Blame The Video Game Lawyer Strikes Again

from the this-sounds-familiar... dept

Back in June we had a story about a lawyer trying to blame video games for some crimes. A few weeks later we had another such story that noted all of these cases (and a few more) all seemed to be filed by a lawyer named Jack Thompson who has declared himself an "expert" on video games and crime and is involved in every such lawsuit. So, it was no surprise at all to be reading about the latest lawsuit, where the family of a motorist who was killed by some moron kids is suing the makers of Grand Theft Auto, and see that it's Jack Thompson acting as the lawyer, yet again. No one denies that these kids deserve to be locked up for a long long time - but it's their fault that they did this. Blaming the video game that they (and millions of others) play takes the responsibility away from the guilty folks who actually committed the crime. These lawsuits border on frivolous, as they're clearly designed to go after those with money and take responsibility off of those who actually committed the crime.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Sep 8th, 2003 @ 12:54am

    But

    Students of intro to psychology classes are familiar with the experiment in which kids who see an adult beating up a blow-up dummy will beat up the dummy, unlike the kids who saw no such act. Is it such a stretch to say that kids who see a computer-generated adult beat up a dummy, will also beat up the dummy?

    The entertainment industry likes to spew its propaganda about how fictional violence has no effect whatsoever on juvenile viewers. However, we also notice they refrain from showing more extreme forms of violence -- we don't see games like "Domestic Violence", "Serial Rapist", or "Columbine Carnage".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Sep 8th, 2003 @ 12:58am

    Re: But

    By your reasoning, of course, all of the millions of folks who play Grand Theft Auto should be rampaging out there stealing cars.

    Well-adjusted individuals know the difference between a video game and real life. If they don't, it's a sign of some larger problem, that was likely to show up whether or not they were playing a particular video game.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Sep 8th, 2003 @ 1:11am

    Re: But

    "By your reasoning, of course, all of the millions of folks who play Grand Theft Auto should be rampaging out there stealing cars."

    The issue is one of probability. How many people would not have rampaged or stolen cars, if there was no Grand Theft Auto? One? Ten? One hundred? It may be difficult to find people who acknowledge that Grand Theft Auto was directly responsible for their actions; but how many people are affected to a lesser extent, of running through a red light, etc.?


    "Well-adjusted individuals know the difference between a video game and real life."

    Most people think they know the difference. However, most people are influenced by their environment to an extent greater than they realize. There are many studies of "perfectly" normal people who are triggered into temporary states of insanity through environmental stimuli, be they rampaging mobs or whatever else.


    "If they don't, it's a sign of some larger problem, that was likely to show up whether or not they were playing a particular video game."

    The fact is that everyone has problems waiting to surface, given the right conditions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Zach Rosenberg, Sep 8th, 2003 @ 4:59am

    video games and violence

    I had just written an article about this for UNleashed Magazine. Not that THAT gives me any kind of authority on the matter- I just hope you buy the magazine so I get to keep my job!

    In any event, I'd like to uphold that people are susceptible to social/psychological and emotional forces, and that's just part of being a human. Kids, generally, are more susceptible. You know, it's just like peer pressure - as you grow up you are stronger in your own character and have frankly, just lived longer, and tend to not react as much.

    BUT, my idea is that parents need to raise their kids correctly. Video games can't be used as a babysitter or substitute parent. Parents have to endear themselves to their children and love them in a way that's more conducive to...well...love. That helps a kid grow up more well-rounded and with the ability to discern reality from fantasy.

    Gamerdad.com had a pretty good article up about this too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    westpac, Sep 8th, 2003 @ 5:20am

    Re: video games and violence

    Blaming a video game for a killing spree is idiotic. If you want to say that the kids didn't know the difference between violence in a video game and violence in real life, blame the parents for not teaching their kids right from wrong. This is a cop-out lawsuit. It's easier to target a cash-rich corporation than the parents of a couple of maladjusted youths.

    Kids did horrible things before there were movies, record albums, TV, or video games. In 1874 Jesse Pomeroy sadistically killed a four year-old boy just for fun, shortly after he had strangled a ten year-old girl as well. He had no electronic inspiration for his crimes. Kids don't need inspiration to do bad things. Kids will do horrible things when holodecks become reality too. And whoever invents the holodeck will get sued by a bunch of irate parents too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Chris, Sep 8th, 2003 @ 6:56am

    No Subject Given

    Maybe somebody should sue the parents for doing just a lousy job of raising their kids. The article doesn't make any mention, but I'll bet we eventually learn that these were not "good" kids by any reasonable definition. However, given how brain dead the average juror is, I'll bet Take 2 settles out of court. They can't bet the company on a huge judgement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    thecaptain, Sep 8th, 2003 @ 7:27am

    Re: But

    Do you actually BELIEVE what you write?

