College shooting rekindles violent gaming debate

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College shooting rekindles violent gaming debate

Gaming critics quick to blame 32 deaths on gaming, overlook perpetrator's depression.

A group of gamers is planning a demonstration this Saturday in New York to protest claims that Monday's shooting at the Virginia Tech college were somehow caused violent computer games.

Cho Seung Hui on 16 April killed 32 fellow students and teachers in what is considered the deadliest shooting rampage in US history.

His fellow students described the 23-year-old as angry, menacing, disturbed and depressed. He had been found stalking women on two occasions, wrote violent essays for his English classes and had been recommended to seek psychiatric help. Hui also played violent computer games, particularly Counterstrike.

Attorney Jack Thompson and TV personality Doctor Phil McGraw were quick to blame the shooting on Hui's video games while ignoring some of the disturbing symptoms that he displayed.

Thompson is a self-described Christian conservative who has a track record of crusading against rap music and video games.

Television shrink Dr. Phil said on a CNN show: "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 glamorised 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."

The protest march is organised by Empire Arcadia, a company that organises gaming competitions and youth events. Although the organisers of the demonstration don't mention the Dr. Phil or Thomson comments, they state that the rally seeks to mourn the Virginia Tech victims as well as protest the perceived link to games.

"This demonstration is to show that gamers will not take the blame of this tragic matter but we will do what we can to help put an end to terrible events like this. We reiterate and urge that all leaders of gaming communities, organisations down to the last gamer to set aside 10 hours of this day to pay respect and come together not just as gamers but as HUMAN BEINGS for peace," the official announcement states.
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