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The Courts Government News Entertainment Games

Grand Theft Auto Led Teen to Kill 1311

Varg Vikernes writes "FOXNews reports on a lawsuit that claims the video game 'Grand Theft Auto' led a teenager to shoot two police officers and a dispatcher to death in 2003, mirroring violent acts depicted in the popular game. 'What has happened in Alabama is that four companies participated in the training of Devin... to kill three men,' attorney Jack Thompson told The Tuscaloosa News, which reported the suit's filing. Thompson is also filing suit against Wal-Mart, Gamestop, Take-Two and Sony." Gamespot has coverage of this story as well. Thompson has made something of a career out of lawsuits of this nature.
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Grand Theft Auto Led Teen to Kill

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  • I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) * <> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:50AM (#11699828) Homepage
    When will it be "Parents irresponsible with how they raised their child leads to deaths"?

    When will the blame be placed where it belongs, with the people who's job is to raise this child until he is old enough to support himself?

    What the hell happened to being responsible for your own actions?

    If I ever rob someone at an ATM I'll sue NBC because I saw someone on Law & Order do it once.

    What the FUCK is wrong with this country?
    • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:53AM (#11699883)
      You have a point. But your headline could be tailored to the specific situation:

      Parents allow video game to raise child

      Seriously, I mean next thing you know we're going to start blaming homosexuality on Will and Grace. Give it a break people. Or rather, get a dining table and stop eating your freaking meals in front of your TV. It's a form of entertainment, not a shrine.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:18PM (#11700373)
        Ooo! Good thinking! I'm going to sue Will and Grace for teaching me to be really catty about other people's wardrobes!

        By the way, those shoes... I don't think so.
      • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ClubStew ( 113954 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:29PM (#11701575)
        Parents allow video game to raise child
        Bad parenting - or just an utter lack of any parenting - is a major cause of most problems, true, but what I found most aggravating is that the suit says the game "trained" him to shoot those 3 men. How much training is required to pull a little trigger with the open end pointing at someone? Not even bad parents need to teach that.
        • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Donny Smith ( 567043 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:50PM (#11701882)
          > the suit says the game "trained" him to shoot those 3 men.

          Only three men?
          Praise the game maker!
          Imagine what would have happened if the little bozo watched "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" or "Hitler: The Rise of Evil" instead!
          • How'd he do it? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @02:06PM (#11702135) Homepage Journal
            Heck...I'm wondering a bit on how badly trained, or out of shape these police officers were. They let a minor steal a gun from one officer...get off 3 kill shots, and he escaped in a police car...FROM the police station?

            Not to be morbid, but, the game trained a kid to do all that, I'd say the POLICE need to be playing more GTA themselves.....

    • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) * <dfenstrate@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:56AM (#11699934)
      What the FUCK is wrong with this country?

      At this point, I think it's more fair to ask "What the fuck is wrong with this kid, and his parents?"

      We know what's wrong with the lawyer. He has no ethics and thinks there's money to be made.

      Now, if he consisently succeeds in winning these lawsuits, then we can ask what's wrong with this country. The answer is already ' a lot of things'
      • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by R.Caley ( 126968 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:29PM (#11700564)
        What the fuck is wrong with this kid, and his parents?

        Proposal: if your minor child is convicted of a crime you get hit with a proportion of the sentence dependent on the age of the child. (100% at 5 years old, 0% at 18, not sure what the interpolation function should be).

    • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rwven ( 663186 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:58AM (#11699986)
      Completely agreed. And even without the whole "Parent's raising" part of it (because parents seem to have a problem with that) what about the ridiculous legal system in this country actually holding the people responsible for their actions. I'm so sick of seeing guilt pawned off. It's nothing but a finger-pointing game.

      In the 30's, if you stuck your arm into a pulley and got it taken off, it was your fault because any idiot knows not to put their arm into it's the company you work fors fault. lame. The entire country has gone to "blame someone else."
      • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by crashfrog ( 126007 ) <crashfrog AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:13PM (#11700274) Homepage
        It's nothing but a finger-pointing game.

        Sometimes fingers need to be pointed.

