"I've been waiting to do this for years." Those were the words of Chris Harper-Mercer before he killed 10 people, including himself, and left seven more injured in the massacre that took place on the Umpqua campus.
It seems that almost every week the airwaves are flooded with mass shootings at the hand of violent, enraged gunmen. Violence and shootings affect hundreds, if not thousands of innocent people every year as well as our nation's stability as a whole. Through research, reports often indicate many mass killers were addicted to violent video games. Harper-Mercer was no exception to this trend.
Harper-Mercer was known as a recluse who was obsessed with violent gaming and the digital world, even finding supporters on those sites. On an anonymous chat room website called 4chan, there are messages that talk about what he was planning to do.
A comment stated, "Some of you guys are alright. Don't go to school tomorrow if you are in the northwest. So long space robots." The responses he got back to this were terrifying to say the least:
"You might want to target a girl's school which is safer because there are no beta males throwing themselves for their rescue."
"I am so excited for this. If this comes true then thank you for my late birthday gift anon."
"I suggest you enter a classroom and tell people that you will take them as hostages. Make everyone get in one corner and then open fire. Make sure that there is no way that someone can disarm you as it possible. I suggest you carry a knife on your belt as last resort if someone is holding your gun,"
"Do not use a shotgun. I would suggest a powerful assault rifle and a pistol or 2x pistols. Possibly the type of pistols who have 15+ ammo"
Here are the responses after the shooting:
"THE MADMAN ACTUALLY DID IT"
"That score, ouch. Not even double digits on current reports."
"GOOD SHOW OP"
"MAY YOU RIP IN PEACE."
These were the responses by other people supporting his decision to kill innocent people!
People responded by calling the death toll a "score," and how they were disappointed he had not killed more. One cannot turn a blind eye to the obvious link between violent video games and mass murders. For the 40th time this year, the 141st time since the Sandy Hook Massacre, a gunman has opened fire in a school. Hollywood, especially the gaming industry, should be taking some of the responsibility for these shootings.
With video games becoming more and more realistic, we need to be extremely cautious as to what our youth and young people are being exposed to on a daily basis. Fantasy violence can leave a troubled mind craving more and more until they act out in reality. There is a violent cultural script that too many children are influenced to live out. To dig further, here is a list of some of the most violent horrible killings in the past few years; all of these killers had an obsession with violent video games.
Here's a list of the mass murders linked with video games:
1. Adam Lanza, Sandy Hook Elementary, was a frequent player of violent first-person shooter video games. It was said his existence largely involved playing violent computer video games in a bedroom.
2. James Holmes, went on a rampage in a movie theater showing The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado in July 2012, He was a frequent player of violent video games including World of Warcraft, an infamously addictive role-playing game.
3 Jared Lee Loughner, Tucson, who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six others in Tucson in January 2011, was both mentally ill and a video gamer.
4. Eric Harris, based on his journal, a panel of psychologists, psychiatrists and FBI agents point to Harris' contempt for others and his total lack of empathy and conscience as evidence of his psychopathic tendencies. He also enjoyed violent video games.
5. Elliot Rodger, killed seven young men and women, including himself. He was hooked on violent video games from a young age from his own admission, hiding himself in World of Warcraft, where he felt comfortable and secure.
6. Nehemiah Griego, killed five, including his mother, father and his three younger siblings. He loved playing violent video games and even enjoyed talking about them to crime investigators.
7. Jacob Tyler Roberts, played violent video games (his rampage enacted a violent scene in Grand Theft Auto)
8. Anders Behring Breivik shot 68 people dead at a youth camp of the Norwegian Labor party, another nine in a bombing of government buildings According to the judgment rendered against him, he liked playing violent games. He actually used the video game Call of Duty to train for his shooting massacre.
9. Michael Carneal shot girls as they prayed in a prayer group. Carneal never moved his feet during his shootings, and never fired far to the left or right, but instead fired only once at each target that appeared, just as a player of video games maximizes his game score by shooting only once at each victim, in order to hit as many targets as possible.
10. Jose Reyes, a 12-year-old boy who opened fire with a semiautomatic handgun at Sparks Middle School last October, killing a teacher and wounding two students before turning the gun on himself, had watched violent video games for months.
11. Dylann Storm Roof, spent much of his time playing violent video games.
12. Jeff Weise, a 16-year-old, shot dead nine people at and near his high school in Red Lake, Minnesota, had an obsession with violent animation.
13. Chris Harper-Mercer, shot dead nine people and another seven injured in a community college in southern Oregon.
14. Evan Ramsey, snuck a shot gun into his high school and shot a student and the principal and wounded two others. He claims that a video game, Doom, distorted his version of reality: "I did not understand that if I pull out a gun and shoot you ... you're not getting back up. You shoot a guy in Doom, and he gets back up. You have got to shoot the things in Doom eight or nine times before it dies."
Other killers have been hooked on violent video games too and have a warped sense of what's real and what's not, thinking that real life is just like a video game.
Numerous studies have linked violent behavior to consumption of violence in video games.
Recently, researchers at Ohio State University conducted a study and concluded that, "People who have a steady diet of playing these violent video games may come to see the world as a hostile and violent place." Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at OSU, continues, "These results suggest there could be a cumulative effect" in making video game players more aggressive and violent over the long term as well as over the short term.
This is just one of thousands of studies about depictions of violence in the mass media, including video games, that come to similar conclusions.
Of course, this doesn't mean that all children, teenagers and young adults playing video games, even violent video games, will act out violently, but when will people realize that the most dangerous weapon a person yields is their mind? The more minds are corrupted with violence, the more dangerous society becomes.
This article originally appeared on movieguide.org.
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