๐“๐“ท๐“ช๐“ฝ๐“ธ๐“ถ๐”‚ ๐“ธ๐“ฏ ๐“ช ๐“ข๐“ฌ๐“ฑ๐“ธ๐“ธ๐“ต ๐“ข๐“ฑ๐“ธ๐“ธ๐“ฝ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฐ: ๐““๐“ฒ๐“ผ๐“ผ๐“ฎ๐“ฌ๐“ฝ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฐ ๐“ข๐“ธ๐“ถ๐“ฎ ๐“’๐“ธ๐“ถ๐“ถ๐“ธ๐“ท ๐“Ÿ๐“ป๐“ฎ๐“ฌ๐“พ๐“ป๐“ผ๐“ธ๐“ป๐“ผ

Article By: Stephen G. Metelsky

Previous research on video game violence has revealed a significant relationship between exposure and aggressive behaviour (1) (โ€œViolent video games desensitize youth,โ€ Blue Line, June/July 2008, S.G. Metelsky) as it pertained to the Columbine shooting in 1999.

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There also seem to be common underlying precursors amongst the school shooters at Columbine, Taber, Alberta, and Dawson College in Montrรฉal. All three incidents involved perpetrators who had been bullied at school, were immersed in the violent video game culture, and showed signs of susceptibility to the contagion effect (copy cat phenomenon) stemming from some form of violent media.

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The shooting at Columbine on April 20, 1999 involved two shooters who killed 13 students and wounded 24. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were addicted to violent video games, particularly โ€˜Doom,โ€™ which was licensed by the United States Army to train soldiers to effectively kill.2 Harris and Klebold modified the game by superimposing faces of students and teachers who had wronged them in the past onto the faces of victims depicted in the game while obliterating the abilities of the characters to return fire. They played it to the point of intense obsession, constantly rehearsing shooting their victims. Some researchers argue that this repeated exposure to depictions of graphic violence can contribute to desensitization.2

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Essentially, real life violence becomes a callous extension of violence that is repeatedly rehearsed within the confines of a violent video game. Behavioural scientists argue that repeat exposure to violent media can lead to a process of desensitization, whereby children develop normative beliefs that aggression is appropriate. There are currently more than 1,000 studies that point overwhelmingly to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behaviour in some children, six professional/medical organizations noted in a 2000 joint statement.3 Following the tragic shooting at Columbine, information surfaced regarding the climate of bullying that was occurring at Columbine High School. It was learned before the shooting that Harris and Klebold were subjected to an atmosphere of intimidation and bullying by the jocks at Columbine that was allegedly allowed to continue in a condoned, yet festering atmosphere. The future killers were jointly subjected to homophobic comments by other students with no action taken by school administrators, thus allowing the resentment to linger unabated.

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The Ontario Ministry of Education is addressing the issues of bullying and other inappropriate behaviours at schools with Bill 157, which came to fruition on Feb.1, 2010. It puts the onus on teachers and other school staff to be responsible and more diligent with inappropriate behaviours. This is a positive step in a proactive direction. However, it is unfathomable to calculate the number of bullying incidents that went unreported and/or by the wayside in Canada and the US between any specified time frame. Overall, the focus has predominantly centered around the violence and aggression the bullies exhibit, with little attention paid to the long-term effects on the bullied students and their pent-up anger and frustration. The addiction to violent video games in conjunction with the simultaneous school victimization became ensconced in a vicious cycle that eventually spiralled out of control for the two Columbine killers. Momentary relief from the hostile environment was achieved by violently re-enacting the shooting of various students and teachers repeatedly in the context of a violent bloody video game. Researchers have subsequently argued that individuals high in hostility are more likely to become aggressive when exposed to violent video games, as opposed to persons low in hostility.4

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The Columbine killers were fascinated with many other types of violent media. They were fanatical about the Oliver Stone Movie Natural born killers, which portrayed and somewhat glorified a killing spree by two people. They used the films acronym โ€˜NBKโ€™ as the code in their journals and home videos. Specific acts and/or scenes may have caused them to become susceptible to the contagion (copycat) effect, but this is mere speculation. From their journals, it was later revealed that they equipped themselves with various explosives, in an attempt to rival the work of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVie. A speculative connection, albeit thereโ€™s no actual proof the killers viewed the film, also dealt with the 1995 film, the โ€œBasketball Diaries.โ€ One particular scene involves the main character wearing a black trench coat while shooting six students in a classroom. The immersion into violent forms of desensitizing media played a persuasive role in the violent outcomes of the Columbine killers. The historical significance may also have played a role with the contagion/copycat effect as well. The Columbine shootings occurred on April 20th, also coinciding with the birthday of Hitler. The killers had referenced terrorist bomber McVie, responsible for the April 19 Oklahoma City bombings, coincidentally the same date as the FBI standoff in Waco, Texas.

