'The Video Game Made Me Kill My Parents' Defense Rejected

from the phew dept

All too often these days, we've seen murderers try to pass off the blame for their crimes by blaming video games. This comes after years of techno panic around weak and often misinterpreted studies concerning links between video games and violence. Despite the fact that there's been no actual evidence that video games lead to increased violence (and the fact that youth violence has continually dropped as video games became more popular should be quite telling), it makes for a great news story -- and, thus, a great excuse for murderers. Luckily, no one's buying it.

In the latest such case, where teen-aged Daniel Petric shot both his parents, killing his mother and wounding his father, after they took away his copy of Halo 3, a judge has rejected Petric's claim that it was his video game addiction that inspired the murder (and subsequent attempt to frame his father). It probably didn't help the teen's case at all that there was evidence he had planned the murder for weeks, rather than spontaneously acting following the video game confiscation. The judge still does, unfortunately, suggest that the video game warped Petric's mind, despite little proof that was true. However, the judge notes that even if he was under the influence of the video game, that's no defense for what he did.

In the meantime, of course, politicians are still overreacting to the still unproven idea that video games lead to violence -- to the point that Rep. Joe Baca has introduced a law that would require health warnings on video games, similar to cigarette warnings, saying that: "WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior."
So, it certainly looks like politicians and the media will continue overreacting when it comes to video games and violence.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Carl, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Ridiculous

    I blame Duck Hunt for turning me into an avid hunter :)

     

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  2.  
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    Twinrova, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 8:45am

    What the hell??!!

    What damn idiots voted yes to the poll shown? Are you completely ignorant?

    MAN is violent by nature. Ever since bipeds have walked the earth, violence shortly follows. Hell, if it wasn't for violence, you wouldn't be here.

    To make things even worse, you have this incredibly stupid kid trying to blame video games for his actions. But those who voted "Yes" on the bill probably spend most of their time blaming others for their stupidity as well.

    I'm glad the judge turned down the defense argument, but can't give him too much praise as he believes there's a correlation between violence and gaming.

    Think, people! How in the world can a video game lead to violence? While you're out voting on this bill, be sure to contact your congress to add the following bills:
    Add a warning sticker to automobiles with the message "Exposure to excessive traffic and other drivers has been linked to aggressive behavior"

    Add a warning sticker to every person on earth with the message "Exposure to stupid people and other morons has been linked to aggressive behavior" (read blog for further proof)

    For those who voted "Yes" on this bill, I feel extreme pity on your clueless reasons and truly, truly suspect you think this warning sticker will help.

    Just like those stickers on each pack of tobacco products which continues to kill hundreds of thousands each year, far more damaging than a video game.

    Well, it's true: YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID!

     

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  3.  
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    IT Dude, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 8:46am

    Really?

    I blame my requirement to work 45 hours a week to my desire to violently slaughter my coworkers....

    Should we now ban working or put a label on our workspaces saying "WARNING: Excessive exposure to work or other work related material has been linked to aggressive behavior."?

     

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  4.  
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    IT Dude, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 8:49am

    Re: What the hell??!!

    Ha ha ha, we were on the exact same train of thought there.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 8:53am

    The bigger question is, was he on any psychotropic drugs?

     

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  6.  
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    :Lobo Santo, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 8:58am

    Re: Ridiculous

    I blame my exposure to Super Mario Brothers for my fascination with holes... and brick breaking.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 9:00am

    if video games had such an effect on us, we'd all be running around in the dark popping multicolored pills.

    come to think of it that might explain raves, and after hour night clubs.

     

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  8.  
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    simon, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 9:08am

    any excess does harm

    any excess in any possible thinking way does harm to mind and body

    i think the boy might have been induced to do this by excessive bad communication between him and his parents, one of the reason is: parents need the time for themselves sometime, but if they think that by letting the kid starring at a TV set or yanking some game console/computer will set your kid to love you, this is a mistake, they do need entertainment too, but limited.

    and then kids minds are too sensitive at that age, giving a kid a shooting / destruction game over a constructive, logic embedded one, well, who knows what may trigger, again parents the waning is for you, read the stupid rating on a game before allowing-it to your kid

     

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  9.  
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    tubes, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    Re: What the hell??!!

    Its not just man who is violent. Violence runs in all of the animal kingdom, its just nature but most humans are able to control it.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    Great, now I can never take Halo 3 away from my kid.

     

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  11.  
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    DS78, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    The real warning...

    They should put on there "Caution: Video games make your ass fat."

    That's the real warning...