        In the 30's, if you stuck your arm into a pulley and got it taken off, it was your fault because any idiot knows not to put their arm into machinery...

        Oh? And what if you were doing nothing more than operating it the way it was supposed to be operating, and because it was poorly maintained, it malfunctioned and took your arm off? Or killed you?

        I think people have a reasonable expectation that the machines they're expected to work with won't injure or kill them, and that the owners of those machines have a responsibility to ensure that's the case. Much as I think people have a reasonable expectation that spilled coffee shouldn't inflict third-degree burns over their genitals through two layers of clothing. Hence the McDonald's coffee damages.

        This lawyer is a douchbag. But there are legitimate reasons for tort lawsuits. I for one don't want to live in a world where companies choose lax safety standards because its cheaper that making sure their products don't maim or kill, and I can't imagine why you would. Tort lawsuits keep that in check.

        The entire country has gone to "blame someone else."

        Because a surprising number of times, it is someone else's fault.
    • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Moby Cock ( 771358 )
      Hear, Hear

      This is an absurdity of the greatest kind. And fully indicative of the litigous behaviour that has infected Americans. It makes no sense. But this foolishness has been going on for years.

      Recall the outrage at D&D and the overreaction when a teen killed himself "because his charcter died". It was crap then and crap now. That poor kid killed himself because he was filled with crushing depression and his parents did not help him. BUT someone had to be held responsible, that was D&D
      • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:09PM (#11701245) Homepage Journal
        The most important thing to keep in mind is that there is typically no correlation between media and crime. The correlation is between cultural attitudes and crime. Many places in Europe you'll find a distinct lack of a nudity (or even prostitution) taboo, yet they have less per capita sex crime. If media caused violence, if exposure caused violence, then there would be more of a problem there, not less. We have a deep cultural disease, and while I have no real ideas on how to cure it, I'm pretty goddamn sure it has nothing to do with media. Before video games, people were blaming violence in movies for youth violence; I wonder if before modern media, people blamed violent epics handed down by oral tradition, and tried to ban bards?
      • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JavaLord ( 680960 )
        . And fully indicative of the litigous behaviour that has infected Americans. It makes no sense. But this foolishness has been going on for years

        I'll take a overly litigous society over one where citizens have no recourse against the weathy anyday.

        I don't enjoy BS lawsuits wasting taxpayer dollars, but there are tradeoffs with everything in life.
    • Question (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thefatz ( 97467 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:12PM (#11700270) Homepage
      What entertainment value vs. educational value does a game solicited towards minors which promotes violence against authority figures have? Would the concept of having students entertaining with video games which promotes or otherwise displays strong violence, listen to music on over the air radio broadcasts which promotes or otherwise condones violence, watch TV programs which promotes, displays, and or condones violence in various fashions and physical degrees? Would the consideration of programs on HBO, or various urban rap songs, lyrics and artists which promotes prison has the gangsters paradise be any consideration in the proliferation of violence in students minds?

      Would the thoughts of the freedoms we enjoy come back and haunt us? Ever?

      Would a society where its children drink two or three soda's a day, eat a hamburgers several times a week, watch various degrees of violence on TV, listen to on radio or music with phrases like "pimp my ho" and "nasty bitchs" and other choice "Ghetto is good"(TM) phrases, or entertains via internet or games with violence the only option, be destined for self destruction?

      I'm sure I will be attacked as a troll or zealot or religious fanatic or something of that sort, doesn't matter. What does matter is the simple thought of society training children and students with everything they don't need for a healthy life style. You teach your children to talk through example. You teach your children to dress, act, and interact through example. Why cant a teenager wait to drive, cause he wants what has been around his set as an example.

      Same thoughts apply to violence. Everything is set through example.
      • Re:Question (Score:5, Funny)

        by null etc. ( 524767 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:08PM (#11701222)
        Well, first off, let me state that your argument was very impassioned.

        Let me also state that I have no idea what you just said.

      • Re:Question (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 )
        AFAICT the promotion of these games is aimed at older teens, who should really have a pretty good sense of right and wrong (as defined by their parents and their culture anyway) at that age. It is also aimed at adults, who are responsible for their own actions.

