No Isolated Case
A Strategy to Defeat the New Violence
Video Industry Sued
Ban Point-Shoot Games
What Is the New Violence?
What Children Are Watching
The Top Ten Killers
||PROGRAMMED TO KILL
Video Games, Drugs, and The New Violence
(Reprinted from Fall 2000 21st Century)
by Michele Steinberg
The murders of 13 students and teachers at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999, shocked the world. These acts of murder by two young men from well-to-do families, who cold-bloodedly shot fellow students and teachers, and then killed themselves, caused a wave of fear and soul-searching, to ripple throughout America.
Yet Littleton was only the most notorious of at least eight similar such incidents carried out by child killers, Manchurian Children, who learned their deadly skills from video games, and their scenarios from Hollywood. The brutal acts of these children exemplify a new phenomena in the world. It is the New Violence, as Democratic Presidential pre-candidate Lyndon LaRouche was the first to precisely characterize it at the time (see box). It is the use of Nintendo-style games, and related means, to transform young children and adolescents, as well as law-enforcement personnel into Samurai-style programmed killers.
The child-killers we have seen so far are only the first of what will be many more Nintendo killersif we fail to recognize and stop the phenomenon. There is a pattern, certain features which are common to all of these cases in the United States:
Moses Lake, Washington, February, 1996;
Pearl, Mississippi, October, 1997;
Paducah, Kentucky, December, 1997;
Jonesboro, Arkansas, March, 1998;
Springfield, Oregon, May 21, 1998;
Littleton, Colorado, April, 1999
In each of these cases, satanism, nihilism, and a fascination with violence and destruction figure prominently. In several of the more notorious cases, addiction to video games, and to nihilistic and graphically violent movies (such as Oliver Stones Natural Born Killers) were major components of the lives of these children. There is also the disturbing fact that three of the school shootersEric Harris of Littleton, Kip Kinkel, and Thomas J. Solomonwere among the more than 6 million children in the United States who are taking mind-altering drugs prescribed as a treatment. It may well be that the children on Ritalin, on Prozac, Luvox, and other psychiatric drugs, are walking human time bombs.
|Programming virtual killers: A boy plays Virtual Fighter, a video game at a Japanese amusement park owned by Sega.
Michael S. Yamashita/Corbis
The very same video games which were originally designed to train soldiers to kill, are those being mass marketed todayto children! This is the shocking fact documented by Lt. Colonel David Grossman, an Army psychologist who has specialized in the training of troops for combat. Grossman, who wrote the authoritative book on deadly force, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, has identified the essential part played by video-games in desensitizing human beings to hurting, injuring, and even killing others. On Killing was published in 1996, long before Littleton, but Grossman updated his study in the 1999 book called, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill, co-authored with Gloria DeGaetano.
In a particularly powerful chapter, Feel Something When You Kill, the authors reveal that the very operant-conditioning techniques used by the military and police agencies in training their troops to kill without compunction, are the basis for the increasingly lucrative point-and-shoot video-game industry.
There are three things you need in order to shoot and kill effectively and efficiently, Grossman and DeGaetano write. From a soldier in Vietnam to an eleven-year-old in Jonesboro, anyone who does not have all three will essentially fail in any endeavor to kill. First, you need a gun. Next you need the skill to hit a target with that gun. And finally you need the will to use that gun.
The authors continue, Today soldiers learn to fire at realistic, man-shaped silhouettes that pop up in their field of vision. This simulated human being is the conditioning stimulus. The trainee has only a split second to engage the target. The conditioned response is to shoot the target, and then it drops. Stimulus-response, stimulus-response, stimulus-responsesoldiers and police officers experience hundreds of repetitions of this. Later, when theyre out on the battlefield or walking a beat and someone pops up with a gun, reflexively they will shoot, and shoot to kill.
The authors punch line is this:
Now these simulators are in our homes and arcadesin the form of violent video games! If you dont believe us, you should know that one of the most effective and widely used simulators developed by the United States Army in recent years, MACS (Multipurpose Arcade Combat Simulator), is nothing more than a modified Super Nintendo game (in fact, it closely resembles the popular game Duck Hunt. . .Time Crisis.