Taber, Alberta

A mere eight days after Columbine, another school shooting occurred at W.R. Myers school in Taber, Alberta on April 28, 1999. During this incident, 14-yr-old Todd Smith strolled into his school and began firing at students in the hallway, killing one and wounding another with a .22 calibre rifle amongst several rounds of ammunition. Given the mere proximity to the Columbine incident, the Taber shooting was in fact a copycat event. The family of the gunman indicated that their 14-year-old had โ€˜snappedโ€™ after watching media coverage of the Columbine massacre. Critics have always suggested that there is only a causal connection between violent media and violent behaviour(s), yet there is an overwhelming amount of clear and convincing behavioural evidence supporting this causal connection and thus refuting their claim.

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A particular violent video game or movie will not simultaneously create a collective impulse for all viewers to become violent. Researchers have argued that violent youths have been predisposed to violence and desensitization. It is staggering to learn that the average adolescent has viewed approximately 15,000 simulated homicides in various forms of media.5 In 2005, the American Psychological Association issued a statement regarding violent video games, stating that perpetrators in games go unpunished in 73 per cent of all violent scenes, thus reinforcing and teaching that violence is an effective method to resolve conflict.6 To garner additional support that the Columbine coverage created a triggering effect with the Taber shooting, trauma psychologist Doctor Butterworth suggests:

You take a youngster who has that predisposition. You put them in an environment where the media shows these things (violence) and its like a triggering effect. The media doesnโ€™t create, it triggers these people with the disposition.5

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The extensive media coverage of Columbine clearly had a propelling effect on the violent behaviour exhibited with the Taber shooting. Clearly, there must have been some extenuating circumstances predating the news coverage of the Columbine incident. A common link between the Columbine shooters and the shooter from Alberta involved the issue of being bullied at school. W.R. Myers students indicated the shooter wasnโ€™t overwhelmingly popular and had been bullied, including teasing and name calling. The shooterโ€™s mother attested to the fact that her son had been routinely bullied and suffered from depression just prior to the shooting.7 According to court documents, Smith had been severely bullied at school, including one particular incident when he was doused with lighter fluid and threatened with being lit on fire. One can only speculate the levels of anger, resentment, and frustration pent up inside him. The Alberta shooter is a rare exception amongst the study of past school shootings in that he did not commit suicide post-incident; rather, the youth was arrested and subjected to the criminal justice system, albeit as a juvenile, to the chagrin of the Crown attorney prosecuting the case, who argued he should be tried as an adult.

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The rare exception of a perpetrator surviving such an incident allowed a post-shooting psychological examination. Prior to Smith being released in 2003, a psychologist assessed his rehabilitative progress. Dr.J. Satterberg concluded that Smith still suffered from delusions and was obsessed with violence, primarily with movies and video games. He also concluded that he exhibited no signs of remorse and had a high probability of re-offending.7 Although it is difficult to determine what particular games/movies Smith was obsessed with, one can infer that the commonality between Smith and the Columbine shooters was violent forms of media. This represented an escape from school bullying as a viable forum to realistically vent their anger and revenge vicariously through violent game characters. They channelled this pent-up anger by incessantly playing the games to obsession and eventual desensitization to real-world violence while ensconced in a virtual fantasy sequence that involved revenge and retaliation against the bullies responsible for their frustrated dispositions in the real world.

Dawson College: Montreal, Quebec

A crazed gunman entered Dawson College in Montrรฉal on Sept. 13, 2006 equipped with an assault rifle and long dark trench coat. Kimveer Gill began to shoot at students, killing one and injuring 19 in an incident unique from any other school shooting, as it intermingles the contagion effect and violent video games. The clichรฉ of art imitating life and vice-versa is apparent. First, the killer was deeply obsessed with death and violence that seemed to possibly resonate from being bullied and victimized at school. Prior to the shooting, he had created an online posting under the tag name โ€˜fatality 666.โ€™ One of the postings captured the following rant:

I am not a people person. I have met a handful of people in my life who are decent but I find the majority to be worthless. Itโ€™s not only the bullies fault, but the principalโ€™s fault for turning a blind eye. Itโ€™s also the fault of the police. Anger and hatred simmers within me.9

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The killer admits in his own words that he is angry at the people who bullied him and hates officials who failed to act and intervene. There may have been other extenuating circumstances that led to these levels of anger and hate, but this quote speaks volumes about bullying and the catalytic effect it had on the killerโ€™s disposition and outlook on society. Aside from the online passages, the killer also posted photographs of himself with various weapons, such as knives and firearms, eerily similar to the Virginia Tech shooter who killed 32 students on April 16, 2007. Like the Montrรฉal killer, he had a rant filled manifesto accompanied by various photos of him posing with his armoury of handguns. The aspects pertaining to the contagion effect and an obsession to addictive violent video games are intertwined and somewhat convoluted with the Montrรฉal shooter. After the Dawson shooting authorities located a letter in which the killer
praised the two Columbine shooters. Further, it was revealed that he had a deep obsession with violent video games, particularly โ€˜Postal 2โ€™ and โ€˜Super Columbine Massacre,โ€™ a game created in April 2005, amid much deserved controversy. It allows the game player to assume the roles of the two gunmen while recreating the Columbine shooting, following them on a fictional adventure in perdition after they commit suicide.

