I Like to Kill Cops (In Grand Theft Auto)
By Scott Editor | Scott's Archive
January 05, 2004

It’s amazing how far the media will go to blame our youth for everything wrong with today’s society. A child gets his hands on a gun, takes it upon himself within his own reasoning faculties to take another human life with that gun, and we blame videogames for it.

I grew up on “Mortal Kombat,” the realistic-looking videogame where you must defeat your opponents in hand-to-hand combat and then execute them when the match is over. As fun as they are, I don’t play videogames that much anymore. Occasionally I will pick up “Grand Theft Auto,” an even more realistic game where you advance and earn points by completing missions that involve selling drugs, killing cops and soliciting prostitutes. A new game that recently came out for the Playstation 2 is “Man Hunt,” a third-person adventure starring you as a condemned murderer set free the day of your execution by an unseen director of snuff movies. In order to survive, you must escape from various locations and avoid “hunters,” sadistic thugs who wear clown masks and pack glass shards and shotguns. It is your job to kill them before they kill you, and there are three different ways you can execute a hunter not counting face-to-face combat: quick, violent and vicious; using several different weapons. I personally like the plastic bag because hunters nearby can’t hear my victims cry for help.

So why do I play brutally violent videogames? The answer is simple; they’re fun. And despite my cancerous exposure to my generation deemed a wasteland by the “Greatest Generation,” the generation whom gave that title to themselves, I think I’m a pretty normal guy. I’ve never actually killed anybody believe it or not, nor have I ever been arrested. Honestly, I’ve never had detention. But yes, I do chuckle when I see a head explode when met with a baseball bat, especially when I’m the one who’s doing the whacking.

The supposed guardians of today’s youth and the wise men who run conservative news outlets can’t believe that somebody would actually want to play a videogame that I admit is fun and addicting. The “cultural crusader” himself, Michael Medved, sees this as a serious problem. After creating an obviously fictitious scenario in which a store clerk pleads with a mother not to buy “Grand Theft Auto” for her son, he writes , “The assistant store manager – who at this point looked like an everyday hero in my eyes – complied with her request, and wrapped the game up for the 15-year-old monster that the lady spoiled and corrupted at home.

Yes, how dare we let our chil...I mean monsters play “Grand Theft Auto.” Unfortunately however, rare and tragic incidents do occur. When they do, the first person we blame isn’t a person, it’s the videogame; not the parents, and God forbid not the child who actually committed the crime. And when we arrest these children whom of course are not to blame for what they’ve done, they tell investigators it was a videogame they played that gave them a sudden itch to watch people drown in their own blood. We in turn believe their motive and not for one second do we suspect that the offenders may have used videogames as an excuse to look less-guilty in front of a judge and jury or to get an insanity verdict.

Christopher Byron of the conservative New York Post proved how inane the war on videogame violence has become and how off-target (pun not intended) we are in placing the blame. He writes, "...cases surface constantly in which "Grand Theft Auto" has been linked to violence and killing. In Tennessee last summer a motorist was killed and his passenger wounded when two boys - aged 14 and 16 - played "Grand Theft Auto" and then decided to go out and take sniper shots at cars, just like in the game."

Hold on there Mr. Byron, I think you might have skipped a few steps here; “played ‘Grand Theft Auto’ and then decided to go out and take sniper shots...” So a 14-year-old gets his hand on a gun and we blame videogames for it? Of course we could never expect a conservative publication to ever point the finger at the gun industry or the parents who make their weapons as accessible to their children as the cookie jar.

But because two morons who mysteriously had access to guns were able to fire off rounds at innocent civilians from the freeway, we must blame a videogame which according to Mr. Byron sold 5 million copies last year alone for their unexplainable thirst for carnage and mayhem. Mr. Byron is basically saying that .00004% of all “Grand Theft Auto” games sold last year resulted in homicide. And that .00004% figure (2 people divided by 5 million games) is only applicable if it’s true that “Grand Theft Auto” is the reason why those two kids “decided one day to go out and take sniper shots.”

The folks at Penny Arcade, a website for gamers in which the owners ran a charity drive that brought in over $27,000 in money donations alone this past holiday season, also had a few good things to say regarding Mr. Byron’s ridiculous rant.

Most retail stores won’t sell rated “Mature” videogames to anybody under 17, the same crowd who can’t get into an R-rated film without a guardian. But parents buy them the games and take them into the movies, that’s why conservative nutjobs like Bill O’Reilly are calling for a war on movies. Yet according to alcoholstats.com, in 2002 alone, 1,881 minors died in alcohol related car crashes. So why isn’t Mr. Byron calling for the renewal of prohibition? Would that not put an end to alcohol related fatalities? Of course it would, but we obviously oppose prohibition because we say that at the age of 21, you are responsible enough to consume alcohol, and prohibition would ruin it for us responsible people.

So then what’s wrong with games like “Grand Theft Auto” when at the age of 17, you are responsible enough to play the game, and prohibition would ruin it for us responsible people? But according to Mr. Byron, “the fact that the game supposedly can't be sold to anyone under 17 years of age is completely irrelevant and changes nothing. For one thing, the age cutoff is totally unenforceable, and everyone knows it.” And so is the age cutoff for alcohol -- and dare I say -- firearms!

Not surprisingly, you won’t find the people who are crusading against videogames fighting the same war against guns, the actual instruments that kill people. And never in their articles do they blame the individuals who committed the crimes. But we do believe them when they say it was videogames that led to their sprees.

I’m waiting for the day when someone makes an argument to ban God and burn every Bible because -- according to people like those who played videogames before murdering innocent people -- it was God who made them do it.

[  Home  |   O'Reilly Watch  |   Coulter Analysis  |   Movie Reviews  ]
© Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. Contact Editor: Scott