No Isolated Case
In February 2000, two incidents came to the fore that made clear that Grossman was right, and that Littleton was no isolated case.
The first incident was the acquittal of four New York City policemen who had killed an unarmed African man, Amadou Diallo. About a year earlier, on Feb. 4, 1999, West African immigrant Dialloa devout Muslim, 22-years old, with no criminal recordwas gunned down without provocation by four policemen in New York City.
The four officers from the Street Crimes Unit, shot Diallo in the vestibule of his building about 12:40 a.m., as he was arriving home. He was unarmed, and offered no resistance. The police officers, who had been driving by in their car, noticed Diallo as he was entering his home. They stated that they believed that he was acting suspiciously. They were not wearing uniforms. One officer pulled out his badge, and said, Wed like to have a word with you. Diallo continued to enter the vestibule of his building. At some point, he pulled out his wallet, apparently in an attempt to identify himself. According to testimony from the four policemen-defendants, one officer yelled, Gun! Forty-one bullets were fired in five seconds, nineteen of them hitting their target. Within minutes, Amadou Diallo was dead.
The officers were later acquitted of murder, setting off a wave of national protests. They had not violated departmental rules concerning the use of deadly force. They had reacted as they were trained to react when they perceived a threateven it the threat did not exist. They had become Nintendo Killers.
The second incident was the killing of a six-year-old girl in Flint, Michigan by her six-year-old classmate, a African-American boy, who was living at a crack housewithout even a bed to sleep onbecause his uncle who lived there, was the only available adult to watch over him. The boy killed his classmate with one deadly shot from the gun he had stolen from the uncle. He had never fired a gun before. But he had played point-and-shoot video games.
A Strategy to Defeat the New Violence
The only national leader to identify the nature of the crisis and to pose a solution, was economist and then-candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Lyndon H. LaRouche.
On March 3, in a dialogue with Hispanic-American leaders, LaRouche said:
Were getting killings which are caused by the use of Nintendo-style games, such as the game Pokémon, with children, and also with police and others. In the case of the Diallo shooting, the problem was that the Mayor of New York, like many other officials, has been training the police force in Nintendo-style killing techniques. . . . So we have Nintendo-killers.
. . .We are producing zombies from our students, by this means, and by the use of Ritalin and other dangerous drugs in classrooms, to try to control student populations.
. . . Im determined to do everything I can, with my campaign and in other ways, to deal with this problem. . . . [W]e are faced with a kind of violence this nation can not survive . . . it has almost the highest priority, among all world issues. .. . .
LaRouche called for the creation of a commissiona standing body of citizen leadersagainst what he described as the New Violence. After a highly successful, and animated town meeting, which was broadcast via the Internet over LaRouches Democratic Party Presidential campaign website last April, LaRouche issued a document defining the New Violence. On May 8, 2000, the National Commission Against the New Violence was founded, and LaRouches document was adopted as its founding principles.
In three town meetings, and several private workshops, participants in the discussions of the National Commission Against the New Violence have determined that there is nothing accidental about the new violence sweeping America, in which children are killing each other, killing their parents, and killing themselves. Killer kids are created using Nintendo techniques. Animated violence is a multibillion-dollar business, and its promotion is deliberate.
In a presentation to a national conference of the Schiller Institute, Feb. 20, 2000, Helga Zepp LaRouche, LaRouches wife and founder of the Institute, addressed the issue in detail. Her speech, titled The Mark of the Beast: Americas Children Are in Mortal Danger, zeroed in on Pokémon, to which children as young as two or three become addicted. She documented how Pokémon has been underestimated as a trigger for violence, and an instrument for desensitizing children to violence.