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Glorifying Columbine in a realistic video game, enabling countless youths to realistically recreate the actions of the two killersโ€™, is difficult to fathom. Nonetheless, the game was released in 2005. Therefore, not only was the Montrรฉal shooter obsessing and repeatedly re-enacting the Columbine shooting in a virtual world, the lines between virtual world and reality became blurred when he went on his shooting rampage.

The contagion/copy cat effect was present on two levels, the actual Columbine shooting and the video game version of the incident. The killer was obsessed with Columbine prior to the gameโ€™s release. One can only speculate that the vicious cycle began to spiral out of control in conjunction with the killersโ€™ vicarious and empathetic view towards the Columbine killers after the game was released. The research has shown that repeated exposure to depictions of graphic violence can contribute to desensitization.2 The bulk of the research has been based on fictional violence as it pertains to video games. The Montrรฉal killer may have been subjected to heightened levels of desensitization based on his repeated exposure to a violent video game rooted in realism. This hypothesis is again supported by the online words of the killer, who wrote:

โ€œWork sucks, school sucks, life sucks, what else can I say? Life is a video game, youโ€™ve got to die sometime.โ€10

Dawson6

Three psychosocial theories help explain the behaviour(s) exhibited by the shooters in all three incidents. The first is reactive aggression. Connor et al. (2004) define this as an angry defensive response to a particular threat or frustration specifically entailing an act of revenge against someone that has done you wrong.11 This theory applies to all of the shooters, primarily due to subsequent aggressive responses stemming from being bullied at school. Similarly, the next psychosocial approach details the inverse relationship between frustration and aggression, lending credence to explanations for the shootersโ€™ behaviour(s). According to the frustration-aggression hypothesis, Dollard et al. (1939) proposed:

โ€œPeople who are frustrated, thwarted, annoyed, or threatened will behave aggressively, since aggression is a natural, almost automatic response to frustrating circumstances. Moreover, people who exhibit aggressive behaviour are frustrated, thwarted, annoyed or threatened.โ€12

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All of the perpetrators were subjected to varying levels of bullying at school, causing them to feel frustrated, threatened, and likely annoyed. The aggression and response to the bullying wasnโ€™t instantaneous. All had an outlet to unleash their pent-up anger and frustration โ€“ violent video games. Even in a virtual world, it is likely they found some solace within a game that involved alleviating stress by realistically killing people. The Columbine killers even modified their game to incorporate actual students and teachers. The vicious cycle of bullying in conjunction with venting pent up anger/frustration in a video game resulted in tragic circumstances for these perpetrators, along with countless innocent victims. The third psychosocial theory involves displaced aggression, proposed by Denson et al. (2006). The crux of this theory occurs when a person is somehow provoked but unwilling (or unable) to act against the person who initiated the provocation. Essentially, the initial aggression involves retaliating against innocent bystanders who had absolutely no involvement with the source of the conflict, hence acts of aggression that are displaced onto unsuspecting people. This applies to all of the perpetrators discussed in this article.

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The Columbine and Taber shootings involved victims who were not even the source of the initial provocations for the killers and who did not bully the perpetrators. Displaced anger was more apparent in the case of the Montrรฉal shooter. The bullying and anger the perpetrator was subjected to were unleashed onto innocent victims in a school the shooter was never a part of, victims with absolutely no connection to the initial sources of conflict. There is no plausible explanation for this displacement of anger. The three common precursors linking the three incidents are not a generalized template for predicting a school shooting. This is a comprehensive examination of the underlying common denominators that were a precursor to each of the three shootings. Other youths may have likely been exposed to a similar set of circumstances involving the three common denominators: bullying, enjoying violent video games and being exposed to other violent media. When these three factors are present it is not an automatic precursor to an outburst of violence. However, the empirical evidence does overwhelmingly suggest a causal connection exists between exposure to violent video games and higher levels of desensitization, thereby leading to a greater tendency for aggression.

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The limited research in this area tends to omit other mitigating factors that likely contribute to the vicious cycle of virtual and real-world violence, being the issue of bullying in conjunction with the contagion effect. Albeit limited, the existing research is definitely qualitative in nature. Given the extenuating circumstances of a rapidly advancing society, resulting in greater technology and increased violence in mass media, the quantitative research must continue. The video game market doesnโ€™t show any signs of slowing down. The game โ€˜Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2โ€™ was released in Nov. 2009 and has already surpassed the $1 billion mark. The technological quality of the graphics continues to improve. The American military still uses video game technology to teach new soldiers how to effectively shoot and kill in a virtual world. The games are referred to as โ€˜murder simulatorsโ€™ in some military circles.

