Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)

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Dioptimus Drime

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Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« on: February 21, 2007, 04:58:19 PM »
Okay, so here it begins with this CNN story. Basically twelve deviants decided that after drinking and hanging out with this homeless man, they would beat the living daylights out of him, including such things as bashing him with pipes and smearing their own shit on his face (seriously). Obviously, the kids were NOT right in the head while doing this, and they had no provocation--apparently there is some sort of ridiculous idiotic craze going out amongst the very small percentage of fucked up people in our generation--etcetera, etcetera. I could go on about how ridiculously stupid these kids are and psychoanalyze the reasons for doing all this for ages, but that's not really the point.

Basically, it all boiled down to this quote:
Quote from: CNN Story
Ihrcke told police that killing "the bum" reminded him of playing a violent video game, a police report shows.

So, of course, the media focal point puts this in there, being the hungry douchebags that they are, without question. Why? Because it's a controversial topic. Is killing someone in real life like a video game? Possibly, I've never done it. However, is killing someone in a video game like killing someone in real life? Not AT ALL. However, obviously, the media dogs are jumping ALL FUCKING OVER this case, talking to the kid and dragging more about video games and why they're bad, etcetera. Are the video games responsible? Probably not, seeing as the kid barely played games at all (more on that later).

Now we turn focus to Penny Arcade. If any of you keep up on the news, you'd have already seen Gabe's comedic post (see bottom article) shoving the blame away from the gaming community, and put it instead on the parents, as a satirically extreme point-of-view. Obviously, it's not really their fault either, but who would know? The media is too busy with the video game business that they didn't even think about interviewing the parents or anybody else.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Gabe received an e-mail last night after he made his post from someone who had a strong relationship with this kid. I'm really glad that I could actually get the REAL story without all of the media, "TEENAGE KIDS ARE THE DEVIL!" and "VIDEO GAMES ARE MURDERING PEOPLE!" type of Yellow Journalism that's infecting everything lately. So, this is a bit of Gabe's follow-up post on the matter as well as the e-mail he received from the child's stepmother (full story here [bottom of page]).

Quote from: Penny Arcade Newspost -- Email from a Reader
I am about to share with you an email I received from a Penny Arcade reader. She also happens to be involved in this case but obviously she’d like to remain anonymous. She has agreed to let me share her email with all of you and I can’t thank her enough for that. Like I said before, I know why most people come to Penny Arcade. You come every other day looking for a joke and a laugh. What you’re about to read isn’t a joke. It’s an extremely personal email sent by a very brave woman and I’m honored to share it with you.

Gabe,

Your news post about the kids and the homeless man yesterday made me sick to my stomach, before I even read the CNN article. I knew what it was going to be about before even reading the article. It was not the article itself, or even your post that made me sick, it was the fact that I know this boy. Or, rather that I could be considered one of the “parents” of this boy.

The boy’s father and I have been together for almost seven years, and I had what I guess could be called a “stepmother” relationship with the kid. To say that living with this kid was hell would be a complete understatement.

I don’t think I have ever actively hated anyone in my entire life, but this kid just makes my blood boil.

As I write this, my teeth are clenched, my hands are shaking, and my whole body is seething with the hatred I feel for this kid and what he has done. Seeing the article brings back all the horrible memories from when he lived with us.

He was constantly in trouble in school, with the cops, with us, with his mother, and with anyone else who was an authority figure. Not a week went by that the school or the cops wouldn’t call us for something. His attitude was basically “fuck you, I don’t have to listen to you” said with a shrug.

We tried absolutely everything we could think of to get him to behave like a normal human being… we tried groundings, negative reinforcement / punishment, positive reinforcement, counseling, and anything and everything the counselors suggested. We tried to get him interested and involved in extracurricular activities, like hockey, drama, music, art, anything, but he got himself kicked out of every group he was in with his “make me” attitude. When we would ground him, we took away everything. No TV, no computer, no phone, no leaving the house, no snacks or junk food…. Everything. When he was grounded, he was only allowed to sit in his room and read or draw. He was actually a pretty good artist, and we tried to encourage him to spend his time working with his talent. He would just sit there and take it… the groundings had absolutely no affect on him at all. Most of the time, he didn’t even remember why he was being grounded. At the end of it, we would ask him if it was worth it to have everything taken away in exchange for what he did… he usually just shrugged. He could be grounded for weeks, or a month at a time, and then the very next day would do something to get back in trouble again. Most kids get grounded or punished a couple of times, and then they want to avoid having to go through it again… not this kid, nothing seemed to phase him.

And we’re not talking the usual teenager stuff, like coming home late, or refusing to do the dishes. We’re talking stealing cars, setting fires, drinking, getting picked up for drugs, beating up handicapped kids at school (yes, really) stealing things out of our house… all with this “I’ll do whatever the fuck I want” attitude.

