Sunday, April 22, 2007

Massacre Chasers are Lame

You know, it's pretty angering to me when people like Jack Thompson and Dr. Phil take advantage of an incident like the shooting at Virginia Tech by using it to bash something they don't like - namely video games. Note, I'm not alone in my sentiments here - what I'm saying is just rehashing what's been discussed in several other articles and blogs, but here it is nonetheless.

On the eve of the VT massacre, Dr. Phil said the following on Larry King Live:

"The problem is we are programming these people as a society. You cannot tell me - common sense tells you - that if these people are playing video games where they’re on a mass killing spree in a video game, it’s glamorized on the big screen, it’s become part of the fiber of our society. You take that and mix it with a psychopath, a sociopath, or someone suffering from mental illness, add in a dose of rage, the suggestability is just too high. And we’re going to have to start dealing with that. We’re going to have to start addressing those issues and recognizing that the mass murderers of tomorrow are the children of today that are being programmed with this massive violence overdose."

Uh huh. Right. I have huge respect for Jason Della Rocca (executive director of the International Game Developers' Association) right now, because he hit the nail right on the head, summing up exactly what I was thinking quite well:

"It’s so sad. These massacre chasers — they’re worse than ambulance chasers — they’re waiting for these things to happen so they can jump on their soapbox."

Jack Thompson, for those of you who don't know, is a controversial attorney who is a wildly active opposer of violent media, particularly video games. Following the VT massacre he was interviewed on MSNBC, and was confronted with this quotation. Watch how angry he gets.


Haha. And that smoking analogy was pretty bad in my opinion. Of course not every smoker gets lung cancer - but they all get damaged lungs. That's the difference. Very few gamers are "damaged" by the games they play. Ah well. Thoughts?

7 Comments:

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

I knew there was a reason I didn't like Dr. Phil. The part that bothers me most: "You take that and mix it with a psychopath, a sociopath, or someone suffering from mental illness..." That's exactly the sort of thing that's encouraging the worst kind of social stigma of mentally ill people, with disastrous consequences for everyone.

 
At 10:37 PM, Blogger Brillo said...

Yup, I noticed that too and totally agree - although there are far worse examples of that kind of thinking floating around.

 
At 9:22 PM, Blogger Spunk Maestro said...

As you know I hate Jack Thompson with a fiery passion but I think his recent statements seem even more idiotic than usual. The idea of someone training on a computer game to commit a mass murder is nothing but complete bullshit. Thats like saying that you can train on Monopoly to become a good businessman. How can using a few keys and a mouse have anything to do with aiming a real gun? What's really funny is how Thompson said on an earlier interview that Kimveer Gill trained on Super Columbine Massacre RPG for his shooting at Dawson's College. If you don't know this game, it is like the old final fantasy or pokemon games where you battle people in a turn based style. It has actually become quite an interesting and important social commentary.

http://www.columbinegame.com

In short, Thompson and other video game haters have no idea what they are talking about, have never played a video game, and are blocking any serious discussion over the effects of video games. I keep thinking: What will happen when our generation that grew up with video games leads the world? What new form of media will we blame for the violence of your children?

 
At 8:28 PM, Anonymous zorn said...

hmm. no idea who the guy in the video is, but i did see one interview years ago about relating video game violence to real violence and it made sense.

The guy pointed out that the columbine shooters didnt do what normal people do after shooting people for the first time. Normally people freeze... and watch as the person who they shot falls, or runs, etc. Trained soldiers know that you do not waste time looking at what you just did, you need to turn and keep shooting.

witnesses said this is what the columbine shooters did. I know from playing lots of fps games that this IS something you would learn from video games that you would not ever learn any other way. (other than really shooting people.)

Whether than means we shouldnt have video games... i dont know, impossible to say, i guess.

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger Brillo said...

Here's how I look at it Zorn: I'm sure the Columbine shooters did learn their "shooting habits" from playing FPS games. In the same way, if you were going to kill somebody by ramming them with your car, you'd probably use skills you'd acquired driving your car in every day life.

That analogy might be a little weak, but my point is that so many people are playing violent video games these days that it's no longer all that relevant to situations. Thousands upon thousands of people kill and maim in games, and every once in a blue moon one gamer goes and kills people. It's not the games, it's the people.

And I should mention that although I criticized media figures in this entry, I was glad to see that most of the discussion around the Virginia Tech shooting incident seemed to emphasize mental health and gun control issues as opposed to violence in popular culture.

 
At 9:34 PM, Anonymous zorn said...

hmm, good points. I look at things like this like allergies. I found out recently that being exposed to something you are allergic to is like adding water to a glass. You might be allergic to dust, cats and say... peanuts. One day you are in a dusty environment, the 'water' in the glass fills half way. Then you pet a cat. It fills almost to the top. Then you eat a peanut. It overflows - you break out in hives.

The person assumes it is the peanuts that are the problem. The next day, 3 cats and a ton of dust later... he breaks out. The peanuts werent the entire problem, just the last thing that pushed things over the top.

Viewing violence is like the water in the glass, i think. for most of us, it isnt enough to push us over the edge of the glass, but it *does* raise the water level a bit.

Dont know if that analogy works at all. lol

I do agree that people use events like this to further their own ends, and I dont think that video games turn normal people into wackos... it just adds a little water to the glass. Take a person who naturally has a glass that is 90% full...and you have problems.

 
At 9:54 PM, Blogger Brillo said...

That, I can agree with. Well put.

 

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