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Is Australia building toward next school massacre?

In the six weeks since the Virginia Tech massacre, we have seen two internet-related youth suicides, a university stabbing, two threats of school shootings by high school students, and a computer game, designed by another youth to mimic the V-Tech massacre.

*At the end of April two 16 year old Victorian schoolgirls suicided after regular disturbing posts on a popular internet website called "vampirefreaks". One of the girl Jodie's final blog on the site said, "Let Steph n me b free". The day before the pair went missing, other members of the girls band posted a prominent message: "RIP Jodie and Steph".

*On May 8 a woman was stabbed in the library toilets at Melbourne's LaTrobe university, by a 23 year old masked woman.

*In early May a 21 year old Sydney youth had designed and posted on the internet, a computer game modelled on the V-Tech massacre, where the gamer roams the campus aiming to kill as many people as possible. He then demanded money to remove it. He also commended Cho, saying, "No one listens to you unless you've got something sensational to do. And that's why I feel sympathy for Cho Seung-hui. He had to go that far."

*On May 16 two Year 11 students from Crookwell, NSW, were caught on internet chat rooms planning a school massacre, including preparation of a hit list of students and teachers. They have been placed in psychiatric care.

*On May 29 it was reported that a Ballarat (Vic) schoolgirl made threats to kill schoolmates at an assembly in mid-May. Her plans were posted on her “vampirefreaks” webpage, the same site used by the abovementioned suicides. Just after the V-Tech incident, she posted a picture of the shooter, Cho Seung-hui, complementing his massacre as a "fair effort". Days later she described how she would conduct a similar killing spree, herself, saying she had put a lot of thought into it.

Sydney Student Models Game on V-Tech Massacre
An Australian youth, 21 year old Ryan Lambourn, has generated outrage, even from fellow gamers, by posting a home-made video game, called V-Tech Rampage, onto newgrounds.com website, then demanding money to take it down.

The simplistic game is introduced with the Cho Seung-hui character with his gun, saying, "Locked and loaded, it's party time. I just gotta make sure no one sees me or lives to tell the tale." The game includes reference to Emily, the first of the killer's victims. If you don't kill her you are told, "You let Emily get away," and are called a "wuss". The game includes all the relevant features of the Virginia Tech campus, like Norris Hall.

Lambourn, who grew up in the U.S., was reported as saying that he sympathised with the gunman, and that, "No one listens to you unless you've got something sensational to do. And that's why I feel sympathy for Cho Seung-hui. He had to go that far."

He said he would take down the game if U.S.$2,000 worth of donations were made to his "paypal" account, and would apologise for an extra U.S. $1,000. He later declared on his website, which is now offline, that it was a joke and deliberately designed to make people more angry. Newgrounds.com has not yet removed the game, but the outrage generated begs the question—where is the outrage over Microsoft games like Counterstrike that Cho Seung-hui trained on?


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