No Evidence that the Video Games Made Cho Do It
In the search for explanations for why Cho Seung Hui killed 32 people at Virginia Tech an early, knee-jerk theory is violent video games. Jack Thompson, a lawyer who has represented victims’ families in the Paduka, KY mass school shooting, tried to advance that to a skeptical Chris Matthews.
And the problem is we are programming these people as a society. You cannot tell me — common sense tells you that if these kids are playing video games, where they’re on a mass killing spree in a video game, it’s glamorized on the big screen, it’s become part of the fiber of our society. You take that and mix it with a psychopath, a sociopath or someone suffering from mental illness and add in a dose of rage, the suggestibility is too high. And we’re going to have to start dealing with that. We’re going to have to start addressing those issues and recognizing that the mass murders of tomorrow are the children of today that are being programmed with this massive violence overdose.
Jack Thompson even holds Microsoft’s Bill Gates responsible for Cho’s rampage:
Mr. Gates, your company is potentially legally liable the harm done at Virginia Tech. Your game, a killing simulator, according to the news that used to be in the Post, trained him to enjoy killing and how to kill. You knew five years ago that your on-line game, Counterstrike, so clearly figured in the massacre by a student in Erfurt that the event and the game impacted the race for Chancellor in Germany at the time!
A few facts get in Thompson’s way. First, the items taken from Cho’s room do not include console video games. Second, I’ve found no report of Cho playing shoot-em-up video games on his computer. Third, The Washington Post reported high school classmates of Cho said he played Counter-Strike in high school. For some reason that information has been removed from the story.
Never let facts get in the way of a lawyer eagerly seeking tv face time to push his crusade.