Video Industry Sued
A month later, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held hearings on the crisis, and Sabrina Steger, a pediatric nurse, testified on video games and violence. Steger is not just any witness. Shes the mother of Kayce Steger, one of three students killed at Heath High School in Paducah, Ky., on Dec. 1, 1997, by 14-year-old Michael Carneal. As Steger said, I am the person you do not want to be. I live a parents worst nightmare. . . .
Steger is also suing the top names of the violence industry. She is a plaintiff in the suit against the makers, designers, and distributors of the killer video games that Carneal used.
Steger explained to the Senate: Eight shots firedeight children hit in the upper chest, neck, or head. Kayce, Jessica, and Nicole died that day. . .
One of the first indicators of media influence is that none of his shots missed. . . . [We] know of only one time prior that the killer practiced with the gun he used to commit murder. A recent case in the news involved a man shot at close range by police officers [the New York case of Amadou Diallo]. Of the 41 shots they fired, 19 hit the victim. Less than half of the shots fired by trained policemen hit their target, but 100 percent of those fired by a teenager hit students in the kill zone. The fact that the shooter used the most effective methods of shooting, one shot per victim.
A day later, on March 22, ABC-TVs news magazine 20/20 aired a 15-minute segment featuring Jack Thompson, the attorney for Steger and other Paducah parents in their suit. Also featured is Lt. Col. David Grossman, Army Psychologist, who proves the role of the video games in training killers, and desensitizing the users to violence.
The 20/20 segment also showed that the video games industry is counterattackingusing the FBI as their defense! Interviewed on the show, the current (unnamed) Chief Executive Officer of id Software, makers of Doom and Quake, had a ready-made line: FBI statistics allegedly show that violent crime has fallen for the past nine years, while the video game industry has grown to a $7-billion-a-year enterprise, even bigger than the movies. 20/20 and id Softwares CEO insist that its a right of free speech to make products as violent as the user wants. Their free speech argument is the same one used by advocates of drug legalization.
Ban Point-Shoot Games
In an April 2000 interview with Executive Intelligence Review magazine, attorney Thompson asserted that the violence associated with the point-shoot video games is not a free speech issue, and that it can be stopped. Instead of more conferences to discuss the violence, he said, the President could simply direct the Product Safety Commission to ban them because they are dangerous.
In May 1999, within weeks of the Littleton massacre, Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) magazine published a grisly report on the violent video games that are turning children into programmed killers. Drawing on the expertise of individuals such as Lt. Col. David Grossman, the report exposed that the fact that video games are specifically used by the utopian faction in the U.S. military to desensitize individuals to violence and killing, and that they serve as murder simulators in training programs.
EIRs lead in exposing the video industryjust one branch of the Hollywood violence empirewas followed a year later by several significant initiatives by the Federal Trade Commission, and by leading public health professional associations, to make public the video violence and its causal connection to aggressive behavior. These initiatives may be the basis, finally, for outlawing the video game murder simulators.
On July 26, 2000, leaders of the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Medical Association issued a Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children which said:
At this time, well over 1,000 studiesincluding reports from the Surgeon Generals office, the National institute of Mental health, and numerous studies conducted by leading figures within our medical and public health organizationsour own memberspoint overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children. The statement noted that this is the conclusion of the public health community, based on more than 30 years of research.
One of the studies referenced, appears in the April 2000 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Behavior. It is titled Video Games and Aggressive Thoughts, Feelings, and Behavior in the Laboratory and in Life, by Dr. Craig A. Anderson from the Iowa State University of Science and Technology, and Dr. Karen E. Dill from Lenoir-Rhyne College.
The two studies described in the article say that playing violent video games such as Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, or Mortal Kombat, can increase aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior both in laboratory setting and in actual life.
The violent video games present a unique danger, the authors note, for three reasons: first, because the player identifies with the aggressor; and, in fact, in first person video games, assumes the identity of the hero. Second, because of the active participation of the player in choosing, often again and again, to act in an aggressive and violent manner. And third, because the games are addictive, providing a perfect paradigm for the induction of addictive behavior.
