What Have Police Found On Adam Lanza's Hard Drive?

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The investigation into what's been uncovered on Adam Lanza's hard drive has uncovered very little thus far.

While Adam Lanza’s Asperger’s Syndrome has come to light the past few days, plenty are still curious just what exactly was found on the shooter’s computer hard drive? Police continue to speculate over Lanza’s motives, examining the hard drive on his computer may yield answers as to what could cause a young man with a high-functioning form of Autism to commit such a horrific crime?

The important thing in this situation is not to automatically assume that because Lanza suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome that this was the cause of his rampage. The Autism Society issued a statement saying “There is absolutely no evidence or any reliable research that suggests a linkage between autism and planned violence,” adding “To imply or suggest that some linkage exists is wrong and is harmful to more than 1.5 million law-abiding, nonviolent and wonderful individuals who live with autism each day.”

Lanza reportedly smashed his computer in an effort to cover his tracks, which has slowed down authorities’ attempts to access the hard drive. As is the standard with shootings involving young people, video games are always blamed, as Lanza was apparently a fan of the role-playing game series Mass Effect, a game that features science-fiction themes of humanity, unity and sacrifice, while also allowing the player to engage in weaponized combat. At no point in the series' 100+ hours of gameplay do you kill a child, so the connection is tenuous, at best.

FBI Investigator Robert Paquette was quick to state that "Many of these games are very, very violent, I can't help but believe these can affect the minds of someone unbalanced." While a video game might have an emotional and mental affect on an individual, in the end, especially in regards to an individual suffering from a form of Autism, the decision to purchase and monitor what video games a young person is playing falls upon the parents. The Entertainment Software Ratings Board has taken the time and tremendous effort to illuminate the content of a video game, whether a parent chooses to ignore these ratings is at their own discretion.

To blame video games or the media for the actions of a disturbed young man, as has been done so many times before, starting back in 1997 with Wilson VS. Midway Games is a sad statement on culpability in America. Violence is not the product of entertainment. One need only turn on a 24-hours news network to see more violence and hatred than could ever be found in a game like Mass Effect or its sequels.

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2 comments

Phillip Gara Dec 18th, 2012 10:33 AM

What about first-person shooter games, many of which were initially designed for military combat training purposes before coming in to the commercial marketplace. Sometimes people with certain pathologies loose essential distinctions between the fantasy world of video games and the real world consequences of their actions.
 
This is not to generally blame "entertainment" for these terrible of tragedies, but to look at whether it really makes sense to continue building ever more realistic first-person shooter games that were initially uses for military training purposes. I think they can play a role in exacerbating pathological behavior.

Robert Ottone Dec 18th, 2012 03:47 PM

While I appreciate your comments, I can honestly think of ONE first-person shooter used by the US military as a "training" tool: America's Army. It was a critical and commercial failure in every sense of the word.
 
First-person shooters are not developed as training modules for the United States military. While many servicemen and women do, in fact play these games and maybe some use them to enhance their muscle-twitch fibre (the only muscle that is enhanced by game-playing, related to hand-eye coordination and snap decision-making), there are no games currently on the market that were created by the US military for use of soldiers, then adapted for commercial use. This is fiction.
 
That is not to say that the military does not often lend a consultant to a game developer in the hopes of creating more realistic sequences or experiences. This is an everyday occurrence. The Call of Duties and Battlefields of this generation have entire stables of military consultants who advise a game's direction, most notably, members of Seal Team Six who found themselves facing military courts for providing Electronic Arts and DICE with information surrounding their various operations around the globe, up to and including the plot to assassinate Osama Bin Laden.
 
To even remotely consider cutting off videogames at the knees because a handful of individuals decided to go on rampages is absurd. Many games don't glorify the appeal of violence like this past year's Medal of Honor: Warfighter, a game that pushes the player to understand the harsh realities of war. Spec Ops: The Line is a game that went head-on with the grim ugliness of war and violence and made it the star of its narrative. To that end, videogames do more to showcase that violence and war are not a thing to be glorified, but a thing to be regarded with reverence and severity.
 
Saying that videogames should not be allowed to continue development is wrong. You may as well say that films shouldn't continue shooting if there are any guns in them or violence whatsoever. Novels shouldn't be released that depict acts of violence. The news shouldn't air because violence begets violence. It's the wrong stance to have and an ill-informed one, at that.

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