The article Deadly Dreams: What Motivates School Shootings, describes a psychological analysis done of various school shooters and their motivations behind their actions. My research project is based in how adolescents bring violence to their games rather than violent games causing violence. One of the most popular arguments against violent videogames is that the graphic nature is blamed for teenagers committing violent acts; the most popular being school shootings. As part of my research project, I wanted to find a study that disproved this theory.
The article begins with describing various mass shootings, focusing on the Virginia Tech massacre. It talks about the shooters in these incidences and their personality characteristics. It becomes clear immediately that videogames have nothing to do with it. Instead, it comes from a repression of violent thoughts, and a history of “loaner” behavior. As the psychologist says, “a thought of murder a day keeps the psychiatrist away”, referring to the tendency everyone has of fantasizing rather violent scenarios. However, these fantasies can be relaxing to a balanced mind are treated as an obsession in a mentally ill mind. These teenagers keep to themselves and articulate their plans in journals, or sometimes youtube videos. There are even school shooting fan pages online, particularly glorifying Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine shooters, as gods.
This god complex seems to be the driving force behind these students’ motivations. Sebastian Bosse, a 18 year old shooter in Germany, considered Harris and Klebold to be martyrs. In his diary before the shooting, Bosse wrote, “Imagine that you’re standing in your old school and that your trench coat conceals all of your tools of righteousness, and then you throw the first Molotov cocktail, the first bomb. You are sending the most hated place in the world to Hell!” This desire to act as a god figure, to take life by choice, is a common thread in most of these shooters’ minds.
This article can be tied to my research project, particularly the idea of fantasies in the mind of a healthy person and a mentally unwell person. Hurting or killing an avatar in a video game can be seen as fun without any repercussions. However, it is only a mentally unstable person who takes this fantasy to real life.