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December 12, 2006 12:51 PM   Subscribe

In the wake of a school shooting in Germany, legislators want to lock up all who commit acts of violence . . . in video games.
posted by landis (35 comments total)
 
yay thought police.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:00 PM on December 12, 2006


I seriously doubt this will ever pass.
posted by borkingchikapa at 1:07 PM on December 12, 2006


Crytek (which is based out of Frankfurt) has already said they're ready to move somewhere more sane.
posted by Foosnark at 1:09 PM on December 12, 2006


Odd that they want to jail the players That sounds much farther then anyone in the U.S. ever suggested. Also, it's not people in Germany's parliament who want to do it but 'state' legislators in "Bavaria and Lower Saxon".

I think Bill Maher made the point once: "Why is it that when an adult goes on a rampage, we blame the adult, but when a 16 year old goes on a rampage, we blame society?"

I mean really, if an adult can be "fucked up" so can a 16 year old. Sad but true. And it isn't video games that cause the problem but the media obsession afterwards.
posted by delmoi at 1:11 PM on December 12, 2006


Oy, this song and dance has been old since Mortal Kombat.

As in all of these cases, there were dozens and dozens of early warning signs that negligent parents ignored. Then, when the lad makes good on his madness and attacks his school, folks turn around and blame the devices that child-rearing has been given over to. TV's are terrible babysitters without V-chips in them!

If you start banning games because of this kind of idiot, you can't stop there. No more Holy Books for anyone, as they clearly infect folks with murderous madness. No more Catcher in the Rye for anyone, EVER. Too many of our luminaries have taken a slug from JD Salinger fans. This I'd actually be okay with, as that book is wicked over rated.

Sick fucks have been doing sick shit for a long time now. What's baffling about the modern Blame Games movement is that no one even MENTIONS doing something about the GUNS involved. And if we look at this kid's arsenal, we can tell he was a fuckwit to begin with. Just who the hell saws off a rifle barrel? Might as well take a musket from the 1700's to your rampage, for all the accuracy you just lost.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:46 PM on December 12, 2006


Also, it's not people in Germany's parliament who want to do it but 'state' legislators in "Bavaria and Lower Saxon".

You know what they say, Bavarians are the Texans of Germany.
posted by pleeker at 1:51 PM on December 12, 2006


Also, it's not people in Germany's parliament who want to do it but 'state' legislators in "Bavaria and Lower Saxon".

You know what they say, Bavarians are the Texans of Germany.
posted by pleeker at 1:51 PM on December 12, 2006


They only say it once, usually...
posted by pleeker at 1:51 PM on December 12, 2006


Psst, Germany... you know who else killed a whole bunch of people and then killed himself?

And I'll bet he never played a video game in his life, either.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:05 PM on December 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


Also, it's not people in Germany's parliament who want to do it but 'state' legislators in "Bavaria and Lower Saxon".

Wingnut stuff like this is to be expected from Bavarian interior ministers, although Lower Saxony has been more sane in the past. The sad thing about this is not the proposal itself, which is utterly infeasible, totally removed from reality, and at odds with the constitution, and pure conservative populism.

What's more shocking is the huge number of people who show that they have absolutely no fucking clue about today's media world and computer entertainment. The sheer dumbness of the things you read about games is just staggering, including from otherwise highly respectable media.
posted by uncle harold at 2:10 PM on December 12, 2006


FoB: And I'll bet he never played a video game in his life, either.

But apparently he listened to that dreadful Wagnerian music all the time.

From the article: Research has yet to show a link between violence in video games and violent acts in the real world.

Research has yet to show a link between wacky legislative proposals by state legislators that will surely be shot down (ha!) and any impact on the real world.
posted by sour cream at 2:11 PM on December 12, 2006


Psst, Germany... you know who else killed a whole bunch of people and then killed himself?

1) He didn't do it with his own hands
2) He used maps and orders and stuff
3) ...
4) We need to ban strategy games as well !!!
posted by uncle harold at 2:12 PM on December 12, 2006


Summon Lieberman
posted by horsemuth at 2:15 PM on December 12, 2006


this will never pass
posted by kolophon at 2:20 PM on December 12, 2006


TV's are terrible babysitters without V-chips in them!

And with 'em, too!
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:20 PM on December 12, 2006


According to On killing by a Luitenant Colonel soldiers in WWII often did not pull the trigger when offered with the opportunity. Their social taboo in killing people prevented them from pulling the trigger.
This coincided with the use of round targets with concentral circles in shooting practice.

