Man Says GTA Made Him Think He Could Outrun Cops

from the somebody-call-jack-thompson! dept

Lawyer Jack Thompson’s well-worn schtick is to blame all sorts of crimes on video games, in particular the Grand Theft Auto series. In a case that he’ll probably adopt as “proof” of his beliefs, a man in Albany, N.Y., has been sentenced to jail (via Digg) after leading police there on a car chase. Apparently, the guy thought he could get away from them because he’d done it on GTA. Of course, despite what people like Thompson might say, the mitigating factor here isn’t the video game — it’s the guy’s stupidity. Trying to make out that it’s games that cause society’s ills, rather than focusing on the real reasons people commit crimes and do stupid things is the real problem for society, since it gives people another way to abdicate personal responsibility.

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Comments on “Man Says GTA Made Him Think He Could Outrun Cops”

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Amelia says:

Get a life - The Sequel

We are a nation of people with far too much time on our hands, always coming up with new ways to try and blame other people for our problems and our behavior. Al Qaeda might get us but we’ll do ourselves in first, destroying this great country of ours from the inside out, one moron at a time…

zossima says:

Re: Re: Get a life - The Sequel

have a better life in a third world country

And from whom did you extract this pearl.

I know— Fox News made you believe that there is some sort of logic in the sentiment that criticizing America or Americans is undemocratic.Your line of thought, if I am not mistaken, is:”If you don’t want to be told what to think, go somewhere where you will be told what to think THEN you’ll appreciate being told what to think.”

Forget GTA, it’s gotta be Fox giving its followers dangerous delusions and causing them to confuse the repetition of muddled, nonsensical propaganda with clear thinking.

charlie says:

Re: Re: Get a life - The Sequel

Don’t be an idiot, why should he leave? Just because he criticized the state of affairs in this country doesn’t he should run off.

Martin Luther King Jr criticized this country. Does that mean he shoulda ran off? No, you doofus, by his criticism he made it an even better place. The principles of our nation is built on this freedom, to disparage so that we can all learn and benefit.

Don’t be a tyrant.

LetsReason says:

Be Reasonable Now

Okay, the guy is stupid. I agree. And I do not “blame the game” for his stupidity. In the end, it is the responsibility of parents, community and the individual to help mold people into productive and educated citizens who abide by society’s agreed rules and laws. But I think a person shows their own “ignoring of reality” when they attempt to dismiss the effect media can have on an individual’s perception of reality.

Given, the above premise is true, games DO affect peoples reality when given inappropriate time and importance in an individuals life. We are NOT all created equally when it comes to learning, physical abilities and perception of reality. We are NOT all on equal circumstances of our living conditions and environment. I think it is certainly possible that this individual interacted with the game enough that, in the moment, he may have thought he could control life and reality (ie. the physics of the car and persistance or intelligence of the real officers) from his “over-experience” with the game. Your ability to deal with hours of game-play and someone elses are not the same and to assume as much is naivity on your part.

Do I suggest that the game becomes an avenue of escape for responsibility for this person? Not really. But I do believe it can be a legitimate factor in the pyschology of the individual. So, in my opinion, besides jail time appropriate to his actions, I believe part of his sentence should include probation (if not a life-time restriction) of gameplay of this kind. He has shown that he simply cannot deal with it appropriately.

Send the guy to jail with an Atari 2600, 19″ Black&White television and Tic-Tac-Toe. Jail time and therapy. And comprehensive solution. 😉

ChocoTuar says:

Re: Be Reasonable Now

I understand that you’re trying to see it from his perspective (I try and give the one at fault the benefit of the doubt), but in this case it just seems that he was over-confident. I’ve played games with violence in them (we all have), but I know that it takes a lot of practice and skill to become what the characters are portayed as being able to do (besides the occassional defying-of-gravity, etc). For this man to think that he is able to out-run cops he has forgone several steps in logic:

1. Cops aren’t likely to just disappear after a few minutes of a car chase; I’ve heard of some that have gone for hours, until someone ran out of gas.