We had absolutely no idea what else we could do. We already had him in counseling, and we did everything the counselors suggested. We tried rewarding his good behavior (what little there was) to try to get him to see that when he behaves like a normal human being, things are good and people enjoy being around him. Nothing phased him at all.

Then, things took an even worse turn when he decided that whenever he didn’t get his way, or we did something he didn’t like, he told his counselors and teachers that we were abusing him. (Never happened.) And for some inexplicable reason, everybody believed him. I understand that child abuse is a very serious situation, and that they have to take every possible case seriously, but this was clearly a case of him manipulating people to get what he wanted. We had people from the school, cops, and social services over at our house or calling us on a weekly basis stating some new abuse that he had made up. At 14, the boy was already 6’3” and over 200 pounds. Of course, there was never a mark on him, because no such abuse ever took place.

One particular night (cops involved, as always) he decided that he didn’t have to listen to anything we said, and that he wasn’t coming home. He went to live with his mother, where things got worse by the day. He stole everything out of her home and sold it. He invited gang-bangers and drug dealers to her home, and she feared for her safety constantly. She called the cops numerous times because she feared for her safety, but again, the boy said that she abused him, and the cops always took his side. (For reference, the mother is about 5’3” and barely clocks in at 115.) He planted a loaded gun in her room, called the cops and told them that it belonged to the mother’s boyfriend. The boyfriend actually ended up serving time because of this fucking bastard kid. She had two other young children in the house, and the gun and the abuse charges were an intentional plot to get the other two kids taken away from her. She tried restraining orders against the kid, but since he was a minor, they wouldn’t allow it. Every time he got picked up, she pleaded with the cops to take him to jail, maybe that would finally get though to him, but they just kept bringing him home to her. I don’t understand why everyone who was involved with this kid just blindly took this juvenile delinquent’s word over all else!

The night that he and his friends murdered that poor homeless man, the mother said that he was acting particularly cocky. Then he threatened to kill her. We had absolutely no idea of what he had done until they found the man’s body. He was immediately waived into adult court (at 15) and sentenced to 15 years. We were all absolutely sick with grief for this man.

We were also sick with guilt… “What could we have done differently?” was a constant question in all of our heads. After the kid was sentenced, all the cops, counselors, social workers, and people at the school that had been dealing with him contacted us and his mother and apologized for not taking us seriously. They are all trained to take all accusations of child abuse seriously, and as a part of that they blindly took the kid’s side for everything, and dismissed us as “the lying abusers”. Many of them told us that they wished they would have taken our pleas for help seriously. Everyone thought we were exaggerating about how fucked up this kid was.

I completely agree with your statement of “These kids were twelve kinds of nuts and that’s a fact.” But the reason I am writing this to you is that, after reading your news post yesterday, I felt that I needed to defend the boy’s parents. His mother and father and I did absolutely everything we could think of to try to keep this kid in line. Even the kinds of things that normal teenagers get in trouble for would have been a blessing compared to what we’ve been through with him.

What I gave you today is a very small sampling of the kinds of things we were dealing with every single fucking day with this kid. When people hear about what he’s done, I can always sense the “I’m sure there was something you could have done” comment coming up. What would you have done? How do you deal with a kid like this? Like I said, we did everything the counselors suggested, and nothing seemed to matter.

If you want to add another element to the “nature vs. nurture” idea, this boy has a brother. Both boys were raised in the same house, with the same values. The brother has developed into a kind, considerate, responsible, and independent young man. He is currently working his butt off right now to save up money to go to school for architecture. The only thing I regret is that we spent so much time and energy dealing with the bad kid that this boy missed out on having a normal family life with a normal sibling relationship.

I am sorry this got so long. I have been reading PA since the very beginning, and I feel that both of you are very much like me. I think we are the same age (29) and I have been a lifelong gamer like the two of you. I can’t stand hearing about the so-called correlation between games and real-life violence. Video games DID NOT make this kid who he was, and it’s unfortunate that the correlation is there.

The thing that really gets me with this whole thing is that the kid knows full well that by equating what he’s done to a video game, that he will generate controversy and media coverage. It makes me sick that the media is jumping all over this, because that is exactly the result that he wants.

The only good thing (if there is such a thing) that has come out of this whole ordeal is that the kid is behind bars. That is exactly where he needs to be.

Again, I’m sorry about the length of this. Thanks for allowing me to “tell my side” of the story.


Essentially, the kid was NOT actually an avid gamer, but rather a drug addict, liar, arsonist, burglar, and, in Gabe's words, "Twelve kinds of nuts." He was NOT right in the head from the first place. Basically, though, he KNEW the controversy with video games, and so what better time to pick such a phrase to say, that "it's like a violent video game?" It gets him media coverage, and everything else is shoved away in favor of his scapegoat, the video game industry.

