Friday, April 20, 2012

Fletch Breivik 'Trained' By Playing Video War Game

I know Lucia is covering the Breivik trial, but I saw this and had to comment on it.

Apparently, Breivik says that playing video games like Tour of Duty, 'trained' him for his killing spree.


Anders Behring Breivik has described how he "trained" for the attacks he carried out in Norway last summer using the computer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

The 33-year-old said he practised his shot using a "holographic aiming device" on the war simulation game, which he said is used by armies around the world for training. "You develop target acquisition," he said. He used a similar device during the shooting attacks that left 69 dead at a political youth camp on the island of Ut√łya on 22 July. Describing the game, he said: "It consists of many hundreds of different tasks and some of these tasks can be compared with an attack, for real. That's why it's used by many armies throughout the world. It's very good for acquiring experience related to sights systems."

He added: "If you are familiar with a holographic sight, it's built up in such a way that you could have given it to your grandmother and she would have been a super marksman. It's designed to be used by anyone. In reality it requires very little training to use it in an optimal way. But of course it does help if you've practised using a simulator."
I have heard it said before that the military in different countries uses computer game for training as a simulation, and this story kind of confirms it for me. I know those who will say that video games are harmless, and I'm sure some of them are, but I'm sure that some of them can also condition the players a certain way. If you do something again and again it becomes second nature.

For anyone who wants more info about the links between video games and violent young offenders, I suggest reading the interview with David Grossman HERE (snippet follows, but the whole thing is worth reading)

One of the things you've got to understand is this: We discovered, in World War II, that the majority of our soldiers were not able to kill in combat. And, the fundamental flaw was in our training. We gave them wonderful weapons. We had magnificent Americans. We put them in the front lines, and we had trained them to shoot at bulls-eye targets. Now, when no bulls-eye appeared in in front of them, the training failed them! The vast majority of the time. Under stress, with fear, and other dynamics, the training simply failed them.

What we know today, is, that if we want a soldier to be able to use the weapon that we've issued him--I mean, God forbid, that a soldier, a police officer, should take a human life--but, if we give them the weapon, then we have to acknowledge a responsibility to give him the ability to use that weapon. We realized that shooting at bulls-eye targets was not where it was at. If we take a pilot, we don't just suddenly put him in an airplane, and have him fly that airplane after having him read a manual about it. We put him in flight simulators first. Even in World War II, we had a vast array of data about simulators, in which they could rehearse, rehearse, rehearse the action.

Well, we realized that what we had to do was create killing simulators. And, instead of bulls-eye targets popping up in front of our soldiers, we needed man-shaped silhouettes. Now, these are extraordinarily effective training devices. In recent years, we realized that, we don't even have to use a real gun; it's useful, it's effective to use real guns on real ranges, and we still do that, but it's quite expensive. There's a lot of lead, there's a lot of environmental problems. We need vast acres of land, we need lots of money. And, we began to realize that we can just simply use simulators.

Now, these simulators, again, are vivid depictions of human beings, and you're practicing shooting at human beings. You're imitating the act. You understand, that there is a vast chasm, between being a healthy American citizen, and being able to take a human being's life. And, in order to cross that chasm, you've got to put a stepping stone--some kind of intermediate step, in which you rehearse, rehearse the action, and wrap your mind around the act.

Well, we've got these devices now, we use for the military. The Marine Corps licensed the right to use ``Doom,'' as a tactical training device. The Army took the Super-Nintendo--remember the old Duck Hunt game? We replaced the plastic pistol with a plastic M-16, and, instead of ducks flashing on the screen, it's man-shaped silhouettes.

Now, we have several thousand of those that we use as training devices around the world. These are effective.

Now. What I tell people is this: The goal is, to allow our soldiers to respond properly. If our soldiers cannot fire, or if our soldiers are frightened, bad things are going to happen. Same thing with our police officers. So, I submit, that this kind of training is a needful thing: If we acknowledge that we have a need to give soldiers and police officers weapons, then we have a responsibility to give them the skill and the will to use those weapons.

But, good people can disagree on that. The thing that nobody should disagree on, is the fact that, if you're even remotely troubled that we provide these kind of killing rehearsals--killing simulators--to soldiers, and police officers, how much more infinitely horrendous is it, that we provide them indiscriminately to children?

5 comment(s):

Lucia Maria said...

Fletch, don't hold back posting on Breivik on my account - there's just too much material for me to comment on at this point.

Cyrus_NZ said...

I won't become a killer because I play violent games, but if I was to be a killer, I could use them as a kind of training, afterall, the US military sometimes uses some of these games for training soldiers, they also sometimes help game companies to make them as realistic as possible. :D

It won't be everything though as , reloading a gun is more complicated than pushing X. XD

I suck at guns in real life

ZenTiger said...

I think people are confusing two different ideas.

No question in my mind that modern shooter games would desenstise *some* people to violence.

So many fall into the trap that things like World of Warcraft (which he played) cause Breviks.

Brevik was already a lost soul before that point, and discussing games as a method of training misses the key issue about wondering what made Brevik evil in the first place.

Psycho Milt said...

We can conclude that video games provide training adequate to shoot unarmed people. How useful that would be to military personnel depends on whether the govt intends to deploy them mainly against civilians or not, I guess.

KG said...

Col. Grossman's book "On Killing" is well worth the read. Although I disagree with a lot of what he says, he's absolutely right when he points out that most soldiers in WW1, WW2 and the Korean war shot to miss.
It just isn't that easy for a normal, well-balanced individual to kill another human being.
Do computer games bring normal people to the point where it's easier to kill? I doubt it,given the millions who play and how few of them end up killing.

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