In Vietnam these percentages were very much lower as a result of target practice with human silhouettes that popped up dynamically. In the real war the soldier would already have pulled the trigger as a result of conditioned reflexes before mulling over the morality. Effectively the moral taboo on killing was circumvented.

It's quite possible that similarly video games have the effect of conditioning to blunt moral taboos.

The fact that you start to worry about new bad social influences on youth when you get older does not mean that new bad social influences do not exist.

Ha, we are raising a generation of cold scrupleless soldiers.
posted by jouke at 2:39 PM on December 12, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ouch, that first link tries to print itself.

Anyway, I can't say I am surprised, considering how conservative even Munich is.
posted by oaf at 2:53 PM on December 12, 2006


This legislation will go nowhere. But the reaction against it will bolster the viewpoint that violent and addictive media is all fine and dandy and there's nothing to worry about.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:00 PM on December 12, 2006


You know, they could probably stop a lot more violence if they banned soccer.

The problem is improper diet.

You know, there have been sporadic studies of changing the diet of, say, prisoners and it having a dramatic effect on behavior. I remember Jamie Oliver had this family with hyperactive kids and that they changed into little angels when they started introducing more fresh vegetables into their diet. But so many people are focused on this metaphysical notion that "like effects like" that they ignore any indirect correlations.

I'm also curious why these legislators singled out violence against human looking characters, as I'm not aware of any studies that say replacing enemy soldiers with aliens (say like Resistance:Fall of Man) would make violence less likely, as jouke mentions desensitization to violence works with human silhouettes.
posted by bobo123 at 3:39 PM on December 12, 2006


I would like to see these German states pass these laws...
and then try to enforce them.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 3:54 PM on December 12, 2006


Video games don't kill people, drug crazed kids who can't separate reality from videogames kill people. I'm sure the PS3 and XBox360 (with their realistic graphics and wickedly cool, I mean, horrific depictions of violence) will cause the youth of the world to rise up and kill us all.....after the next game.

What about when I play Tetris? Is that violent? I mean, the bars do explode and all.
posted by fenriq at 4:10 PM on December 12, 2006


My god. They are right! Being stimulated by virtual violence clearly causes us to duplicate those violent acts in the real world! Thankfully, they will be banning all Three Stooges movies, as well as anything penned by Tex Avery. Also, the complete cartoon works of Warner Brothers (specifically, Daffy, Bugs, Yosemity Sam and the Tasmanian Devil).

And for the love of all that is holy, put a stop to that dastardly Coyote. His attempts on the Road Runners life led me down a path of ruin and destruction. I can not tell you the number of times I've strapped a giant rocket on my back in an effort to outrun my enemy.

Fortunately there are wise legislators who will protect me from this kind of thing in the future.
posted by quin at 4:30 PM on December 12, 2006


Just a preview of what life will be like under President Clinton.
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on December 12, 2006



“It's quite possible that similarly video games have the effect of conditioning to blunt moral taboos.”

If possible, merely incidental. Training creates a killing mindset, not video games. If anything they’re antithetical to a focused and disciplined killing mindset.
Considering that point, perhaps video games makes undisciplined killers out of those who would otherwise become efficient and effective killers. We need more violent videogames!
I think ‘desensitizing’ is a myth. One cannot lose human empathy in such a manner. You must either be trained to put it aside for the sake of necessity or you extinguish it within yourself. Patton, f’rinstance, did a bit of both. He used to eat oranges and look at ‘disgusting’ stuff like frogs being dissected and such. (Kinda purile really, but then so was his tanker uniform). But I’m with the other folks here - isolation (self or otherwise) social ostricisation - and allowing it to go on and other such things have far more of an effect on someone than some blood colored pixels. Big big difference between pointing a real gun at a real person and pointing a plastic toy at a virtual unfeeling machine. Not that many legislators would understand that of course.

The (US) military does offer some qualification on video simulations. I personally despise this. There’s a million little factors that go into shooting live rounds. With video it’s the same each time - and if it’s different it’s not controlably different. There’s no belly to it. No cues other than visual. Terrible state of affairs. I shot on one of those (older) machines (not at my home base) and after a bit I was hitting headshots consistently at fantastic distances. Drew a bit of a crowd. One of them asked me “Where did you learn to shoot like that” - I narrowed my eyes and said “Operation Wolf.”
Totally went over his head. Just sorta nodded like it was a secret op or something. I’m sure I’m still the ‘badass from nowhere’ in various stories on that base.