And what has the media done to try to follow up on this case? Absolutely nothing. They obviously didn't even request an interview with the stepmother, the mother, OR the father. Or if they did, their opinions on the matter were definitely not received by the media as something that could make them boatloads of cash and jump in on the all-too-amusing debate on whether video game violence makes kids want to kill people.

So, not only does this prove to me that this specific case was entirely exaggerated in favor of the kid's elegantly decidive scapegoat, but I think it says something about the nature of today's media, especially on the case of violent video games. OF COURSE it quenches peoples' thirst for gossip and controversy when someone says that killing a homeless man is similar to a video game experience, but is it true? After all of the evidence that the media is simply taking things out of the context of reality, I think it's safe to say that video games do not inherently make someone want to go out and kill homeless man.

Conclusively, video games + adolescent =/= child who rubs feces on deceased homeless men's faces.


~D-Draw


Thanks for reading. Anybody have any other comments on this?

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beast

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2007, 05:05:23 PM »
Yeah it's stupid.  It's an example of dogmatic beliefs over the rational evidence.  Violent video games are not the problem with society.  If anything, they are just a symptom of it.  I think that it's an easy target, because the real reasons, that our society is a morally corrupt world where only materialism counts for anything is not something people want to admit to.  We don't want to believe that it's us who are causing these problems and that we're the only ones who can fix it, we want to blame other people.

Two books that give the best insight into materialism and its effects on the world:

Affluenza by Clive Hamilton

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

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Masterchef

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2007, 05:23:33 PM »
It is fairly obvious to anyone with at least half a brain that video games do not cause violent behavior in kids. I doubt even the people reporting the story believe that they do.

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Nomad

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2007, 06:07:29 PM »
What a bunch of fags.

I pretty much agree with everything you said in your post, Diego.  I feel sorry for that poor woman (or could be man; he/she/it never mentioned their gender past "stepmother" in quotes).  That kid sounded like a real piece of shit.  I hope he gets raped in prison.
Nomad is a superhero.

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2007, 06:10:12 PM »
I am POSITIVE that any parent, cop, or hobo would rather that I sit at home and kill innocent people inside a video game than outside in the real world.

That letter was very powerful. I wish she would submit that to some news networks to get a bit of truth out. :(

Reading through the CNN article, there is no interpretation, speculation, or "expert" opinion in response to the video game comment.

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beast

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2007, 06:59:16 PM »
One has to ask the question, what kind of parent reads "penny arcade"?

 :P

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Nomad

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2007, 07:51:29 PM »
One that's TOTALLY AWESOME, that's what kind.
Nomad is a superhero.

8/30 NEVAR FORGET

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Dioptimus Drime

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2007, 08:22:48 PM »
I am POSITIVE that any parent, cop, or hobo would rather that I sit at home and kill innocent people inside a video game than outside in the real world.

That letter was very powerful. I wish she would submit that to some news networks to get a bit of truth out. :(

Reading through the CNN article, there is no interpretation, speculation, or "expert" opinion in response to the video game comment.
I'd assume she tried to assert the opinions to the networks, but really I doubt that they would care about it, because it's not interesting for people who want to hear that video games killed a homeless guy.

As for the latter, you would be surprised at how much every single one of these kinds of comments, no matter how small, can cripple the gaming community. No doubt little Jack Thompsons all around the world will use this quote REPEATEDLY until it gets monotonous and another jackass decides that he's going to eat poisonous mushrooms because he was playing Mario too much.

So really, it doesn't matter how small the comment might be or how little it was speculated on by the article, no matter what when one of these comments comes it WILL be used against the gaming community, and that's why this kind of comment is a stab. Not to mention the fact that I have never ever played a game where you have to take feces out of your own ass and smear it on a dead guy's face. At least not that I remember...Hm.

One has to ask the question, what kind of parent reads "penny arcade"?

 :P
I think she was probably pretty young. At least it seemed so. Plus, you would actually be surprised at the kinds of people who are active as avid gamers. Gabe and Tycho (writers of Penny Arcade) themselves are in their forties, both with wives and children.


~D-Draw

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Nomad

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2007, 08:38:28 PM »
One has to ask the question, what kind of parent reads "penny arcade"?

 :P
I think she was probably pretty young. At least it seemed so. Plus, you would actually be surprised at the kinds of people who are active as avid gamers. Gabe and Tycho (writers of Penny Arcade) themselves are in their forties, both with wives and children.


~D-Draw

Quote from: The Letter
I think we are the same age (29) and I have been a lifelong gamer like the two of you.
Nomad is a superhero.

8/30 NEVAR FORGET

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quixotic

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2007, 08:39:42 PM »
Im sorry....but I would have to say that video games DO contribute to youth violence...but doesn't everything??

