To be clear: I am not asking if violent video games cause violent behavior. That is covered here.

I am more interested if there is any correlation between violent video games and mass killings. I want to know if the killers are any more or less likely to play video games than other people from similar backgrounds. Video games are often a target for blame in these tragedies:

"At times like this, we need to take a comprehensive look at all the ways we can keep our kids safe. I have long expressed concern about the impact of the violent content our kids see and interact with every day," Rockefeller said in a statement. "As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, I have introduced legislation to direct the National Academy of Sciences to investigate the impact of violent videogames and other content on children's well-being." --West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller

But from my own recollection it seems that there is no connection to video games more often than there is. Given the number of young males that play these games, it may even be an abnormally low number of these people who play violent video games.

It is well-known that the killers in the Columbine massacre were avid players of Doom. The shooter in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting is said to have spent hours in his basement playing Call of Duty. The killer in the Virginia Tech massacre played some Counter-Strike, but probably not very much. The killer in the 2011 shooting in Norway said he trained for the attack by playing Call of Duty. I can't recall others.

  • 5
    School shootings are extremely rare so it is almost impossible to get statistical evidence that videogames contribute to such shootings. In 1993, the release of Doom lead to many people thinking the game would produce killers, and in the shootings in Paducah, Kentucky; Springfield, Oregon; and Littleton, Colorado, it was reported that the killers all loved the game Doom. However in the 10 years following the release of Doom, juvenile homicide arrest rates fell 77%, despite increases in the number of violent video games.
    – Kenshin
    Dec 20, 2012 at 15:01
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    Purely anecdotally, isn't it virtually impossible to find a male in that age group who did NOT play Doom? :)
    – user5341
    Dec 20, 2012 at 15:27
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    "91 percent of kids between 2 and 17, or about 64 million people, are playing video games". You could as well as a question, if perpetrators in mass killings more likely watch TV.
    – vartec
    Dec 21, 2012 at 13:52
  • 1
    Regarding Lanza playing CoD. Consider top selling games of all times on X360 alone - CoD:BO - 16.4mln, CoD:MW3 - 13.7mln, CoD:MW2 - 12.9mln. The popularity of MW3 (which was the latest at the time): "Activision reported sales figures for Modern Warfare 3 in the U.S. and UK being more than 6.5 million copies sold on launch day and grossed $400 million in the US and UK alone in its first 24 hours, making it the biggest entertainment launch of all time. [...] Modern Warfare 3 went on to gross $1 billion throughout the world in 16 days of availability".
    – vartec
    Dec 21, 2012 at 14:02


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