Vaz blames ‘racist shooting’ on video game


1:15 pm - November 9th 2010

by Unity    


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In a story you may not have picked up on over the weekend, Police in the Swedish city of Malmo have confirmed that an as yet unnamed 38 year old man has been arrested in connection with a series of gun attacks on people with ethnic minority backgrounds.

Prior to the arrest, local police had suspected that more than a dozen unsolved shootings over the last year, in which one person died and eight more were wounded, may have been the work of lone gunman. The man arrested at the weekend has now been charged with one count of murder and seven attempted murders.

Make of that story what you will, but what has piqued my interest here is not the story itself but an Early Day Motion (EDM 907) put down a couple of weeks ago by Labour MP, Keith Vaz, in relation to these shootings.

That this House notes with concern that the recent race shootings in Malmo, Sweden have been associated with the violent video game Counter-Strike; further notes that the internet-based, first-person shooting game that pits a counter-terrorist team against terrorists was previously banned in Brazil and in 2007 was associated with US College Campus massacres; recognises the potential impact of violent video games on those under 18 years; and calls on the Government to ensure the purchase of video games by those under 18 yearsis controlled and that parents are provided with clear information on the violent content of certain games.

WTF?

So how do we get from racist nutjob shooting at the local migrant population to a three-year old video game?

Surprisingly enough, not via the usual suspects, the Daily Mail and Daily Express. On this occasion it appears to have been The Times that decided to have a bit of dabble in stirring up a faux moral panic by quoting the opinions of a Mr Ahmad al-Mughrabi in its coverage of the story…

I am sure that this is down to some crazy kid who plays that sniping game Counterstrike all day.  I don’t believe in the lone Nazi theory

So who is our mysterious Mr al-Mughrabi? Is he a police officer? A city official? A representative of the Swedish Justice Ministry?

No, as far as anyone has managed to ascertain, to date, he’s just some bloke that The Times picked off the street at random and that’s all the evidence that Keith Vaz needs to put down an EDM and start banging on about violent video games, yet again.

As for the rest of Vaz’ ‘evidence’, sales of Counterstrike were, indeed, banned by a Brazilian judge in January 2008 on the grounds that, in the judge’s sole opinion, the game…

“bring[s] imminent stimulus to the subversion of the social order, attempting against the democratic and rightful state and against the public safety”

At the same hearing, the judge also banned the sale of the fantasy role-playing game Everquest following, one assumes, several reports of car-jackings in Sao Paulo in which the perpetrators were identified as a couple of halfling rogues and tame beholder.

Needless to say, a regional federal court lifted both banning orders in June 2009.

And the campus shootings?

Both the Virginia Tech (April 2007) and Northern Illinois University attacks were alleged to have been linked to Counterstrike but, on both occasions, the allegation originated came by way of a Florida lawyer and anti-obscenity campaigner, Jack Thompson, who even went so far as to ‘predict’ that the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech attack, Seung-Hui Cho, had been ‘trained to kill’ in the game before the shooter had been identified.

Neither investigation, unsurprisingly, found any evidence to link either the shooting to the game. Cho had never owned or even played Counterstrike and the ‘best’ that anyone game up with in the case of the NIU shooter, Steven Kazmierczak, were a couple of unverified newspaper reports in which Kazmeikczak’s dormmates claimed that he used to play the game. Cho and Kazmeikczak were, however, found to have had an extensive history of psychiatric illness, including periods during which they had been admitted to institutions as in-patients.

Thompson, on the other hand, has now been permanantly disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court for inappropriate conduct, including making false statements to tribunals and disparaging and humiliating litigants in a judgement that also described his filings as “repetitive, frivolous and insulting to the integrity of the court”, the latter being an observation one could easily apply to Keith Vaz’s ‘campaign’ against video games.

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About the author
'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Immigration ,Race relations ,Technology

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Reader comments


Keith Vaz is a thoroughly unsatisfactory human being.

