.”

President Bush has asked his advisors for a report on the issue within 30 days.

Bush Administration Officials Talk Video Game Violence Issue on Meet the Press

Last week Dr. Phil and controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson were the loudest voices pushing the idea that the 23-year-old lunatic who committed the Virginia Tech shooting spree was influenced by violent video games. 

The circle of video game critics may now be expanding, however.

Yesterday on Meet the Press, host Tim Russert (left) spoke with a pair of Bush Administration cabinet members about the VTU massacre. Russert’s guests included Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt, and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Neither ruled out official inquiries into whether video games played a role in Cho Seung Hui’s rampage. From the transcript:

MR. RUSSERT: Secretary Spellings, has any study been done about video games? There’ve been reports that Mr. Cho spent an inordinate amount of time looking at violent video games.

SEC’Y. SPELLINGS: Well, I think we do have some evidence that when children, mostly the research is around young children, are exposed to violence—violence on television or video games and the like—that that certainly does net out in, in more violent behavior. And I think, again, those are the sorts of things that we’ll engage in as we talk with educators and law enforcement professionals, parents and policy makers about these issues.