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The concerning factor pertains to the same technology being accessible to youths in the form of marketable video games, regardless of the allocated rating system for parental warnings. There have been several shootings in the United States involving youths who have never fired a weapon but were all avid violent video game addicts. The accuracy of fire was more indicative of a seasoned shooter than a youth who had only been exposed to firing weapons inside a virtual video game. An additional component of concern encroaches into the ethical dilemma associated with video games such as Super Columbine Massacre, Grand Theft Auto and 25 to Life. In โ€˜25 to Lifeโ€™ players have more than 40 weapons available to them and assume the role of a gang member pursuing police officers to kill them. The condoned message reinforces that killing a police officer is justified. Similarly, in the โ€˜Grand Theft Autoโ€™ series, offences such as car jacking, armed robbery, homicide, drug use and prostitution are not only condoned; they reinforce that this is normative behaviour in the virtual world.

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When a youth becomes desensitized to real world violence due to over exposure from incessantly playing violent video games, distinguishing between virtual world and reality becomes a blurred distinction, sometimes with aberrant ramifications. The US Secret Service published a report in 2002 that examined 37 US school shootings. Here are three relevant findings from the report: First, all of the attackers exhibited various behaviours prior to the shooting that caused other people concern. Second, most of the attackers felt bullied and/or persecuted prior to the attack. Lastly, most of the attackers had access to weapons that were used during the attack on their respective school.14

All three findings are consistent with the three incidents discussed, particularly the two Canadian shootings. The particular finding involving the behaviours of the perpetrators prior to the shooting is vital. The focal point of preventative measures has to involve parents being acutely aware of their childโ€™s environment and social surroundings. Limiting childrenโ€™s exposure to violent media, combined with positive family exposure, can be a preventative measure against negative media influences. Overall, a joint effort is required from various facets, including but not limited to health care professionals, social services, police, and school officials.

Published Research Article By: Stephen G. Metelsky (2010) #BlueLine

References
1: Anderson, C.A. & Bushman, B.J. (2001). โ€œEffects of violent video games on
aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological
arousal and prosocial behaviour: A meta-analytic review of the scientific
literature. Psychological Science, Vol 12(5): 353-359.
2: Anderson, C.A. & Dill, K.E. (2000). โ€œVideo games and aggressive thoughts,
feelings and behaviour in the laboratory and in life.โ€ Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, Vol 78(4): 772-790.
3: Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children
(American Psychological Association, US Academy of Pediatrics, American
Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Child, Adolescent
Psychiatry and the American Medical Association), Congressional Public
Health Summit, July 26, 2000. From web site: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/
releases/jstmtevc.htm
4:Gentile, D.A., Lynch, P.J., Linder, J.R., & Walsh, D.A. (2004). The effects
of violent video game habits on adolescent hostility, aggressive behaviours
and school performance. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 5-22.
5: Investigative Reports (1999). Arts & Entertainment Television Network:
โ€œCopy-Cat Crimes.โ€ (Video Documentary) February 1, 1999.
6: Olson, C.K. (2008) โ€œViolence and Video Games,โ€ Toronto Star, 28 April.
From web site: http://www.torontostar.ca
7: โ€œTragedy in Taber,โ€ CBC News online, 27 April 2004. From web site: http://
http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/taber/
8: Bartol, C.R.(1999). Criminal Behaviour: a Psychosocial Approach.
Prentice-Hall: New Jersey.
9: Gombu, P. (2006). โ€œKiller loved guns, hated people,โ€ Toronto Star, 14
September. From web site: http://www.torontostar.ca
10: Dimanno, R. (2006). โ€œMontreal gunman identified,โ€ Toronto Star, 14
September. From web site: http://www.torontostar.ca
11: Connor, D.F., Steingard, R.J., Cunningham, J.A. Anderson, J.J., & Melloni,
R.H. (2004) Proactive and reactive aggression in referred children and
adolescents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 74, 129-136.
12: Dollard, J., Doob, L.W., Miller, N.E., Mowrer, O.H. & Sears, R.R. (1939).
Frustration and Aggression. New Haven: Yale University Press.
13: Denson, T.F., Pederson, W.C., & Miller, N. (2006). โ€œThe displaced
aggression questionnaire.โ€ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
Vol 90(6): 1032-1051.
14: โ€œThe final report and findings of the safe school initiative: Implications for
the prevention of school attacks in the United States.โ€ United States Secret
Service and United States Department of Education, Washington D.C., May
2002. From web site: http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac/ssi_final_report.pdf
Other references
American Psychological Association Commission on Violence and Youth
(1993). โ€œViolence and Youth: Psychologyโ€™s Response.โ€ Report of the
American Psychological Association Commission on Violence and Youth,
Vol 1, Washington, D.C.
Anderson, C.A. & Bushman, B.J. (2001). โ€œMedia violence and the American
public: scientific facts versus media misinformation.โ€ American Psychologist,
Vol 56 (617): 477-489.
Anderson, C.A. & Bushman, B.J. (2002). โ€œHuman aggression.โ€ Annual Review
of Psychology, Vol 53: 27-51.
Anderson, C.A. & Bushman, B.J. (2001). โ€œIs it time to pull the plug on the
hostile versus instrumental aggression dichotomy?โ€ Psychological Review,
Vol 108: 273-279.
Bushman, B.J., & Huesmann, L.R. (2006). โ€œShort-term and long-term effects
of violent media on aggression in children and adults.โ€ Pediatric and
Adolescent Medicine, Vol 160, 348-352
Couvrette, P. (2006). โ€œColumbine game was gunmanโ€™s favourite.โ€ The
Associated Press. From web site: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/
world/4186275.html
Funk, J.B. & Buchman, D.D. (1996). โ€œPlaying violent video games and
adolescent self-concept.โ€ Journal of Communication, Vol 46, 19-32
Gilligan, J. (2001). How to create less violent societies. Preventing Violence.
London: Thames and Hudson, pp. 80-106.
Joireman, J. anderson, J., & Strathman, A. (2003). โ€œThe aggression paradox:
Understanding links among aggression, sensation seeking and the consideration
of future consequences.โ€ Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
Vol 84(6): 1287-1302.
Kutner, L & Olson, C.K. (2008). Grand Theft Childhood: the surprising truth
about violent video games and what parents can do. New York: Simon
and Schuster.
Reichhardt, T. (2003). โ€œPlaying with fire?โ€ Nature, Vol 424 (6947): 367-368.
Thompson, K.M., Tepichin, K., & Haninger, K. (2006). โ€œContent and ratings of
mature-rated video games.โ€ Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine,
Vol 160(4): 402-410.
Vastag, B. (2004). โ€œDoes video game violence sow aggression? Studies
probe effects of virtual violence on children.โ€ JAMA, Vol 291(15): 1822-1824.
Villani, S. (2001). โ€œImpact of media on children and adolescents: a 10-year
review of the research.โ€ Journal of the American Academy of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry,
Vol 40(4): 392-401.
Warmington, J. (2006). โ€œWhat lurks beneath,โ€ Toronto Sun, 15 September.
From web site: http://www.torontosun.ca

