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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?
  • 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,


  • Wow! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:52AM (#11699849)
    Good thing the kid's parents had no part in this! Afterall, it's only their job to supervise their children, teach them right from wrong, and in general make them everything they are.

  • by 00squirrel ( 772984 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:52AM (#11699852)
    ...the exact date personal responsibility died?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Who cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sdMMk ( 857216 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:54AM (#11699890)
    Silly lawsuits like this happen all the time - anyone has the right to file them (like fat people suing McD's) - post the story when the lawyers win, and then I'll start protesting/rioting.

    We keep seeing a repeat of the same thread every 6 months, with nothing new to add. Whenever an interesting thread does come along, it's usually dominated by .

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

    by micromoog ( 206608 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:55AM (#11699921)
    Unless you lock your kid in the basement, he's going to be raised, whether you like it or not, by plenty of other people.

    But mainly you. You have to teach him to handle other influences appropriately; that's in fact your main job once the pooping/feeding part is self-sustaining. YOU have to equip him with the tools to differentiate right from wrong, reality from fantasy, exciting electronic offers from spam, etc.

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

    by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `etartsnefd'> 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'
  • 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 DOT stine AT gmail DOT com> 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.
  • Scapegoat (Score:1, Insightful)

    by RU_Areo ( 804621 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:56AM (#11699939)
    Games have nothing to do with anything. It takes a certian mentality in order to kill and games just don't have the influence to alter someone's mentality. What ever happened to responsibility for your actions. Instead of banning violent games they should ban people from making dumbass excuses for the things that they do.
  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) < minus cat> 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:58AM (#11699973)
    Do the demographics. You'll find that the vast majority of those deaths are NOT in the "Bible Belt where every motherfucker owns at least one gun".

    Maybe if we removed the criminals that are using the firearms we'd have a better result.

    A shitload of people die from car wrecks too, should we ban those?
  • 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:2, Insightful)

    by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) < minus cat> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @11:58AM (#11699988) Journal
    We know what's wrong with the lawyer. He has no ethics and thinks there's money to be made.
    There is nothing wrong with the lawyer. He's just doing his job, which is getting his client off the hook. Just as well as the prosecutor is doing his job, which is nailing the perp.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by fizban ( 58094 ) <> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:00PM (#11700011) Homepage
    The real question is:

    What's wrong with people that they think a game that allows you to beat up women, shoot cops and steal cars is fun?
  • 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.
  • by Jane_the_Great ( 778338 ) * on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:00PM (#11700021)
    No, theoretically he is not correct. People have a right to defend themselves with weapons. Why should the government be the only entity in this theoretical world who is allowed to own a gun?

    Communism doesn't theoretically work either. I can see you making the argument to say that theoretically works as well. It doesn't. People are not equal.

  • 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?

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

    by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:01PM (#11700051)
    Parents should be the strongest influence on letting their kids know what is right and wrong. I watched war movies all the time when I was a kid. I played cowboys and indians all the time. I've never gone to a reservation and shot some innocent native American.

    The parents either did a crappy job raising him, or he was born with or developed a severe chemical imabalance, or he's just a bad guy. Either way, it's not the gaming companies fault. It's the kids and possibly his parents.

  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AviLazar ( 741826 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:02PM (#11700063) Journal
    Don't lawyers have to follow some ethical code that they pledge to uphold after taking the Bar? Doesn't this code basically state that you should do everything possible to win for your client except do something unethical (like lying). Otherwise, a lawyer should just fabricate evidence for each of their clients.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moby Cock ( 771358 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:03PM (#11700081) Homepage
    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.

    In this case, a stupid jackass kid killed three police officers and that is horrible and he should be punished but the notion of complicity for a video game company is preposterous. There is violent material readily available for all sorts of people, the GTA series is taking the brunt of it. (Although I suspect they make a shit load of cash out of it too, like Marilyn Manson did after Columbine). The GTA games do not deserve this. The violence that is so pervasive in entertainment can not be overlooked and singling out a specifuc source is just dumb. If he dropped and anvil on their head would Warner Bother's be sued? I think not. Video game player are not confused about the lines of reality and fantasy. This kid was confused and that should have been spotted and he should never have had access to the game. The culpability lies with the merderous son of a bitch and his parent or guardians for farsaking his sorry ass. Not Sony or Rockstar.

  • by Erik_Kahl ( 260470 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:03PM (#11700093)

    Video games don't make people kill. People kill becuase they don't know right from wrong or because they cannot exercise self control. Think about that...they're broken people. They're sick.

    A normal and healthy person will not be swayed by a game, tv show, book or movie to kill. One who has had traumatic experiences or who has delusions might be inspired to kill by a game. But, whats really at fault, the game or the disease?
  • by Pinkoir ( 666130 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:04PM (#11700107)
    Good idea...I think they tried the same thing with booze a while back.

    And we all know how well this policy is working with illegal drugs.

