'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.

Filed Under: , , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “'The Video Game Made Me Kill My Parents' Defense Rejected”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Twinrova says:

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!

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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.

Twinrova says:

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.

simon says:

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

simon says:

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…

carlyn says:

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.

PaulT (profile) says:

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.

PhillD says:

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.

gene_cavanaugh (user link) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Tess says:

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.

Darklord7375 says:

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.

carlyn says:

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.

Anonymous Coward (user link) says:


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.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...