๐“’๐“ช๐“ฝ๐“ช๐“ผ๐“ฝ๐“ป๐“ธ๐“น๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“ช๐“ฝ ๐“’๐“ธ๐“ต๐“พ๐“ถ๐“ซ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฎ

ย ย  The fore stock of the 12-gauge shotgun slid forward, the barrel having been sawed off. Ammunition was meticulously loaded into the tubular magazine before it was placed in the trunk, nestled beside a fully loaded 9-millimetre semi-automatic rifle amongst rounds of strewn ammunition.

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ย ย  The preparation on this day mirrored steps taken by a hunter about to step into the bounds of the wilderness, seeking to target unsuspecting prey. This was to be Eric Harrisโ€™s last day of life in this small community in Jefferson County, in the state of Colorado. It was the morning of Tuesday April 20, 1999. Quaint serenity would surrender to a sudden burst of violence, culminating in a lingering stigma, anonymity forfeited. The name of this small American town firmly ensconced in the annals of history, synonymous with images of violence. This is Columbine, Colorado.

Columbine2
The second vehicle was loaded with a cache of weapons and explosives. Dylan Klebold equipped himself with a sawed-off shotgun and a 9-millimetre semi-automatic handgun. The wheels of this treacherous plan had been firmly set in motion as the two were set to meet at Columbine high school. It was 11:10am. Two desks sat empty this day, as the subtle eeriness of their absenteeism about to unfold. The smell of cafeteria food began to permeate down the hallway as students shuffled to class amidst the familiar sound of muffled chatter and lockers clanging shut. Unbeknownst to the staff and students, Klebold and Harris lay waiting in their vehicles outside the school.

Columbine3

ย ย  Two propane bombs had been covertly placed inside the cafeteria by the disgruntled teens. Reminiscent of a hunter stalking game, the killers planned to ambush students scurrying from the school after the bombs exploded. They were infatuated with and wanted to emulate Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, an American responsible for bombing a federal building in 1995 that killed 168 people.

Columbine4

The two students had been bullied and subjected to verbal barrages from other teens, thus alienating them from their peers. Resentment translated into a simmering rage. Incessantly playing violent video games represented an outlet to vent this pent-up anger. The graphic games entailed the utilization of weaponry to methodically rehearse killing fictional characters in a simulated fantasy world. Fantasy and reality became a blurred distinction on April 20th, 1999. This was not a rehearsal. After bombs failed to explode the two killers stealthily approached their school, entered and began shooting at students in a barrage of rapid gunfire, the violent blasts reverberating down the corridors. As students scurried for cover the killers unleashed a reign of terror, as ammunition ejected from the ports of their weapons. Spent shell casings were strewn throughout the bloodied hallways of Columbine high school, the smell of gunpowder lingering in the air.