    Making stuff illegal is not the solution. The solution is figuring out how to make people less dumb-assed and more humane. I personally believe this starts with better education in the humanities but YMMV.

  • 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.

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

    by Decessus ( 835669 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:06PM (#11700147)
    The problem with this response is it doesn't really address the issue. "There is only so much a parent can do". Sure there, but can you honestly say that parents are doing enough? The problems that are occuring today have to do with the kind of society America has become. The employment of both parents is increasing more and more. This means that less and less time is spent with the kids instilling proper values. Instead, things like video games and television are used to raise kids. People today are more concerned with material things than they are with anything else. They want that big screen TV, or that brand new car. It just seems that all our priorities are way out of whack. This is a bit rushed because I'm in a hurry, but I hope it's clear enough what I'm trying to say.
  • 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

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

    by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:08PM (#11700168) Journal
    What's wrong with people that they think a game that allows you to beat up women, shoot cops and steal cars is fun?
    It's fun because it's challenging. It's also fun because you can do things in the game that you're not able or allowed to do in real life. It's called 'escapism'. And it does not mean that the players condone any such actions in real life, just like many people who disapprove of racism will still laugh at jokes that make fun of ethnic groups.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by __aamcgs2220 ( 792986 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:10PM (#11700219)
    OK, granted, it takes a village, but a good parent might notice that their child is spending an inordinate amount of time at one particular place. What's that, how should they know? By being good parents and finding out where their child is. Huh? How are they supposed to know what their child is doing at various other places? By being good parents and finding out what they're doing there. How are they supposed to keep up with their children when they have to work so much to pay the bills? Sell the Audi and the Volvo and buy something cheap and reliable so they don't have to work 60 hours a week, thereby allowing them to do what's more important in their lives, which is raising their children. At least where I live, parents seem to treat their kids like Paris Hilton treats her dog: like accessories. I have little sympathy unless there are some extenuating circumstances that makes it impossible to keep up with the kids. Poverty comes to mind, but this kid wasn't living in squalor. From TFA: "...Devin Thompson, when he was apprehended, told officers, 'Life is a video game. You've got to die sometime.'" If your kid has an attitude like that, you should know about it, otherwise you're a shitty parent. Up the chimney with that excuse!
  • 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 ) < minus math_god> 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.
  • 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:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crashfrog ( 126007 ) <[crashfrog] [at] []> 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:13PM (#11700290)
    I have never fired a gun at another person and I sure as hell hope I never will. I keep my guns - all 17 of them, btw - unloaded and locked in a combination safe. But the governemnt has NO goddamn business imposing any restrictions on my rights, especially based on what I might do. In terms of personal liberties and restricted government, I am very much a libertarian.

    I believe in equity between all people, regardless of race, creed, religion, sexuality, or gender. I protest against social injustice and volunteer my time and professional services (IAAL) for those in need. I am a very reasonable, forward-thinking, and fairly intelligent individual. However, when people start clamoring for the government of the United States to start behaving like Hitler's Gestapo, then I take offence. While it's cliched to say so, the government will take my guns out of my cold dead hands.

    Since 9/11 enough of our rights have been curtailed. Without the second ammendment, the constitution is just another piece of paper. The second is the only guarantee we have for the all of the other ammendments. Without it, none of the others are worth squat.

    YOURS sincerely right back,
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lucabrasi999 ( 585141 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:15PM (#11700306) Journal
    What's wrong with people that they think a game that allows you to beat up women, shoot cops and steal cars is fun?

    I play a video game called Rome: Total War [] . In that game, I control armies with hundreds (sometimes thousands) of men. Those men march across open fields armed with swords, spears, bows/arrows, etc. Then, they kill each other in massive violent battles. I can actually see hundreds of dead bodies on the field when I am finished with a battle. When I capture an enemy city, I am given the option of Enslaving Half of that cities populace, or killing 90% of the populace in an effort to maintain control.

    My game, which I love, is rated T (for Teen). Nobobody complains about the violence in my game. Why are you complaining about the violence in GTA?

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

    by miu ( 626917 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:16PM (#11700339) Homepage Journal
    "Win at all cost" is not doing your job. Jobs with power (lawyer, doctor, banker, stockbroker, journalist, teacher) have professional organizations and ethical requirements to ensure that that power is controlled by a notion of responsibility for its use.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:19PM (#11700380) Homepage
    There are nations where 2 parent working families are pretty mundane and have been so for generations. This is still no excuse and parents from such nations would never dream of making such excuses.

    The real problem is that we've become a nation of buck-passers.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:19PM (#11700387)
    Read about the D.C. sniper case and get back to me. That kid had no wish to kill even though he was a good shot at the range. Only after playing a video game at the insistence of the older guy, did he gain the wish to kill.

    Uh, says who? The kid? The DEFENDANT?

    Yeah, let's go ahead and make public policy based on the statements of someone trying to stay out of JAIL.