At the same hearing, the judge also banned the sale of the fantasy role-playing game Everquest following, one assumes, several reports of car-jackings in Sao Paulo in which the perpetrators were identified as a couple of halfling rogues and tame beholder.

Superb.

If computer games directed behaviour in this way, then people like me brought up on Pacman would spend their free time in dark rooms, listening to electronic music and munching pills. Which is clearly absurd.

In any case, anybody who never made it past level 19 of Manic Miner will attest, murder is COMPLETELY JUSTIFIED.

4. the a&e charge nurse

It is claimed “exposure to violent video games is significantly linked to increases in aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, and cardiovascular arousal, and to decreases in helping behaviour. Experimental studies reveal this linkage to be causal”.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WH0-4B9D74R-1&_user=10&_coverDate=02%2F29%2F2004&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1533578584&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=db9850ba85999d6fb8bcfb85813737ce&searchtype=a

WHY violent video games have this effect is less clear cut so it is difficult to say if more restrictions are the answer – I suppose it is possible the unhinged Malmo shooter had his antisocial tendencies reinforced by long hours wiping out opponents in a violent computer game but such exposure was almost certainly NOT the key stimulus?

To date the effects of exposure to Vaz have not been scientifically studied.

On the plus side we’ll have an advantage in the next olympics when our sprinters realise you can run faster with a knife.

Oh dear, another reason to ban Early Day Motions…and ban Keith Vaz too I suppose.

@4:

“Linked to” is weasel wordery. Correlation does not imply causation. Now, I don’t expect Vaz to have a grasp of the finer points of statistical fallacies and their avoidance, but this business of citing nobody-in-particular Ahmad al-Mughrabi and Jack Thompson, well-known nutcase, is just plain odd.

Did Vaz have a terrible experience whilst playing Pong? He’s flippin’ obsessed.

I think in the case of Vaz, there was a murder in his constituency that was linked to Manhunt by the tabloids, and he saw an opportunity to build a personal vote.

… calls on the Government to ensure the purchase of video games by those under 18 years is controlled and that parents are provided with clear information on the violent content of certain games.

Videogames sold in the UK containing certain content (e.g. sexual activity, gross violence) are BBFC rated; if exempt from BBFC’s rules the game will carry the Europe-wide PEGI rating regardless of content (every game is PEGI rated). PEGI age rating and content descriptor icons (e.g. violence, swearing, sexual content) are printed on packaging and marketing materials. “Sales staff can be heavily fined and even sent to prison if they are caught supplying BBFC age rated games to anyone younger than that age” (BBFC). PEGI age ratings are not legally binding yet (will be from 1 April 2011) but you’re unlikely to see larger retailers supplying 16+ games to kids under 16. Game publishers take age ratings pretty seriously in my experience.

Of course that doesn’t stop parents buying games for the kids but 85% of parents of school-age children are happy with the ratings system (BBFC). Keith Vaz wants half the front of the package to give the age rating, description of content, and a note about children being vulnerable to violent content – a bit like a cigarette packet.

3 year old game? Try closer 10 years, although it didn’t get a shiny graphical update three year ago.

Vaz is the verminous face of nu-labour.

If the House of Commons had not been such a sewer, he would have been rightly exterminated years ago but he enjoyed the protection of Blair, Mandelson and Harman.

I used to love Super Mario games. I’m off to kill turtles, eat leaves and dress as a raccoon.

So how do we get from racist nutjob shooting at the local migrant population to a three-year old video game?

Make that ten years old – CS 1.0 was released in 2000.

What is it with CS specifically? There’s loads of FPS games out there, and they’re all much of a muchness in the “training people to kill” department, but nobody ever seems to finger any of the Ghost Recon series…

Anyone who has actually used firearms must realise that the videogame fantasies are far from any sort of training. It’s in the name, G-A-M-E-S.