2. Helicopters are play a huge part in police chases. They can tell the ground units where the subject is heading and what roads he is taking, even if he is able to outrun the cops’ Chevy Impalas.

3. When you run into something, the car is usually damaged far beyond the driving limits, unlike it is in video games where you have to literally remove the steering wheel from the dash to make it undrivable.

I have no sympathy for this fool. He assumed way too much and didn’t think about it rationally in the moment. Too bad emotions get in the way too much…

mike says:


I don’t know do you think this guy actually believes what he is saying?

i don’t think so i think he just came up with an exuse for his actions. i wouldn’t be surprised it had never actually played GTA at all. I mean people run from the cops all the time even before video games were invented

the irony is back in the old days you actually had a chance of loosing the cops these days good luck you’ll need it!

I'll Drive says:

Move them, they'll never know

Given all people are not equal, but all morons are. Let’s tell them they’re going to disneyland. Recreate they’re life tell them uhhhh nature changed the scenery,(theyll buy it) and get rid of them. But video their new lives and air it on TV.

Ratings will go through the roof and it will ultimately determine which is true

Darwin or creation

Jeremy says:


sorry…im a young kid i know…but i have had vice city and san andreas since their release, both of them…and that means i was about 11 when vice came out…and im not violent…but how in the hell can you honestly think that a videogame could make someone do something? really…im sorry…but humans are hard wired to accept society, and that is against society…therefore it is a defect in this man’s wiring…

Andy says:

When will government ever learn

You simply cannot legislate against stupidity. Reacting to people like this with legislation, where pressure groups try to ban video games because SOME people cannot distinguish fantasy from reality (or claim that at least) simply does not work. Why pander to these morons? No one should be able to claim that a game “made” them do something and be allowed to sue for it.

Respondents who say it is an abdication of responsibility are right, we are in a blame culture across the world, in which idiots are being given leave to sue others for their own weaknesses and foolishness. But the principle to follow is simple, if you are (or wish to be treated as) an adult, it means taking responsibility FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS. The further we go down an alternative route, the fewer freedoms we are left with.

As a Libertarian, I say allow adults to do what they want as long as it does not hurt others. Conversely, If a person’s action does hurt others then that person must suffer the consequences. Not the victims and not the rest of society in general.

It was not the makers of GTA (or any other game) who took the action which caused this guy to do the wrong thing, HE did!

PopeRatzo says:

For what it’s worth, I’ve played Need for Speed so much at various times that when I got behind the wheel of my “real” car, I had to take a moment to absorb the fact that I couldn’t do all those controlled slides and stuff.

I was just playing Black and White 2 for about an hour and when I came to this website I though I could zoom in and out with my mouse wheel.

Yes, the guy is stupid for admitting it, but I can understand.

mojoPAGODA says:

Re: Blurring the lines of reality

I used to play ALOT of Splinter Cell (stopped when it just got too damn difficult) and after big sessions of it on Xbox, every time I saw a fluorescent light I wanted to shoot it, particularly if I was in a car park. Thank God I didn’t because my NV and thermal goggles aren’t working too well right now.

Random Law Guy (user link) says:

Too much editorializing

>Trying to make out that it’s games that cause society’s ills,

>rather than focusing on the real reasons people commit crimes and

>do stupid things is the real problem for society, since it gives

>people another way to abdicate personal responsibility.

Too much editorializing — it’s pretty obvious what’s going on, no need to make the obvious statement. In fact, it might be more powerful to let the reader make the conclusion herself. Think about it — the presentation of the facts is so tilted in one direction that the conclusion is naturally on the reader’s mind. When the conclusion comes from within [the reader’s mind] it has a lot more force since the reader then “owns” the idea and is less likely to try to come up with alternate explanations. If you write the words then the reader will read them critically — here, maybe considering whether the lawyer is just out for a buck regardless of what impact there is on society. That suggests that the problem isn’t social indulgence, but rather the structure of the legal system…

I sit in my car with a hooker...weee fun!! says:


Ive come to the conclusion that people are stupid, hypocrites, irresponsible, senile, mentallu deficient, etc.