        A video game is not an example. It is a diversion. Daddy coming home and saying "I got stuck behind a bunch of ragheads in traffic today" is. I'm from Santa Cruz and am now in Marysville (both in California, USA) and the difference in attitudes towa

      • Re:Question (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        What gets me is violent video games, violent TV shows, violent movies, hate-mongering music, etc., has completely permeated American society and is condoned, demonstrably. But show a booby on TV -- then you'll see concerned parents throw a fit about protecting our children! WTF is wrong with people?
    • Remember the good ol days before grand theft auto. No body ever killed anyone and people certainly never would have stolen from someone else. Horrible game companies.. Oh yea and how did this kid get a gun? Interesting.
    • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by flithm ( 756019 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:30PM (#11700586) Homepage
      People are so quick to blame the parents, and in most cases I think that this is true, we need to place blame on parents... especially for smaller things.

      But in cases where such an extreme act has occurred I don't think that parental upbringing is the totality of what's going on. Sometimes parents do everything right and still end up with a serial killer.

      There's a thing called free will, plus the randomness of genetics. You can't always blame the parents. Just wait till your kid shoots someone and see how you feel about being put on trial for the murder even though you had nothing to do with it and you were a model parent.

      And just so you know, if you ever spend any time in a mental institute for children you'll know what I mean. This happens a lot, sometimes it's the parents fault, sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's them having been born into a society that just doesn't support them, and other times it's just a crossed wire in their brain... maybe one that didn't short circuit in day 43 of year 15. Who knows, but the point is -- you shouldn't be so quick to judge!

      • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JerkBoB ( 7130 )
        But in cases where such an extreme act has occurred I don't think that parental upbringing is the totality of what's going on. Sometimes parents do everything right and still end up with a serial killer.

        Look, until the kid is $LEGALLY_ADULT_AGE, they are their parents' responsibility. That's just how it works, and that is how it should work. During the day, the parents are responsible for getting Junior to the lockup (school), where the school takes responsibility for babysitting. Outside of lockup, th
  • Yeah, right (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:50AM (#11699829)
    And Super Mario Bros. made me eat magic mushrooms.

    Oh, wait...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:50AM (#11699833)

    I don't get America.. "Violent video games cause kids to commit crimes, we should ban them." Yet every motherfucking person in the Bible belt owns at least one Gun. Perhaps the kid wouldn't have shot the cops if he couldn't have got access to a Gun.

    Before you moderate me flamebait.. please bear in mind that around fifty eight thousand [] Americans are killed by guns every year. Yes, that's around eleven times as man as in 9/11 and that is EVERY year. Bush would do a better job of protecting americans by removing firearms than countering terroism. You're more likely to be killed by a pig than a terrorist - and your around a million times more likely to be killed by a gun than by Osma.

    America needs to stop living in fear and start addressing the real threats to society - one of them being the gun culture.

    Yours Sincerely,


    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:52AM (#11699865)
      The people that want to ban violent video games aren't necessarily the ones that want to keep guns legal. Most of the people that support gun ownership probably also support personal responsibility.
    • by DeathFlame ( 839265 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:00PM (#11700020)
      I live in Canada. We have lots of guns here too. We don't shoot other people.

      It's not the guns that's the problem. The people that want guns to use them, will get guns.
    • Here's the thing you need to know about America... its HUGE. For every thriving metropolis full of modern thought and technology there are ten backwater communities the size of small countries, who live and interact only with themselves and their small ideas, and yet still somehow get out to vote.

      Heres the next thing you need to know, Americans are grown up taught that they're *special*. They deserve to be rich and famous. And when that doesnt happen they are disappointed. Lawsuits like these *are* bullshit, but they're a way to be important (and maybe rich). Combine that with a completly broken legal system (where you can get more time for copying a DVD than murder, or you can get millions for cancer caused by smoking even though you knew it was bad for you), throw in our completely unscrupulous lawyers and corporations who have used lawsuits as weapons against the people for years, and people think its ok to sue for things like this.

