May 9th, 2006

Big Men on Campus Study Video Games

If GamePolitics was a college course, say, GP101, would you sign up? Well, as fate would have it, an article in the Indiana Daily Student brought our attention to something quite similar being offered this summer through Indiana University's Department of Communication and Culture.

Games, Gamers, and Gaming Culture is a new course being offered this summer in which students will critically examine the relationships between video games, gamers, and society by studying the cultural, social, and political aspects of video games.
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GP Book Review: "The Shooting Game"

A chance meeting with a survivor of one school shooting led Joseph A. Lieberman (no, not that Joseph Lieberman), author of The Shooting Game, to investigate the cultural phenomenon of school shootings.

Focusing on the deeply-troubled Kip Kinkle's 1998 massacre at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, The Shooting Game explores the factors common to school shootings that occurred between the turn of the twentieth century and the book's recent publication.

This makes the The Shooting Game an ambitious work which could be a valuable resource - if not for its many problems. For starters, it has no index. This abscence makes The Shooting Game difficult to navigate as a reference guide.

It is, unfortunately, also missing a bibliography. Lieberman does provide an appendix of recommended sources, but there is no indication of what role these materials played in his own writing.

This is especially troubling since The Shooting Game has neither endnotes nor footnotes. Though Lieberman often cites sources in his text, he almost as often drops in quotes and facts without proper attribution.

Lieberman also gets some basic facts wrong.
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Fairfax Cop Killer Had Mental Problems, Violent History

Michael Kennedy, the 18-year-old man who killed one Fairfax, Virginia police officer and wounded two others before he was killed by return fire, reportedly played violent video games.

However, as reported by NBC-4 (Washington, D.C.), he also was a deeply troubled young man who had been experiencing hallucinations, talking about aliens, and may have been suffering from schizophrenia. Less than three weeks ago he escaped from a mental health facility.

He also apparently killed a dog in a recent incident that led to an investigation by Fairfax Detective Vicky Armel, who was killed by Kennedy in yesterday's shooting. He had also been arrested in April for a carjacking which he committed during his escape from the mental health facility.

An acquaintance of Kennedy's, Peter Kirschner, described him as "Kind of dark, Gothic-like. He always used to play violent video games and stuff. He used to talk about it when he came to school, 'I killed this and this, and these people,' stuff like that."
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