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

    by hdparm ( 575302 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:19PM (#11700390) Homepage
    I am a parent (x 2), too and I call bullshit. Sure, there are influences coming from everywhere - school, neighborhood, good kids, bad kids, movies, politicians, games, Internet, TV, you name it. But if we (parents) fail to build trust and respect with our children to the point where children get 'raised' by any of the above, we have miserably failed and we are the ones to take full responsibility to whatever bad thing happens as a consequence.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Leroy_Brown242 ( 683141 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:19PM (#11700398) Homepage Journal
    If you are not the main influence and pillar for support and guidance in your childs life, you failed years before you realise there is something wrong.

    Good parenting doesn't start durring the trouble years, it starts day 0. Well, day -270 or so, but you get the point.)

    So, if you have raised a kid who can play a video game, and think it's okay to go do this, you've lost. Many, many years before, though.
  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:21PM (#11700416) Homepage Journal
    During WWI, the US military learned that it was hard to get the common man to kill another person, even with official sanction and encouragement. This caused the military to establish special training programs that allowed the brainwashing of the common person and reprogramming of the soldier to become a machine that will kill on demand. One practice, which I have seen on military produced videos, is to give the trainee ample opportunity to fire a gun without consequence to create a situation in which the soldier will instinctively fire without considering the result of the action.

    Some like to point out that video games give the player the same thrill. Firing a weapon and even 'killing' with no consequence. They marvel at how interesting it is that many kids have the same ability to fire several hundred rounds, without even thinking. This is what soldiers are trained to do, and the video games seem to give children that same ability.

    The problem with this is two fold. First, if a child knows how to fire a weapon, they likely did not learn it from a video game. Guns tend to be heavy and have a quite different feel from a joystick or even gun mockup. If a child can go into a school have the dexterity and stamina to fire off a few hundred rounds, and in the process take out a dozen or so people, it is likely because they have experience doing so with a real weapon, not a joystick. It really is the case that bowling will more likely develop the strength to fire a gun than a video game.

    Second, there were a fair number of soldier during WWI that were happy to kill the enemy at point blank range. There are a fair number of common of criminals on the street today that are willing to kill a person at point blank range for their tennis shoes. There are a fair number of people that will doom hundreds of families to starvation to satisfy a personal lust for stuff.

    Taken together this tells us that for many people regard for human life and suffering is non existent. These kids and adult are just looking for an excuse to kill and main and steal. Any excuse will do and trying to rid the world of excuses is not a useful endeavor. It is much more useful to identify these miscreants and enemies of civilization and attempt to put them to useful work, such as the CEO of a corporations, or isolate them.

  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrTester ( 860336 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:22PM (#11700443)
    For the love of god man. that attitude IS what wrong. "Oh poor me. I cant teach my kid to be good. thats the schools job. I cant teach my kid to read, thats the schoold job. I cant teach my kid right from wrong. theres too much evil on TV" If you, as a parent of a child under 6, have less influence than TV, your doing something very, very wrong. And if you feel that way after they are 6, its because you screwed up when they were young. dont blame it on the school. dont blame it on TV. dont blame it on games. suck it up and take responisibity. do you relly think that when you are standing at the pearly gates god is going to listen to "TV made parenting too hard to do it well"? Stop whining, go out there AND PARENT FOR FOR GODS SAKE.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eck011219 ( 851729 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:23PM (#11700463)
    And Simpson's Road Rage made me drive like a madman, saying things like "outta my way, you useless tool."

    No, wait, I was doing that for years before we got the Playstation.

    But I couldn't agree more. I've got to say, it seems like 75% of my daughter's phrasing choices and cultural interests come from what she's heard people other than us say. Grandparents, teachers and friends at pre-school, Arthur, all seem to have rubbed off on her (granted, she's only three, but the pattern is already VERY noticeable.) And taken at face value, that could make it seem like society is raising our kid. But the ability to determine right from wrong, use the appropriate references to infer the proper information from the world around her, and treat other people with kindness and compassion regardless of the cultural references she uses to do so are all up to my wife and I. As is the ability to stand up and take responsibility for his actions rather than listening to some lawyer who wants to make him a pawn in his little windmill-fighting crusade against game companies.

    This is not to say that I think this kid should be strung up by his thumbs for this - he's obviously ill and needs help. Let's assume for a minute that this dunderhead lawyer is right - the game did influence him. That indicates a very unhealthy and imprintable mind, not a game that needs to be removed from stores.

    While this is kind of an absurd correlation, think about what would happen if all movies were censored that contain objectionable behavior (Blockbuster tried that a few years ago, as I recall, and it was met with some glee and mostly outrage). Trying to strike any reference to the bad parts of society leads to ignorance, not security.
  • 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 canfirman ( 697952 ) <.ac.oohay. .ta. .52ivadp.> 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 Beyond_GoodandEvil ( 769135 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:26PM (#11700509) Homepage
    Rule number one: Guns don't kill people, people kill people. These "Guns" you rant about are merely tools, in the hands of a responsible law abiding person, there is little to worry about. Hell more people die on America's highways, should we also get over our car culture? Troll on you crazy diamond.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by soft_guy ( 534437 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:27PM (#11700530)
    You can do a bad job as a parent and pretty much cause a child to grow up with issues.

