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Counter Strike a journalist obsession

Gutterwatch Don't let facts kill a good yarn
Fri Nov 05 2004, 09:52
THE VIDEO game Counter Strike has been dubbed as responsible for the death of one man and the attempted murder of his wife.

The only people making the claim are not the police, not the courts, nor indeed any civil rights groups. The story is the sole invention of some hacks working for the Aussie rag the Daily Telegraph.

Yesterday, the paper ran a front page story, complete with picture of the murder victim and screen shots of Counterstrike under the headline "Deadly Reality".

The implication is that it is one of those yarns where some kid's defence in a murder case is that he was addicted to video games or something.

But in this case the evidence presented to the court in the murder of Josef Logozzo at his Cecil Hills home on January 7, 2002, and fails to mention any inspiration for the murder due to Counterstrike.

Indeed the only reference to the game came from Crown Prosecutor James Bennett, SC, who told the court that the defendant Sophear Em and another man invaded the Logozzo's home shortly after midnight. Em was apparently "dressed like one of the characters" from the computer game. And how to characters from Counter-Strike dress? Well a bit like burglars out on a night of work -- combat fatigues, balaclavas and ski goggles.

In fact, Bennett's exact quote was "The peace and tranquillity of the family life they had enjoyed up to that time was shattered because of two men, one of which the Crown says was the accused, dressed in an outfit that was inspired by a computer game, Counter-Strike, in which the accused had some interest and from which he derived some enjoyment."

Em, 21, has pleaded not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court to the shooting of Logozzo, a wholesale fruit distributor at Flemington markets, and shooting his wife Marianne.

Australia, like the UK, is a bit of a sucker for these sorts of computing turned me into a killer yarns. There was an attempt to ban the game Manhunt because of its alleged involvement in the murder of a British boy. The moves went on even after it was pointed out that it was the victim of the game who played Manhunt not the alleged murderer.

Needless to say the latest wave of stories have miffed the editors of Aussie computing magazine Atomic.

"This remark has now been transformed by the media into a full-blown link between the game Counter-Strike and the crime. It has all the hallmarks of a great story, especially in the post Manhunt ban climate where video game violence is again rearing its head as a corruptor of youth," penned Ben Mansill, of Atomic.

The mag also points out that the crime happened two years ago, yet all the pictures that the Telegraph has released are from Counter-Strike: Source, released a few weeks ago. Difficult to see how they inspired the murder.

The case continues. µ


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