      Just about *EVERYTHING* here in the US needs an overhaul... and nothings getting it

    • by neoThoth ( 125081 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:08PM (#11700189) Homepage
      RTFA! The kid took the gun from the police officer. Unless you're trying to argue that the police shouldn't have guns your post and all the ones under it should be modded way the hell off topic.
    • "Perhaps the kid wouldn't have shot the cops if he couldn't have got access to a Gun."

      No, he'd run over them instead.

      Solve the problem, not the symptom.
  • by 00squirrel ( 772984 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:52AM (#11699852)
    ...the exact date personal responsibility died?
  • Training (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teiresias ( 101481 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:53AM (#11699880)
    And I'm holding the companies responible for training me to eat yellow orbs, stack falling bricks, and jump on King Kupa's head. Those bastards have wrecked my morals.

    I'm sure the parents did plenty of training too.

    There's gotta be some emoticon for rolling your eyes.
  • by Nijika ( 525558 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:54AM (#11699899) Homepage Journal
    Finally, we can lay off the easy access to guns, apathetic education, parental neglect / abuse, drugs, low self-esteem, and a rampant culture of violence and consumerism... The real culprit here was a video game.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:54AM (#11699904)
    "There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do something we'd all love one another." --Frank Zappa
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:56AM (#11699931)
    Faux news reports on thousands of Iraqi families bringing lawsuits against the US government for sponsoring and developing PS2 war games and using these games to induce young US recruits for a glamarous battle in Iraq and soon to be Iran (TV schedules are already penned for an october suprise!!).

  • by Jakhel ( 808204 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:56AM (#11699935)
    If you think it's bad now, wait until 2007 when this [] comes out.

    Inevitably, parents will buy this for their children, then complain about gaming companies when they notice little 10 year old jimmy is beating up hookers, forming gangs with other 10 year olds, and killing cops online.

  • by stinerman ( 812158 ) <nathan.stine@gmail.cTEAom minus caffeine> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:56AM (#11699936) Homepage
    Alcohol-related accidents kill people every day. I don't see anyone trying to put Budweiser or Anheuser-Busch out of business.

    It seems rather odd that if video games influence poor decisions, it is the fault of the game manufacturer and/or distributor, but when people make bad decisions and drive when drunk, its just the fault of the person.

    I love double standards.
    • by saddino ( 183491 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:23PM (#11700471)
      Just to expand on your point: a number of violent crimes (assault, battery) are committed by drunk people, especially domestic crimes (spousal and child abuse).

      "Alcohol is associated with a substantial proportion of human violence, and perpetrators are often under the influence of alcohol." -- Eighth Special Report to the U.S. Congress on Alcohol and Health

      So, it's no secret that alcohol can be abused to the detriment of society. But, the counterargument is this: most people who consume alcohol commit no crimes at all. Thus, alcohol does not cause violence, it simply makes violent people more violent.

      This applies equally to movies, video games, rock/rap music and other targets of these self-proclaimed "moralists."

      This kid was already violent. And mort importantly: one out of millions does not prove causation between GTA and violence.
  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `reggoh.gip'> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:56AM (#11699940) Journal
    ... " The devil made me do it " ????
  • by sbrown123 ( 229895 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:56AM (#11699946) Homepage
    I think that Jack Thompson does this for his own personal fame rather than for the best interests of his client. If I were that teen, I would dump Jack Thompson NOW.
  • by stinky wizzleteats ( 552063 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:57AM (#11699965) Homepage Journal
    GTA taught me that shooting cops pretty much always results in a quick and violent death. He must have better cheat codes than I do.
  • Frivilous Lawsuits (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phidipides ( 59938 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:00PM (#11700014) Homepage
    Do other countries have frivilous lawsuits of this sort, or is it primarily a US-only thing? The idea that you can get rich by suing someone, or that misfortune entitles you to not just fair compensation but riches, is one that I wish could be changed. As an example of how these suits affect me personally, I hate that my health insurance costs are so high; perhaps the costs aren't all due to malpractice suits, but they definitely make up a significant part of it.