    However, doing a good job does not 100% assure that your kid will grow up to be a good person and not a murderer. Some people are who they are despite the best efforts of caring parents.

  • by the_brat_king ( 443955 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:29PM (#11700563)
    Too bad the companies don't have the balls to man up and file a suit against the parents claiming negligence and failure to provide support and discipline necessary to raise respectful, honest children.

    I wish someone with no sense of personal responsibility would shoot that fuckin' lawyer UT2000 Style "Headshot" then claim that the combination of ranting from the lawyer, and the videogame made his dog talk to God and tell him to do it!

    I'm sick of everyone fobbing the consequences of their actions off on some third party (The drunk driver in the recently announced 21M dollar victory against a beer vending company at a stadium: I didn't hurt that kid when I sideswiped their vehicle, it was the vendor's fault for allowing me to go to different vending stands and buy beer," the owners of Ford Explorer SUV's that flip over: "It's not my fault my family's dead, just because I bought a light-duty truck, overloaded it, didn't like the ride so decreased the air pressure to under the stated minimum -- nope, it's the tire company's fault, and Ford!".) It's time these whining pukes started sucking it up, and taking responsibility. To quote Jeff Foxworthy (will this rant, or quoting Jeff be what get's me modded into oblivion again?) "Just once, I'd like to hear someone go on Operah and tell the truth. Nope, My mom was great, my dad was great, I had a wonderful childhood -- I'm just a shithead."

    People need to either quit complaining about government intervention in every little facet of their lives, or start taking responsibility for every action. To do, or claim to want, anything less is pure and unadulterated hipocrysy. It's also showing the lack of personal responsibility that we've created in generations with the "Self esteem is the be-all end-all, no child must be told 'you are doing wrong' but must be told 'you are doing something unique and special.'" We are reaping what's been sown over the past 30 years of emotional based (verses facts based) living, child-rearing, discipline, and education

  • by Angron ( 127881 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:31PM (#11700605) Journal
    Personal responsibility could conceivably be extended to justify murder, with "well, he didn't have a gun and didn't defend himself when I shot him dead, so it's his fault he's dead".

    That's the most bizarre twisting of the phrase 'personal responsibility' I have ever heard. Bravo. Most sane people actually use it to mean standing behind your actions, not "you are responsible for everything that happens to you."

  • Or Marylin Manson (Score:3, Insightful)

    by philbert26 ( 705644 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:35PM (#11700678)
    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?"

  • by JavaLord ( 680960 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:36PM (#11700688) Journal
    Personal responsibility is a broken concept. It's also very primitive and obsolete; it's the perfect excuse for letting the rich blame the poor for their predicament. It's also a great tool to keep the State from meddling with the rich people's business.

    Personal responsibility could conceivably be extended to justify murder, with "well, he didn't have a gun and didn't defend himself when I shot him dead, so it's his fault he's dead".

    That is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard.
  • by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <`ten.pbp' `ta' `maps'> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:39PM (#11700739)
    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 carry out the crimes.
    If they really played Doom and were any good, their frag count would have been a hell of a lot higher than it was.

    Quit blaming video games. Video games didn't cause your kids to be violent. Judas Priest didn't cause your kids to shoot themselves. Elvis didn't cause your kids to be promiscuous.

    When the hell did people stop being responsible for their own actions?
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:43PM (#11700821) Homepage Journal
    "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 ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:47PM (#11700877)
    Personal responsibility is a broken concept. It's also very primitive and obsolete; it's the perfect excuse for letting the rich blame the poor for their predicament. It's also a great tool to keep the State from meddling with the rich people's business.

    Personal responsibility could conceivably be extended to justify murder, with "well, he didn't have a gun and didn't defend himself when I shot him dead, so it's his fault he's dead".

    This is what qualifies as +5 insightful? That's... breathtaking.

    Killing a defenseless person is that act which, in an atmosphere of personal accountibility, most directly and immediately demonstrates your willingness to give up your own rights. You take someone else's away, or attempt to do so, you lose yours. It's as simple as that. You are a trolling, flamebating ass, and you know it, even if the drive-by moderators think that this is some high qualtiy, if tangental, anti-libertarian bash worthy of modding up. Nonsense.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i41Overlord ( 829913 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:49PM (#11700918)
    Read about the D.C. sniper case and get back to me. That kid had no wish to kill even though he was a good shot at the range. Only after playing a video game at the insistence of the older guy, did he gain the wish to kill.