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ย ย  Twelve students and one teacher were killed during the murderous rampage. The school shooters administered their own justice with one swift pull of the trigger, forever engraining Columbine with the violent carnage that unraveled that fateful day.

Written by: Stephen G. Metelsky (Pseudonym: Stephen G. Boyle)

Published: 2013

๐“ฃ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“ข๐“ธ๐“ป๐“ญ๐“ฒ๐“ญ ๐“›๐“ฒ๐“ฏ๐“ฎ ๐“ธ๐“ฏ ๐“—๐“ฎ๐“ท๐“ป๐”‚ ๐“›๐“ฎ๐“ฎ ๐“›๐“พ๐“ฌ๐“ช๐“ผ

ย ย  Henry Lee Lucas was one of the most prolific serial killers in the annals of criminal history.

HenryLeeLucasArticle1

Dubbed the ‘one eyed drifter’ and ‘confession’ killer, Lucas was indicted for 246 homicides and confessed to some 600 murders, some involving later recanted versions. Interestingly enough, Lucas had divulged sparse details about various slayings that only the killer would have been privy to. His murderous rampage spanned from 1960 to 1983. Lucas was the definitive example of being a product of his environment. His dysfunctional family was comprised of a drug addicted prostitute mother who routinely exposed her son to a world of crime and deviance. His father was a heavy drinker who later succumbed to his alcohol-inducted lifestyle. The early and later life for Lucas was void of any form of parental and social nurturing. His exposure to routine beatings and a sexually deviant lifestyle would be internalized as normal behaviour.

HenryLeeLucas

In 1960, then 24-year old Lucas became embroiled in a verbal argument with his mother. The domestic dispute escalated as Lucas unleashed years of pent up rage, leaving her dead in a pool of her own blood. He was convicted in Michigan for second degree murder and jailed for 10 years before being released in 1970 due to prison overcrowding. In 1976 Lucas was in the state of Florida when he met Otis Toole, an equally demented and deranged sociopath. Together, they embarked on a cross-country murder spree, claiming many innocent lives along the way. Lucas would later claim that the pair committed an exorbitant number of homicides, divulging that Toole was directly involved in approximately 108 homicides.

HenryLeeLucas1

In 1983, Lucas was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm. Unbeknownst to authorities, Lucas was about to unleash a startling confession. In the state of Texas a ‘Lucas Task Force’ was established enabling investigators to debrief Lucas in an effort to solve various homicide cases and locate victims. Lucas would later attempt to recant some of these confessions.

HenryLeeLucas4

In 1998 an imprisoned Lucas had his death sentence commuted to life in prison by then Governor George W. Bush, after it had been recommended by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Lucas died in prison in 2001 at the age of 64. His murderous accomplice, Otis Toole, had died back in 1996 while serving six life sentences in Florida state prison.

Story by: Stephen G. Metelsky (Pseudonym: Stephen G. Boyle)

Published in 2012

#UnderworldStoriesย 

 

 

๐“ฃ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“‘๐“ฎ๐“ช๐“ผ๐“ฝ ๐“ธ๐“ฏ ๐“‘๐“ป๐“ฒ๐“ฝ๐“ฒ๐“ผ๐“ฑ ๐“’๐“ธ๐“ต๐“พ๐“ถ๐“ซ๐“ฒ๐“ช

ย ย  On Sept. 30, 2011, one of Canada’s most notorious and despicable serial killers finally succumbed behind the walls of a prison hospital, amidst a collective sigh of relief amongst Canadians, particularly those directly victimized in the early 1980’s.

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He was the beast of British Columbia, Clifford Olson. To fathom the crimes committed by Olson is unimaginable yet firmly etched in the memories of Canadians. Between 1980 and 1981 Olson’s treacherous criminal modus operandi had evolved into a reign of terror and murder as fear and hysteria spread throughout the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley region in British Columbia when an unknown serial killer was on the loose. During this span, Olson was responsible for the homicides of eleven youths within the province of British Columbia.

 

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Olson was arrested in 1981 amidst controversy that sent shock waves through the country and beyond to reverberate to present time. Olson entered into a controversial deal with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that enabled him to receive $10,000 for each body he would assist police to locate after he confessed to eleven different homicides. The wife of the notorious killer was the alleged benefactor of the $100,000 along with his son. Although difficult to comprehend, a person with a psychopathic predisposition can effectively separate the distinct modes of their personality, akin to a Jekyll and Hyde personality. Olson was able to create the perception and aura of a family man while simultaneously catapulting his criminal repertoire to include murder.

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This was not Olson’s only controversial stint while he was an imprisoned convict for almost 30 years. In 1996, under a Canadian law referred to as the ‘faint hope clause’ which allows an inmate serving a life term to seek a parole hearing after serving 15 years behind bars, Olson applied for and was subsequently denied parole. Olson was also denied parole when he applied in 2006 and 2010. In December 2011, the faint hope clause was rescinded and no longer available to inmates serving life terms.