On Sept. 11, 2000, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report called Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children, which reviewed the motion picture, music recording and electronic games industry. The FTC concluded that these industries deliberately and intentionally market extremely violent material to children as young as six-years old, violating their own self-regulatory codes.
Another study, published in the March issue of Nature Neuroscience, reports that Pokémon (a widely popular childrens video game, also called Pocket Monster) is being investigated for links to visually induced epileptic seizures, associated with rapidly-shifting imagery.
The article states, During a recent showing of the Pocket Monster cartoon in Japan, 685 children experienced epileptic seizures. It says photosensitive epilepsy is the most common form of stimulus-induced epilepsy, and its prevalence in children ages 4-14, which is already substantial."
More than 200 children who suffered epileptic convulsions during the particular Pokémon showing described, in 1997, remained hospitalized for some period of time.
Col. Grossman, the Army psychologist, has suggested that the rapid-fire images of television programs, such as MTV and even Sesame Street are, in fact, responsible for the syndrome known as Attention Deficit Disorder. The cumulative effect of early years of TV, pounding away at the childs brain, make impossible for these children to adjust to the slower pace of the teacher in school. And, Grossman says: when theyre whacked-out, we drugem. And the result is horror.
It is well known that many of the student killers were being prescribed mind-altering psychiatric drugs. T.J. Solomon, the 15-year-old from Conyers, Ga., who shot six classmates in May 1999, was on Ritalin; Eric Harris, 18, one of the two Columbine killers, was being prescribed the anti-depressant Luvox; and Kip Kinkel, the 15-year-old from Springfield, Ore., who killed both his parents and two schoolmates, and wounded 20 other students in May 1998, was taking Prozac, one of the most widely prescribed drugs.
Of more than 6 million children under 18 in America who have been prescribed Ritalin, Luvox, Prozac, Paxil, and other anti-depressants and psychiatric drugs, many have committed violent acts, even killings. Many others are walking time-bombs. U.S. News & World Report, March 6, 2000, documented some lesser known cases:
In California, 16-year-old Jared Viktor was convicted of murder for stabbing his grandmother 61 times. Ten days earlier, Jared had been prescribed the anti-depressant Paxil, for pre-existing problems.
In Kansas, 13-year-old Matt Miller committed suicide (he was found hanging in his closet) after taking the anti-depressant Zoloft for a week. The Miller family has sued Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft.
Even more horrible, increasing numbers of infants, toddlers, and pre-school children are being zombified with psychiatric drugs produced for adults, before they can even learn to talk, let alone read.
According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Feb. 23, 2000 (Trends in the Prescribing of Psychotropic Medications to Pre-Schoolers), poor children, especially black children, are prescribed Ritalin (methylphenidate) at younger and younger ages, with the number of prescriptions in two study groups having increased more than 300 percent during 1991-1995.
The anti-depressant Prozac is just as abused; the article says that a psychiatric newsletter, citing marketing data compiled by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994, reported some 3,000 prescriptions for fluoxetine hydrochloride (the generic name for Prozac) written for children younger than one year-old!
The findings, written by a group of doctors from the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and the Center for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente, in Portland, Ore., were presented in May 1999, at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Washington, D.C. But the dangerous practices havent stopped.
The team studied ambulatory care prescription records from 1991 to 1995 from two Medicaid programs (a Midwest state and a Mid-Atlantic state), and from one HMO in the Northwest. Records were checked for enrollees between two and four years old during those years.
The results should shock the nation: In all three programs, psychotropic medications prescribed for pre-schoolers increased dramatically. The use of methylphenidate increased in all three sites: 3-fold for the Midwest database, 1.7-fold for the Mid-Atlantic group, and 3.1-fold at the HMO. These records involved hundreds of thousands of patientsmore than 158,000 enrolled in the Midwestern state, 54,237 in the Mid-Atlantic state, and 19,322 at the HMO.
One noticeable pattern is the prevalence of poor children. The Medicaid youth were almost entirely eligible under Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC, the former federal welfare program), and, within the Medicaid groups, non-whites were over-represented, i.e., a greater number than in the general population.