    One thought I've had as to how these suits could be curbed is to allow judges in civil cases to set a bond, similar to what is done in criminal cases. Since lawyers currently take any case based on the fact that they get a (large) percentage of the settlement, there is no cost to sue, and a huge cost to defend. The person bringing the suit would have to put up the bond, and they would get it back when the case was settled or went to jury. If the case was later thrown out by the judge then the bond would not be returned, and might even go to the defendent to help with legal costs. In cases where obvious harm was done the judge could set the bond very low, but for trivial suits this could become a disincentive for bringing the suit in the first case.

    Does any other country do this? How do other countries prevent frivilous lawsuits?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The difference between the US legal system, and those in other western nations, is the difference in size of awards.

      I have a cousin who does health law in Canada, and the awards granted in malpractice cases is MUCH lower than in the US. Personal injury awards are much lower as well. The result is that there is just not as much incentive to "roll the dice", because even if you win, you are unlikely to receive a multi million dollar settlement. As mentioned before, loser pays court costs helps to keep these
      • by Scarblac ( 122480 )

        Exactly. I live in the Netherlands, and have been pretty close to a case where cleaners threw a sofa to the ground from a balcony, 8 stories up. There was an area they had put warnings signs around, put it was a pretty light sofa, the wind caught it, and it hit somebody who was taken to hospital. The victim was very lucky, his back and shoulder were hit but it could have been much worse. His back healed, but he has limited use of his shoulder (keeps pain, movement somewhat limited), and this will not heal.

    • by bernz ( 181095 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:58PM (#11701068) Homepage
      The reason why this is, or so I'm told by the tons of lawyers I work with/for, is that this allows the "little man" to sue the "big man". Yes, it seems dumb that anyone can attempt to sue anyone else for any reason, but how else can a "nobody" just issue suit against a "somebody". In Britain, the loser has to pay the costs of the winner. If the winner has a team from GibsonDunn or BlankRome or some other huge firm, this can be Millions of dollars. The little man can never attempt to sue if that is what's at stake.

      Most lawyers do not work on contingency. most lawyers are paid per 10 minute or 15 minute interval of work. Personal injury attorneys are paid in contingency, but not in most other law.

      If a suit is trivial, it is thrown out of court. It is only heard by the court if it is NOT trivial. A judge wouldn't hear a case like this unless he deemed it a worthy thing to hear. SO perhaps the judge is wrong, but that's another issue entirely. It's not the fault of the system at that point, but the fault of the lame-o judge.

  • by defile ( 1059 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:01PM (#11700035) Homepage Journal

    ..then so is suing priests, politicians, and Dr. Phil.

    If I said the President of the United States taught me that solving problems with violence was appropriate, which is why I shot my next door neighbor, I'd be called a lunatic. But if I say video games made me do it, I'm just a victim?

    • Or Marylin Manson (Score:3, Insightful)

      by philbert26 ( 705644 )
      If I said the President of the United States taught me that solving problems with violence was appropriate, which is why I shot my next door neighbor, I'd be called a lunatic.

      In Bowling for Columbine, Manson made exactly this point: the government tells people to be violent, by for example bombing Iraq or Serbia. "And who's a bigger influence: The president? Or Marilyn Manson?"

    • Well, don't forget, the President of the United States also taught us that diplomacy "takes too long" and we should resort to violence to remove that Saddam Hussein guy.

      It's like he was just the Boss on the first level - Who's on Level 2, Kim Il-Jung?

      GTA (etc) have sold MILLIONS of copies. How many kids have gone out and blown people away? And please don't (not you specifically, people in general) even bring up friggin Columbine. They tried that lame excuse there and blamed Doom for causing those two to c
  • by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:04PM (#11700109) Journal
    Pong - Led me to a life as a professional tennis player

    Pac Man - Responsible for my obesity

    Paperboy - Caused me to lose my delivery job as a kid

    Spy Hunter - Responsible for my reckless speeding

    Monopoly - Caused me to found Microsoft

    Leisure Suit Larry - Responsible for my herpes
  • by Joe the Lesser ( 533425 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:04PM (#11700114) Homepage Journal
    Robot Devil: Mwhahaha! 1/4 of my ridiculously circuitous plan is complete!

