Jack Thompson Plays Hardball, Blames Virginia Tech on Counter-Strike

Home » Retro Gaming » Jack Thompson Plays Hardball, Blames Virginia Tech on Counter-Strike

As we reported on Tuesday, Fox News interviewed Jack Thompson, the anti-gaming activist and apparent “school shootings expert” for Fox. On the day of the Virginia Tech shootings, just hours after it occurred, Fox News gave him a free pass, even calling his comments “eloquent” as he ranted against the “murder simulation games” that in his mind were responsible for the carnage. Of course at the time, we did not even know who the shooter was, yet video games were to blame.

A more responsible Chris Matthews of MSNBC interviewed Thompson on his Hardball program (read the transcript), which airs between 5 and 6 p.m. daily on that network. In the interview, Thompson continued to point the finger at video games. “The Washington Post today, as you know, reported that his high school friends or his associates said he was immersed incredibly in the – in the video game, the computer-based game Counter-Strike (the Washington Post has since revised its story).”

“Cho was able to go room to room very calmly, efficiently, coolly killing people,” Thompson told Matthews. “Chris, you can‘t do something this well the first time you do it. And the fact is, it wasn‘t the first time. He was in a hyper-reality situation, in virtual reality. Almost every school shooter the FBI and Secret Service has found is immersed in violent entertainment.”

Matthews then challenged him, asking “How does the game prepare or drill him in the execution of 32 people?” Thompson responded, “It drills you and gives you scenarios on how to kill them. It gets you to kill with your heart rate lower.” Matthews then asked Thompson, “Do you know what he was doing? … Do you know whether Cho, the shooter… was involved with Counter-Strike at Virginia Tech the last four years?” You can watch the full video by clicking this link.

Dave Linger, PC editor on Game Freaks 365 and regular Counter-Strike player, had this to say about Jack Thompson’s description of the game: “First off, let me say that I have played Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Source for years. No version of Counter-Strike drills you on scenarios on how to kill anyone. There are no maps bundled with any version of Counter-Strike which are “kill all of the enemies to win” maps. There are hostage maps, in which the terrorist team tries to defend the hostages and keep the counter-terrorist team from rescuing them. Killing of the hostages from EITHER team
results (by default) in losing money. Depending on the server, this type of behavior can also result in a ban – but for the sake of simplicity, the game makes it clear that killing the non-combatants is bad.

The other type of map is defusal, in which there are two bomb sites. The terrorists’ goal is to get to a bomb site, plant the bomb, and defend the bomb site until it explodes. Terrorists commonly evacuate the bomb site before it explodes (if you die, you have to re-buy all of your weapons), leaving the bomb site empty. The counter-terrorists’ goal is to defuse the bomb.

The fact of the matter is, because the game is all multiplayer, the game doesn’t give you scenarios on anything. Every player reacts as you do. There is no “kill all of the enemies” objective (although if this happens the round ends). The second statement about it “getting you to kill with your heart rate lower” is complete BS, clearly. A caffeine-addicted kid jumping around on his computer with a heart rate of 200bpm is probably going to do just as well as someone with a “trained” heart rate. You could say that controlling your heart rate would make you a better player, but that applies to about anything; a lower heart rate results in staying calm. The game never mentions anything about your heart rate and obviously does not have a way to check it.

The only partial truth to the statement above is that it does, in a way, give you scenarios for killing people. Keep in mind, though, that this is true in ANY video game with guns, and that the only people you are allowed to kill in Counter-Strike are enemy combatants. The only people you shoot are people shooting at you with guns, so it’s not like they’re civilians, like at Virginia Tech.”