There is no question that the poorest children are being abused. The article says that in 1998, Pediatric researchers noted that 57 percent of 223 Michigan Medicaid enrollees aged younger than 4 years with a diagnosis of ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder] received at least one psychotropic medication to treat this condition. Methylphenidate was one of the two most prescribed.
These results show a pattern of premeditated medical abuse. At a March 3 press conference, Sen. Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, addressed the concerns posed by the JAMA article. He showed the warnings printed with every bottle of Ritalin. In large type, one says: Warning: Ritalin should not be used in children under 6 years, since safety and efficacy in this age group have not been established. A second warning says: Precautions: long-term effects of Ritalin in children have not been well-established. Yet, because these drugs have been approved for general use, there is no prohibition against giving them to children.
The New Violence is a question of national security: Can a nation survive, when the cultural view becomes predominant that man is just another beast? In the Roman Empire, gladiators ripped human beings to shreds, while tens of thousands of spectators cheered; today, in the Information Age, this beastliness takes other formswhich there is still time to stop.
Michele Steinberg is on the research staff of Executive Intelligence Review, and is a member of the Commission Against the New Violence.
For Further Reading
Lt. Col. David Grossman (ret.) and Gloria DeGaetano, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie, & Video Game Violence, 1999. (New York: Random House).
Helga Zepp LaRouche, The Mark of the Beast: Americas Children Are in Mortal Danger, Executive Intelligence Review, March 17, 2000.
Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., Star Wars and Littleton, Executive Intelligence Review, July 2, 1999.
|What Is the New Violence?
||This policy memorandum was written on April 26, 2000, by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., then a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, for the use of LaRouches Committee for a New Bretton Woods (LBW). It was adopted by the Commission Against the New Violence as its founding principles.
1. The term New Violence, as employed by LBW, signifies, chiefly, the introduction of new methods, those of Nintendo games and related means, to transform young children and adolescents, as well as law-enforcement personnel, into Samurai-style programmed killers. The term New Violence will be used in LBW proceedings solely to identify forms of violence which feature this distinctly new element. Old forms of violence will be included in this classification only when the role of Nintendo-style games and related means is a characteristic feature of the problem being considered in the study and report.
E.g., the classification of New Violence, as distinct from new revivals of old forms of violence, will be included, only in such cases as the revival of old-style lynching conducted by law-enforcement agents, that only insofar as it is congruent with the pattern typified by the activities of Mayor Rudolph Giulianis special teams of Nintendo Cops in New York City.
By New Violence, we emphasize the Littleton-Columbine model, in which Nintendo-style games and related methods and means was a crucial, distinguishing feature. We include the use of related methods and objectives in the training and deployment of law-enforcement agents, or analogous instances. We must do this to avoid ruining the results of the investigation by fallacy of composition.
2. The standpoint of comparison used to aid in conceptualizing the common characteristics of this New Violence, is the utopian programs, such as H.G. Wellss The Open Conspiracy,
Wells-Russell protégé Aldous Huxleys utopian New Age models, the 1931 and 1951 models set forth by Bertrand Russell, and Clockwork Orange, as points of intellectual reference. What is specifically new, is the adaptation of the mythos of the Samurai warrior, and related martial arts mythology, combined with lunatic legacies such as Dungeons and Dragons and Tolkiens Lord of the Rings, to the childish mad-killer pornography of cinematic cartoons and Nintendo-style games. The use of this method and its derivatives, for the purpose of programmed conditioning of military, law enforcement teams, and for indoctrinating children in a programmed impulse for terrorist forms of violence, is adequately understood only when such Nintendo-game-style conditioning is situated within the utopian doctrine of Russells relevant 1931 and 1951 writings on the required methods of population control to realize his own and H.G. Wells oligarchical utopian ends.
3. A crucial feature of a clean inquiry, is to recognize the fraud implicit (or actually intended) in the use of any hysterical gun-law reform diversionary effort, to cover up for the crucial role of the popular mass-media, and firms such as Hasbro, in mass brainwashing of children to become, even as young children, programmed agents of blind-terrorist modes of mass-murder by means which do not depend in any characteristic fashion on firearms.
