Jack Thompson, You're Needed In Germany

from the misplaced-blame-knows-no-boundaries dept

In the US there’s been a focus on blaming video games for youth violence — often involving infamous lawyer Jack Thompson. However, so far, there’s been almost no research that really connects video games to increased violence. While supporters of bans on such games claim that there are studies that say such things, almost all of them fall apart when you look at the details that often involve small sample sizes and only show that people get their heart rates up while playing video games — but never suggest that they have trouble distinguishing reality from game. In fact, as has been pointed out repeatedly, as the popularity (and quality) of violent video games has increased, incidents of youth violence have decreased — suggesting that it may actually act as an outlet for people (or, as one study suggests, a way to keep violent people off the street). Obviously more research needs to be done, but the general levels of youth violence compared to the popularity of these games certainly suggests that it hasn’t had quite the negative impact some people claim. But, as per usual, sensationalism usually wins out on these types of things, and now it’s been exported to Germany, where lawmakers are looking to ban violent or war simulator games (including paintball or laser tag), after a German teenager performed a local version of Columbine, wounding at least 27 people before killing himself. It seems that, once again, rather than looking at what a troubled individual this young man was, everyone is immediately blaming the video games he played. It’s easy to place the blame on the video games he played, but considering the vast majority of people who plays these games never go and shootup a school, it seems quite likely that there were many other factors that influenced his actions, and banning video games and pretending that solves the problem will do little (if anything) to prevent the next such outburst.

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Comments on “Jack Thompson, You're Needed In Germany”

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PhysicsGuy says:

While it’s my opinion violent video games do not in turn cause violence, you cannot conclude based on the increase in violent video game popularity and the decrease in teen violence that violent video games are related to the cause of this decrease. You merely have a correlation between the two. It does, as you point out, speak against the claim that violent video games cause violence. However, a proper study is needed and one would be difficult to produce that actually showed cause and effect of the action of playing a violent game.

Science aside, when someone commits a heinous crime who has played video games, it is illogical to conclude that the heinous crime was caused by the video games. As you point out, many people play violent video games and do not exhibit violent behavior, myself being one of them (in fact, I’m extremely pacifistic… I do not believe in committing acts of violence in any situation, however I love getting that head shot with an AK against some counter-terrorist trying to rescue the hostages I’m guarding [cs:s owns]) and looking at past history, people have been committing violent crimes throughout. To the people who blame video games for violence: what was Charlie Manson’s favorite video game to play or Hitler’s or Nero’s? (oh yea, it was the Beatles who were responsible for that Charlie [?!?!?! o.O]) …

Disgusted says:

Jack Thompson sucks co_k. I'd like to buy a "C"

Jack Thompson Is retarded. I’ve said this before and I’l say it again, not only was he picked on by his peers in school and his parents. He was pro bably the kid that never got anything he wanted on X-mas and and all the other kids got what he wanted… Can you hear him now? ” When I grow up I’ll make sure no one will get what they want”… Flaming cock sucker he is…

PhysicsGuy says:


and i’ll guarantee your counterstrike skills would translate over to battlefield 2 and you’d be good at that game from the get go. i know this because after having developed crack-head-like, fast-twitch fingers from counterstrike and a reaction time that the matrix crew would be jealous of i can kick ass at any fps without even having played it (assuming i can use a keyboard and mouse) 😀

Elusion says:

Re: Counterstrike

rofl only with a mouse and keyboard, i played with a laptop for a year(out of almost 7 years of cs), i can play just as good with a touch pad, and I’m cal-i in css level, and about cpl in 1.6….then again I’m personally surprised i have a life as well….
when i played bf2 and ghost recon-aw, i destroyed everyone after teh first bit of getting used to looking in every which direction so i dont get run over by a teammate with a tank lol.

Chuck (user link) says:

Deutschland uber alles!!

Yes, the socialist German courts are a harbinger for what we can expect in the United States as we let our judicial system not on apply laws, but when they have a whim to do so, write them as well.

You would think Germans would be a little bit more careful about letting power reside in the hands of the few, but they have that darn insatiable need for orderliness, even if it means taking away your freedom, a little bit by a little bit and before you know it, your feeding the jews, the catholics, the mentally and physically disabled into ovens, making lampshades out of human skin, and keeping meticulous records of the gold harvested from the fillings in the teeth of the dead.

Was that the result of a video game too?

Disgusted says:

I knew it..

How did I guess that someone was gonna say something about Germans , Jew and ovens in this blog? I just knew it. You always look for some reason to throw that in everyone’s faces. Yes we know the holocaust, auschwitz. yada yada yada. We know OK it’s over…Look you got your country out of it and at the price of blood eveyday overthere…STFU…

Bri (profile) says:

Anecdotal evidence

Anecdotal evidence is neither helpful in this debate nor scientific. When one examines crime statistics using econometrics and sociometrics, the single greatest contributor (correlation) using multiple regression is the decline in the youth population in the US. I haven’t examined such data for other countries, although that would be interesting I suppose, but this trend has existed for quite a while and all sociometricians that work with criminal justice data are aware of it. Video games, so far, seem to have no contributory effect one way or the other.

Donald Duck says:

Ban video games in Germany?

Didn’t they try to banned books there once. Whats the world coming to when it comes to banning technology. Besides every video game that kid plays they probably could just download it using tor instead of going to the store and buying it.

This idea that you have to purchase a DVD or a CD Rom of a game is the game companies trying to make more money and keep it from being copied.

I would say that we should ban horror movies before we ban games. Some of these movies are just plan trash but I’m for the first amendment to much to ban any thing.

Jorg (user link) says:

Obsessed with Nazi Germany

Apparently everything you guys know about Germany is related to the Nazi era.

Just mention Germany, and you guys think of Nazis.

Sounds pretty ignorant to me.

Broaden your horizon! Learn something new about Germany. Read our blog for example: The Atlantic Review is a press digest on transatlantic affairs edited by three German Fulbright Alumni.

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