Calls for violent video game ban in Germany

21st November 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 November 2006, Emsdetten, Germany (dpa) - Pathologists in Germany said Tuesday a teenaged youth who shot and wounded five people at his old school the previous day killed himself with a gunshot in the mouth. Sebastian Bosse, 18, an enthusiast for both live-action and virtual shooting games, was armed with reproductions of old-fashioned muzzle-loaders which can be freely bought on the internet, police said. The attack revived debate in Germany on banning first-person shooter video games. Edmund Stoiber,

21 November 2006

Emsdetten, Germany (dpa) - Pathologists in Germany said Tuesday a teenaged youth who shot and wounded five people at his old school the previous day killed himself with a gunshot in the mouth.

Sebastian Bosse, 18, an enthusiast for both live-action and virtual shooting games, was armed with reproductions of old-fashioned muzzle-loaders which can be freely bought on the internet, police said.

The attack revived debate in Germany on banning first-person shooter video games. Edmund Stoiber, premier of the state of Bavaria, said he would introduce legislation against them in federal parliament, adding, "Killer games should be prohibited in Germany."

However the German Interactive Software Association dismissed the calls, saying this would breach constitutional free-speech rights. Olaf Wolters, a spokesman, said a ban would be ineffective, because the games could be downloaded from abroad via the internet.

The attack, presaged by home-made warfare videos on Bosse's internet site, had chilling parallels to other school shootings including that by Robert Steinhaeuser, 19, who killed 16 people and then himself at his school in Erfurt, Germany in April 2002.

Both youths were loners at school, enraged that they were ignored by fellow teenagers and had failed scholastically. Steinhaeuser had been expelled and Bosse had repeated classes three times, graduating last year among children three years his junior.

"None of us had any contact with him," said Linda Blaenkner, a former classmate at the Geschwister Scholl high school attended by Boss in Emsdetten near the Dutch border.

Bosse was a keen player of Counter-Strike, a computer game in which the player holds a virtual gun and kills opponents, but he also acted out his gunman fantasies with like-minded youths in the woods.

A second youth was visible in some of the images on a Bosse website, according to Spiegel Online Tuesday, but police said they were sure Bosse had conducted his armed raid alone.

The five people he shot were recovering Tuesday, as were 32 others who were mainly injured by fumes from smoke-bombs.

Prosecutors said witnesses described Bosse firing three times at random into groups of playing children. It was lucky no one had been killed. He then holed up a second-storey school corridor. Police who retook the school said they did not fire a shot and found him dead.

Two of the three old-style firearms he carried Monday were on free sale in Germany to persons 18 and over.

The third, a small-bore rifle, would have required a gun licence. Bosse only had a junior gun licence that allowed him to carry a compressed-gas weapon for self-defence, the police commander on the case, Hans Volkmann, said.

The attack also brought calls Tuesday for German schools to move faster to provide counselling for disgruntled students.

Josef Kraus, president of one of Germany's teachers' unions, the Lehrerverband, charged that German politicians, schools, the media and entertainment industry were too busy blaming one another to take any effective action to re-integrate loner youths like Bosse.

"We have a fundamental culture here of looking away if there is a problem," he told N-TV.

In remarks to the newspaper Bild, he said, "Brutal computer games and videos con youths into the idea that the strong win. They don't show the losers any way out. Drugs, consumerism and fun are the sole values that today's pop and TV stars propagate."

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DPA

Subject: German news

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