As the smoke begins to clear on last week's school shooting at Montreal's Dawson College, Canadian media pundits are offering opinions on the relationship between violent video games and the rampage. In the Calgary Sun, columnist Licia Corbella writes:
"You are what you eat. Garbage in, garbage out... if you consume violence, you will be violent... Kimveer Gill practiced what he preached... He acted out on the music he listened to, the games he played... His favourite video game was Super Columbine Massacre RPG..."
"In a fascinating, if not utterly maddening interview... (Super Columbine designer Danny) Ledonne calls his disgraceful, exploitative game 'art' and 'social commentary' ...That someone who would create a 'game' so cruel, insensitive and immoral can then speak of morals is galling and hypocritical in the extreme."
"Is Ledonne partly responsible for Wednesday's mayhem? Legally, no. But what about morally?"
A different viewpoint, also in the Calgary Sun, is expressed by game writer Steve Tilley:
"To many people born before 1970, video games are as foreign and frightening as German opera... when I see video games fingered as the cause of real-world violence, I sigh and shake my head..."
"I have played every violent game named in (Kimveer Gill's blog), including Super Columbine Massacre... Some of them I've enjoyed greatly... Others I recognize as puerile, offensive time-wasters... But none of them have given me the desire to do harm to anyone, anywhere, ever."
"I'm the rule, not the exception. Kimveer Gill was the exception. Harris and Klebold were the exceptions. So go ahead, ban all hyper-violent video games on the off chance they might fall into the hands of someone already predisposed to do harm. Then ban the ones that involve any sort of gunplay. After that, just to be safe, ban any games that don't star fluffy pink bunnies."
"Then we can move on to violent movies (so long, Goodfellas), television (seeya, 24) and even books. What a safe, wonderful and tragedy-free world it will be then..."
Journalist Mike Strobel weighs in with:
"...How many times must a video game turn up as evidence at a crime scene before we wake up?
"Dawson College is the latest. Killer Kimveer Gill was a fan of Super Columbine Massacre, a lovely bit of Internet fun... What does Tahir Khan have in common with Dawson College, you ask? ...(in 2005) he was dead, his taxi crushed by a Mercedes allegedly engaged in a street race. Cops found the video game Need For Speed in the wreckage. A court will decide if it played a role."
"...Alabama, where Devin Moore, 18, slew three troopers after being pulled over in a stolen car. "Life is like a video game," he said later. "You've got to die sometime." Huh? Wait a minute! That's what Kimveer Gill used to say. Only, young Devin's game of choice was Grand Theft Auto."
"Remember Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold? ...They played Doom, Redneck Rampage and Duke Nukem. Hmm, do you think video games had anything to do with that slaughter? Or the new one in Montreal?"
"...As a newspaper man, I cringe at talk of censorship. But free speech has limits. Otherwise, Nazis would flourish anew. Racists. Snuff films. When New Zealand and Australia banned Manhunt, those nations did not fall into the sea..."
In the Waterloo Record, Michael Redfearn writes:
"...to blame this madness on video games like Super Massacre at Columbine, heavy metal music, goth culture or warped websites -- as morally depraved as they all may be -- is to miss the point. These pop culture villains... do not even begin to explain the complexity of the underlying causes of such mind-boggling, anti-social behaviour... This human tendency to identify easy targets, find simplistic answers and avoid personal responsibility at all costs will no doubt continue.
...Yet rather than focus on meaningful intervention strategies to assist alienated youth in their struggle for acceptance, which takes time, effort and resources, it's easier to point accusing fingers at familiar targets..."