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Norway killer played video games to prepare for massacre

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 02:14

April 19 - Survivors, psychologists and journalists at the trial of Anders Behring Breivik divided over whether the 33-year-old's obsession with violent video games had an impact on his mental state. Travis Brecher reports.

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Anders Behring Breivik, on trial for massacring 77 people, told an Oslo court on Thursday that he played computer games to practice his attack. He said he even once played the first-person shooting game Modern Warfare for 17 hours straight - on new year's eve. Breivik used the games to simulate police responses, and to practice his escape strategy. One journalist says the violent video games may have influenced the 33-year-old Norwegian. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FREELANCE JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR WHO HAS HAD ACCESS TO BREIVIK EMAILS, KJETIL STORMARK, SAYING: "When you play, when you do online gaming for a year, full time, and almost for 16 hours a day some of the days, it's hard not to be influenced to some degree of the things you are preoccupied with doing. Breivik presents this as a sort of a gift to himself for becoming a martyr later on in carrying the terrorist attacks." As the debate rages over Breivik's sanity, one forensic psychologist says video games can make it even harder for some people to confuse the virtual and the real. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST, PAL GROENDAHL, SAYING: "Some persons will have trouble separating reality from fantasy, while other persons who is quite good psychologically-built, to say it like that, they will have no trouble even after extended periods of much computer games. So some would actually need treatment after that and some doesn't need that at all." This view has angered one survivor, who thinks the argument is simplistic and diverts attention away from the real motivation behind Breivik's crime. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UTOEYA SURVIVOR, TORE BEKKEDAL, SAYING: "I've played the same violent video games and I don't go around bloody shooting kids. I mean half the people on Utoeya have played the same games." Breivik's trial, set to last 10 weeks, turns on the question of his sanity, and thus whether he can be jailed. He has said that an insanity ruling would be "worse than death". Travis Brecher, Reuters

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Norway killer played video games to prepare for massacre

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 02:14