Its definitely the be all and end all, but its not necessarily healthy for kids to play games like Manhunt....

Like...O M G ! ! ! He is, like, totally using the gun as like some kind of sexual weapon. O M G ! ! That is like, totally awesome! ! !

Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2007, 08:44:03 PM »
But kids who play violent video games and then kill people probably had those violent tendencies and thoughts to begin with, and that may even contribute to the appeal of the game. I don't buy it.

Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2007, 08:47:12 PM »
Anything can mold your personality, anything COULD make you kill someone. But actually giving into those urges caused by videogames/movies/whatev shows that you are a person and you probably have a mental disorder/was beaten as a child.   :P

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Nomad

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2007, 08:49:39 PM »
Im sorry....but I would have to say that video games DO contribute to youth violence...but doesn't everything??

Its definitely the be all and end all, but its not necessarily healthy for kids to play games like Manhunt....

I agree with Rusty.  Violent games don't make kids kill.  These kids are fucked up to begin with, and don't need the games to commit crimes.  I've murdered countless sprites and models since I was probably three years old, and I've yet to shoot up a school or kill anyone in reality.  Anyone who claims games do the contrary are full of shit.
Nomad is a superhero.

8/30 NEVAR FORGET

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quixotic

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2007, 08:53:30 PM »
Im not saying they necessarily do do that....

Hypothetical:

I f there were 2 exact people (impossible, but hypthotical)and one was brought up playing CS, GTA, Bully, Manhunt, PREY, FEAR, HALO

The other is brought up playing doctor with his little cousin...

Im just saying that it CONTRIBUTES to it...

I remember when I used to come out of action films, Jackie Chan and shit, and i would try and ebat the crap out of my sister....

Like...O M G ! ! ! He is, like, totally using the gun as like some kind of sexual weapon. O M G ! ! That is like, totally awesome! ! !

Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2007, 08:53:49 PM »
Im sorry....but I would have to say that video games DO contribute to youth violence...but doesn't everything??

Its definitely the be all and end all, but its not necessarily healthy for kids to play games like Manhunt....

I agree with Rusty.  Violent games don't make kids kill.  These kids are fucked up to begin with, and don't need the games to commit crimes.  I've murdered countless sprites and models since I was probably three years old, and I've yet to shoot up a school or kill anyone in reality.  Anyone who claims games do the contrary are full of shit.

round of applause

anyone who bad mouths game should be killed  :D

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quixotic

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2007, 09:00:04 PM »
omg pick on the vauzhall retard
Im not picking on games...Ive played a many in my lifetime...

But I also have to concede that even though I am not a killer, that playing those games is a way to escape from reality and some people will make that fantasy a definite reality

Like...O M G ! ! ! He is, like, totally using the gun as like some kind of sexual weapon. O M G ! ! That is like, totally awesome! ! !

Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2007, 09:02:10 PM »
omg pick on the vauzhall retard
Im not picking on games...Ive played a many in my lifetime...

But I also have to concede that even though I am not a killer, that playing those games is a way to escape from reality and some people will make that fantasy a definite reality


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Dioptimus Drime

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2007, 09:14:22 PM »
Im sorry....but I would have to say that video games DO contribute to youth violence...but doesn't everything??

Its definitely the be all and end all, but its not necessarily healthy for kids to play games like Manhunt....

I can see where you're coming from, but honestly, I don't think that video games are any more influential than any other form of media. Movies, hell, even books might inspire kids to go murder some guy. As a matter of fact, knowing me as a person, you would never expect me to play games like CS, Battlefield, Unreal Tournament, etctera (shoot-em-up games where you basically do nothing except shoot other people). I'm a peaceful kind of person; I prefer to stay away from physical confrontation as much as possible, and so forth. As a matter of fact, those types of games probably more act as a release. I don't NEED to snap and go postal and kill a hobo or shoot up my school because I can go and snipe out some n00bs in CS instead.

Obviously, there CAN be different effects on peoples' minds, but I just don't see it being any worse than a book or a movie. Also, as I've said many a times, I play Sonic the Hedgehog all the time, but I have NEVER had the urge to roll in somersaults down a crowded street, fight a mad scientist and his robots, and if I see a large golden ring suspended in mid-air for no reason, I'm probably going to be rather estranged by it.


~D-Draw

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cadmium_blimp

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Re: Video Game Violence (And Why the Media is Pissing Me Off)
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2007, 09:46:57 PM »
I remember when I used to come out of action films, Jackie Chan and shit, and i would try and ebat the crap out of my sister....
But, srsly, who needs an action movie to want to beat the crap out of their sister?

I keed, I keed!
...and if I see a large golden ring suspended in mid-air for no reason, I'm probably going to be rather estranged by it.
Admit it, you would be tempted to go for it...

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