Mass murderers are not gamers, they are play deprived.

In this post about the Orlando mass murderer, Cirsova and PC Bushi had this conversation:


I didn’t say anything then, but they are both basically correct.

Playfulness is not what defines the mind of the ideological warriors, terrorists and similar people. They are literalists, monomaniacs, joyless. And the relation between fanatism, violence, and play is an inverse one, because the most brutal societies are the most literalist ones, those that can’t stand mimicry, make-belief, sports, games, music, fantasy, theatre, sarcasm, humour, satire, etc. In other words, something like Afghanistan.

It is not a coincidence that the first thing many tyrants do is suppress theatre and the arts, and then control games (sports, mostly) so they are channelled towards a specific goal (glorifying the nation.) To the tyrant, there is something deeply disturbing about games and fantasy. It’s almost like they are natural enemies.

Basically, play is lie and deceit. It’s not as much a thing as a frame of reference, a way to communicate about communication, to explain something about what you are doing. So, when a dog is playing and bites, the dog is “saying” that the bite, paradoxically, is not a real bite, that it’s all fake. That’s a very complex cognitive process that, interestingly, is prelinguistic.

The SJWs, being reptilian literalists, find all of that puzzling, so they try to ban hide-and-seek games (“because they are predatorial”) or “problematic Halloween disguises.” They also fail to understand that basically everything in a game is bullshit, so they react to what happens there as if it were real, and expect real shame for fictional crimes. But they themselves do not create games, they only destroy other people’s work. They are basically murdering childhood.

I have a controversial hypothesis. Video games and roleplaying games saved a generation of children who, otherwise, would not have had almost any play in their lives. I’m talking about those children who have grown up in cities where no child plays outside, where schools are basically prisons,  everybody tells them the world is a scary place, and half of them are medicated. Video games are not freeplay, but it’s better than nothing, and I suspect many survived thanks to them (I know I did.) The sharp decline of crimes that started during the 90s? Yeah, that was video games. The explosion and extreme popularity of roleplaying games during the 70s? Because it gave young people something they couldn’t find anywhere else, and outlet for certain skills they didn’t even know they had (make-believe, mimicry, fantasy, imagination, etc.)

I will quote a few scientific papers about play deprivation:

Play occurs when other basic needs are met and is therefore strikingly absent when a child is experiencing acute or chronic stress.

For example, self-structured play supports children’s development of an internal locus of control, which has been linked to reduction of anxiety and depression throughout life.

Outdoor play, or green time, has also been linked to decreases in stress levels and a reduction in hyperactivity symptoms in children. Researchers have suggested that even 5 min per day of green time can make a difference (Kuo & Faber Taylor, 2004; Panksepp, 1998, 2007).Considering the health consequences of North American culture’s sedentary lifestyle (Manson, Skerrett, Greenland, & VanItallie, 2004), it is beneficial to creatively seek safe, child-driven play opportunities in natural environments.

The decline of free outdoor play and increase in overscheduling and overdirecting of children’s lives correlate with researchers’ findings of high levels of anxiety and depression in children and adolescents (Gray, 2011; Twenge et al., 2010)

Source: “Empty Playgrounds and Anxious Children,” Journal of Creativity in Mental Health 9(2):210-231 · June 2014

Our major new functional hypothesis is that play enables animals to develop flexible kinematic and emotional responses to unexpected events in which they experience a sudden loss of control. Specifically, we propose that play functions to increase the versatility of movements used to recover from sudden shocks such as loss of balance and falling over, and to enhance the ability of animals to cope emotionally with unexpected stressful situations. 

Source: “Mammalian Play: Training for the Unexpected,” by Marek Spinka, Ruth C. Newberry and Marc Bekoff. The Quarterly Review of Biology
Vol. 76, No. 2 (Jun., 2001), pp. 141-168

Notes that the increasing number of violent crimes committed by children is a result of play deprivation.

“Play Deprivation: A Factor in Juvenile Violence.”
Frost, Joe; Jacobs, Paul J.
Dimensions of Early Childhood, v23 n3 p14-20,39 Spr 1995

Isolation during weeks 4 and 5 of age caused a reduction of social activity as compared to non-isolated controls. […] These findings support the idea of a sensitive period in infancy for subsequent social behavior in rats. It is suggested that especially deprivation of acquiring play behavior underlies the social disturbances in adulthood.

Source: “Isolation during the play period in infancy decreases adult social interactions in rats”

T. Hol, C.L. Van den Berg, J.M. Van Ree, B.M. Spruijt
Volume 100, Issues 1–2, 1 April 1999, Pages 91–97


And the best one:

There seems to be no evidence that young people who see such disreputable material or listen to wicked song lyrics grow up to be mass murderers. However, Stuart Brown, who did exhaustive studies of mass murderers and other violent criminals, found that they did suffer from play deprivation. Brown goes on to say, “It seems to me that playless creatures may have an inflexible, narrower, more lizard-like stereotyped sense of’self and reality. In a small-brained (cortex) cold-blooded reptile, no options for complex cooperative play seem likely. In the murderers previously cited, their inflexibility in the presence of stress, and narrowed repertoire of behavioural responsiveness and enslavement to strong urges of affect could be attributed to ‘play map deficiency’ from abuse and deprivational circumstances.

Source:  “This Is Play,” by Stephen Nachmanovitch
Source: New Literary History, Vol. 40, No. 1, Play (Winter, 2009), pp. 1-24



2 thoughts on “Mass murderers are not gamers, they are play deprived.

  1. Wow, that’s an interesting hypothesis. I’d love to see a study (or the summary of a study, heh) on play, or lack of, relating to criminals/terrorists/psychos.

    Nail on the head about SJWs wanting to shame fictional crimes. Reminds me of the #NotAtMyTable thing that popped up on Twitter a while ago, which Cirsova had a blog post mentioning. Unfortunately it’s not just SJW’s anymore; you see figures on the right vilifying violent video games now and then, as well. The culture has been infected.


  2. Unfortunately, play is not something many people study, especially human play. Trying to reach a conclusion about this is a bit like archeology: a bit here a bit there and the bigger picture begins to emerge.

    There are more about animal play, though, and some things can be extrapolated. Besides, common sense helps. There’s always the problem that you can’t “study” the worst psychos (as in a laboratory) and the best you can do is a post-mortem analysis of his life, blog posts, whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

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