Mob Blames Mass Effect For School Shooting, Is Embarrassingly Wrong

In the wake of the terrible tragedy in Connecticut, initial reports said the shooter was a 24 year-old named Ryan Lanza. Online, people quickly located a Ryan Lanza on Facebook and searched through his profile to see if there were any "clues" they could pin the shooting on. They found their clues... but the wrong Lanza.

As we now know, the shooter was apparently his younger brother, Adam Lanza.

But during those initial reports, a mob of angry Facebook users noticed that Ryan Lanza had liked Mass Effect on Facebook. Coupled with news reports that a Fox News expert connected the horrific shooting to video games, some felt like this was proof positive that games were to blame.

A Facebook pile-on began. "There is a connection between violent games and senseless violence in real life," wrote Facebook user Becky Laird Gluff. Another user, Melanie Bowers, said, "Ban this game and the people who created such sickness." And Catherine Barowski Plummer even wrote, "I am sure none of these precious children had this game on their Santa list... God help protect us from all the evil our society promotes." (More in the above gallery)

"Ban this game and the people who created such sickness."

And you know, that Fox News expert also blamed Facebook for what happened.

A few hundred comments in, the mob was in full force, when a Reddit thread seems to have picked up on what was going down.

For too long, video games have been the scapegoat. The constant finger-pointing has made many gamers defensive -- perhaps overly so. The next thousand or so comments that followed were gamers sticking up for Mass Effect, pointing out that the alleged perpetrator probably drank water and ate bread, so many we should ban those, too. But hours later, what exactly are they now sticking up for? That was the wrong Lanza! Video games don't incite violence. End of story.

The Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting: Everything We Know About the Shooter [Gawker]

Mass Effect [Facebook]

'Mass Effect' Facebook Page Attacked Because Misidentified Shooting Suspect Liked It [Mashable]

Mob Mentality at Its Finest [Reddit]


    Sigh, the state of people's intelligence in the world is upsetting.

      You can blame parents and the media for that, in whichever order you like.

        I think what you mean is misinformed ignorant parents. I am a parent and a gamer, like many young parents. It is the type of people that believe everything that fox news sprouts that's the issue. If these people had even a small understanding of gaming or even psychology they would not think the way that they do.

    Instant worldwide social presence has given people with little minds the ability to instantly pass judgement on others without the arbitrary need to check facts. Sad to see so many people condemn someone who is only peripheral at best to the issue.

    Some of the vitriol these people are throwing at a video game which had nothing at all to do with this tragedy should be aimed squarely at the gun manufacturer's or quite possibly the centuries old need for people in that part of the world to bear arms because it will prevent these kinds of things.

    I'd go out on a limb here and say that the media involved was being so reactive they didn't check anything and were milking the obvious public horror and outcry for ratings. You can blame the gun shop who sold this guy the guns, but really trying to harvest revenue under the guise of journalism without having fully learnt the lessons taught to Mr Wilkens a while back is despicable in itself. If i've spelt Dick's name wrong well, I didn't bother to check it and nor do I care, i'll have a retraction at 11 with more updates.

    Also wtf he pressed "like" ?

    All the smart people use Facebook.

    Last edited 16/12/12 2:38 pm

    uninformed people are bloody stupid and need to be sent to get educated before they open their bloody mouths. This goes for the general public when commenting on real life tragedies and trying to relate them to video games.

    Go screw yourselves you bloody bunch of wankers.


    Last edited 16/12/12 2:38 pm

    And this is why i fucking hate it when the news media brings up shit about twitter and facebook pages. its not news or jouralism.

    This articles proves how stupid it is for the news media to quote facebook pages and twitter remarks as it just sends people into the mob mentaility.

      dont forget reddit influence. Hipsters nowadays get their knowledge from reddit and that's all they know about the world

        You know, when you use the word "hipster", clearly not knowing what it means, you look just like these idiots in the images above.

          The "hipster" I referred to was not the Media. It's people in the images. Which generation hipster are you referring to? The 80s hipster that wants peace or the modern hipster that is just "trying to be different"

    The fact that there was only a single indication of his gaming habits to be found is surely proof against the 'videogames made him do it' argument anyway. Even if you subscribed to such a theory, surely you'd be looking for a critical mass of such material (ie indications that they were a significant part of his life, to the point of completely dominating it), not a solitary title.

    Last edited 16/12/12 2:59 pm

      Unfortunately the general population do not want to look past the "he played video games therefore video games made him do it" bullshit.
      Sigh, it really is infuriating.

    i hate all this 'blame game' bullshit.

    before there were video games, there were War, Religion, Monarchies, Governments etc they all had their hand in Violence and Rape and other atrocities yet here we are and we still have those things and the situation doesn't improve.

    the root of the problem is the individual's mentality and the society he/she grows up in. why are video games being used as a scapegoat? I really feel for the families that lost loved ones in the shooting but blaming a video game is not going to bring back said loved ones or will it bring justice or closure.

