A new online video game called The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary School allows players to step into the shoes of spree killer Adam Lanza as he shoots his mother, and then roams through the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown Connecticut, murdering twenty seven-year-old students and six teachers trying to protect them. At the end, the game gives the player his proficiency score.
According to the Daily Mail, this is not the first time Ryan Jake Lambourn has lent his talents to such an offensive undertaking. In 2007, at the age of 21, he created a similar game called V-Tech, based on the Virginia Tech massacre. At that time, Lambourn, who hails from Houston Texas, but has been living in Australia since 2001, said in an interview for a gaming website that he created the game:
“So me and my friends and people like me and my friends could have a laugh.”
When asked if he considered his game might be hurtful to those whose lives had been affected by the Virginia Tech shooting, Lambourn said:
‘I don’t see that as my need to wait for them to build up a tolerance to pain.”
When informed about Lambourn’s newest game, the sisters of Victoria Soto, a teacher killed in the Sandy Hook assault, contacted Lambourn through Twitter. Using the tribute account set up to honor their slain sister, the sisters asked Lambourn why he would create such a repulsive game, tweeting:
“Please tell us how playing a game that recreates how Vicki died would be beneficial?”
Lambourn, displaying the same lack of human decency he did six years ago responding to criticism of the V-Tech game, tweeted back:
“Sure, but you’d learn more by playing it”.
Lambourn went on to defended his game via tweet, saying it had a “gun safety message”, and that he created it to highlight the need for gun control. That explanation did not seem to sway any hearts and minds in Connecticut, where Senator Chris Murphy told the Hartford Courant he hopes:
“the very disturbed person who could think of something like this sees the cruelty of what he’s done and stops it.”
After their Twitter exchange with Lambourn,the family of Vicki Soto released the following statement on the Sandy Hook game:
“The constant barrage of negative backlash we face as a family is unimaginable. We constantly have to battle people who still to this day, think Sandy Hook is a hoax. For those people I can only say I hope you never have to go through what we do as a family.
On top of all that, today as we are trying to summon up the courage and composure to face the 1 year anniversary, we learned about a video game that was made called “The Slaying of Sandy Hook’, the title alone, was painful. Through conversation with the maker of the game on twitter, we have learned he intended it to be a video game addressing the gun control debate. But why? We do not understand why anyone would do this? Perhaps someone else knows the answer.
‘We do not encourage this game, nor do we condone it. We only bring attention to it so that we can perhaps reach the maker and make him understand why his message was delivered in the most inappropriate way. We cannot understand why anyone would think what happened at Sandy Hook is something that can or should be made into a “game”. This is real life to us. Every day.”
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