    That is an extremely weak argument. Hanging around a felon isn't a bad influence, but playing video games is. Ugh. What about the millions of other kids who play the same games, how come they don't all go berserk?
  • Similarly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:50PM (#11700923)
    What's wrong with people that they think a game that allows you to beat up women, shoot cops and steal cars is fun?

    People also think a game that allows
    - taking a rocket launcher and shooting someone in the face is 'fun'
    - taking a broadsword and hacking off an opponents arm is 'fun'.
    - driving at triple digits on public roads is 'fun'.
    - building a rollercoaster that is designed to crash is 'fun'.
    - having a giant ape throw boulders at you is 'fun'.

    Games are escapism. Deal with it.

  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @12:57PM (#11701044)
    I truly believe the dual-income phenomenon is mostly self-inflicted. There are poor people who really need both incomes to survive; this is true. But there are a LOT of people that could sell the new cars, move into a smaller house, and do just fine on one income. I do it in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. It's hard, but it's worth it.

    Until people begin to realize that it's OK not to have the highest standard of living you can possibly stretch yourself to afford, the problem won't get better.

  • 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 i41Overlord ( 829913 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:01PM (#11701122)
    Fighting is a human instinct. I know in today's politically correct world we'd like to believe that humans don't have these "icky" instincts and that we're above all that, but it's a part of us and you can't deny the truth.

    Humans, like most higher order animals have fighting in their blood. When we're little boys, we playfight. Puppies playfight. Kittens playfight. My ferret playfought. Nobody has to teach you to do that, we do it on their own. How many little boys do you know that never playfought?

    People love to fight. Even if we don't participate in it, most people like to watch it. How can you tell when there's a fight? Look for the crowd of people watching. They might say how horrible it is, but they can't stop watching, because deep down inside it's something that they want to see.

    Violence is a part of human nature, get used to it.
  • by chinard ( 555270 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:03PM (#11701147)
    "Computer games don't affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids,
    we'd all run around in a darkened room munching pills and listening to repetitive music..."
    --- Kristian Wilson, CEO, Nintendo Gaming Corporation, Inc, 1989
  • by Daniel Boisvert ( 143499 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:07PM (#11701209)
    You're joking. There are plenty of reasons to dislike any political party, but the ones postulated therein are largely hogwash.

    Really, criticizing the President for holding lots of T-Bills? It's practically the only investment he can hold which is completely free from any potential conflict of interest. Any domestic decision he makes can be seen as favouring some group, and holding stock makes it politically dangerous to make any decisions that may help a company whose stock he holds, regardless of merit. The left has been on Cheney's case for his connections to Halliburton with all kinds of righteous fury. Do you think it would be different if Bush was holding stock in American Airlines, Ford, or Microsoft?

    Hell, at least he's buying stock in our government. The contension that he's making a mess of the deficit (and he IS :) because he stands to personally profit from his T-Bills is ludicrous. Much of the rest of that page is about as well thought-through.

    Come on, people. There are good reasons for holding any number of various (and conflicting) political beliefs, but at least take the time to find them so you don't look like a moron in public.
  • 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:Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:12PM (#11701296) Homepage Journal
    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 toward foreign cultures is absolutely appalling. There's actually people younger than I am who won't go shop at the nearest gas station/food mart because it's owned by "ragheads". What the fuck year is this anyway? The point is that people's parents and peers teach them this shit, they don't learn it from a video game.

  • Lawyers and Ethics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SeanDuggan ( 732224 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:16PM (#11701344) Homepage Journal
    IANAL but I have played one on stage...

    A lawyer is ethically required to represent his client as best he can within the bounds of the law. He should never lie, but working within loopholes is perfectly fine. They do not swear to uphold any particular morality, though, so a suitably inclined lawyer should have no professional problem with getting a murderer, tax collecter, or copyright infringer off the hook if he can do so legally. So what happens if you really don't believe your client is right? Well, most ethical and moral lawyers would ask to be removed from the case, as they would not be able to properly defend the client. A lawyer lacking morals might defend the client regardless, seeing it as just business as usual. A lawyer who is moral but not ethical might stay on the case and ultimately sabotage it, although that's tricky business as if he's ever discovered to have under-represented his client, it can become a mistrial and he'd likely be disbarred.

    Of course, this also doesn't deal with that the average lawyer often has to overcome their moral objections because not every client will be innocent and the lawyer has to eat. *wry grin* Lawyers are like actors or athletes. The topmost ones rake in far too much money and most of them are just barely scarping by. Additionally, to get out of the lower ranks, you have to play the political game and if you're in a firm, refusing a case could easily rule out you going anywhere with your career.

  • Re:Question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:18PM (#11701390)
    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?
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:22PM (#11701453)
    Like shoot cops, run down pedestrians and rape women.

    Will someone fill me in... I've played GTA3, and there was no raping involved. You could beat a person to death, pick up a hooker, snipe cops from the roof of a building, but there was no raping.