Video games are such a corrupting influence that I am circular, yellow and run away from ghosts while consuming pills. It was comforting to see Liam Fox making a prat of himself over Modern Warfare 2 but he’s got a long way to go to catch up with Vaz who’s been making a berk of himself on the subject for years, much to the delight of publishers like Rockstar who’ve seen the sales of titles like GTA and Manhunt rise after he makes a fool of himself. Gaming is now well established and more profitable than Hollywood and sensible MPs should be doing everything they can to encourage one of the few areas where Britain still innovates (but the Ukraine and others are catching up very, very fast). We are now at a stage where younger people in the establishment are or have been gamers and anyone who’s ever fired a real gun will tell you its absolutely nothing like an FPS.

Nothing really changes, penny dreadfuls, horror comics, rock and roll, video nasties, they’re all to blame not a divisive, alienating society

Coming soon, MPs blame zombie outbreak on Left4Dead

I always wondered whether Bush and Blair enjoyed the civillisation games.

I have a copy of Evil Genius. Today my PC, tomorrow…the world!!

Mwahahaha!!

(Please note that a fluffy white cat is not include as part of the installation program)

I always wondered whether Bush and Blair enjoyed the civillisation games.

Being nuked by Gandhi was always a bit of a shocker.

Well I enjoy Sim City so perhaps I should start trying to zone areas of woodland.

@13

Talking of Mario, how come there’s such a shortage of plumbers when Mario and Luigi were so popular?? Not to mention a distinct lack of sonically-charged homocidal hedgehogs.

Oh dear Tim, if you waited for the AI to develop Nukes you’d always be onto a loser. The game clearly rewarded pre-emptive strikes………

22 – well quite. Lessons learned the hard way on my Amiga version.

Hahaha, Keith Vaz, the perfect example of a pitiful human being.

25. Chris Baldwin

Jeesh, I’ll never understand these censorship advocates. Why can’t they just leave the rest of us alone?

@5 – “On the plus side we’ll have an advantage in the next olympics when our sprinters realise you can run faster with a knife.”

Best answer yet! (On a related note, have you ever noticed how similar some of the shot-putters look to the Heavy Weapons Guy from ‘Team Fortress’?)

“Oh dear, another reason to ban Early Day Motions…”

Au contraire, they are brilliant weather vanes for stupidity. MPs can make genuine mistakes of course – you can’t be an expert on everything – but after a while a pattern builds up. Even before I looked I just *knew* Hancock and Russell were going to be on there. Surprised at John Hemming though.

Keith Vaz really is a tool.

I know Leicester East very well; indeed some of my best friends live there. Why are they consistently lumbered with some of most stridently ill-informed MPs in the country? (yes, I remember Vaz’s predecessor Bruinvels, though I’d much rather not)

Alix, never mind Hemming; what the hell is John Leech doing on there?

30. FlyingRodent

I’ve been playing Close Range for months & it’s never done me any harm… http://tinyurl.com/ybzzke9 (worth sitting through the ad for)

I remember Vaz’s predecessor Bruinvels

Ah yes, the Honourable Member for Johannesburg East IIRC.

I don’t play video games and have never murdered anyone. So Vaz must be right…

I blogged about this very subject back when GTA IV came out –

http://www.invertmouse.net/page13.htm


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Vaz Blames 'Racist Shootings' on Video Game http://bit.ly/d4yUms

  2. Alex Bladon

    RT @libcon: Vaz Blames 'Racist Shootings' on Video Game http://bit.ly/d4yUms

  3. Martin Coxall

    RT @libcon: Vaz Blames 'Racist Shootings' on Video Game http://bit.ly/d4yUms

  4. Nicholas Stewart

    RT @libcon: Vaz Blames 'Racist Shootings' on Video Game http://bit.ly/d4yUms

  5. Martin Coxall

    Vaz Blames ‘Racist Shootings’ on Video Game | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/crJRgT

