Ultimately, in cases like this, the students are decried by know-nothing authority figures who seem to imply that the student is unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality. But, I think it’s the other way around. School personnel being so brittle and imagination-poor that they’re incapable of context, nuance, critical thinking. Any instance of virtual spleen, in their minds, immediately will lead to real-time apocalyptic bloodbath.
What percentage of high school authority figures is there that live for nothing but to ruin children’s lives? 5-10 percent? That would be my guess. They indeed have the wartime culture/the police behind them, to give them “ammo”.
BTW, in gaming this is as nearly as old as gaming itself. In fact, in interactive fiction there’s a subgenre of the “college game.” (Infocom’s The Lurking Horror being the stellar example–unconscionable!)
Finally, in a perhaps not unrelated corollary, this post about the militarization of police departments with Pentagon goodies:
Outfit domestic police officers in military clothing, arm them with military gear, train them in military tactics taught by ex-military personnel, then tell them they’re fighting a “war” on drugs, and we shouldn’t be the least bit surprised when they treat city streets [or high schools] like battlefields…Posse Comitatus isn’t some quaint relic from the Civil War era. It shows a clear understanding between the two institutions’ missions. One is charged with protecting our rights. The other is charged with annihilating an enemy. It’s probably a good idea not to get them confused, no?
This is the creeping backdrop to stories like the one above. Saying that a high schooler is performing a “terroristic threat” is about a shift in thought, which comes about through a shift in funding.