    This is all leading towards a future with virtual reality (like a holodeck from ST), but we're not going to use it for the productive and tame uses that they used it for - we're going to use it to live out our fantasies, and some people fantasize about being into organized crime, being a hitman, etc. Why do you think people watch the sopranos? It's escapism. Being able to control the action yourself is the next logical step, and it's going to move towards a totally immersive simulation.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WaterBreath ( 812358 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:28PM (#11701545)
    Of course I completely agree with you. But there's a growing attitude in America that you shouldn't ever have to make sacrifices. Just a couple of weeks ago I heard a lady on NPR talking about how she felt it was completely unreasonable that a career might need to be sacrificed in order to properly raise a child. There was no perception that it takes more than monetary support and the occasional chauferring to raise a well-developed child. This is embodied by another quote I heard on NPR, from one of the hosts, defending the fact that his children were very well-raised. His defense: one cum laude graduate and two magna cum laude graduates. Sorry buddy, but academic achievement does not equate to balanced and well-developed individual.
  • 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:2, Insightful)

    by $mooth ( 855695 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:33PM (#11701634)
    That must be why Cigarette and Liquor companies are held respnsible for all of the deaths associated with their products, right? Oh wait...
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JavaLord ( 680960 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:34PM (#11701655) Journal
    . 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.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:40PM (#11701729) Homepage
    You forget that it isn't just the parents that shape the person. It doesn't matter how good your parents raise you as long as you're going through hell at school etc.

    When a kid grows up to be a murderer it's usually something that triggered it.
  • Re:Jan 22, 1973 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Guuge ( 719028 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:42PM (#11701767)
    Don't believe everything you "read in places". Do you honestly believe that it's better for 'personal responsibility' to outlaw things like abortion? If so, then what is to stop people from banning video games for exactly the same reason? After all, violent games are 'evil' and quite unnecessary.

    But perhaps you don't understand the concept of 'responsibility'.

    If I want to play games or have an abortion, I should be able to take responsibility for my own actions. I don't care how many nuts think these actions promote murder on some abstract/metaphysical level.
  • ( The poor usually are responsible for their predicament. They make bad choices and have no value for those things that will allow them to elevate themselves.
    This is typically what separates those of us who are no longer poor from those that still are. We value education, we plan for the future, we try not to blow everything & we try to avoid premature parenthood. We have a sense of consequences in general.
    What a bunch of moralistinc bunkish claptrap.

    You must be a cheap-labour conservative...

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

    by bwalling ( 195998 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @01:45PM (#11701797) Homepage
    I've got to say, it seems like 75% of my daughter's phrasing choices and cultural interests come from what she's heard people other than us say. Grandparents, teachers and friends at pre-school, Arthur, all seem to have rubbed off on her (granted, she's only three, but the pattern is already VERY noticeable.)

    Grandparents, teachers and friends at pre-school, and Arthur are all things that are within your control. If your child's grandparents are vulgar, talk to them about being vulgar around your child. If your kid is picking up bad things from preschool - work with the teachers, or find another preschool. TV shows are up to you to turn on and off.

    These years before regular school (where you have less of a choice about where they go) are very important. Your child is still fully attached to you and your spouse and wants to please you. You are laying the groundwork for how school and the world will affect your child. It starts very, very early, and I think that's what most people don't realize.
  • 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.....

  • by luchaugh ( 860384 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @02:24PM (#11702414)
    I saw an interview with Stephen King once, and they asked him why America was so violent (referring to his books being a possible influence). His response? "The world in general has the same access to the same books, same video games, and same movies/television as America. The ONLY difference in our culture compared to other cultures is the rampant proliferation of firearms". America seems to have this fascination with being afraid and arming themeselves to the teeth, and every once in a while some whack-job puts that attitude and those weapons to use in your local neighbourhood.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2005 @03:02PM (#11702956)
    You have no clue. Since when in jurisprudence does someone else get punished based on the action of another? Hey Mom, give me $20 or I'll commit a crime and you will go to jail. Some kids ARE brought up right and go wrong. I know of one that was in the middle of 13 kids. All of them are fine except for her. She is a devil incarnate, currently serving a very lengthy jail term in Maryland. She was caught on tape. Being the father of two kids I have seen a lot, some of it hair raising and a lot of it unbelieveable. I have gotten so mad at school administrators it is a very good thing I'm not violent. Otherwise they would have fallen to pieces.

    This is idiotic thinking from Democrats/socialists. At least that is where I keep hearing it from. Don't say any of their policies are wrong, blame someone else. Teach social intollerence at school as tollerence, teach them to rely on suing, teach them there is no God. Yea, real bright.

  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mlh1996 ( 446618 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @03:17PM (#11703134)

    It's something that Lt. Col. Dave Grossman [] calls "distance." This means simply as distance from the violent act increases, the psychological resistance to committing that violent act decreases.

