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Conflict & Tragedy

Can video games teach us how to shoot accurately to kill? (Video)

Opinion

As investigators probe what caused the devastating shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., several versions of killer Adam Lanza and his family have surfaced. It is difficult to differential fact from fiction, when even law enforcement had gotten the killer’s identity wrong initially.

A puzzling portrait is slowing emerging of a troubled young man who allegedly had mental problems. A 20-year-old who hadn’t held a job or gone to college even if he was described as brilliant. Asperger’s Syndrome is being thrown around and neighbors of the Lanzas were seen on television saying how mom Nancy was a loving mother, even if a “little high-strung.”

The accounts continue to be conflicting. Though Asperger’s Syndrome and tales of how awkward and strange Adam was are floating around, there doesn’t seem to be a paper trail of his mother seeking professional help. There are no calls to police of her son acting violent.

The Lanzas weren’t a poor working class family, for reports tell of her receiving almost $300,000 a year in alimony and living in a $1.6 million sprawling home. Her ex-husband had reportedly worked for GE, with a $ 1 million salary. So if her son was as troubled as some make him out to be, why didn’t she get help? Why didn’t his dad? Did Nancy hide her son’s mental condition because she was ashamed?

One Newtown resident, gardener Dan Holmes, said in television interviews that he had done some work for her but never went beyond the yard. He added that she once proudly showed off one of her antique guns to him, but brought it outside, never letting him inside the home. Others say she would always use the back door, never the front entrance.

Reports say Adam Lanza was obsessed with video games-the violent kind. In fact he reportedly had two of the homes bedrooms to himself—one for the sole purpose of setting up and playing his video games. When police raided the home as part of their investigation, they found two computers smashed. An attempt to hide what he had on those computers? (Read more on this here ).

Another piece of the puzzle that doesn’t fit is his apparent control and high functioning planning of his diabolical goal. He was wearing a bullet proof vest. As I mentioned above, he smashed his computers. He carried three of his mother’s guns with ammo to defeat an army with him. Police found a third gun with numerous bullets in the car he used to drive to the school.

Adam Lanza butchered 20 children and six adults at that school before killing himself when he heard the police arriving. He shot his mother four times in the head before going to Sandy Hook Elementary.

H. Wayne Carver II, the state’s medical examiner said in a press conference last Saturday that the wounds of the victims were the worst he had seen in his 30 year career, with children having three to 11 wounds each. (Read more here).The seasoned ME had to hold back tears at the memory. Lanza knew how to shoot and shoot accurately and devastatingly. How did he learn?

Most news reports have said his mother taught him by taking he and his brother Ryan to the shooting range. But other residents of Newtown say they do not remember seeing Adam at the range, while one neighbor said the boys were a regular fixture there when they were younger. Ryan 24, who now lives in Hoboken, New Jersey was wrongfully accused of the killings, when he doesn't even live in Connecticut.

Incidentally, Ryan reportedly hasn’t spoken to his young brother Adam since 2010. Why?

Back to the violent video games: can they teach us to shoot and shoot accurately? According to the Research and Innovation Communications at Ohio State University, they most definitely can. In fact they say that playing just 20 minutes of a violent shooting video game will make “players more accurate when firing a realistic gun at a mannequin—and more likely to aim for and hit the head.”

The study continued, “Players who use a plastic gun controller to play shooting video games with human targets, had 99 percent more completed head shots to the mannequin than did participants who played other video games, as well as 33 percent more shots that hit other parts of the body.”

In fact, according to the co-author of the study Brad Bushman, police and the military already use video games for training purposes. (Read more here).

So is this part missing from the puzzle? Did Adam Lanza spend his days and nights perfecting his deadly aim by playing sophisticated video shooting games in his room dedicated for that sole purpose, sinking deeper and deeper into the dark abyss of madness which exploded on innocent children and their educators last Friday?