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Did Too Much PlayStation Lead to Samurai Sword Death?

Updated on September 24, 2009

It’s not know whether or not playing too many violent games on PlayStation can lead to violent behavior, much less if there was even a connection between video games and the recent death by samurai sword of one Baltimore man. What is known is that a samurai sword wielding Johns Hopkins student living in off campus housing had recently had his home broken into which led to two laptops and a Sony PlayStation being stolen, and apparently he wasn’t about to give up any more of his property.

According to the reports, the Johns Hopkins student heard some commotion in his detached garage around 1:00am and he went to investigate. However, because he and his roommates had recently been burglarized, he didn’t go unprepared. Instead, he brought with him a samurai sword which he kept in his bedroom with him.

While the exact circumstances of what transpired next are still under investigation, what is known is that one man is dead due to what appears to be a single blow from the sword which nearly severed his hand completely from his arm as well as inflicting a substantial body wound. While neighbors heard screaming that was described as someone in a lot of fear and/or pain called the police, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Was it Sony's 1:1 Sword Fighting Game?

According to the student in question, when he heard the commotion in the garage he grabbed his sword for personal protection and went to investigate. When he got to the garage he found the door ajar from being forcefully pried open and a man inside. The student says that the man, upon seeing him, lunged at him, though there is no proof that the man (the intruder) was armed and an investigation is underway.

Nonetheless, Baltimore police said that it is not illegal to possess a sword in Baltimore, and furthermore “individuals have a right to defend their person and their property.” What the police did not comment on (yet) was whether or not “appropriate force” was used in this situation.

The dead man has been identified as a person with a history of prior convictions for crimes such as breaking and entering, and unauthorized removal of property for stealing a car. Apparently this was the first time where he tried stealing from someone in possession of a samurai sword, and tragically, it will also be his last. It is still not clear whether the sword wielding student was a fan of Sony’s 1:1 sword fighting game.

Sadly, this story ended in the death of an individual. While I don't blame the student, I have to imagine he wishes he could have it all to do over again. having been in a similar, yet far less dramatic situation in college when a car bike rack was stolen from our property, I know I wish I had handled the confrontation differently. After all, the things that were at risk of being lost, (a car bike rack, a bike trailer and some spare parts) were easily replaceable. The memory of the confrontation is not something that can be replaced, though I often wish it could.

With all that said though, I cannot fault the student for protecting his property; I just don't know if the force was justified. I guess time, and the courts, will have to determine that.


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    • profile image

      crazy 7 years ago

      image if he used a gun

    • profile image

      Caleb 7 years ago

      Has nothing to do with video games though, thats a long strand to try and grab. As for " Therefore, in this era, nobody should be killed by the sword or sword-related weapon." well I guess my response to that is should people be killed by other people period? The method is irrelevant so long as the effect results in death. As for the concern of excessive force... if you hit some one in the hand are you really trying to kill them? When you think of the standard Hollywood non lethal gun shot first thing to come to mind is a limb shot. It honestly sounds like this guy was defending himself and his home. It is sad but honestly I am more appreciative that an American stood up for himself and the sanctity of his home against and intruder. When seconds matter can you really wait 5-10 minutes for a police response? He accepted responsibility for his own security, as should we all.

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      SenseiHoshino 8 years ago

      Since there was a human being killed, I give the strong condolences to the deceased person's family.

      Human beings were slaughtered by such blades during the Sengoku Era ( Japanese Civil Wartime: 1467 - 1591 ); however, this is the modern age, the 21st Century. Therefore, in this era, nobody should be killed by the sword or sword-related weapon. We should not glorify any type of killing for the respect of the deceased person.

      Harunaka Hoshino / The Preisdent of the San Francisco Nipponto ( Japanese Sword ) Society / A Scholar of the Japanese language and Japanese history

      A message from a practitioner & Sensei ( Instructor ) of Tameshi-giri ( Test cutting ) and Ken-jitsu ( Japanese sword fighting skills ) in San Francisco, California

    • John Z profile image

      John Z 8 years ago from Midwest

      This is a sad story indeed. But a thought provoking Hub. Thanks!