    For example, I used to throw Tomahawk Cruise Missiles at people. I have probably killed, or caused to be killed, hundreds of people. While I'm not really thrilled about that fact, I don't lose sleep over it. On the other hand, a friend of mine knifed a sentry in Vietnam (a "personal" kill in Grossman's words) and has nightmares about it to this day.

    Now, I'm not saying that GTA or Rome: Total War is liable to cause an otherwise normal person to go on a killing spree. But GTA, due to the desensitization to the personal kill, is much more likely to push a sociopath over the edge than other games.

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

    by Matchstick ( 94940 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @03:24PM (#11703199)
    When will it be "Grand Theft Auto led teen to hijack ambulance, drive people to hospital"?
  • You're dead wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flithm ( 756019 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @03:55PM (#11703573) Homepage
    Actually there are TONS. First of all there are hundreds (probably thousands) of active serial killers in the US alone right now, 99% of which you will never hear about. Second of all you have to remember that you're getting most of your information about serial killers from sensationalized media, which couldn't portray a picture farther from the truth.

    Think about it. What the media wants you to know is that they caught a serial killer whose life was all fucked up because he had a hard life. The media wants a story that makes sense, that people can revel in, but not feel TOO bad about, and mostly that they can understand.

    How many of the stories that have almost no explanation do you think make it to the 6 'o clock news? Very few. But there are a lot. Like I said, go spend some time in a mental institute, or at least talk to someone who has.

    And just so you know, off the top of my head here are a couple examples of killers whose lives don't follow the typical media portayed serial killer "norm":

    Philip Badowski: killed his parents because God told him to. No signs of abuse, and by all accounts a normal childhood. Supposedly his parents scolded him for some thing he did wrong and on the "spur of the moment" he did what God told him to do.

    Lucian Staniak: One of Poland's most notorial serial killers. Had a fine childhood, although was apparently traumatized by the death of his family... still not a victim of abuse, and he was eventually found to be schizophrenic.

    That's actually the most common tie to most serial killers, not any environment factors such as parents... mental disease.

    I understand that you want to believe as a parent you can produce a "good" child just be being a "good" parent, but that's not always the case. Most of the time you don't have a choice if your kid has down-syndrome, or schizophrenia... these things just happen.

    And just so you know, I do agree with you, parents SHOULD be accountable for their kids, especially while they're not within the age of majority, but despite that you simply can't make blanket judgements like "they didn't do everything right, or their child wouldn't have become a serial killer."

    That is the statement that is simply not right.

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

    by flithm ( 756019 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @04:15PM (#11703839) Homepage
    That could be true, I admit. I was just saying that we don't know a lot about the case. Maybe this is one of those times where the parents should have known... but then again, life is a pretty random place sometimes.

    The computer analogy is a good one, especially if your computer is functioning correctly... what you get out is what you put in, but what if you've got a bad capacitor, or what there's a bug in the CPU that makes it spit out incorrect floating point numbers. But that could never happen right?

    It can, does, and has! And what happens when it does? You get totally unpredictable results. Maybe the kid goes off and paints pictures of bunnys and vows never to wear shoes. Or maybe the kid stabs his kid bother in the eye 14 times and drinks the resulting slush through a straw.

    All in all, my only point was not that we shouldn't hold parents accountable... just that we all use this "parental upbringing" as an excuse to make ourselves feel better about our world. You know "that'll never happen to me." mentality.

    Well you know what, it might, and it might happen due to no fault of your own. People should be ready to face that possibility. This is part of the problem of our society, we don't account for all potentialities and in the process we continue to create a society based on something other than reality.

    It's like we're writing an operating system for a certain architecture but there's this one instruction we don't like. So we just pretend it's not there. Then when the randomness of life comes along and some process actually uses that instruction we all freak out and blame the programmer.

    We can't really fix the problem until we fully define it.
  • Re:How'd he do it? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bonhamme Richard ( 856034 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @04:41PM (#11704182)
    I doubt they were under trained or out of shape, more caught off guard. The article says "the patrol car" not "a patrol car." My guess is that these three cops were taking the suspect out of the car at the station, and then he went after them.

    First off, when you're on your home turf, you aren't quite as attentive as you would be in on the beat.

    Second, the sound of a gun going off is the sort of that that startles people. If the other two cops weren't looking at the kid when he stole the gun / shot the first cop, they probably didn't react as quickly as they needed too. They were too busy going "what the hell was that?"

    I'm not saying that it would be easy, or that I'd recomend trying it (shooting police officers is a really good way to get yourself shot) but with a lot of luck and good timing, you could pull that sort of thing off.

    All this said, the cops should have been paying more attention the kid.

  • Re:How'd he do it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kill -9 $$ ( 131324 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @04:54PM (#11704358)
    Like a lot of instances where cops get killed though, were they actually following police procecdure? I mean, I follow the whole off guard premise, etc. but when you're arrested your usually (from what I recall):
    1) still cuffed right up to being dragged into the booking room
    2) brought into a locked garage or contained area before they open the doors to the crusier to let you out
    3) (this one I can't quite remember) cops check their guns before bringing the suspect into the booking room and uncuffing them.

