Expert says that NOT playing games is what set off Columbine Massacre

The Denver Post has a report quoting researcher / psychiatrist Jerald Block saying that cutting off Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold from their in-game violence is what led them to their RL violence. Hit the jump for some “experts” and all their fancy talk on the subject. 

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on a killing rage in 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado because they were abruptly denied access to their computers, an Oregon psychiatrist says in a published study.

The Denver Post is reporting that the young men relied on the virtual world of computer games to express their rage and to spend time, and cutting them off in 1998 sent them into crisis, said Jerald Block, a researcher and psychiatrist in Portland.

“Very soon thereafter — a couple of days — they started to plan the actual attack,” Block said.

Block published his research in the current issue of the American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed journal.

The paper is likely to generate debate, said Cheryl Olson, co-director of the Center for Mental Health and Media at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Two-thirds of middle-school boys play M-rated games regularly,” Olson said. M-rated games contain intense violence or sexual content.

“They’re not turning kids into killing machines,” Olson said. “The evidence just isn’t there.”

Block sifted through thousands of pages of documents released by Columbine investigators and said he believes that Harris and Klebold’s parents banned them from their computers after the two were caught breaking into an electrician’s van in 1998.

Harris and Klebold previously had been temporarily kept off computers at school or at home, and after each incident, Block said, the boys’ writings or behavior became more violent.

Block said he worries about people immersing themselves so deeply into video games and online worlds and also about cutting them off cold turkey.

“How do you pull them out, without triggering homicidal or suicidal behavior?” he asked.

Olson cautioned against overgeneralizing from the Columbine records.

After the Colorado massacre, the Secret Service searched for common threads in more than three dozen school shootings, she said.

“The commonalities they found were male gender and either being treated for depression or showing signs of depression,” Olson said.

Some of the shooters were good students, some bad; some were bullies, some were bullied; and some played video games, but most did not, she said.

Thanks to Leigh Alexander for always being there when I couldn’t. Wherever you are now, I hope you’re in a better place.