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Olson had made a number of outrageous and unfounded claims behind prison walls in a feeble attempt to rekindle some significance in his own demented mind as he became a thorn in the side of Canadians with incessant letters to law makers and politicians. It caused some Canadians to reminisce about the death penalty and when it was applicable in Canada, before it was abolished in 1976, a mere five years before Olson’s murderous rampage came to an end.

In 2010, information surfaced that Olson had been receiving two separate federal government benefit cheques each month, the sum exceeding one thousand dollars. The Government of Canada terminated the serial killer’s ability to receive these monetary benefits shortly before cancer finally terminated Olson’s life permanently.

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Story by: Stephen G. Metelsky (Pseudonym: Stephen G. Boyle)ย 

Originally published: 2012

 

๐““๐“ฎ๐“ถ๐“ฎ๐“ฝ๐“ฎ๐“ป ๐“œ๐“พ๐“ป๐“ญ๐“ฎ๐“ป ๐“ฃ๐“ป๐“ฒ๐“ช๐“ต ๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ฎ ๐“ธ๐“ฏ ๐“’๐“ช๐“ท๐“ช๐“ญ๐“ช’๐“ผ ๐“›๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ฐ๐“ฎ๐“ผ๐“ฝ

ย ย  Real estate developer Peter Demeter arrived at his Mississauga home on July 18, 1973, to find his wife of six years, Christine Ferrari, sprawled facedown on the garage floor in a pool of blood. Severe trauma to the head from a blunt object, likely a hammer or tire iron, had caused her death. But this was no accident. Claiming his innocence, Demeter was convicted of hiring an unidentified killer to carry out the murder of his wife and sentenced to life in prison. Even though police had initially named Imre Olejnyik as a person of interest in the homicide, he was never charged and tried for the heinous crime. The petty criminal died in 1975, taking any secrets he may have harboured to his grave.

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The criminal trial of Peter Demeter was one of the longest in Canadian history. The millionaire hiring a hitman to murder his Austrian-born wife, a beautiful model who had allegedly grown tired of the marriage as well, garnered extensive media coverage worldwide. Rumors abounded that each spouse had supposedly been planning the other’s demise, insurance money being the motivating force. The trial delved into the Hungarian Canadian underworld, even though no one has ever been formally charged with the vicious homicide from upscale Mississauga. Even after the murder of his wife, Demeter unsuccessfully tried to collect the $1-million insurance policy.

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In 1983 Demeter was paroled. His newfound freedom would be short-lived. Within two years Demeter was the mastermind behind a plot to have his own nephew murdered. Demeter was convicted of two counts of counselling to commit murder, thus receiving two life sentences that would effectively keep him behind bars indefinitely. However, the penal system would not deter Demeter’s homicidal tendencies. In 1988 Demeter’s lawyer, Toby Belman, had some of the convicted felon’s stocks frozen when the prisoner neglected to pay his legal bills. As Demeter’s rage spiralled incessantly out of control, a premeditated plot to kidnap and murder the daughter of his attorney was meticulously being planned by the imprisoned felon. The plot never came to fruition but two additional life sentences for conspiracy to kidnap and murder eventually did. Demeter later attempted to have the son of his cousin murdered – another sinister plot devised behind bars, prompting an eventual clinical diagnosis that labeled Demeter a psychopath and an indefinite risk to the public if he were ever to be released.

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Since 1999, Demeter has waived his bi-annual parole hearings conceding that he will remain in prison until he dies. During this last parole hearing Demeter was deemed to be so dangerous he was denied an opportunity to leave the prison walls for four hours, even though he would have been shackled and guarded by two escorts. Hampered with various health issues, the 79-year-old Demeter is spending the remainder of his life at Bath Institution, a medium-security facility for disabled convicts just outside of Kingston.

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Despite his age, Demeter still poses a significant risk to the public if ever released.

Story by: Stephen G. Metelsky (2012)

Published under pseudonym: Stephen G. Boyle

 

๐“ฃ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“ข๐“ฝ๐“ธ๐“ป๐”‚ ๐“ธ๐“ฏ ๐“’๐“ช๐“ท๐“ช๐“ญ๐“ช’๐“ผ ๐“š๐“ฒ๐“ต๐“ต๐“ฎ๐“ป ๐“’๐“ธ๐“ต๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ฎ๐“ต

Written by: Stephen Metelsky (Pseudonym: Stephen G. Boyle)

CRIME FLASHBACK Column – Niagara This Week, 2012

The sociopath has no regard for the adverse consequences of their own behaviour. The narcissistic sociopath has a unique ability to blend in seamlessly amongst their family, friends and co-workers. They can assimilate themselves in different types of social settings, typically without raising any suspicions about their true inner identity.

