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Le Monde, France

Theories Galore – Newtown:
The Fault of “Video Games,”
“Pokemon” or “Facebook”?

Translated By Lindsey Cambridge

15 December 2012

Edited by Kyrstie Lane


France - Le Monde - Original Article (French)

Every massacre and shooting has its share of debates and remarks on what could have provoked the killer’s actions. The Newtown tragedy is no exception.

Some have already put forth explanations, even though the details on the personality of the suspected killer, Adam Lanza, are still largely in question as authorities have not corroborated theories and eyewitness accounts published by American media.

In France, the channel BFM TV was one of the first on Friday to point a finger at video games, as noted by numerous people on Twitter.

Along the same lines, some news sites like Europe1 explained the following day that Adam Lanza and his friends “spent a lot of time playing video games” and that he especially “loved things from Japan. He collected Pokemon cards and played Dynasty Warriors, a combat game with firearms dating from the 1990s, on his PlayStation console.”

These formulations and theories, which have yet to be verified, are part of a speculation that resurfaces every time a tragedy takes place. An article from the newspaper Le Point titled “Video Games: License to Kill” had recently put the issue back on the table and provoked an outcry from the gamer community on social networks angered by the systematic association between violence and fantasy activities.

In the United States, similar criticisms immediately saw the light of day after the Newtown massacre, like on the site Mashable, which focused on the game Mass Effect.

When Adam Lanza’s brother, Ryan, was for a time identified by American media as the principal suspect in the Newtown massacre and images from his Facebook profile were released, Internet users noted that the young man had identified Mass Effect as being among his interests.

Shortly afterwards, the Mass Effect Facebook page received comments accusing the game’s teams of having “blood on their hands.” Ryan Lanza was then officially not labeled a suspect and the comments disappeared.

The channel Fox News tossed around a larger list of potential causes as two journalists mentioned how people “lose themselves in online activities” and how “Facebook and reality television are no friends at preventing such things.”

Fox News also spoke with former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, once a potential Republican candidate for the American presidential election, and whose comments below were deemed “offensive” by the American edition of Huffington Post:

"We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage? We don't have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem."

Confirmation of the killer’s personality and motivations has not yet been given. And the debate on the 270 million firearms in the United States was re-launched in a country traumatized by the events in Newtown, which includes a death toll of 27 people, 20 of them children.



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