Adam Lanza Went for "High Score" As Mass Killer, Say CT Police

By Michael Epstein , Updated Mar 18, 2013 02:49 PM EDT
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Connecticut police believe Adam Lanza's love of shooters played a signifigant role in his decision to attack Sandy Hook Elementary School last year.

According to the New York Daily News, Connecticut police have found a massive spreadsheet with data about past mass murders, which they believe Lanza compiled to make a "high score" list, which Lanza hoped to top with his own rampage. Connecticut State Police coloniel Danny Stebbins disclosed many details of the Sandy Hook Elementary case, including the spreadsheet, during a meeting of the International Association of Police Chiefs and Colonels in New Orleans last week:

"They don't believe this was just a spreadsheet. They believe it was a score sheet," said one officer who attended the meeting. "This was the work of a video gamer, and that it was his intent to put his own name at the very top of that list. They believe that he picked an elementary school because he felt it was a point of least resistance, where he could rack up the greatest number of kills. That's what [the Connecticut police] believe."

According to the officer, there's other evidence showing that Lanza started contemplating and then planning the shooting years before it took place, suggesting that the spread sheet was, at the very least, research for his attack:

"They have pictures from two years before, with the guy all strapped with weapons, posing with a pistol to his head. That's the thing you have to understand: He had this laid out for years before."

According to the report, the spreadsheets were massive, detailing 500 mass murders or attempted attacks, with information including "precise make and model of the weapons" used in each shooting.

Politicians and media outlets have focussed on the connection between Lanza's preference for violent video games and the shooting, with some calling for more strict regulation of violent video games. Many of those discussions spoke generally about the connection between Lanza's actions and his hobby. The information disclosed during the conference connects the two very specifically. According to the officer, CT police believe many of the tactics Lanza used were learned playing video games, specifically citing the fact that Lanza reloaded his weapon before entering a new room as a technique from "...police training. Or something you learn playing kill games." CT police also believe the fact that Lanza actively avoided police came from Lanza's score-based motivation.

The bottom line is, assuming that all of this information is true, was Adam Lanza's shooting at least "influenced" by video games, if not inspired by them. Does that mean that we need to regulate or ban violence in video games? No. Does it mean that gaming's defenders need to accept that there the connection between gaming and the Newtown, CT is more than propaganda? Yes, it does.

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