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The sociopath has an innate ability to separate their secret criminal tendencies from the normative images they project during the course of their public social lives, truly reminiscent of the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ persona. This was excruciatingly evident with Colonel Russell Williams, the commander of CFB Trenton, Canada’s largest air force base. During the day, Williams projected the aura of legitimacy as the high ranking commander in charge of 3,000 people. In 2005 Williams even piloted a plane that carried Queen Elizabeth II. However, when Williams was not commanding the base, he was prowling by night, searching for his next potential victim.

Williams did not become a killer overnight. His progression to killing entailed a methodical escalation initially involving various acts of voyeurism. Once these acts became mundane, William’s deviant behaviour escalated to the point where he was breaking into the homes of women he had been covertly stalking. Most of these break-ins occurred overnight, sometimes with the victims inside their homes. Initially, William’s intent was to break in to steal women’s clothing and take photographs in order to satisfy a twisted and escalating sexual obsession. This obsession spiraled out of control as William’s began committing riskier crimes to curtail his insatiable and demented obsession.

The deviant escalation of a predator’s method of operation, is quite common amongst serial offenders. Serial predators initially commit petty crimes that are minor in nature, such as mischief or voyeurism. The tedium of committing particular offences eventually involves an escalation to riskier more violent crimes. The boredom propels the offender

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to take more risks as their levels of deviance and confidence thrive. Another commonality amongst these serial predators is the acquisition of a trophy. A trophy represents a tangible item the predator takes from a particular victim so they can relive the crime incessantly until the urge to strike again surfaces. The serial predator will photograph or videotape their crimes. This profile fit the modus operandi of Colonel Williams. It is almost a carbon copy of what transpired with killer Paul Bernardo. Ironically, Williams and Bernardo have been linked to the University of Toronto where both had studied economics during the mid-1980’s at the Scarborough campus. However, there is no evidence to suggest a criminal linkage between them.

After breaking into the homes of various women and assaulting them, William’s violent behaviour escalated to murder. He committed the most heinous act on two separate occasions. One of the victims was a corporal from the CFB Trenton air force base where Williams reigned supreme. The split diabolic persona of Williams enabled a segue from his midnight murderous ways to his daytime responsibilities as a husband and commander without raising suspicion. However, his secretive world was to become unraveled through forensic evidence collected at one of the murder scenes.

In February 2010, police began an intense investigation after the murder of Jessica Lloyd. Early on during the investigation police located and retrieved a valuable piece of forensic evidence from the murder scene. A distinct set of tire tread marks was detected by crime scene investigators. The tread marks were measured, photographed and catalogued as evidence. On February 4, 2010 police had set up a proactive roadside checkpoint, patiently and methodically checking vehicles as they strolled down the snow covered roads. Williams came to a complete stop in his SUV, unfazed this would represent the catalyst to his unraveling murderous double life. Police were immediately intrigued by the tread patterns on the tires of Williams’ SUV, again a very distinct set of treads that left an even more distinct impression on the surface it traveled on.

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The tread pattern appeared to be very similar to the pattern located at the scene of the Lloyd homicide. The roadside query led to the identity of Williams. The Ontario Provincial Police arranged for Williams to be interviewed a few days later.

Most predators eventually slip up and leave valuable forensic evidence behind at a particular crime scene. When Williams showed up for his interview with the Ontario Provincial Police on Feb. 7, 2010 he brazenly wore the same rugged pair of boots that had left distinct footwear impressions at the Lloyd homicide scene. The footwear impressions were detected entering and leaving the crime scene ending where the distinct tire tread impressions began. Williams appeared confident as he vehemently and casually denied any association to the two homicide victims. During the interview he even consented to a comparison of his boots with the footwear impressions located at the Lloyd crime scene. They were an exact match. When Williams was confronted with

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the damning forensic evidence his legitimate world imploded as the dark secrets of his double life spilled outward. Williams requested a map to pinpoint where he had concealed one of his victims, initializing a startling confession.

Williams was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of sexual assault and forcible confinement and 82 break-ins. In October of 2010 Williams pled guilty to all charges. His punishment: an automatic life sentence in prison with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years.

UPDATE: The “Killer Colonel” was initially imprisoned in Kingston, Ontario. Williams has been transferred and is now incarcerated in a maximum security prison in Quebec, Canada.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephen G. Metelsky, M.A. is a freelance crime writer/journalist, criminologist, organized crime expert (CBC, Hamilton Spectator, Niagara Falls Review, St. Catharines Standard, Global News, AM 680, 980 News, 900 CHML, Newstalk 1010 & Blue Line magazine) & college professor, with over 20 years as a police (ret.) sergeant. 

Stephen is a contributing columnist with Blue Line magazine and has covered true crime stories for various newspapers affiliated with Metroland Media Group & Postmedia Network Inc. 

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StephenGm_Jr

Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-g-metelsky-m-a-830553155

Article first published: 2012