    What about that cinema shooting during the latest Batman movie? I don't see people saying Batman should be banned...

    it is in fact that your country allows guns to be purchased so easily. In Australia, we aren't even allowed air-guns.

    In the end, it's all pointless, because you won't change it for the people you love.

    I think this misunderstanding with the two brothers actually works in gamers favour. Instead of the guy who is described as having a problem being the gamer , it is his popular well adjusted brother who was the gamer. These kneejerk reactions just cement our hobby as fine while their rabid mob behaviour is put in the spotlight as corrupted and corrupting.

    Well here's a handy list of people to avoid.

    What makes me laugh, is the fact that it's mass effect getting the blame. Was the ending THAT bad to cause people to go insane and kill people?

    ...I've always thought about going hitman on know...pacify a person, take their uniform, disguise as a employee walking around woolworths, and then when someone gets suspicious i just cover my face and walk in slo-mo. When i get caught i go out guns blazing with 2 silenced silverballers... and then to finish the mission, I just walk into a crowd like nothing happened... but i know i'm not crazy enough to do that...or AM I?! MUHAHAHHAH......*cough*

      You're really not helping.

      Last edited 16/12/12 6:13 pm

        You wanna know how I got these scars? My father, was a drinker, and a fiend. And one night, he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn't like that. Not, one, BIT. So me... watching, he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it. He turns to me and he says "WHY SO SERIOUS?". He comes at me with the knife, "WHY SO SERIOUS?!". Sticks the blade in my mouth "LET'S PUT A SMILE ON THAT FACE!" and...why so serious?

    oh god why... nothing to do in this world
    the level of stupidness is over 9000 z_z

    You know what? I think we should let it go.

    An entire class of five year old children have been senselessly murdered. That's the kind of tragedy that just cannot be explained, but you can't blame people for trying. Something this desperately sad, this devastating, this completely unfathomable... it shakes everyone to the foundation that a human being can be capable of this behaviour without unholy stimuli of some sort. And like it or not, people turn to the media for answers, and quick ones. There's no time for in depth research when stakeholders are begging for answers from whichever source can provide them first. So video games are 'blamed' by a hysterical media - it's sad and misleading sure, but does it really matter to you? It might help some people get on with their lives.

    And even if the grieving folks aren't part of the campaign against games, responses like this article or reddit threads just fuel the fire. Game haters don't see rational arguments defending games - all they see are fanboys circling the wagons again. This isn't about hate, this isn't about the media or the stupidity of other people - this is about a senseless tragedy that has reached into all our homes, and the different ways in which people attempt to make sense of it.

    No one is going to change their minds, or their position on anything... especially if it's what they need to believe to get through this situation.

    The only way to 'win' the argument is to rise above it and remember that the victims here are not games, and are not gamers. They are a classroom full of beautiful, innocent five year old children, and the grieving relatives they leave behind.

    Last edited 16/12/12 8:18 pm

    mass effect is not a game of senseless violence, even if you choose to play it as bad a Sheppard as possible its far from a video game at least in my experience can be attributed to real life violence and some of those comments just sound ridiculous. who is next to blame mario? ffs

    Why am I not surprised this happened after something was said on Fox News.

    This new blame mob culture is just the same as what happened to the Aussie DJ's who had nothing to do with that nurses death.

    If the doctors hadn't quit Bioware by now, this would've sealed the deal.

    They are looking for any quick reason to justify what a mentally unstable fucktard did. If anything should be banned it should be illogical thinking! These are all the same fucking idiots who said the world would end at 12/12/12 remember, how fucking stupid can people these days be. If the world was run by gamers with our rts, shooting and rpg ect. experience I'm sure we could do it better than these idiots haha

    I'm pretty sure all those killers breathe air.

    We should ban that too.

    They're right, it WAS video games that caused this. After all, guns don't kill people, controllers kill people.

      This is certainly true of remote-controlled attack drones.

    If they are complaining about video games causing violence, I personally look forward to the impending zombie apocalypse after the military falls and they all look to us to protect them.


      Uh... I play a lot of video games, and I would be one step down from useless in the zombie apocalypse.

        I think you could still be of some value as a distraction. While the zombies stop to chew on your pasty gamer arse, the rest of us will have time to get away.

      ...after the military falls...
      This is the problem with all the hypothetical zombie apocalypse crap: the military wont fall, and neither will the government. Sure, some of the weaker, smaller ones will. Maybe Tasmania will be overrun but mainland Australia will be on the whole alright. Who knows?
      Nobody, because it's never going to happen.

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