    Those procedures are in place to minimize your chance of having a suspect jumping you, killing you, and/or getting away of which this kid seems to have done all three.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eck011219 ( 851729 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @05:52PM (#11705078)
    It starts very, very early, and I think that's what most people don't realize.

    I'd agree that most people don't realize this - I think a lot of the confused kids (and current and future adults) in the world can be attributed to the indescriminate bombardment of their little minds with unranked or unscreened data. This is why we're being as careful as we can about what goes into her little brain. And while I do believe that we shouldn't try to remove all reference to objectionable things, I don't think a three-year-old needs to see news footage of tsunami-strewn bodies or car-bombed markets or whatever else. There's an element of common sense that is often very easy to ignore for the comfort of hard-and-fast rules or an anything-goes mentality.

    As it happens, she hasn't come home with anything objectionable from school (outside of a couple of very typical testing-her-weary-parents things she's doing) or her grandparents (outside of some fart humor from my dad that is clouding [har har] the burp humor I'm teaching her). It's just that she calls things "cool" and has picked up some other mannerisms and conversational ornaments like that.

    As it pertains to this kid and the video games though (it just occurred to me that there was a reason I started yammering on about my kid), there may well be an element of lax parenting there. Or, as another poster correctly pointed out, he could have done it anyway despite any amount of good and conscientious parenting. And if the latter is the case, I'd imagine that if it hadn't been GTA, it would have been something else (news, TV, other kids, history classes, behavior at home, or something else). But that says significantly more about this kid's malleability than it does about Grand Theft Auto.

    And really, sometimes bad things just happen. Now that it's done and can't be reversed, all the money and effort being spent to find someone large and sue-able to blame for a very tragic event would be better spent trying to fix an obviously broken kid and help the families of the officers he killed.

    (For the record: Personally, I stopped playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City because it creeped out my wife. But that's more along the lines of reward-based behavior modification than it is censorship. Also for the record, I hope I don't sound like the self-proclaimed perfect parent: for every thing I think I do right I do twenty things that backfire. I just hope to do it all with mindful good intentions. My wife, on the other hand, is a perfect parent.)
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PriceIke ( 751512 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @06:04PM (#11705216)

    > A company should be responsible for the content of the product that they're marketing.

    And they assume that responsibility with massive kickbacks to the government. That's all Big Tobacco is doing now. The only reason cigarettes and cigars aren't outlawed outright is because the government is making money hand over fist on taxes.

    As soon as game companies start funneling money into the IRS and padding congressmen's pockets .. well, nothing will change really. They'll just ignore all their criticism like the tobacco companies are and keep raking in the dough.

    What I am waiting for are public service messages from EA and other major game companies about the hazards of video games on young impressionable minds. "Play responsibly." Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft regalia: "Remember kids, it's just a game." The day is coming ...

  • Re:First off... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @06:14PM (#11705338) Homepage Journal
    Schizophrenia may be related, but I think this is a whole new subset unto it's own. The people mentioned in the previous article don't exhibit schizophrenia. They just seem to have strong urges to transpose their video game habits onto real life situations while letting reason fly out the door. The story of the woman who grabbed the steering wheel while her husband was driving so she could score some extra points. That's what I'm talking about. Maybe you didn't see that story and I don't have time to find the link, but she definitely has mental issues. But they aren't strong enough to exclude her from living a fairly normal life. However, by obsessively playing video games, she increased the manifestation of those desires and superimposed them onto her real life. She knows that's not right, but she can't resist doing it. Sure sounds like a mental problem to me. And it sure sounds like virtual environments are the primary trigger. The same story also mentioned someone who works with a photo editing program all day who tried to "undo" a spill in her car. Definitely a new kind of mental problem if you ask me. Again, possibly a subset of schizophernia, but not strong enough to affect the person in other facets of life.
  • Re:I'm pissed. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Darthmalt ( 775250 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @06:19PM (#11705402)
    I always exterminate the populace because it makes the city easier to control and because it's a game my ethics and morality (which normally wouldnt permit me to do such a thing) mean nothing in relation to the game.

    I've played GTA and the thing I like best about the game is that it allows me to do things I wouldnt do in realy life. Run from the police in stolen cars et al
  • by 615 ( 812754 ) on Thursday February 17, 2005 @08:22PM (#11706570)

    Wait a minute, wait a minute, WAIT A MINUTE!! Am I the only one who realises that GTA is a parody of the criminal lifestyle?? It doesn't glamorise it! In fact, GTA makes it abundantly clear that crime is not a viable solution.

    It's a double-edged sword. Morons (ignorant, often violent, self-serving types) see GTA as a point for their team. Intellectual types--like myself--see GTA for what it is: a SATIRE. I love Vice City and will continue to play it long after I've beaten it (if I ever get AROUND to beating it :-).

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.