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 9:26am

    Re: The real warning...

    lol at the ass fat comment

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 9:35am

    Re: What the hell??!!

    Who really cares about the label on the games? Is it really going to stop you from buying it, I know it sure as hell won't stop me.

    No one will read the label just like they don't read the current rating on the game as is. The games also state why it has the rating it does and parents buy it now and will buy it after this for their children just because the kid runs the house and parents don't hit their kids enough these days.

     

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  14.  
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    Evan, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re: What the hell??!!

    Yes. Domestic abuse will absolutely solve the problem of video game violence leading to real violence.

     

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  15.  
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    asdf, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 9:45am

    Re:

    whenever I hear(read) the word psychotropic, I think of batman and his silly voice.

    -not on topic

     

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  16.  
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    Mr. Nosuch, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 10:04am

    I don't know, perhaps there's something to his defense.

    I hear he killed them by sticking them with a plasma grenade.

     

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  17.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 13th, 2009 @ 10:05am

    The warning label is both ridiculous and false - yeah, games have been linked to violence. By anti-game campaigners. Peer-reviewed studies usually turn up inconclusive or suggest that no link exists.

    Not only that, but half the problem here is that parents don't read the *existing* labels. They freak out when they are told that the game called "Grand Theft Auto 4" with the large label saying "Rated M for Mature: Intense Violence, Blood, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Partial Nudity, Use of Drugs and Alcohol" might not be suitable for their 8 year old (that's verbatim from the ESRB site, btw).

    It's the same old story. Parenting is hard, and some people try to palm responsibility for their failures onto something else. In previous years it was rock 'n roll, demonic possession, horror comics, heavy metal records and movies. Today it's videogames. In 10 years, they'll have found another scapegoat.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    You guys are all wrong!

    The only reason the Mongol Horde conquered Asia was because Genghis Khan had been playing Rainbow 6 for 50 hours straight.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: The real warning...

    lol at the lol comment

    Freaking idiot!

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Re: any excess does harm

    what do you mean "at that age"? the "kid" was a teenager, teenagers' brains are fully developed as far as reasoning goes...

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: Re: What the hell??!!

    corporal punishment is, in some cases, necessary for the raising of kids. There is a difference between mild-medium spankings (which quickly becomes much more about the embarrassment of being spanked in from of people vs the actual physical pain inflicted) and true abuse.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 11:43am

    GIVES ME CHILLS . . .

    " . . . if he was under the influence of the video game . . . " - - thats the scariest thing I have read in a long time.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    Re: What the hell??!!

    they voted 'yes' for the lulz

     

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  24.  
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    Killer Tomato, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    DUI of Pole Position

    Does that mean the next time I get pulled over, can I blame Pole Postion?

     

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  25.  
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    Mogilny, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    Graphic Warnings

    They should put a picture of the dead mother on every violent game.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Graphic Warnings

    as long as they do the same for alcohol and cars oh and music and television. all were/are blamed (whether rightfully or not) for violent outbreaks at one time or another.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    simon, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: any excess does harm

    even adults have same problems...

    audio-visual stimulus does affect perception, distort reality etc...

    well, from there till real violence... like i said, lack of communication between family members... time and space share , small frustration amplified by wild imagination... teenage heaven ...

    plus some are more affected than others by same events...

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    Re: GIVES ME CHILLS . . .

    I bought this video game from my dealer and tripped balls for hours NES has never seemed so real.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Re: Graphic Warnings

    And W@llm@rt they place makes me angry and you would not like me when I'm angry.

     

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  30.  
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    nasch, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What the hell??!!

    What cases are those?

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    nasch, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: any excess does harm

    Teenagers' brains are much more plastic than adults'.

    google search

    Please do not construe this in any way as a claim on my part that video games lead to violence.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What the hell??!!

    perhaps when punishments like time-outs, grounding, loss of privileges, and the like don't work. a spanking is a very good form of punishment when used properly. younger kids get the tangible punishment and older kids get the embarrassment. a good parent will rarely have to use it because they have a stepped form of punishment(I myself believe in a warning, a time out, and then, sometimes, a spanking for most things a kids does). Not hard enough to bruise, but strong enough to sting a bit. I never spank a kid when I'm angry.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re: What the hell??!!

    Exactly. Look how well those labels worked on cigarettes.

     

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  34.  
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    PhillD, Jan 13th, 2009 @ 9:41pm

    Why JUST videogames?

