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Another Columbine... Could Finland School Massacre be Related to Violent Video

Contact: Matti Stevenson, 719-360-0586, Mattistevenson@comcast.net

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 8 /Christian Newswire/ -- At least seven people were killed Wednesday after an 18-year-old man opened fire at a high school in southern Finland. Could this be related to violent video games? John Douglas thinks so – and he should know. He's played over 7,000 of them!

For years John Douglas, President of Grand Design Productions and a video game industry veteran, sounded the alarm about the harmful content of certain titles to major corporations that he worked for, but his cries fell on deaf ears. Explains Douglas, "The companies I worked for would thank me for alerting them to the problem.  But then, the very next day, the title in question would go up on their shelf."

Then, on April 20, 1999, two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado, killing 12 students and a teacher, and wounding 23 others, before committing suicide. When the fact came out that both Harris and Klebold had spent countless hours honing their murderous skills on the shooting game DOOM, the public became incensed, sending retailers and game manufactures scrambling for cover. "Virtually overnight, every violent video game in stores around the country was yanked from the shelf," recalls Douglas, "but, as soon as the public outcry died down, it was back to business as usual." 

For nearly two decades, John Douglas has worked in the video game industry evaluating games, writing reviews, and generating game-play tips for an impressive array of prestigious clients. Douglas has worked with virtually every major developer of video games in the world and has established a reputation as a leading authority on video games. He has watched a small fledgling game industry in the 80's grow into the multi-billion dollar enterprise it is today. But an unsettling parallel to this growth has been a disturbing trend toward ever increasing levels of gratuitous sex, violence, and profanity. 

Before entering the gaming industry Douglas served in law enforcement where he witnessed blood and horrific scenes on a daily basis.  He says, "What I see now in video games does not even come close to what I witnessed as a Sheriff – it has become too disturbing to ignore any more."

"The real threat from video games is that parents are led to believe that these games are harmless forms of entertainment," Douglas observed. "At best they are a recreational diversion.  Many parents, who normally take care to monitor their children's activities, mistakenly believe that the "ratings system" will prevent the kind of unacceptable content that exist in many of these games – NOT so." 

In a fervent and gallant effort against these dark trends in video gaming, John Douglas has created a noteworthy enterprise, Grand Design Productions, that goes against the popular trend of "gaming" −the use of violent, disturbing home video games.

Sara and the Starfish (award winning and approved by the Dove Foundation), the first in a series of family-friendly, faith-based DVDs, is being released by Grand Design Productions this month. John Douglas, President of GDP (www.granddesignproductions.com) says, "I chose this as our first story because it illustrates that one person CAN make a difference."

John Douglas is calling it quits and he is using his experience in the entertainment industry to create a wholesome alternative to the crass, tasteless and exploitive products being churned out by Hollywood. Grand Design Productions will serve as an alternative to the potentially damaging products that our kids are currently exposed to. "Kids today are being exploited by the industry," observed Douglas. "Their innocence is being violated by corporate greed."

John Douglas is taking the biggest risk of his life−walking away from the lucrative video gaming business and devoting his efforts to this pendulum swing by producing animated films which will promote Christian principles and family values. Says Douglas, "It is a huge gamble – God willing, we will make a difference!"