You can get a hooker in you sit in a car and it rocks around, i get wood(sarcasm). I get into a cop chase, kill twenty cops, then get out and shoot the gas tank of a car. it blows up…

i mean come onif anything this game is making people less wanting to go out and doing these things, see people are lazy, why bother getting in trouble in RL for doing something stupid, if you can do it in a video game…ecen better the horrible depictions of the sex scenes in gta makes kids want to aly off having sex until they are physically mature..

peace out yealls shoot some cops heads off for me.

Rhymes with "Wenis" says:

Maybe, maybe not

This man may not be devoid of thought after all: maybe his motives were to gain attention; from “lawyers” like Jack Thompson (wether his motives are real or for monetary gain) to argue his case, or maybe to gain press attention and have “concerned” parents be involved politically – thus potentially impacting the outcome of his trial. I’m not saying he isn’t retarded to start with – but someone in his situation may have seen a viable alibi.

Mike says:

dont blame the game

i too think that violence is not the gaming industry’s fault, its those kids stupid parents who buy it for them and later complain becuase thier kid says and does stuff bad. heres a message to all you parents who get mad at video games, IF U THINK YOUR KIDS ARE GOING TO CHANGE BECUASE OF IT… DONT BUY THE GOD DAMN GAME!

that is if u think of it at all, some parents dont care wat thier kids do or say

randy says:


what about he bible, how many wars were started because some book said this is right and this is wrong? videogames, like religion are a scapgoat for “bad guys” to blame their problems on. the reality is that daddy wasnt around, and mom was a coke whore. or uncle jimmy touched them when they were 4 and they havent seen a counsler yet.

Joseph Moye' says:

Personal responsibility vs training and environmen

Of course one should take responsibility for one’s actions since he will have to pay for them. Nevertheless, this doesn’t discount the powerful effect video has on inclinations, attitudes and yes, actions. Of all training media, video is perhapps the most effective, especially participatory video such as games. This is why violent videos are dangerous when used by children and the weak minded.

Anonymous Coward says:

Be Reasonable Now


I think you might’ve thought the original author was suggesting to blame the game in the end. But I think the author was merely suggesting that, due to this persons development, he isn’t able to handle the effects of the video game properly. Thus, probation of a GTA style gameplay would be necessary for his and others safety. The blame isn’t on the game, the blame is on his lack of development.

ChocoTuar says:

Re: Be Reasonable Now

A video game is a video game is a video game. The only feasible way to censor a video game is in the interest of National Security, otherwise it is under the blanket of the First Amendment. The video games are the personal expressions of their creators, and thus protected by the Constituion. Jackie-boy can get mad all he wants, but in the end there is nothing he can do but complain and hope that the creators take him seriously.

In my post I was meaning to degrade the fool for not thinking it through all the way. He didn’t think it through because none of the three points I mentioned crossed his mind (if they did, then he’s a bigger fool than any of us imagined).

DWBjr says:

Video Game Makers Need to Be Careful

Well, alone or not, I will say that video games need to at least bare the weight of some responsibility to society. As an example, when people make movies, a lot of times, in consulting, past con-artists help them to make a “con” that isn’t readily reproduceable or immitatable by people… so that there’s a sense of reality, yet not an opportunity to screw shop owners or other people that haven’t seen the show (when the imitators come rolling in).

Like announcing the vulnerability in a software product without discussing with the maker, so they might have at least an opportunity to fix it. Things like “bad behavior” doesn’t HAVE a “fix”, and the imitators will inevitably come.

So, you have this guy playing Grand Theft Auto… and looking at it over and over, realizing that… Hey… it really *does* map the city he lives in… and, well, well… after a few games, he’s getting ideas… “this really could work”. For people with some self-respect, future, and options… why would you steal a car? Too much risk. For people with nothing to lose and surrounded by other people with nothing to lose, suddenly its an opportunity that they keep asking themselves everyday… “Do I think I could do it? Why not?”

