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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Amoklauf

Is the German word for some act of insanity against others. It's a good description for what has happened in Aurora, Colorado. What on earth can possess someone, apparently an intelligent and otherwise 'normal' individual to act out some insane fantasy in this way? What possessed him to put on a gasmask copy of the mask worn by the character 'Bane' in the Batman film, equip himself with what can only be described as an arsenal of weapons and ammunition - and then open fire on the audience in a packed cinema?

Is there a 'sane' motive? Can there be? Yet, to say this is the act of an insane man is to evade a perhaps more important question. Is this act perhaps one incited by the constant stream of violent video games and even more violent 'action' movies? The Batman movies have moved away from the comic book hero and his sidekick, and descended in to a world populated by mutant psychotics. The stories have become so dark they verge on horror and even the 'star' himself is portrayed as a brooding man whose response to every threat is even more violence,

In a video 'game' the 'body count' doesn't matter, because hitting restart 'reanimates' all the adversaries. But you can't do that in real life. There's no restart. A person shot and killed by a burst of automatic fire isn't going to get up whole and unharmed for the next round.

There will, no doubt, be all the usual handwringing about fire arms control, but, as we have seen in Britain, banning handguns has actually caused an increase in gun crime. The only people now unable to use them legally are those who used to shoot for sport on supervised ranges and in controlled groups. You can't say that of the criminal fraternity.

Sadly I suspect we are never likely to learn exactly what the gunman in Aurora was thinking when he embarked on his murderous rampage, but I suspect it will be interesyting to know how much time he spent watching violent movies and playing violence based video games. I'm pretty sure there is a correlation there ...

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