After the Sandy Hook Tragedy, Groupthink Hits Ryan Lanza and Mass Effect

In the wake of Friday's tragedy, groupthink prevailed again. Falsely accused shooter Ryan Lanza and the Mass Effect fan page were bombarded by messages of hate and blame. However, the news had it all wrong. The verbal attackers had it all wrong.

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, many Facebook users flooded the Mass Effect fan page with messages of blame and hate. 

They were wrong

The outraged bystanders weren't wrong because video games aren't to blame for societal wrongs. I mean, they're not, but that's not the bigger issue. That argument has been hashed over too many times before. 

Rather, they focused their anger on the game because they believed the killer was a Facebook fan of the franchise, but they had the wrong guy. Early reports from almost all media outlets pinned the atrocity on 24 year old Ryan Lanza. A Fox News expert, even as the identity remained unconfirmed by police, asserted that Mass Effect caused the loss of all of these young lives. 

Shocked, angry, and hurt viewers logged on and vented their rage. They were met by Mass Effect fans and general fans of gaming and the culture. Many of the more internet savvy defense had seen posts by Ryan Lanza's friends saying that he didn't do it -- that they'd heard from him since the news broke.

Since the traditional news outlets hadn't caught up to the common internet sleuth by that point, the vitriol continued. 


And then it stopped... abruptly as it began. Ryan Lanza's pictures were suddenly being excluded from news reports. Internet and TV media removed his name from their coverage and referred to the perp as "unconfirmed." We found out that Ryan Lanza was an innocent man, and that his younger brother, 20 year old Adam Lanza, had carried out the disgusting mass murder.

Mass Effect and Ryan Lanza found themselves victim of groupthink; casualties of mob mentality. 

At the time of writing, neither BioWare or EA have released any statements regarding the situation.

Our condolences go out to those who lost children, moms, and sisters at Sandy Hook. Newtown, CT -- you are in our thoughts.

Source: Kotaku

Source: Mass Effect

Source: Twitter

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Imayen Etim is a freelance writer and GameSkinny contributor based in Gainesville, Florida. She can be contacted at imayen.e [at]

Published Dec. 18th 2012

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