Saturday, October 22, 2005

"Not All Kids Will Kill?" - 60 Minutes / Reader's Digest

Both the FBI and the Secret Service have recently found, after "Columbine,"that the perpetrators of the various school shootings were immersed in violent entertainment which contributed to the killings. The recent 2005 Red Lake, Minnesota, school massacre,the worst such incident since Columbine was at the hands of a boy who was an obsessive player of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, made by Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. The families of two police officers and a police dispatcher who were gunned down by a teen in Alabama trained to kill them on Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City murder simulators. March and July 2005 broadcasts of 60 Minutes and the August 2005 issue of Reader's Digest helped prove this to millions of Americans. These are not games. They are truly virtual reality murder simulators and trainers. This is not speech in any First Amendment sense.

These games are devices that train how to kill and to want to kill. The United States Supreme Court has let stand a lower court ruling that states that written manuals sold to adults on how to kill others are not protected by the First Amendment. Surely mature-rated murder simulators sold to children are not protected by the First Amendment either. Such an argument to the contrary would be laughable if it were not so well funded.

Additionally, and closer to home, teens in Ft. Myers, Florida in 1998, calling themselves the "Lords of Doom" trained to kill their teacher on the hyperviolent video game Doom. NBC made the case. This was the same murder simulation game on which Columbine's Klebold and Harris and Paducah's Michael Carneal trained to kill their classmates.

More recently, Michael Hernandez, the fourteen-year-old boy who killed his classmate and friend, Jamie Gough, at Southwood Middle School here in Miami, trained for the murder on Grand Theft Auto games. Hernandez nearly cut off Gough's head with a knife. The Grand Theft Auto games reward and glamorize the decapitation of victims with knives. I could go on with dozens more examples, but you get the idea. These games train, desensitize, and equip kids to kill.

Not all kids will kill, but scientific studies prove that such murder simulators increase aggression, violence, and some of this results in murderous violence, depending upon other risk factors in the lives of the kids the games invade.


I have never played video games on the level my younger counterparts do, but when I did I never felt comfortable with the level of violence it produced on screen. My son is growing up on these games and I, as his father, am very concerned about the effect that therapy meds and these games in combination have on younger children? (See Post below about the meds being administered to our kids by our national school systems).

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2 comments:

Linda said...

Hi Steve,
Impressive. Looks like you've put a lot of work and research into this. ....Kaybeach...(Linda)

Stephen Rene said...

Thank you for your comment Linda.

We can only hope to be allowed to share our feelings, our love and our commitment to true equality for ALL - every man, woman, and child - in our society today, and in the future...

Our Best to you and your family always,

SRene