Published November 20, 2013
A sick online video game that has players re-enacting last year's horrific murders of school children in Sandy Hook, Conn., has an outraged Sen. Richard Blumenthal calling for a ban.
“The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary,” allows a player to simulate the massacre that left 20 first-graders and seven adults dead. Purportedly created by Ryan Jake Lambournan, an American-born gaming geek who lives in Australia, the crude game allows a player to collect a loaded gun and shoot his mother before going on a rampage at a school. Several websites have taken the game down, but Blumenthal, the Democratic senator who was previously Connecticut's attorney general, wants it off the web altogether.
“This abhorrent video game should be taken down from all websites immediately. This vile video game shocks our conscience and mocks common decency," Blumenthal said in a statement. "Shamefully, as we approach the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, some still exploit this horrific tragedy. It’s appalling and salacious, and it must stop.”
Incredibly, a "message from the creator" embedded in the video tries to rationalize the game as a commentary on American gun culture.
"Back in 2007 I created a game called 'Vtech Rampage' about the Virginia Tech shootings. In the years since, I've been routinely asked by fans of 'Vtech' to make more games of just about every mass shooting that's gotten media coverage," a voice says.
"All these massacres don't seem to have any ... effect on legislation," it continues. "Here we are nearly a year after the sandy hook shooting ... and absolutely nothing positive has come out of it."
Families of the victims nevertheless told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers they found the game repugnant.
“It’s absolutely disgusting that somebody thinks this is funny,” said Donna Soto, a Stratford mom whose late daughter, Victoria, 27, was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for shielding her students from the gunfire during the rampage.
“We’re all suffering. All the families are suffering. We’re coming up on December. My daughter’s birthday just passed. It just adds insult to the suffering that we’re dealing with. It’s just incomprehensible that someone would think this kind of thing is wanted.”
A Twitter feed purportedly run by Lambourn offers not apologies but snide comments.
“The liberals don’t like me because I've disrespected the dead. The conservatives don’t like me because of the gun control message. And the trolls don't like me because it wasn't edgy enough,” he wrote in a series of tweets.
Twitter users were quick to express their opinion about the game as well.
"This is DISGUSTING and DISRESPECTFUL to all the victims and those affected," one person wrote.