Toying with Death

Learning to love evil & crave violence

by Berit Kjos  ~ Updated April 19, 2007

See Role-Playing Games & Popular Occultism


"Police investigating the Virginia Tech killings are looking at whether Cho Seung-Hui was copying parts of a violent film when he murdered 32 people. Officers believe he repeatedly watched Oldboy as part of his preparation for the killing spree.... It contains stylized scenes of killings and an attempted suicide, and is filled with what one critic called 'punishing emotional violence'.... The video, which Cho posted to an American TV network while carrying out his murderous rampage, appears to include photographs of Cho re-enacting scenes from the film."[1] "Killer Enacted Violent Film" [Skip down to Copycat killing]


"After the Jonesboro shootings, one of the high-school teachers told me how her students reacted when she told them about the shootings at the middle school. 'They laughed,' she told me with dismay. A similar reaction happens all the time in movie theaters when there is bloody violence. The young people laugh and cheer and keep right on eating popcorn and drinking pop. We have raised a generation of barbarians who have learned to associate violence with pleasure, like the Romans cheering and snacking as the Christians were slaughtered in the Coliseum."[2]

"Visitors at a beauty spot near Glasgow watched helplessly as three boys [aged 18, 17 and 15) forced a terrified schoolboy to fall 25ft over a cliff and then cheered as their victim plunged on to rocks below, a court heard yesterday."[3]

"Are we training our children to kill?" asked Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman, an expert in the field of killology. For many years, he has "traveled the world training medical, law enforcement, and U.S. military personnel about the realities of warfare." He contends that point-and-shoot video games actually train young players to accurately shoot and kill human targets in spite of their natural, God-given resistance. His statistics validate his frightening conclusions:

"The per capita murder rate doubled in this country between 1957... and 1992. A fuller picture of the problem, however, is indicated by the rate people are attempting to kill one anotherthe aggravated assault rate. That rate in America has gone from around 60 per 100,000 in 1957 to over 440 per 100,000 by the middle of this decade.

     "Violence is rising in many nations with draconian gun laws. ... There is only one new variable present in each of these countries, bearing the exact same fruit: media violence presented as entertainment for children.

     "Children don't naturally kill. It is a learned skill. And they learn it... most pervasively, from violence as entertainment in television, the movies, and interactive video games.
     "Killing requires training because there is a built-in aversion to killing one's own kind... Within the midbrain there is a powerful, God-given resistance to killing your own kind.... When we human beings are overwhelmed with anger and fear, we slam head-on into that midbrain resistance that generally prevents us from killing. Only sociopaths—who by definition don't have that resistance—lack this innate violence immune system....
       "During World War II, US Army Brig. Gen. S. L. A. Marshall had a team of researchers study what soldiers did in battle.... They discovered that only 15 to 20 percent of the individual riflemen could bring themselves to fire at an exposed enemy soldier. Men are willing to die, they are willing to sacrifice themselves for their nation; but they are not willing to kill. It is a phenomenal insight into human nature; but when the military became aware of that, they systematically went about the process of trying to fix this 'problem.'...

      "The training methods militaries use are brutalization, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and role modeling. ... Just as the army is conditioning people to kill, we are indiscriminately doing the same thing to our children, but without the safeguards."[2]

1. Desensitization & Brutalization

In the military 'boot camp,' "brutalization is designed to break down your existing mores and norms" and cause you "to accept a new set of values that embrace destruction, violence, and death as a way of life," explained Col. Grossman. "In the end, you are desensitized to violence and accept it as a normal and essential survival skill....  Something very similar ... is happening to our children through violence in the media—but instead of 18-year-olds, it begins at the age of 18 months. At that age, a child can watch something happening on television and mimic that action. ... When young children see somebody shot, stabbed, raped, brutalized, degraded, or murdered on TV, to them it is as though it were actually happening.”[1] He gave this example:

    "The Journal of the American Medical Association published the definitive study on the impact of TV violence. It compared two nations or regions that were demographically and ethnically identical; only one variable is different: the presence of television. 'In every nation, region, or city with television, there is an immediate explosion of violence on the playground, and within 15 years there is a doubling of the murder rate.

    "Why 15 years? That is how long it takes for the brutalization of a three-to five-year-old to reach the ‘prime crime age.’"[2]

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation published another revealing study last fall: "43% of the kids age 2 and younger watched TV on a typical day and... 26% had a TV in their room. The median amount of time spent watching: two hours a day."[4] Small wonder our elementary schools are changing! 


