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video games,
violence, porn & death

I loved video games — when I was little we had an Atari system and I played Pac Man in the den with my friend Sheri for hours day, my dad’s office was next to a video arcade and I plugged I don’t know how many quarters into an upright Ms. Pac Man (okay, I apparently had a thing for that game). But I even programmed a ski video game into my TRS 80 (my Trash 80, thank you), and I obsessed on Tetris starting in college.
Video games can be a good release and a chance to escape problems in life, I suppose.
But that doesn’t mean that you should go to a game that supports anything illegal - like porn, or theft, or murder.
Well, that seems obvious, Janet.
Well, it might not be that obvious. First of all, porn is legal to adults (even though a lot of adults have issue with porn).
Okay, Janet, crappy argument for porn, but you didn’t even cover violence or death.
Hmm. Yeah, I suppose there isn’t a good reason to want violence or death in video games. I know that in Pac Man you went around a maze eating monsters that were trying to kill you, but they were monsters, and it was a measure of trying to keep yourself alive (even if you got points for eating the monsters in those moments where the monsters became a delicacy in the game).
Yeah, I may have played a game where you killed creatures by eating them, but real point of the game was survival in maze after maze, not killing others.
So why am I talking about video games? Because everyone’s been playing them lately, from a guy I know who was practicing an on line game for hours every day to be a part of a team playing in the video game Olympics (yes, there’s actually an Olympics, where winners for a couple hundred thousand dollars), to a guy who used to rent a place from us who played an online game constantly, to... to eighteen-year-old Devin Moore, who played Grand Theft Auto: Vice City enough to relive a scene from one of the same scenarios.
You see, police office Arnold Strickland brought Devin Darnell Moore in on suspicion of car theft on June 7, 2003. Moore said in a statement (according to the University of Alabama’s newspaper the Crimson White on July 21, 2005) that Devin Moore grabbed Arnold Strickland’s gun and shot him twice, then shot Fayette police officer James Crump as he ran down the hall. Devin Moore said he then went down the hall and shot emergency dispatcher, Leslie “Ace” Mealer five times, then grabbed a set of car keys and fled in a police cruiser.
When people studied what he had done, they saw that his actions perfectly paralleled a Grand Theft Auto: Vice City scene.
Family members of Strickland and Mealer have even filed a wrongful death suit against “Vice City” developer Take 2 Games, Sony Entertainment, Gamestop and Wal-Mart, saying that the game trained Moore to effectively kill three police officers without hesitation. But according to the Enquirer, Devin Moore’s defense attorney Jim Standridge even said that the defense would include testimony about video games as well as post-traumatic stress disorder in the capital murder trial
Yes, somehow the defense will use the video game as support for Devin Moore.
Now, to recap from NBC News and the Associated Press: Devin Moore is charged with six capital murder counts in the 2003 deaths of Fayette officers Arnold Strickland and James Crump and dispatcher Leslie “Ace” Mealer.
And even though Columbus’ newspaper the Ledger Enquirer mentions Moore’s PTSD, we have to ask is PTSD justifies the murders committed.
Or if a video game justifies the murders committed.

•••

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., have even asked for a ratings change that would restrict young people's access to the video game — because it has been discovered that Grand Theft Auto may not only have violence problems, but sexual ones too.
David Walsh, president of the National Institute Of Media And The Family, said on The Early Show that “that there are explicit pornographic scenarios in which the player literally directs the pornographic scenes.” That and “the modules to activate the sex scenes are being promoted on teen-oriented Web sites. So the teen players all knew about it; parents were clueless.”
The Beloit Daily News reported that “The best-selling game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was revealed to contain embedded sexually explicit material... Players (children... -ed.) could easily download a “key” which allowed them to unlock what are, essentially, pornographic images.”
Does it matter that the makers of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas have stopped manufacturing the current version of the game, and that, according to nvunet.com, “Sex-free version to be released soon?” Yeah, this hyper-violent game is also bringing porn to teens, because Grand Theft Auto may only now change from an “M” rating, not an adults-only “AO” rating - and the late ratings-change doesn’t help the millions of children who already have the game.
I spent hours every day playing video games when I was little. And this Grand Theft Auto is what kids spend hours a day molding themselves after now.

•••

Newspaper sources stated that when questioned, jurors were asked if their children play video games. And of course people play video games. I even heard one caller on talk radio say that they had Grand Theft Auto and haven’t had the urge to kill anyone.
But CBS News even stated that Grand Theft Auto is both “extremely violent and wildly popular”... which makes me wonder why there is such an attraction to things that are illegal. Because we really want to steal cars and kill police officers? Um, I don’t think I want that (maybe that’s why I don’t play Grand Theft Auto), but is that what all the people — kids and adults — who buy Grand Theft Auto think?
Steven Johnson, author of “Everything Bad Is Good For You,” said that “Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon, was influenced by ‘Catcher in the Rye.’ The Manson family was influenced by listening to the Beatles. Borderline crazy people will be influenced by the media. The question is: Is there a long-term, larger trend in society towards more violence or less violence, based on these video games? We all know the trend in society over the last 10 years is towards much less violence than there was before.”
And that’s true, I hear that here in Chicago murder rates are decreasing over time. But does that mean we’re choosing to let out our violent tendencies in video games? I thought there was less violence because we as a people were less violent. Do we need to resort to video game violence and pornography to attempt to stop these otherwise unhealthy and immoral urges?







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