Accuracy in Media

About two weeks before the Colorado shootings, a lawsuit was filed over another shooting incident in another school. Attorney Jack Thompson, acting on behalf of the families of three female pupils shot in 1997 in Paducah, Kentucky, filed a $100 million suit against 25 entertainment companies, including Midway, which makes a video game called “Doom.” This is the same video game which reportedly played a role in the Colorado shootings.

By now, you may be aware of this video game, whose effects have been highlighted on the CBS 60 Minutes program and the NBC Today Show. On both shows, a former Army Colonel described the game as a “mass murder simulator” that provides military-type training. He said it is like the flight simulators that teach military personnel how to fly aircraft. In fact, 60 Minutes showed how the video game “Doom” is used in the military itself to teach soldiers how to kill. In the game, the gunman moves slowly through a building, in the same way that a Special Forces soldier might enter hostile territory. Enemies are shot and killed, as simulated blood spatters out of their wounds and they fall to the ground in pools of blood.

In the Kentucky case, the young killer, 14-year-old Michael Carneal, had never undergone any firearms training. He learned how to shoot and kill from the video game. When he walked into the Bible study meeting at his high school with a gun, he proceeded to shoot his victims with deadly accuracy. Carneal later admitted that he was also influenced by the 1995 movie, The Basketball Diaries, which has a scene in which a young man enters his school and opens fire on his classmates and teacher. The character in the film is wearing a long black trench coat, just like the student killers in Colorado.

We continue to receive reports that the Colorado killers may have been homosexual or bisexual. The media have been reluctant to probe this possible aspect of the killings. But there seems to be no question that they had an anti-Christian orientation, just like Michael Carneal in the Kentucky case. At least two of the Colorado victims were committed Christians, with one of them being asked, “Do you believe in God?” She answered yes and got killed.

Another largely unreported aspect of the case is the fact that the schools in Littleton, Colorado, had been the subject of controversy for years over the use of experimental education techniques. ABC News had reported back in 1990 that Columbine High School, where the shootings took place, had used “death education” on some of its students. One student told ABC, “We talked about what we wanted to look like in our casket.” Another student said she tried suicide after her death class.

It appears that the media and the public educational system may have played big roles in the Colorado tragedy. Attorney Jack Thompson’s lawsuit against Midway and other companies deals with part of the problem. The other part of the problem may have more to do with the National Education Association than the National Rifle Association.

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