Is it GTA’s fault? Hell, no… but the videogame makers aren’t being responsible citizens by encouraging the sensationalism of stealing a car. For that alone, I don’t absolve them of shame. Society is imitative. Hello… that’s how celebrity endorsments work. Just because their sensationalism sells games, doesn’t mean its *right* to do a game that… doesn’t simply “feature” it… but ENCOURAGES it. It’s some pretty LOW stuff to be trafficing in.

A friend and I were talking the other day about this. Like… what would happen if: A videogame maker came out with a “rape simulator”, where you could stroll through central park hunting women… or a video game maker came out with an “al queda” simulator, where you could find a sect in America, and get your way past immigration… go to weekly meetings… visit the training camps… and work your way to becoming a terrorist on 9/11… just because.

All in the name of free speech. At what point do we actually turn to the videogame maker and say, “Dude, that’s F’ed up. What are you?” Overtly trafficing in the simulation and sensationalisation of a crime isn’t exactly the highest road to be travelling in my opinion.

simon says:

some ppl do have problems

well, i honestly think some ppl outthere shouldn’t play games, and other shouldn’t try to analyse’em.

since when candy/sweet drinks etc. companies had to pay dental treatment / diabet ?

since when a product used by most without problems is already a problem?

like other said: too much time on hands and too much brain work on loose i’ll add.

ppl demonstrate they smart finding problems, but distructive not constructive. if that idiot is so stoopid to blame game for his mistakes, make-him play a kind of game he’s gonna develop some usefull skills, better, but in jail where he belongs for breaking the law.

and for the lawiers who fight this addictions 1 word, try some gym, use brain is about to fry!!!

Gary Hammontree (user link) says:

GTA and car chases

You really can’t fault this guy too much. The sad fact is that about 80% of Americans are stupid. When as few as 50% of the people vote in a national election and 100% of them complain about the results — that’s STUPID. However the fact that NO ONE HAS EVER won a car chase should give you some idea of the mental level of those involved.

fireBAD says:

Lame lame lame

Adults that do stupid s4it should not be allowed to sue anyone…you drink coffee…coffee is hot…you spill coffee on you…it will burn…you will yelp…and move on. No this part is important so repeat after me…YOU WILL NOT SUE!

Parents…you should really police your childresn video games…the ratings are there for a reason and on top of that you can go to and read about the game before you rent/buy for your kid.

Now I played inappropriate games for my age when I was a kid (Leisure Suit Larry comes to mind) but I have never lost my grip on reality. Sure sometimes I like to drive my car a little reckless…and sometimes paintball is a little more like Black…but I know where I am at and who I am and what my limitations are.

This guy was an idiot…he should not be let off the hook because of a game and if anyone defends this asshole then I feel sorry for us all!

techdirt watchdawg says:


Apparently, comments here are now being editorialized here on Techdirt, or there is something wrong with the site.

I saw postings well in advance of once shown, then have been removed or misplaced for some reason on here.

Are the editors editing out valid commentary? or is there a problem with the site?

For example, there were satirical postings about frogger making people run across streets blindly, and pacman making people put plastic in their mouths posted previously that have disappeared.


techdirt watchdog

Mike (profile) says:

Re: TechDirty?

Techdirt watchdawg,

Apparently, comments here are now being editorialized here on Techdirt, or there is something wrong with the site.

I saw postings well in advance of once shown, then have been removed or misplaced for some reason on here.

Please back up those accusations. We do not delete comments on Techdirt, unless they are spam, or directly harmful in some manner.

Are the editors editing out valid commentary? or is there a problem with the site?

Neither. I think you may have rushed to judgment for some unknown reason.

For example, there were satirical postings about frogger making people run across streets blindly, and pacman making people put plastic in their mouths posted previously that have disappeared.

I still see both of the comments you reference. No one here has touched them. They’ve been up since they were posted.

Please do not us accuse of such things when the accusations are absolutely false.

Besides, why would we ever edit out satirical comments… especially amusing ones like that?

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