Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian man killed over 90 people at a shooting this weekend on the island of Utoya, about 19 miles northwest of Oslo, Norway. Breivik opened fire at a youth camp, shortly after setting off a bomb which killed 7 at a government building. He has reportedly said he used Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 to learn combat skills for an upcoming war with Islam.
“I just bought Modern Warfare 2, the game. It is probably the best military simulator out there and it’s one of the hottest games this year. … I see MW2 more as a part of my training-simulation than anything else. I’ve still learned to love it though and especially the multiplayer part is amazing. You can more or less completely simulate actual operations.”
While I would not try to argue that video games drove Breivik to do what he did but this does point to a few important issues worth examining. The Call of Duty was an important training tool for what was a frightening successful attack. This is a man without police or military training after all. So I would suggest considering the idea of allowing children to play such a video game. In general, Breivik mentions being a video game enthusiast and some sites report that he was addicted to World of Warcraft. Again, I am not suggesting those games are responsible for his actions. But I would suggest that the gaming may have contributed to his social alienation that led him to commit such a crime.