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- DawnForge rejected by Wizards.
- Mutants & Masterminds forgoes d20.
- Expert links roleplaying to Washington Sniper
- EverQuest blamed for suicide
- CyberCon around the corner
FBI criminal profiler links Washington sniper to roleplaying games
The events in Washington over the last few weeks have been awful. The whole situation has given people a lot to talk about and when one FBI expert announced on air that a sniper who might have left a tarot card behind for a message was probably a roleplaying psychopath people noticed. The following is a small clip of a transcript from CNN’s website, it’s the text of the questions from CNN reporter Connie Chung and criminal profiler Pat Brown. [Posted: 10-09-02]
BROWN: … In a case of a serial killer, you must get as much information out to the public as possible.
Because we have no idea who the guy is. And millions of people, we have no idea of who this guy is. It’s not like you have a pretty good idea it’s one or two people, and then you want to keep your evidence hidden for that reason. You have no idea. You need the public’s help. This tarot card, the police ought to show the front of that tarot card, the back of that tarot card, and the writing of this person, because somebody out there might recognize it.
CHUNG: What is that going to do to help them in the investigation?
BROWN: Well, this guy obviously owned these tarot cards. He had to buy them some place or somebody had to give them to him or he had them sitting around his house. And he’s probably got an interest in this kind of thing as well.
This kind of person may have interest in superheroes, Dungeons & Dragons, any kind of game with power and control, kind of movies like Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, where the “Predator,” where he goes after people. He’s going to have this kind of interest. Someone might know: “Hey, my cousin Johnny has a deck of those. And he has got guns, too. And he hasn’t been around.” You want to give people as much information. The more information given out — and I agree with Chief Moose that you don’t want to narrow things. No profiler should say he’s between 25 and 30 and he’s definitely white. That’s silly. But the more information that people can be encouraged to think about that could link some idea in their head — because what happens is, people don’t call in if they have no reason to believe someone might be connected. They’re not just going to call in for no reason.
And they’re going to say, “I’ll feel stupid if I say anything about cousin Johnny.” But if they think cousin Johnny has all these things — he has been in that area; he has the gun; he has this car; he has been talking about being God — then they’re going to call in about Johnny. And that’s what we want. We want more tips about who this guy could be.
CHUNG: Every time we have spoken to you, you have said you’ve always been a proponent of getting more information out there, using the media to disseminate the information.
BROWN: Absolutely, especially in serial killer cases, especially in serial killer cases.
CHUNG: And do you think that this is a classical serial killer, because some of the profilers are saying this person does not fit into a slot.
BROWN: Yes, he does. He fits into the serial killer slot.
In the beginning, he looked like a spree killer. But he has slowed down. He’s taking his time. He’s picking his people. He’s picking his targets. He doesn’t have to pick exactly the same kind of victim every time. And no serial killer actually does that. Mostly, they pick males, females, children, kind of a big group. This guy wants stationary targets he can hit. That’s his group.
And he does fit a serial killer profile. And that’s why we want to use the techniques that we would use to catch a serial killer.
CHUNG: So, if this conglomeration, this group, this coordinated group of law enforcement people indeed have profilers who are gathering information about this person, they should get before the media, you are saying, and describe this person to the hilt?
BROWN: Yes, they should. And they should at least describe the traits of a psychopath. People do not know what a psychopath is like.
And psychopaths have specific behaviors. And that’s what we are looking for, not just some poor guy who just happens to have a tarot card in his possession, but the guy who also is the pathological liar, has the grandiose thinking, who says everybody has done him wrong, who lost his job last week. All of these things put together will make people think: “Oh, wait a minute. Maybe I do know who this person is and maybe I ought to call the police.”
You can read the full transcript on the CNN website here.
Addicted: Suicide over EverQuest?
The following quotes come from CBS News’ webpage which was published in conjunction with the 48 Hours TV program which runs for American audiences. It’s a sad story and we’re very sorry for Shawn Woolley’s family. You should stop and remind yourself that it’s only a game and you should do that whether you’re playing it too often or whether you’re blaming it for the horrors of life.
“His mother, Liz, was especially proud of his accomplishments, because, she says, Shawn struggled with learning disabilities and significant emotional problems.”
“Last Thanksgiving, Shawn, 21, committed suicide. His mother found him at his apartment. He had shot himself at his computer. On the screen was the online computer game, Everquest.”
“But Sony Online CEO John Smedley says the game did not cause Woolley’s death. Smedley is one of the creators of Everquest. “When I spoke with Ms. Woolley I expressed my condolences. And it’s really one of those terrible things that happens. And there’s just nothing to suggest that Everquest had any role in his death,” he says. “Everquest is a game. And I don’t see any connection between a form of entertainment and somebody’s tragic suicide.”
According to Smedley, calling Everquest “addictive” is nonsense. “It’s entertainment. Is a book dangerous? Is a TV show dangerous? I think the answer is no. People need to take responsibility and say, ‘Hey, you know, this is too much. Enough’s enough.’ It’s a game.””
At “Everquest Widows,” a Web site devoted to people who think that their partners and spouses have become obsessed with the game, many people have the same feelings that Liz Woolley has.
She is now considering suing Sony. At the least, she wants Sony to include a warning label, saying that Everquest may be a risk for some people.