'The Slaying of Sandy Hook': Online game draws ire from victims' families, lawmakers
2:04 PM, Nov 20, 2013
Newtown (FoxCT) -- An online computer simulation game titled "The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary School" has surfaced, and drawn shock and disgust because it allows users to re-enact Adam Lanza's actions the day of the Dec. 14 shootings.
The game takes users first through Lanza's home in Newtown, instructing them to "Shoot Mother" and "Get AR15 and Clips." Gamers then move a virtual gunman through Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he uses his weapon to fire at teachers and students.
Relatives of Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto, who was killed in the attack, denounced the game on Twitter Tuesday after news reports of its existence surfaced Monday night.
"Please tell us how playing a game that recreates how Vicki died would be beneficial? Please tell us," a family-endorsed account said in a tweet to Ryan Jake Lambourn, the creator of the game.
Lanza shot and killed his mother at their Newtown home before shooting 20 first graders and six adults at the school.
Lambourn, who could not be reached for comment, defended himself online. He said that the game was intended to promote stricter gun control measures, a policy pursued by many in the aftermath of the shootings.
In a message in the game's credits, Lambourn explains that he grew up in Houston, Texas, a city with a strong gun culture, and later moved to Sydney, Australia – a country that enacted sweeping changes to its gun laws after a 2001 massacre. "Guns are no longer a noticeable part of Australian culture," said Lambourn, who also created a game about a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech.
"Here we are nearly a year after the Sandy Hook shootings in which 26 people were killed and absolutely nothing positive has come out of it," he said.
U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy, who led the gun control movement in the Senate after the Newtown shooting, sharply criticized Lambourn.
"To make a game about the murder of 20 children and their six teachers is absolutely sickening," he said. "I hope the very disturbed person who could think of something like this sees the cruelty of what he's done and stops it."
The game has been removed from one of the sites on which it was available.