By Dr. Rose A. Dyson

Toronto – Canada





Mass Murders On The Rise




When will policy makers wake up and acknowledge the poisonous virus spreading on the internet in the form of violent video games?  It is widely acknowledged that the surrounding culture provides fertile ground for sowing seeds of resentment and hate.  The gunman who live-streamed himself killing 50 mosque worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand was yet another extensively covered mass murder that dominated the headlines.


It added to the growing list compiled by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in his book, “Assassination Generation” (2016).  The phenomenon began in 1975 in Paducah, Kentucky when a 14-year-old boy shot eight students in a prayer circle in his school.  That massacre followed the worldwide release of first-person shooter, interactive video games.  The numbers have been growing ever since.  Marketing of violent video games and generous subsidies provided for their production with no regard for studies showing harmful effects is nothing short of tragic.


It was reported in 2013 that “Grand Theft Auto V”, a video game in which you cannot play the good guy because the entire premise is based on criminal behavior, made more money than the entire global music industry.  The premise in these games, that killing is fun, has led to dangerous and dysfunctional behavior.  These involve operant conditioning techniques, first developed by psychologist B.F. Skinner, and now used in military training, but in carefully controlled circumstances.  These are non-existent in the local video arcade or recreation room.


For one killer, who survived his rampage in Isla Vista, California on May, 2014, it all began at the age of six when he received his first Nintendo 64 for Christmas.  At 10 it was replaced with a new Play Station 2.  Additional gaming opportunities presented themselves at local community centers.  His obsession with gaming continued until, as an adult, he killed six people and wounded 13 more.  Grossman estimates that today 10 percent of students suffer from pathological video game use.


An examination of the killing pattern exhibited by the Christchurch killer indicated scenes identical to those in the video game “Call of Duty”.  Clearly it is time to seriously address this dangerous online pollutant.  The divisive, hate-filled cultural influences proliferating in cyberspace are fueling a mean-world syndrome.  Video game makers are among those that must be held to account.  This will only happen if we acknowledge their potent influence.




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