    People are responsible for their own actions. You can't set a precedent stating that violence can't be shown in any form to the American public because it's unconstitional, fascist, and ridiculous considering how many millions have watched grand theft auto and not replicated it.
  • What a scumbag (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:05PM (#11700127)
    'What has happened in Alabama is that four companies participated in the training of Devin... to kill three men,'

    I can't believe he can seriously make this argument. I've played the same game and seen the same things in that game as this kid did. I have no desire to commit violent acts because of that.

    What happened here is that an individual who was predisposed to violent behavior saw some other violent behavior and (perhaps) modeled it.

    According to this guy's sick logic, we should not report crimes in the newspapers or on television because the details of those crimes will motivate other people to commit them. While it is true that people do copycat crimes, they do them because they are criminals, not because of what they saw.

  • by rlp ( 11898 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:08PM (#11700179)
    In most other countries, the loser of a law suit pays their own legal expenses AND the legal expenses of the winner. That's not the case in the US, where trial lawyers can play law suit lotto. You lose, doesn't cost anything to play again.
  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:11PM (#11700231) Journal
    I'm Christian, and I am a hardcore gamer. I enjoyed GTA1,2,3d and Vice City. But when I stopped to ponder the goal of the game, its to role-play someone evil. Now I know I'm not out actually killing people and doing harm, but in my heart I'm trying to win the game. But when you asssociate with the character thinking he's right, which you always want to do with a hero character in a movie(same holds true for watching horror movies with a main character that kills everyone) or book.

    As much as I want to, I didn't play GTA:San Andreas. I simply think its something I don't want to do. Its like rap too, with negative stereotypes toward blacks(demeaning towards women,praise about guns, drugs, excessive use of curse words). I was into rap for a while, thinking its a good way to bring people together... But they people they're brining together...

    I'm not suprised at a GTA player killing people. Or a quake person going on columbine. Or a columbine obsessed person killing people at a mall. Nor am I suprised at someone who obsesses over Friday the thirteeth to go out on a rampage either. Some people make horrific icons their heros. Then they want to be like them. So they'll try and come off all dark and evil. But if people just make fun of them, they'll take it one step further and take out the act to show they're really like their hero.

    Its all in whats in your heart. People's desires and values are what make us human.
  • by DesScorp ( 410532 ) <> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:12PM (#11700250) Homepage Journal
    While this story seems to suprise you guys, it doesn't surprise me in the least, because I live in Alabama, and trial lawyers are incredibly powerful here. It's no mistake that Alabama has been called "Tort Hell". It's very easy to sue here. What's worse, it's very easy to cherry pick the venue that you think will likely get you a victory in court here. And we've had some whoppers here. The University of Alabama in particular seems to just turn out ambulance chasers like there's no tomorrow. And these guys have tremendous pull in the state legistlature, where an overwhelming number of officials have law degrees. This state has always had the reputation of one where all the money is made behind closed doors, usually with lots of lawyers present. We're trying to change that with tort reform, but it's hard when they're so entrenched here.

    Not to defend the GTA games, because they ARE disgusting. Let's face it...the gameplay rewards sadistic behavior. The more cops you run over, the more points you get. The game may have given this guy ideas, but realistically, he was probably open to criminal behavior anyway. If he's an adult, it's his responsibility.
  • by syntap ( 242090 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:17PM (#11700362)
    And where in GTA can I kill a dispatcher? I don't remember that one.
  • by canfirman ( 697952 ) <pdavi25@yaho o . ca> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:24PM (#11700480)
    I read the comments about personal responsibility of parents watching what their kids do, and I say, "Hear! Hear!" It drives me nuts when people think that items like the V-CHIP, "parential blocking" features on TV and the Web, ratings on music/video games, or "family friendly" proxies by ISP's will be enough to "protect our children from the bad stuff". I've always felt that, as a parent, you need to be interactive with your children and understand what they're doing - now more than ever! I even know of a buddy of mine who played GTA3 with his 3 year old son watching (giving the other controller to his son so he coud "run the people over"). The son was later found beating the snot out of his teddy bear with a hockey stick because "he saw it on TV" (i.e. the game - or was that NHL 2004?). Parents NEED to watch what their kids are doing.