  6. Faraz Osman

    RT @libcon: Vaz Blames 'Racist Shootings' on Video Game http://bit.ly/d4yUms

  7. Nick Entwistle

    Labour friends, why does anyone bother campaigning for Keith Vaz? He's scandal ridden, and many ants short of a picnic http://bit.ly/d4yUms

  8. Unity

    RT @libcon: Vaz Blames 'Racist Shootings' on Video Game http://bit.ly/d4yUms #counterstrike #blackops

  9. Thomas O Smith

    RT @libcon: Vaz Blames 'Racist Shootings' on Video Game http://bit.ly/d4yUms <the cnuts at it again #libertarian #censorship

  10. Kemi

    Love TimJ's comment about Pacman on this article rt @libcon Vaz Blames 'Racist Shootings' on Video Game http://bit.ly/d4yUms 😀

  11. Kemi

    Love TimJ's comment about Pacman on this article 🙂 rt @libcon Vaz Blames 'Racist Shootings' on Video Game http://bit.ly/d4yUms

  12. Game Pages

    Vaz Blames 'Racist Shootings' on Video Game | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/cRfdpM

  13. Stephen Ball

    Here we go, Keith Vaz talking absolutely shite again http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/11/09/vaz-blames-racist-shootings-on-video-game/

  14. James Thomas

    RT @libcon: Vaz Blames 'Racist Shootings' on Video Game http://bit.ly/d4yUms

  15. Regurgitating Games

    Vaz blames 'racist shooting' on video game | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/aByPqT

  16. Ben Hunt

    tediously evidence-phobic Leicester MP Keith Vaz announces latest departure from reality http://is.gd/gSngn

  17. Jo Shields

    Hey @tom_watson, seems Vaz is at it again – http://bit.ly/9aSkxU – haven't you convinced him games don't cause all of society's ills yet?

  18. Adam Englebright

    http://bit.ly/bgX13k : Keith Vaz just can't stop himself.

  19. Lester Macintyre

    Vaz blames 'racist shooting' on video game | Liberal Conspiracy: That this House notes with concern that the rec… http://bit.ly/9w5sR8

  20. Maria Dough

    Vaz blames 'racist shooting' on video game | Liberal Conspiracy: That this House notes with concern that the rec… http://bit.ly/axUJda

  21. earwicga

    RT @libcon: Vaz blames 'racist shooting' on video game http://bit.ly/d4yUms

  22. Ty Vannih

    Vaz blames 'racist shooting' on video game | Liberal Conspiracy: Neither investigation, unsurprisingly, found an… http://bit.ly/clalAR

  23. Eddy O'Sullivan

    Vaz blames ‘racist shooting’ on video game | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/4u2mOAT

  24. Vaz Strikes Out…Keith Vaz raises another anti-games EDM after a trivial newspaper comment about the Malmo gunman « Melon Farmers Blog

    […] on article from liberalconspiracy.org See also EDM from […]

  25. Lee Durbin

    He's at it again: Keith Vaz claims links between Counterstrike & shooting sprees, raises EDM http://is.gd/gX6nx (x-posted to Gamers' Voice)

  26. PadPad

    RT @xentahl: He's at it again: Keith Vaz claims links between Counterstrike & shooting sprees, raises EDM http://is.gd/gX6nx (x-posted t …

  27. Jake

    Keith Vaz flaps mouth about video games again – http://bit.ly/9aSkxU

  28. Why can’t we ban Keith Vaz? « The BigotBasher

    […] As Liberal Conspiracy reports, Keith Vaz has put his own spin on things, blaming the now ageing but highly popular game Counter-Strike for the racist killings. […]

  29. Keith Vaz: The moron's at it again

    […] ratings on games, too. I mean, the three separate methods we have now obviously aren't enough… Vaz blames ‘racist shooting’ on video game | Liberal Conspiracy The guy needs a slap. Is there a game on the market that lets you practice beating retards about […]





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