Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza maintained a spreadsheet filled with information from mass killings from the past and further alleges that it's a major sign of how video games influenced the mindset and planning of Lanza's terrible act of lethal violence, according to a front page story in today's New York Daily News.
A law enforcement source who spoke to the Daily News says Lanza's spreadsheet, which allegedly measures 7 feet by 4 feet, contained information on the weapons various killers used and the number of people killed. They say it amounted to a grisly high score list, one that Lanza wanted to wind up on top of:
"They don't believe this was just a spreadsheet. They believe it was a score sheet," the newspaper's source continued. "This was the work of a video gamer, and that it was his intent to put his own name at the very top of that list. They believe that he picked an elementary school because he felt it was a point of least resistance, where he could rack up the greatest number of kills. That's what (the Connecticut police) believe."
The existence of the spreadsheet came to light during the International Association of Police Chiefs and Colonels conference, which the News' source had attended. Col. Danny Stebbins from the Connecticut State Police spoke at the law enforcement convention and his presentation talked about how the state's police community are tying together this spreadsheet to Lanza's obsession with video games. The Daily News report named no specific games that Lanza may have played, which is standard in mainstream news reports.
"It really was like he was lost in one of his own sick games," the paper's source went on. "That's what we heard. That he learned something from his game that you learn in (police) school, about how if you're moving from room to room - the way he was in that school - you have to reload before you get to the next room. Maybe he has a 30-round magazine clip, and he's only used half of it. But he's willing to dump 15 rounds and have a new clip before he arrives in the next room."
The source says that Lanza's methods in the shooting were: "Classic police training. Or something you learn playing kill games."
Lanza is described not as a typical gamer but as a deranged one: "They believe that (Lanza) believed that it was the way to pick up the easiest points. It's why he didn't want to be killed by law enforcement. In the code of a gamer, even a deranged gamer like this little bastard, if somebody else kills you, they get your points. They believe that's why he killed himself."
The impulse many people who love and play video games will be to complain about mainstream media again blaming games for horrible real-world violence. The wake of the Newtown massacre has seen politicians and pundits of every stripe weighing on how best to evaluate the effect video games may have on behavior, especially when it comes to people like Lanza, who was presumably mentally ill.
However, the urge to defend video games and those who play them shouldn't prevent us from considering that, a killer like Lanza may have drawn some sick influence from playing a shooter game.
Top pic: Parents leaving a staging era after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Credit: AP/Jessica Hill