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Thursday, April 19, 2007



I would like to respond to two individuals (namely, Spoor and Collins) who took the time to respond to my Blog on VIOLENCE IS ALIVE AND WELL IN AMERICA.

First Spoor essentially believes that violent people tend to play violent games which in turn trigger their antisocial activities. This is a most reasonable assumption. It is probably true that well adjusted individuals would probably not be affected by such games, but the fact that some are affected bolsters my argument that such violent games can trigger violent behavior albeit in a mal-adjusted person. If we have two situations which are required to trigger antisocial behavior, namely a susceptible individual and the triggering game, one can assume that the antisocial behavior would not be manifested if we were to eliminate one of the situations. Since we cannot eliminate the susceptible individual, then what is left?

I investigated a case where a young teenager wrote a note (which turned out to be a suicide note) to his mother and friends that he was going to kill himself, but not to worry, he would be resurrected. This was in his fantasy while playing Dungeons and Dragons. His mother came home from work only to discover her son dead on the front lawn. I do not care how many double blind studies you do one would be stupid not to make a connection between the game and the child’s death.

I have been a scientist m entire life and there is a place for studies and there is a place also for common sense. An observation such as this, and there were more than one which I have personally investigated, does not require solid research such as Spoor requires.

There are times when double blind studies are important; however there are other times when it would not be appropriate. We all know that, if you give cyanide to an individual, it would kill him. Now if you wish to perform a double blind study to determine whether this is so, please I want to be in the control placebo group! Sometime things are so obvious that common sense should rule.

I have also found that individuals who like such games refuse to admit anything can be wrong with them and they can do what they might call solid research. But in my experience individuals who are funded by the milk industry never publish things negative about milk. The same holds true for those funded by other special interest groups, such as tobacco, coffee, and might I add the gaming industry. When I evaluate a research study I ALWAYS ask who funded the project.

To question my powers of observation in a particular case and my powers of reasoning is somewhat insulting. But I will give Spoor the assumption that such games tend to incite those who are susceptible. And I believe this goes to the heart of what I was trying to say.

Concerning comments made by Collins, he begins by agreeing that violence is alive and well but he adds that it is also alive and well in Panama, no doubt referring to the recent murder of a New York socialite here in Panama City. We have so few murders here in Panama City that when it does occur it becomes a world wide news event especially when it involves a US citizen. What happened to her is still under investigation.

But I can tell you from first hand experience, here in Panama we do not have the senseless school killings which are becoming so all to frequent in the US. If you travel down the street in the shady dangerous parts of town you can expect to encounter trouble, perhaps getting robbed or even killed. But to experience such danger in schools is quite another thing. There are a lot of real sick persons in the US, and unfortunately their antisocial and psychotic behavior seems to be manifested almost weekly.

But Collins is right on target and I commend him for he predicted before the general public became aware today how troubled this man was and had been for a very long time. I recommend all my readers to read his comments regarding this event.

As a closing note I will add that there is no need to want to try to avenge the death of all those students by asking for the sacrifice of the VA Tech president or chief of the campus police. As much as we try such events cannot totally be prevented. We can try but eventually someone will be creative enough to overcome what ever safety devices with which we may come up. We might be able to prevent another 911 event but the next time something so horrific occurs it will be different enough not to have been anticipated. The element of surprise is always on the side of the perpetrator.

As it turns out the shooter at VA Tech was a very troubled man but our politically correct environment precluded correcting the situation in time.

Fifty years ago when I attended college, I cannot remember that we had campus police such as we have today. But, then things were different then.

nicola michael Tauraso, M.D.


Blogger SeaHen said...

"I investigated a case where a young teenager wrote a note (which turned out to be a suicide note) to his mother and friends that he was going to kill himself, but not to worry, he would be resurrected."

Can you quote the note? It sounds to me like when he said resurrected, he might have meant reincarnated. The belief in the reincarnation of most people is found in Hinduism and Buddhism, but not in D&D (where those who die go to various Outer Planes).

It seems pointless to kill oneself for the purpose of being resurrected into the same body and same situation, but relatively sensible for a depressed person to want to be reincarnated and have a fresh start at life.

I think the teenager can be forgiven if his poor word choice led your investigation to the wrong conclusion.

April 22, 2007 at 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Taurso,

I love how suddenly games like D&D and video games for that matter (both things I play on a regular basis) become some nasty virus that is destroying our youth. Being a high school student, what I know is probably not important to your "brilliant mind" but this is a topic I do for sure know what I'm talking about. Apparently you have comment moderation on so you will probably end up censoring this anyways.

You know what is making people commit these crimes? The fact that people are unstable, they need help, and society ignores them which gives them the chance to go off and do their own thing. I am a Christian, not a Sadist, and myself and all of my friends play D&D and enjoy it throughly. I have written many long, in-depth stories about our characters and I don't think I am a homocidal maniac, I also believe my friends are fairly harmless.

Blaming the problems of society, our politically red-taped system of business, and bad parenting on a game isn't really fair you know.

Trevor N.

October 12, 2007 at 10:08 PM  

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