    "The issue is one of probability. How many people would not have rampaged or stolen cars, if there was no Grand Theft Auto? One? Ten? One hundred? It may be difficult to find people who acknowledge that Grand Theft Auto was directly responsible for their actions; but how many people are affected to a lesser extent, of running through a red light, etc.?"

    How many people would not have been killed last year if the speed limit was 15mph instead of 55?

    Heck, how many people would still be alive if we outlaw automobiles?

    What about movies? We know some killers have been "triggered" by movies...lets cancel movies.

    You know what? Books probably influence people...gives them ideas...might influence them to violence...light up the bonfire dude, we got books that need burning.

    Heck, you know? Now that I think about it, people just talking to each other does lead to violence...lets just stop talking.

    You say "given the right conditions" I say "given ANY conditions" some people have problems that lead to violence, is that the fault of the "conditions" or the problems? Don't blame the video game, lets have some personal responsibilities here....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Sep 8th, 2003 @ 11:21am

    Re: But

    "How many people would not have been killed last year if the speed limit was 15mph instead of 55?
    Heck, how many people would still be alive if we outlaw automobiles?"

    That's a cost vs. benefit issue. In crowded quarters, we do post lower speed limits for that very reason.

    "What about movies? We know some killers have been "triggered" by movies...lets cancel movies."

    While there are many violent movies, almost all of them do contain a hidden moral message in which killers are bad, and the only "good" killers are those who act in self-defense, or to serve our country. I haven't seen too many movies where mass murder (in general) is shown as a good thing.

    "You know what? Books probably influence people...gives them ideas...might influence them to violence...light up the bonfire dude, we got books that need burning."

    Censorship does already happen. There are books that mainstream book stores will not carry. There are some novels from the 1950s, written by communist or fascist authors discussing allied atrocities, that are still banned in the Western world.

    "Heck, you know? Now that I think about it, people just talking to each other does lead to violence...lets just stop talking."

    We do have laws against inciting riots, slander, or libel.

    "You say "given the right conditions" I say "given ANY conditions" some people have problems that lead to violence, is that the fault of the "conditions" or the problems? Don't blame the video game, lets have some personal responsibilities here...."

    It's both. People can only take responsibility to such a degree, therefore we need laws to deal with the human limitations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Mark, Sep 10th, 2003 @ 8:26am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Amen. When will people learn to raise their kids instead of finding other people and objects to blame.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Billyjoe bob, Feb 2nd, 2004 @ 7:49am

    Violent Vid.Games

    I totally agree wit u. I play GTAIII all the time and I havent killed anyone yet. Some people are just...lawyers

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Red October, Mar 10th, 2004 @ 3:54pm

    One thing we are forgetting

    Does any one here realize that during Roman rimes, and Medeival time people often saw terrible acts of bloodshed and violence... not soldier but civilians as well... in Rome prostitution was leagel at 10, During medieval times warring lords and vassals would often slaughter peasants... some would survie and see these bloody thing but none them ever got fucked up... also in germany.... the soldiers whom worked the camps... you think they werent disturbed by what they saw.. believe me they were many were good moral people... most of them left withc out ever going ona rampage... neither did the imprisioned jews.... think about that before you blame simple polygonal violence for acts of murder, rape, or other senseless acts...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Ty Colwell, Oct 18th, 2005 @ 12:48pm

    Re: But

    I guess then kids should not be allowed to watch the evening news or read the newspaper, or study history. At some point, the people have to take responsibility for their actions. millions of people play "violent" video games, yet there are relatively few cases of it spilling into real life. Therefore I conclude, that these rare cases are people that have instabilities not brought on by the games themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Aaron Porter, May 1st, 2009 @ 4:32am

    The true problem is that all these cases just focus on video games being the sole influence, when there is no way that just by playing video games will make a person violent, there has to bo other factors to consider as well such as the person's upbringing, their mental stability and obviosly what other media influences that were in their life. In my opinion It mostly comes to the person commiting the acts of violence thinking that they can use the newest scapegoat, when the blame should be placed on them for comitting these acts. Plus where is the solid evidence from studies to show that violent games make people do violent things until then games shouldn't be blamed. Since people were violent throughout time and they always seemed to have a scapegoat to explain their actions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This