4. A most important feature of the inquiry, is to recognize the lessons to be learned from the role of bread and circuses in manipulating the population of ancient Rome into the pathological state of mind aimed at by the design of Nintendo-style games and related New Age tactics today.
|What Children Are Watching
||Michele Steinberg and Anton Chaitkin
Death Can Strike Anyone. For the Right Price. You never know when death will comeunless you make a few special arrangements. Because once the Hitman takes your assignment, someone takes a bullet. Its not a righteous way of life, but we all have to make a living. Even if it means making a killing.
This is from the advertisement for the role-playing video game HITMAN: Codename 47, in the May 2000 issue of Computer Gaming World.
The advertiser for this product, the British firm Eidos, promises the child customer who buys its game, realistic training as a mercenary assassin.
Selling this violent filth is a very lucrative business for its perpetrators, who seldom appear before the public. Yet, the revenue from this sordid enterprise, between $9 and $11 billion per year, is now surpassing movie theater ticket sales.
The identity and background of those responsible for this mayhem, if widely known, might cause them considerable trouble. A case in point is Midway Home Entertainment, peddlers of some of the bloodiest violence to children.
In December 1999seven months after Littletonthe Chicago City Council voted to grant $2 million to Midway, to keep its corporate headquarters in the city. Although it was reported that Midway publishes Mortal Kombat, a game in which a character may tear out the vital organs of his opponent, the full nature of the companys deadly activity was not known: Midway is one of the biggest retailers of Doom and Quake, the advanced point-and-shoot death match games which have trained the Columbine and other young shooters to kill mindlessly.
Midways website carries this ad for Quake:
Gun em down. . . . Blow em to pieces . . . or DIE!
Incorporates the ferocity of the single player game with the supreme bloodlust of the two player Deathmatch. . . .
Realistic explosions echo and reverberate, transporting the player to a hellish, dungeon-like environment. . . .
The corporate entity known as Midway Games is a legal fiction. It is actually a 1998 spinoff, and was still housed in April 2000 with its former parent company, WMS Industries. WMS is one of the largest manufacturers of slot machinesthe oldest and best-known of the addictive electronic games.
|The Top Ten Killers
||In a press release Feb. 1, 2000, Midway Games reported the top ten in killer games, that is, the leading U.S. video-game sofware companies, as ranked in order of their unit sales:
1. Nintendo of America, Inc.: Manufactures Pokémon, Game-Boys, and equipment for satanic video games.
2. Electronic Arts, Inc.: Produces Road Rash, which features a hit and run, criminal assault on police.
3. Sony Computer Entertainment: Equipment for satanic video games. Was a defendant in the lawsuit on behalf of the three girls killed by video game addict Michael Carneal, the 14-year-old shooter in Paducah, Kentucky.
4. Midway Home Entertainment: Mortal Kombat, Doom, Quake.
5. THQ, Inc.: Summoners, which deals with evil sorcerers, satanic monsters.
6. Acclaim Entertainment: Hard Core Wrestling (such as nails in head, strangulation), Hard Core Revolution, and Real Fn Wrestling.
7. 989 Studios (Sony): Produces Everquest. (In this, followers of the god Cazic-Thule inflict pain, misery, violence, torture, living sacrifice.
8. Activision, Inc.: Soldier of Fortune (assassination, race war).
9. Namco Ltd.: Soul Calibur. In this, The Evil Seed is loose, threatens to swallow souls in its chilling wake.
10. Hasbro Interactive: Official U.S. distributor of Pokémon (abbreviation for Pocket Monsters), the killing game designed for toddlers beginning at 2 and 3 years old; Dungeons and Dragons, the medieval satanic and magic fantasy game; Risk II, a ruthless quest for world domination". One of the Hasbro Board members is Paul Wolfowitz, the co-head of George W. Bushs team of foreign policy advisors.
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