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Readers Discuss Changes to Laws After School Shooting

Readers wrote in with a variety of views on the necessity and benefit of stricter laws concerning gun control and bans on violent video games. The measures continue to be debated in Germany after a fatal school shooting.

Mourners at the school in Winnenden

Readers extended their sympathies to the shooting's victims and their families

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Character is killed in a computer game

Games let some people blow off steam, one reader wrote

It is hard to me to form an unbiased opinion on the subject as I am a 16-year-old student and a gamer. I wonder why people play violent video games. Perhaps it is the hunting instinct that has us look for the thrill of danger and/or the domination of an enemy. Perhaps it is living out your aggressive fantasies where you can't hurt real people. The danger is when someone becomes incapable of distinguishing between a game and reality. I play Team Fortress 2 to meet online with people I have got to know via the Internet and to blow off steam after a hard day of schoolwork. I would never want to hurt another human -- but then, I am rather satisfied with my life. I would call into question why people get to the point of such despair that they see killing as the only way out. I, personally, see videogames as a tool, not a cause, and a ban will only enrage the gamer community and add to the "forbidden fruit" effect. -- Lorenz Becker, Germany

Western civilization has entered into a massive mental health crisis. Our citizens, their families, neighborhoods, schools, businesses, bureaus, institutions, clubs, agencies and corporations are sick. Our cultures reek of violence and chaos. Television, movies, video games, music videos, and paperback novels are filled with murder. Denial of ourselves as the root cause of bloody murder and continued projection of the blame upon firearms will only make the problem worse. Deal with the reality. -- Tom Colton, US

First let me send my condolences to the families and friends concerned. Whatever happens, or is done, it will not bring back the children. My opinion is that when a child like this is receiving psychiatric treatment, the storing of weapons in the household of the family needs to be reviewed until the person is declared returned to normal health. Or there should be constant, possibly, daily observation by the licensing authorities to ensure that all weapons has been securely stored. -- Michael Peter Yarnold, Peru

The pistol used by the shooter

Keeping guns in the house with a person receiving psychological care was negligent, readers wrote

Violent video games should be banned in Germany. There are so many sports and fun activities that teenagers can take part in. Most teenagers lock themselves in their room and play the kind of games that can gradually corrupt their minds. The government and authorities must take serious action: Ban all such game software. -- Subashini Tremmel, Germany

You could ban all violent video games from your children's environment, lock your children off from the Internet and sell your televisions, but somewhere, some unbalanced individual will still commit criminal acts. The person who committed the recent shooting in Germany was 17 years old. His parents are the ones responsible. If they had raised their child with due attention, they would have noticed any abnormal behavior. How did a 17-year-old get a firearm? Any parent that keeps firearms under their roof should educate their children about the danger of firearms and the consequences of misuse. -- Owen Tuckey, Canada

Rescue teams and police forces stand in front of the school where the shooting took place

There is no way to guarantee school shooting will not occur again, readers said

Your entire article on the school shootings does not include one reference about the parents except that the gun may have come from the father's collection. You state what everyone else thinks society should do. Have you totally absolved the parents from responsibility? Perhaps his problem was at home not at the school. Give a little more balance to your reporting. -- Barbara Dreher, US

The question of direct cause and effect between media violence and the school shooting misses the point. Allowing or encouraging young people to play violent games in which they pretend to be killing other people is an abhorrent act on the part of so-called responsible adults in any society. Such games desensitize young people and offer them a model of how to behave when they feel angry. Any society which freely offers such modeling to its young people should not be surprised by frequent violent consequences. -- Moya Smith, New Zealand

In reference to such incidents as the recent school shootings in Germany, this question completely misses the mark. It wrongly implies that legal weapon sales are to be questioned as a "cause" of this behavior. Germany presently has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world with respect to sales and ownership, yet such incidents still occur. -- Gerald Morris, Canada

As a retired high school principal in the US and a retired US army officer, I offer the thought that stricter controls at the school, and greater diligence on the part of the school administrators and teachers is better than bans. The typical panacea offered by politicians is more laws, and they are always so willing to take away more freedoms in the interest of control, power and influence. I enjoyed living in Germany for nine years of my military career, and found German communities absolutely fantastic, and your laws sufficient, even in today's hectic and ever-changing environment. -- Jim Soper, US



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