The developer of an online simulation game titled “The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary School” that lets players recreate Adam Lanza’s massacre is drawing condemnation from legislators and victims’ families, as well as the Twittersphere.
Ryan Jake Lambourn, a 27-year-old who lives in Sydney, Australia, but grew up in Houston, created the game, he said on his website, after fielding requests from followers of his 2007 game “V-Tech Rampage” based on the Virginia Tech shootings.
“I grew up in Houston, Texas, where I remember guns and ammunition being available in unmanned sections of Wal-Mart and it being commonplace to hear gunshots in the distance as I tried to go to sleep, which is a stark contrast to Sydney, Australia, where I moved to in 2001,” Lambourn said in an audio message in the game's credits section. “Australia had sweeping gun control put into place after the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre in which 35 people died, and the result of that sweeping regulation is that guns are no longer a noticeable part of Australian culture. Guns are practically non-existent here.”
Lambourn goes on in the message to say that despite the mass shootings in America, very little has changed. He urges critics to “shake off your apathy” and write to your governor or federal legislators to help foment change.
“Back in America … all these massacres don’t seem to have had any similar effect on regulation. Instead, gun control and enforcement have steadily loosened,” he said in his message. “And here we are, nearly a year after the Sandy Hook shootings … and absolutely nothing positive has come out of it.
“If you’re a middle of the road person who believes firearms should at least have the same amount of safety regulations as a car, then it’s really on you, because your absolute apathy is why the news is unbearable to watch. So I want you to go and click that usa.gov link and find your state governor and find your representatives in the Senate and Congress, and shoot them an email or a phone call and tell them your opinions on gun control. That’s the least you can do.”
That explanation, though, isn’t good enough for those who still remember the horror of the Sandy Hook shootings on Dec. 14, 2012, including the family of slain teacher Vicki Soto.
“Please tell us how playing a game that recreates how Vicki died would be beneficial? Please tell us,” @TeamVickiSoto Tweeted Tuesday after news of the game got out Monday.
“You wanted attention, you got it. You have ours now and please know that you have caused pain,” @TeamVickiSoto Tweeted Wednesday.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy also weighed in.
"To make a game about the murder of 20 children and their six teachers is absolutely sickening," Murphy told the Hartford Courant. "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 is still available to play on several websites.