    Having said that, I wonder where games like the GTA series have in our society? I am honestly asking: what is the appeal of these games? We've had games before were you're the hero defeating "the enemy" (whether it's in Wolfenstein, Doom, etc.), and I don't have a problem with that. My question revolves around games where the object is to steal/kill innocent people. You have to admit that something like that could influence someone's behaviour.

    I bring this up becuase, back in university, I did research on how porn videos affect male sexual response, and there were some men who wanted to "do it like that bitch in" whatever movie, and their sexual response was based on what they saw in the videos (the feeling that this was "normal" behaviour). This was documented research by a scientific study. So, it cannot be denied that whatever a person interacts themselves with can have an effect on their behaviour.

    So, I am asking what is the appeal of these games?

    Oh, and before anybody asks: yes, I've tried playing GTA, but couldn't get into it.

    • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:57PM (#11701053)
      Do you really have to ask? It's all the things we are not allowed to do. It's an action movie, it's every car chase, it's every gun fight and every mob war you've ever seen on television or in the movies.

      GTA is a role playing game, but instead of traditional iconography you freely roam mythical American landscapes and slay the dragons of every Cop show or mob movie. So if you really want to know from whence GTA gains it popularity figure out why car chases, gun fights and excessive violence is an inseperable part of worldwide pop-culture.

      It should always be stated when referring to GTA that it is also a game of free will, you can kill someone with a baseball bat if you want to, there are no real rammifications to this action other than getting "arrested" losing your money and getting your weapons taken away. So far as I have seen, the only time when it is necesarry to kill another in-game character is when the plot has morally justified their extermination to the gamer, you are not obligated nor rewarded for killing "non-guilty" NPCs.
  • by falcon5768 ( 629591 ) <> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:27PM (#11700541) Journal
    I mean this is the guy who said Janet Reno was on medication and under control by the mafia, filed the report that got Stern fined, led the crusade against 2Live Crew, and was order to undergo a exam to prove he was sane.

    The guy is obviously a right wing hatchetman, the left have them, and this is the rights. Its shown time and again he has no problem smashing freedom of expression if it involves a curse word.

    So why again are we giving him a speakerbox here?

  • Simple Test (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sigh Phi ( 324315 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:44PM (#11701792)
    Take sample of population of GTA players. Take sample of U.S. population as whole. Take sample of Ala. population. What is the murder rate in each population?

    I remember reading an introduction to statistics many years ago that used D&D and suicide hysteria as an example. To wit: RPG players had a lower rate of suicide than the teenage population as a whole. D&D lowers the suicide rate, by that metric.

    Any guesses as to what GTA is accomplishing for the people of Alabama, the state with the sixth highest murder rate in the United States (and well above the national average: 7.4 vs 5.5 per 100,000)?
  • by i41Overlord ( 829913 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @02:02PM (#11702079)
    Everyone wants to blame someone else. They want to blame the media, blame their video games, blame their friends, etc. But none of these influences is very strong. You should be able to easily override them.

    There is one influence, however, that is too strong to resist- God.

    The church tells me that God controls everything. When something good happens, it's because of God. When something bad happens, it's because of God also, and he had a good reason for it. Nobody affiliated with the church has ever told me that something is out of God's control. They say he's always in control- he controls all there is.

    Therefore I think it's sensible to blame God. God made him do it. God could have overridden this kid's thoughts but he didn't. God allowed it to happen.

    So I think instead of blaming the media, the gun makers, the video game makers, or the parents, we should blame Jesus instead. Sue the church. Because as any good Christian will tell you, God is always in control of things and therefore is liable for everything that happens.

    (Hey, if you're going to claim that you're in control of everything that happens, be prepared to accept responsibility for everything that happens)
  • by Absolut187 ( 816431 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @04:08PM (#11703757) Homepage
    'What has happened in Alabama is that four companies participated in the training of Devin... to kill three men,'

    Wow, why did Sony entertainment want those 3 men dead?

    Were they trading mp3s?

Neutrinos have bad breadth.