    Hey Rep. Baca,

    Will other violent media ALSO carry the warnings?
    If not why not? There are many many more violent television shows, movies and rap songs than there are video games. What makes them less dangerous than the games? Many many MORE people see and hear the TV, Movies and songs than play the games, doesn't that mean they need the warnings more urgently than the games?

    Why don't you go ask your holywood cronies if you can put that label on their products, then come talk to us again.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Twinrova, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 4:18am

    Re: Re: What the hell??!!

    "Who really cares about the label on the games? Is it really going to stop you from buying it, I know it sure as hell won't stop me."

    True, but you're not an idiot, and you can bet many "gamer mothers" out there would definitely be influenced by this label.

    The bottom line comes down to who dictates what is offensive for the game to garner the sticker?

    The last damn thing I'd ever want to see is an "aggressive" sticker on any Legend of Zelda game which would prevent mommies from buying it, causing sales to fall and that long awaited sequel to get canceled.

    It's bad enough we get a crap load of stupid games (comes with the territory) but this sticker could vastly increase this number as studios won't take a chance on making them.

     

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  36.  
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    Rick Sarvas, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 6:40am

    Lame

    The kid's lawyer probably would have had better luck using the "Chewbacca defense".

    What next? Crowbar wielding kids blaming Half-Life?

     

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  37.  
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    gene_cavanaugh, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 9:21am

    Violent Video Games

    A link has been established, by a research group in England, I think - and other studies support such a link. Reagan told us to "think with our heart", insuring his place, eventually, as our worst President (IMO), but he couldn't make it the right thing to do.
    There is a delicate balance between freedom and dangers to the public (there are laws against yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater, for example), and in moderation, it is a good thing.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    No, the video game didn't "make" him shoot anybody. To say that would imply that the video game has a will of its own and a way to control the player. No, the kid made his own choice to act the way he did.

    HOWEVER, every single type of input from our five senses affects us. It is impossible to experience things while at the same time being unaffected by them. I don't care what any supposed statistic says. Playing violent video games puts thoughts and images in your head, plain and simple, and those things can affect your judgment. Granted, some people can "handle" some things better than others, but it still has an affect.

    Now, this kid is still guilty, because nobody but himself decided to pull the trigger. Plus, it was his decision to play violent video games, which may have affected his behavior and judgment in ways he'll never know. Now he has to take responsibility for his actions. It is ultimately nobody's fault but his own, and maybe his parents for not raising him with the understanding that shooting and hurting people is wrong.

    But whatever the case may be, the video game should not be blamed, but at the same time, it should be understood that it can very well have a negative influence on somebody. Oh, and just because youth violence statistically went down as video game popularity rose doesn't mean that the two are directly related to each other. Youth violence in general may be down, but I have to wonder if the severity of the still-existing violence may have gone up considerably. Rewind through history a bit, and I think you'll find a time when school shootings by students were NOT common place.

     

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  39.  
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    Tess, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 11:39am

    It's complicated

    I definitely don't believe that playing violent video games (or watching violent movies, etc.) can turn someone into a killer. BUT— I do think that violence and sex are so completely pervasive in our society now that it's easy to get jaded by seeing it... not to mention that it's completely glorified. It's not like the old days of "violent" video games where you may have played the role of an action hero who fights bad guys to save a city (for example) - now you have things like Grand Theft Auto where you are rewarded for acting like a complete asshole. I don't think playing games can turn a peaceful person violent... but it can certainly affect how a teen views life and how they interact with other people. The kid in this particular case was completely sick. Period. I think he was probably drawn to the violent game because of that - not the other way around. I don't know... I think the whole issue is much more complicated than just "violent games make people violent." I think the game creators should be more responsible in terms of the CONTEXT of the violence they show - if the player is going to blast guns, or blow things up, or attack someone, I think it should be in a heroic context... so at least some basic morals are learned amidst the bloodshed.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2009 @ 11:54am

    Re: Violent Video Games

    WTF are you talking about? Dumbest post evar

     

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  41.  
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    Darklord7375, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 11:13am

    this is fucking retarded

    I think the concept of having to put warning labels on games is stupid. The gamers already know that it’s violent we don’t have to be told. And the whole thing about video games cause heightened aggression is stupid. Everything can cause that books, movie, computers you name it, it causes tempers to be flared. Hell most stores such as Game Stop won’t even sell games to people of certain ages because of ratings. If parents don’t won’t their children playing certain games then they shouldn’t buy them.

     

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  42.  
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    olguis, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    ooooh! Now I know my obsession with ghosts… Those long hours of damn Pac-Man.