You gotta like the leaders here though missing the forest for the trees. Perhaps it’s the extremism in any given perspective and not the violence per se that’s leading to the snafu.

...although I did order a lot of Acme products in my youth...hmmm.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:58 PM on December 12, 2006


A female teacher was shot in the face with a non-lethal gas-powered gun.

Hmm... could the reason that 37 people were wounded rather than anyone actually being killed possibly be down to his main armements being BB guns?
posted by Artw at 5:11 PM on December 12, 2006


> What about when I play Tetris? Is that violent? I mean, the bars do explode and all.

I always feel terrible about all the poor little Lemmings.
posted by jfuller at 5:30 PM on December 12, 2006


Artw, could have also been a paintball or airsoft gun, though he clearly had real firearms as well: When the school’s janitor came to her aid, Bastian B. shot him in the stomach with another gun. The janitor is now in hospital in critical condition.
posted by quin at 5:37 PM on December 12, 2006


"You know what they say, Bavarians are the Texans of Germany."

Nobody in Texas is proposing anything near this stupid. It's the RINO from AZ that's getting close, though..
posted by drstein at 5:50 PM on December 12, 2006


When will they ban Bavarians from the Reichstag?
posted by Goofyy at 8:31 PM on December 12, 2006


Training creates a killing mindset, not video games. If anything they’re antithetical to a focused and disciplined killing mindset.

You've never played goldeneye, have you?
posted by IronLizard at 8:03 AM on December 13, 2006


Know what? I have no idea what killers latch on to. Maybe Catcher in the Rye, maybe GTA. Don't know. Never latched on to anything in that way, myself.

The fact that it hasn't affected me that way, or you, or most people, means nothing if it does the trick for that small number on the edge. Then again, maybe it doesn't.

I doubt that any study or armchair analyzing will suss this one out, cause that's always going to be based on the other 99.9% of us. Wrong subject group. Want to know what made a killer? Study that killer. Maybe then attempt to generalize from enough case studies, but that's about it.
posted by dreamsign at 9:02 AM on December 13, 2006


jouke
It's true that new bad social influences do arise, but the problem is that people, especially older people, tend to completely overreact to new things. Your post is an example of this. Is it possible that video games have an effect on how people view killing? Maybe. Does this lead to your final sentence, that we're raising a genreation of killers? No, that's ridiculous. Where's the link? Nothing has shown this to be true. Just because you think it's possible doesn't make it so. Instead of looking at something new like games, thinking there might be a problem, and actually testing to see if there is, people go to the extreme of freaking out and trying to ban things for no reason. Caution is good, but so is prudence and good judgment. It's not either we allow video games and raise killers or we ban them, it's "Let's see what effect video games actually have, then decide what, if any, policies are needed"
posted by Sangermaine at 10:16 AM on December 13, 2006


I'm pretty certain stupider things have been proposed in Texas.
posted by Artw at 11:39 AM on December 13, 2006


I'm pretty certain stupider things have been proposed in Texas.

Human stupidity is not limited by state or international boundaries.
posted by moonbiter at 3:43 PM on December 13, 2006


Er, the Texas-Bavaria thing is supposed to be about the rich, conservative, religiously bigoted mindset, or something like that. Or maybe it's all about the beer, I don't know.

isolation (self or otherwise) social ostricisation - and allowing it to go on and other such things have far more of an effect on someone than some blood colored pixels

Of course. When a kid spends hours and hours alone doing something obsessively as release/escape mechanism, whether it's playing video games, watching tv, or listening to Marylin Manson or the Beatles or whatnot, then the problem is so obviously not video games or tv or Marylin Manson. But a lot of the same parents who'd rather target videogames are those who do buy them for their kids then leave them alone in front of them and have no interest in their social and psychological and cultural development. They're just looking for scapegoats, for not doing their job.

Not that any of that alone is enough to lead to killing people, I mean. Plenty of lonely depressed kids all over the world never killed anyone. For all the sensation they cause, events like these are still very rare and isolated cases. Media hysteria turns them into "oh my god where is our society going"...
posted by pleeker at 4:55 AM on December 14, 2006


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