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‘Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary’ game reenacts fatal shootings, stirs fury online

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(Screengrab from The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary' game)

Just weeks before the one year anniversary of the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a video game creator has released a game reenacting the tragedy.

Unsurprisingly, the game has drawn anger and a lot of criticism for its subject matter, and many online, including the family of a teacher killed in the incident, are saying that the game is not the way to remember the shooting.

In ‘The Slaying of Sandy Hook Elementary,’ the player takes on the role of Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter who walked into Sandy Hook Elementary and fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members. The game opens with a scene asking the player to “shoot your mother,” as Lanza shot his own before heading to Sandy Hook Elementary, where the player navigates the school as Lanza, following on-screen instructions to shoot at students and staff members.

At the end of the game, the player gets a total number of people killed alongside a list of the statistics reflecting the number of people who were actually killed at the Sandy Hook school massacre.

Many have spoken out against the game and its creator, 28-year-old Ryan Jake Lambourn from Sydney, Australia, since the game was published online. The family of Victoria Soto, a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School who lost her life on December 14, 2013 while protecting her class, issued a statement opposing the creation and publication of the game:

The constant barrage of negative backlash we face as a family is unimaginable. We constantly have to battle people who still to this day, think Sandy Hook is a hoax. For those people I can only say I hope you never have to go through what we do as a family.

On top of all that, as we are trying to summon up the courage and composure to face the one year anniversary, we learned about a video game that was made called.

We do not encourage this game, nor do we condone it. We only bring attention to it so that we can perhaps reach the maker and make him understand why his message was delivered in the most inappropriate way.

We cannot understand why anyone would think what happened at Sandy Hook is something that can or should be made into a 'game'. This is real life to us. Every day.

The game has also been criticized by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, demanding it be removed from the Internet:

“This abhorrent video game should be taken down from all websites immediately,” Blumenthal said in a statement, according to The Hill. “This vile video game shocks our conscience and mocks common decency. Shamefully, as we approach the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, some still exploit this horrific tragedy. It’s appalling and salacious, and it must stop.”

Despite the widespread criticism, Lambourn is standing by his work, taking to Twitter to defend himself, offer personal information as people threaten to seek him out, and generally taking the stance that the game should remain online, and that everyone has their own reasons to criticize his work:

Lambourn also says that his game is designed to be critical of the lack of regulation that has emerged in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.

“Guns are no longer a noticeable part of Australian culture,” Labourn said in reference to strict regulation that came into force in that country following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in which 35 people were shot, International Business Times reports.

“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.”

At the time of writing, the game is still available to play on three different platforms (it was originally available on popular Flash gaming site Newgrounds, but has since been pulled).

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