Monday, July 23, 2012

"Lost Touch With Reality"

From the July 23, 2012 Daily Mail (who at least is willing to discuss the mental illness aspect of this, unlike many American news organizations);

former classmate from the University of Colorado suggested another cause for the killings, saying Holmes had lost touch with reality after becoming 'obsessed' with video games.
The classmate told the Daily Mail: 'James was obsessed with computer games and was always playing role-playing games. 
'I can’t remember which one but it was something like World of Warcraft, one of those where you compete against people on the internet.
'He did not have much of a life apart from that and doing his work. James seemed like he wanted to be in the game and be one of the characters.

Read more:
Note: video games don't make you crazy.  Mentally ill people often pick a particular subject as the basis of an obsession: religion; politics; environmentalism; math.  The artist Ruth Gikow did a painting describing what used to be a real problem in some European mental hospitals: "Two Napoleons--And a Josephine."  Obsessing about video games and Batman would be no surprise.


  1. While clearly games and movies aren't going to make a sane person crazy it sure doesn't help that so much of that entertainment is so over-the-top and gratuitous that surely it gives crazy people bad ideas.

    And then there is the hypocrisy of those that produce that crap are also the ones that want to blame it all on the second amendment and will push for the repeal of it. Or in other words it is ok to say and do anything you want just so long as you can't own a gun!

  2. My host – Mike McConnell – is interested in talking to you about your studies on killers being obsessed with publicity. Do you have 10-15 minutes tomorrow? We are on 9am-12pm Central time. We can do 9:30, 10, 10:30, 11 or 11:30.

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  4. "Note: video games don't make you crazy. Mentally ill people often pick a particular subject as the basis of an obsession: religion; politics; environmentalism; math."

    Exactly. I remember reading (decades ago) an extensive "news" article about a number of college students who had dropped out of sight. A high percentage of them had been involved in a relatively high level of playing "Dungeons & Dragons." Because it was at the time about the most popular role-playing game, I did not find this to be an especially surprising statistic.

    It also occurred to me that almost certainly nearly 100% of these "disappeared" students had in their younger days spent a good amount of time riding bicycles. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

  5. An ... AP article, I think, quoted one or more roommates/acquaintances who said his normal schedule was to get all his work done and then finish the night playing computer games for a couple of hours. Said he was very disciplined about getting his work done first.

  6. Anders Breivik, the mass murderer in Norway played an extensive amount of World of Warcraft. Guess what? I play the game too. So do 10 million other subscribers. When you have that many people playing the game the what are the chances of some of them being dangerously mentally ill?
    I also do a fair amount of bicycling which as far as I know is not considered some sort of trigger for violent sociopathic behavior.
    Oh. I own 7 guns too. I must be some sort of nut!

  7. tkc: Calm down. I made that point at the end of the posting--that crazy people find something to obsess about, and that video games don't make you crazy.

  8. I didn't take it that way. I was merely commenting that if you have 10 million people in a group then a few of them may be crazy. This would be true for video games, bicyclists, gun owners, etc...

    So unless the group is something like NAMBLA then the group association is pretty much meaningless. It is a coincidence.