22 July, 2020: the second day of trial for the perpetrator in Halle, the Magdeburg district courtroom made a conscious choice, a choice to broadcast the live-stream attack of the accused on every screen in the room, and every monitor, rather than in private quarters to the lawyers and judges present for the proceedings. 

And this choice not only gave the accused an opportunity to take great enjoyment in watching himself shoot and kill other human beings without remorse, but even more so, it contributed to the fulfillment of his mission.

The perpetrator live-streamed his attack on October 9th, 2019 in precise deference to the massacres in Christchurch and El Paso whose live-stream motivations were meant to support the recruitment and radicalization efforts of extremists online through the gamification of terror.

This terror diffuses the line between the virtual and the real for viewers and attackers alike. The Halle perpetrator meant to glorify the murder of human beings by diminishing them into scores. He meant for the viewers of his live-stream to watch his attack in Halle like it was a game.

The more people you kill, the more points you get. If you get the high score, you are a white warrior forever.

Since the live-stream was first posted on October 9th on the popular gaming platform Twitch — and until its removal several hours after the attack — it was viewed on Twitch by over 2,200 people globally, 5 of them live. And by October 10th, only one day after the attack, it had been shared through other popular platforms for extremist groups like Telegram and watched by over 55,000 people

The mission of the perpetrator has been clear, his goals repeated again and again in court. He wants to inspire others to commit similar acts of violence. He wants them to beat his score.

This is a game, and the courtroom is his platform. 

He no longer hides his smirks and his laughter. He watched the video on that second day with glee. This attack, this game that he wanted to share with the world to incite more terror and pain, was broadcasted in court to a room full of reporters and public spectators. And while it continues to be disseminated and glorified by thousands of radical far-right groups online, it was the court of Magdeburg that allowed his game to reach the mainstream media.

Which begs the question: who then, is really winning?