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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:54AM (#11699900)
    Yeah, this happened in my town...really unfortunate event. He killed two police officers and a dispatcher after finding a way to get the gun from the policemen's holster. Personally I don't think it was the videogames as much as he was probably strung out on some opiate at the time. Plus, most of the school teachers would atest that the kid had a mean streak.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:58AM (#11699984)
    RTFA The kid took the gun from the police, gun control would have no effect on this.
  • by nasdev ( 836518 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:00PM (#11700029)
    While i agree with you on American weapon legislation, this case has nothing to do with it. According to the Register anyway, the kid grabbed one of the cops' guns.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:2, Informative)

    by stinerman ( 812158 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {enits.nahtan}> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:04PM (#11700105) Homepage
    He's just doing his job

    True. But sometimes just doing your job is still unethical.
  • 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.
  • by Svet-Am ( 413146 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:14PM (#11700293) Homepage
    my fiancee's family lives in Tuscaloosa. Anyone who has ever been there will realize that Tuscaloosa and the remainder of Alabama (with the notable exception of Mobile) is the armpit of the south.

    No wonder he driven to kill -- he lives in Alabama.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:4, Informative)

    by lukewarmfusion ( 726141 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:16PM (#11700327) Homepage Journal
    Well, if you were the judge and it was a jury case (which it certainly will be) then you wouldn't have so much power over it. As a judge, your job is (as my understanding goes, not being a lawyer or anything) is to uphold the law. So if the case is being made properly, it's up to the jurors to make that decision. As a judge, you'd simply be overseeing things.

    Judges are supposed to be impartial and fair, but juries are easily swayed by a convincing lawyer. That's why people use character, sympathy, the press, etc. to make their cases.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Informative)

    by daVinci1980 ( 73174 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:17PM (#11700364) Homepage
    He's just doing his job, which is getting his client off the hook.

    No he isn't. He isn't a lawyer for the kid, or the kid's family. He's a lawyer for the victims' families, and this is a civil suit.

    I suspect what's really going on here is that a lawyer with an agenda [] has convinced grieving families of victims that big media is to blame for their loss. He's trying to shutdown violent video games, like he tried to shutdown gangster rap before that and Madonna before even that.

    However, Jack Thompson has tried this before. He's failed every time. I'm confident that he will fail again this time.
  • by Stealth Potato ( 619366 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:20PM (#11700400)
    That's a common misconception; the prefatory clause "A well regulated militia..." does not alter the fact that "the right of the people" refers to a right of the people in general. The second amendment does not require that persons be a member of the militia in order to bear arms. Also, do not confuse the "Militia" with the United States Military, or the National Guard. Very different things. :-)

    I would recommend reading this. []

    It's a moot point anyway. If you're a male United States citizen between the ages of 17 and 45, you are a member of the United States militia. I refer you to USC Title 10, Chapter 13, Section 311.

  • RTFA (Score:2, Informative)

    by Radres ( 776901 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:23PM (#11700461)
    The kid stole the cop's gun to shoot the 3 cops.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- ( 624050 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:27PM (#11700535) Journal
    A judge can very easily sway a jury, with special instructions. Also, a judge can entertain motions for directed judgement and motions on the eligibility of evidence. A judge can make or break a case, even when it is a jury trial.
  • 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?

  • Re:Feb 1992 (Score:3, Informative)

    by samdu ( 114873 ) <> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:18PM (#11701385) Homepage
    She ended up getting less than $10,000 (far less, iirc) after appeals. Shouldn't have gotten anything, but the 2.9 mil didn't stand, at least.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:59PM (#11702046)
    In every single case I've read about serial killers, their motives could be traced back to child abuse, traumatic experiences, etc. And all of those within the family environment. So please, I'd like to see proof of this.

    Actually, if your kid is a sociopath, then there's a good chance it's caused by brain damage. That might have happened because you beat the crap out of him, or it might be because he was in a car accident or fell off the bars on the jungle him. However, once someone loses their ability to feel sympathy/empathy for anyone else, it may be only a matter of time before they start harming others for their own pleasure.

    Here's a link for sociopath [], also known as anti-social personality disorder. Note that only people older than 15 or so can be diagnosed with that, and before that it's called conduct disorder. Also note that 90% of serial killers are "psychopaths", meaning about the same thing.

    The fact that there is no real treatment for someone with ASPD points us in the direction of nature rather than nurture.

    Not to say that any kid should be playing this game, or that it didn't give him ideas. The parents in this particular case were doing something wrong. However, you CAN be a perfect parent and still end up with a devil if they're wired wrong. When you ask a sociopath about their behaviors, they might try to make excuses like saying they were abused as kids even when they weren't. It goes along with the whole repressed memory charade.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Quintin Stone ( 87952 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @04:58PM (#11704404) Homepage
    Complete and utter bullshit. Jack Thompson is an unethical ambulance chaser who has it in for the game industry. This is the lawyer, you might remember, who repeatedly called the DC police, insisting that the DC sniper was obviously a videogame player. Then he went on news programs, repeating these claims. (Strange, I never heard his retraction when it turned out the guy was just an ex-military kook.) Thompson has repeatedly lied about the contents of videogames and their relationship to marksmanship. He's a hack, a fraud, and I have to wonder how he stays in business considering he's never won one of these high-profile videogame lawsuits.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:2, Informative)

    by (l.windthorst) ( 653814 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @07:27PM (#11706106)
    Apparently you know very little about Japan. When you wrote that they "never" kill each other I know that you meant "almost never" (I too, when arguing a point, often make these simple and obvious exagerrations), but you might be very surprised at what's going on in that country. For example, just google []/google-news [] "japanese high school knife murder" to see what the big social issue for young Japanese are today. In fact, just last year a middle school girl cut another's throat after the victim had bad-mouthed her fashion-sense on her blog. I don't disagree strongly with your argument, though. I think that the case of Japan in ways bolsters what you have to say: the "questionable parenting" and "culture of violence" have led to children in that country using the weapons at their disposal to murder. The way children (in general) are raised in Japan makes American parents look like the most capable and loving group of people in the free world. In fact, I wouldn't argue with that sentiment -- the parenting in third-world countries (to which I have also visited) outshines all of us.
  • Re:How'd he do it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by nalav ( 819390 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @07:35PM (#11706174)
    When I was arrested, they did keep me cuffed. They checked their guns when they got me inside. There was no special locked in area though to unload me from the car in. I'm sure this varies from state to state though. However, there was no way in hell I could have gotten away, stole a gun, shot some cops, and stole the car. Or even got away. Whoever brought the kid in was obviously sleeping for that to happen.

I've got a bad feeling about this.