"Temper tantrums are nothing new in kindergarten and first grade," wrote Claudia Wallis in a Time Magazine article last December, "but the behavior of a 6-year-old girl this fall at a school in Fort Worth, Texas, had even the most experienced staff members wanting to run for cover." She described the crisis:

"Asked to put a toy away, the youngster began to scream. Told to calm down, she knocked over her desk and crawled under the teacher's desk, kicking it and dumping out the contents of the drawers. Then things really began to deteriorate. Still shrieking, the child stood up and began hurling books at her terrified classmates, who had to be ushered from the room to safety.
      "Just a bad day at school? More like a bad season. The desk-dumping incident followed scores of other outrageous acts by some of the youngest Fort Worth students at schools across the district. Among them: a 6-year-old who told his teacher to 'shut up, bitch,' a first-grader whose fits of anger ended with his peeling off his clothes and throwing them at the school psychologist, and hysterical kindergartners who bit teachers so hard they left tooth marks.
      "'I'm clearly seeing an increasing number of kindergartners and first-graders coming to our attention for aggressive behavior,' says Michael Parker, program director of psychological services at the Fort Worth Independent School District.'"

The child-advocacy group Partnership for Children confirms this observation. A preliminary report of its study "shows that 93% of the 39 schools that responded to the survey said kindergartners today have 'more emotional and behavioral problems' than were seen five years ago. More than half the day-care centers said 'incidents of rage and anger' had increased over the past three years. 'We're talking about children—a 3-year-old in one instance—who will take a fork and stab another child in the forehead.'"[4]  

"Violence is getting younger and younger," said Ronald Stephens, director of California's National School Safety Center. "Initially, it was high schools that created these schools [for disruptive students], then middle schools. Now it's elementary. Who would have thought years ago that this would be happening?"

Actually, Col. Grossman did. He cited a study by Journal of the American Medical Association on the impact of TV violence:

"Hundreds of sound scientific studies demonstrate the social impact of brutalization by the media. The Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that 'the introduction of television in the 1950's caused a subsequent doubling of the homicide rate, i.e., long-term childhood exposure to television is a causal factor behind approximately one half of the homicides committed in the United States, or approximately 10,000 homicides annually.' (June 10, 1992)."

Of course, if children spent less time in front of the TV screen, they would have more time to learn about God and the wonders of the real world. Consider these sad statistics:

2. Classical Conditioning

You may remember Pavlov's dogs. Week after week, those four-legged Soviet laboratory specimens were fed at the sound of a bell, and eventually they learned to associate the ringing bell with their tasty morsels. Once conditioned, they would salivate whenever the bell rang. This study—together with the Hegelian dialectic process—helped lay the foundation for Communist brainwashing. Col. Grossman explained its relevance today:

 "What is happening to our children is the reverse of the aversion therapy portrayed in the movie A Clockwork Orange. In A Clockwork Orange, a brutal sociopath, a mass murderer, is strapped to a chair and forced to watch violent movies while he is injected with a drug that nauseates him. So he sits and gags and retches as he watches the movies. After hundreds of repetitions of this, he associates violence with nausea, and it limits his ability to be violent....
      "We are doing the exact opposite: Our children watch vivid pictures of human suffering and death, learning to associate it with their favorite soft drink and candy bar, or their girlfriend's perfume.
      "The result is a phenomenon that functions much like AIDS, which I call AVIDS--Acquired Violence Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS has never killed anybody. It destroys your immune system, and then other diseases that shouldn't kill you become fatal. Television violence by itself does not kill you. It destroys your violence immune system and conditions you to derive pleasure from violence."[2]

3. Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning is based on the simple psycho-social formula: stimulus-response, stimulus-response..... A modern example of this procedure is the use of flight simulators to train pilots. "An airline pilot in training sits in front of a flight simulator for endless hours," wrote Col. Grossman. "When a particular warning light goes on, he is taught to react in a certain way. When another warning light goes on, a different reaction is required. Stimulus-response, stimulus-response, stimulus-response. One day the pilot is actually flying a jumbo jet; the plane is going down, and 300 people are screaming behind him.... But he has been conditioned to respond reflexively to this particular crisis."

The reverse of this principle is used to train both our soldiers and our police force. According to Col. Grossman,

"The military and law enforcement community have made killing a conditioned response. This has substantially raised the firing rate on the modern battlefield. Whereas infantry training in World War II used bull's-eye targets, now soldiers learn to fire at realistic, man-shaped silhouettes that pop into their field of view. That is the stimulus. The trainees have only a split second to engage the target. The conditioned response is to shoot the target, and then it drops. Stimulus-response, stimulus-response, stimulus-response....

    "Later, when soldiers are on the battlefield or a police officer is walking a beat and somebody pops up with a gun, they will shoot reflexively and shoot to kill. We know that 75 to 80 percent of the shooting on the modern battlefield is the result of this kind of stimulus-response training.
    "Now, if you're a little troubled by that, how much more should we be troubled by the fact that every time a child plays an interactive point-and-shoot video game, he is learning the exact same conditioned reflex and motor skills....
     "This process is extraordinarily powerful and frightening. The result is ever more homemade pseudo-sociopaths who kill reflexively and show no remorse. Our children are learning to kill and learning to like it; and then we have the audacity to say, 'Oh my goodness, what's wrong?'"[2]

A report from the Schiller Institute in Washington D.C. shows an even more sobering side of the problem:

"Recently released medical studies indicate that violent video games damage the brain, possibly permanently. Video games may be more dangerous to your health than cigarettes or alcohol. This national scandal has been covered for the benefit of the $10 billion-a-year video-game industry, of which violent games rated 'M,' for Mature, are the fastest-growing segment. Approximately 20 million Americans, many under 18, play these 'M' games. The studies, many years in the making, show that repeated playing of violent video games 'desensitizes' the activities of the brain involved in reasoning and planning, while activating those functions that respond to violence. The studies include scientific data indicating that these games may actually cause destructive behavior."[6]

Those who are obsessed with point-and-shoot RPGs learn more than a killer instinct. Many embrace the occultism that drive the myth behind the violence. "Peter," a former occultist who became a committed Christian several decades ago, helped me to understand this phenomenon. Today, he serves his Lord by warning and equipping vulnerable youth to resist and overcome the deadly dangers of occult RPGs. [See Role-Playing Games & Popular Occultism]

"Are you familiar with aviation simulators?" he asked me during a telephone call. "They simulate the inside of a cockpit in flying a plane. You can learn how to fly a plane in a flight simulator. But in a simulator there is no risk. All personal danger has been removed. When you play these occult games, you're doing the exact same thing that you would be doing in a flight simulator. No risk. So why not try the real thing?

Many players do. "These kids are easily drawn into occult groups through [role-playing] tournaments," Peter explained. "When kids transition from simulation—when they actually experience the POWER that is available to them through the rituals they are learning to perform under the guise of 'fantasy'—that power becomes like an addiction and they get hooked. But they don't see that."


"I could walk up to any of these teens who showed promise," he continued, "and I could put my hand on their shoulder, look them in the eye and say, 'If you get a rush from this, how would you like to do it for real?' No one has ever answered no."


4. Role Models

Children who watch television and youth who play violent and occult role playing games find plenty of shocking role models that shape their dreams and mold their values. The fictional heroes hidden in popular anime, slasher movies and RPGs teach behavior as well as values. So do the young killers who win their moment of media fame through televised fanfare. According to Col. Grossman,

"Research in the 1970s demonstrated the existence of 'cluster suicides' in which the local TV reporting of teen suicides directly caused numerous copycat suicides of impressionable teenagers. Somewhere in every population there are potentially suicidal kids who will say to themselves, 'Well, I'll show all those people who have been mean to me. I know how to get my picture on TV, too.'... Thus we get copycat, cluster murders that work their way across America like a virus spread by the six o'clock news. No matter what someone has done, if you put his picture on TV, you have made him a celebrity, and someone, somewhere, will emulate him."[2]

Resisting the Violence

What can parents do to monitor and restrict violent and occult media messages?  There are no simple answers. They certainly can't trust the video labels. In his article, "Lazy cops on the video game beat," columnist Brent Brozell writes,

"Two Harvard researchers, Kimberly Thompson and Kevin Haninger, recently discovered that parents of teenagers can't rely very heavily on the video game ratings system created by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a self-regulating body....

"A graver problem for parents is that the games that many youngsters desire and chatter about are not rated 'T,' but rated 'M,' for supposedly 'mature' audiences. This is the TV-land of ultraviolence, casual sex and casual profanity....'"[5]

Vile "entertaining" images mold the minds of children and youth around the world! Do you wonder what will happen to our nation and culture when these conditioned youth reach adulthood? Might the civilized world be following a path to corruption and chaos that makes the decadence in ancient Rome seem mild by comparison? Even if our own children refuse to participate in this dark and depraved world of the imagination, will they live in a world eventually subjugated to barbarians and thugs?


We can only touch the children in the sphere of influence God has given us. But we can't afford to be silent! So here are a few suggestions:


1. Pray! Our Shepherd will show each of us what we can do to equip our personal and our Christian family.

2. Be watchful. Explain the danger of RPG's to your children in age-appropriate ways. Share the statistics and the horrendous consequences of the conditioning process. Show them items in the newspaper that provide current and relevant examples and warnings.

3. Put on the Armor of God. The greatest weapon against the world's deceptions is God's Word. That "Armor" (Ephesians 6:10-18) provides an outline of the vital truth that expose and oppose Satan's lies.

4. Understand the Nature and Tactics of Satan. Children need to be alert to both his timeless and his current strategies. We are all engaged in a spiritual war -- and we cannot close our eyes to the realities of the foes that assault us.

5. Thank God. "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

See also Hope, Hate & Human Nature

Role-Playing Games & Popular Occultism

A grieving father speaks | The Power of Suggestion

Responses to this article: Comments on Toying with Death

1. Copycat: Killer Enacted Violent Film, Sky News, April 19, 2007.,,30000-1261563,00.html

2. Dave Grossman, "Trained to Kill" at

3. Arnot Mc Whinnie, "Youths forced boy to jump over cliff," The Scotsman, 3-3-04 at

4. Claudia Wallis, "Does Kindergarten Need Cops?" Time Magazine, December 7, 2003.

5. Schiller Institute

Brent Bozell, "Lazy cops on the video game beat" (3-4-04) at

6. Brent Bozell, "Lazy cops on the video game beat" (3-4-04) at

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