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.