     

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  43.  
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    olguis, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    I agree with Anonymous Coward, this happends when the kids run the house and not the parents.

     

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  44.  
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    carlyn, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 4:42pm

    Seriously? Any parents that is offended by violent video games is just... well, honestly, stupid.

    #1) we all know any middle aged parent is afraid of change. They never had games like this out today. Why would they trust them? I never really listen to my parents, or any adult for that matter because they don't take the time and consideration to actually play the games and see how it affects their stimulus. Do THEY get a sudden sensation to want a kill someone? I don't, because I'm not mentally ill and have willpower of my own, and a brain that properly functions in which case will let me overcome any urge some video game might give me,

    #2] Wouldn't you rather let your child bust a cap online Xbox live instead of on the street? Some studies say that violence in video games, or gaming in general acts in a therapeutic sense, that is fulfills the anger, discomfort, or temper in a person by relieving it visually, in a game.

    3#)VIDEO GAMES ARE NEVER TO BLAME. Jesus, people. I'm going to be brutally honest and say that.. just.. no. Bad adults, bad. You really think stopping your children from playing violent video games while they live with you is going to help? Yeah, say goodbye to that sense of security when they're 18. NO ONE hardly EVER changes from teen to adult years (14 to 18). Theyre just going to buy that xbox they were never allowed to have, play it all day, all of the time, and not only ruin their social life worse than if parents just let them play in the first place, they could possibly even indulge in a type of addiction from being deprived.

    Don't blame it on the games, folks. Blame it on humanity's weak will and the loss of ability to control themselves.

     

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  45.  
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    carlyn, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 4:48pm

    Re: any excess does harm

    I'm saying this right now - limited a person of anything is NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING EVER AT ALL NO YOU STUPID MORON. Ahem. There will come a day when the child will have a right to do whatever he/she wishes. What the HELL is the point of limiting them? When they grow up and have to do shit on their own, they'll know what is or what isn't appropriate or what is and isn't just, but they WILL do whatever they damn want. Honestly, depriving a child is like taunting a piece of meat infront of a caged animal - the longer they've waited, the more dramatic the result.

     

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  46.  
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    la vida loca, Feb 5th, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: any excess does harm

    ur right kids will grow up to do whatever they damm want. But as a parent c it they eant their children to grow up and do wat is right.

     

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  47.  
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    cheap wow gold, Feb 9th, 2009 @ 5:02am

    An I**

    Maybe he's on drugs but whatever reasons he has, he have to pay for the death of his Mom. I can't believe this, he's completely out of his mind.

     

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  48.  
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    beast, Apr 17th, 2009 @ 7:25am

    Re: What the hell??!!

    speak the truth

     

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  49.  
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    Kelso840, Apr 20th, 2009 @ 5:56pm

    Let them put a warning on my video games, gamers know what they're getting themselves into. Parents are the ones that need to decide if their gamer is mature and sensible enough to know what is reality and what isn't.

     

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  50.  
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    Snow Cone, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:36pm

    Video games corrupted my mind

    I played cooking mama on my G.B. DS and I ended up skinning a rabbit and cooking it :) Man i am demented....

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re: any excess does harm

    if the brains are fully developed then how come the drinking age is 21. you are an idiot

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous (non) Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Re:

    hahaha :)

     

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  53.  
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    Anthony, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 12:40pm

    Violence: B.C. and A.D.

    Violence has been around since the beginning. How in the "Legend of Gelel" can video games take the whole blame for someone's choice to kill someone? Just a lame excuse.

    Note: "Legend of Gelel" is a Naruto Movie Title. Used in place of the "H" Word..... If you were wondering.

     

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  54.  
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    Anthony, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    Pictures

    Does anyone have a link to what this kid looks like? And Parents?


    P.S. That's as close as he's going to get to a "Killing Spree", I hope.....

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous, May 4th, 2010 @ 8:00pm

    Re: Re: any excess does harm

    Obviously Not.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 4:15pm

    Reaction

    It's a "killing spree" for him alright. But the video game isn't all the culprit here. He may have drawn an idea from the video game that he's playing and believed that what happens in the digital world can happen to the real world as well.
    Some people can go paranoid in the real world because of just playing hours and hours of video games.

     

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  57.  
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    A very dangerous gamer, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 8:22pm

    Its all true

    Playing ounter strike made me smoke alot of crack before brutally murdering little children and raping their parents.we gamers are a menace to society.WE MUST BE STOPPED BEFORE GAMES MAKE US KILL EVERYBODY!!!

     

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


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