The land of the free

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  • American Politics
The land of the free

This article describes how 2 young boys (16-year-old William and 14-year-old Joshua Buckner) waited by the side of the road with shotguns and fired at cars as they passed, because they had seen it in a video game that they play. The game in question is Grand Theft Auto by Take Two Interactive.

While the content of the video game might be questionable, the manufacturers of the video game can hardly be held accountable. The surviving victims of this incident are attempting to sue Take Two Interactive for producing an 'irresponsible' product. As sad as this incident is (one person actually died), I see it as yet another example of people deciding that blame should be assigned to whoever has the biggest bank account, instead of the actual guilty parties.

That may sound like geographic discrimination, but as I stated already I make no apologies. I do personally think America is a mixed up country with ridiculous laws and questionable ideals. But that is just my opinion. This country thinks that their people are safer if everyone keeps a gun within reaching distance 24hours a day despite statistics showing that America is the most dangerous place on Earth for civilians - obviously they do not have a damn clue. And letting rampant lunatics like NRA (National Rifle Association) leader Charlton Heston, preach that an America loaded with guns is safer than a gun free America is pure stupidity.

Sorry for losing focus there. So who are these guilty parties I speak of? If Take Two Interactive is not to blame, then who is? For starters I can confidently say America's lax gun laws. I would also point the finger at the NRA. But I will point my biggest finger towards the parents of the children who committed this crime. The parents? No I am not insane. For starters, the video game in question has an 'R' rating, making it an offence for anyone less than 18 years of age to not only purchase the game, but to even have a copy in their possession. Why did the parents of William & Joshua Buckner allow them to be playing an 'R' rated video game? One would argue that you can not keep your eyes on your children 24 hours a day - and that would be correct. But does that mean the responsibility gets automatically shifted to the video game manufacturer? I think not.

Allow me to give an example at this point. Let's say that a Studio X releases a movie with a restricted 18+ rating. In this movie, the main character shoots dead 6 of his class mates with a semi automatic machine gun, all while the music of Marilyn Manson is pumping in the background. Now let's say that in real life, Johnny goes to school one morning and kills 6 of his classmates in exactly the same fashion that he had seen in the movie, with the same type of weapon. Does it make sense for the victim's families to sue the film studio? Well this nearly happened.

In 1999 Littleton, Colorado, 2 youths wearing trench coats (and calling themselves 'the trench coat Mafia') went on a killing spree at Columbine High School, killing several of their classmates and teachers before turning the guns on themselves. Similarities were drawn between this incident and the popular film "The Basketball Diaries", in which the main character, clad in a trench coat, shot his class mates and teacher dead. The families of the victims tried to blame the film studio, and when that didn't work, they tried to blame Marilyn Manson.

There simple fact is that the children who commit these crimes have a pre existing problem, derived from many reasons. Perhaps they were not given enough attention from their parents; perhaps they were bullied in primary school, or perhaps their parents were not perfect role models themselves. In any case, non-one will go out and run over their next door neighbour's dog with a lawnmower simply because they saw it in a movie. Not without a pre existing psychological condition.

I (and many of my friends) am living proof that violent video games and music do not influence people to do evil deeds. I have been playing violent video games since I was old enough to pick-up a joy stick. I am now 33 years old. That is approximately 25 - 30 years of exposure to violent video games on a regular basis. I even worked in an amusement arcade and was exposed (and played) violent video games for over 8 years. I also regularly listen to, and immensely enjoy, Marilyn Manson's music. In these video games, I have been exposed to countless variations of: innocent bystander executions, decapitations, bombings, suicides, drive by shootings, dismemberment, close range shotgun ware fare, and sniping antics, but I have never once even remotely considered acting out any of these fantasies. Because I have had a good upbringing and have been taught the difference between right and wrong (I thank my parents for this), I will be able to continue playing violent video games and listening to music of questionable content for many years to come, without my close family and friends ever becoming concerned about their safety. However, if I had been a neglected child and the differences between right and wrong were somewhat blurred, who knows what I may have been capable of?

The problem in America is (apart from the obvious problems), that they know that suing the parents of the perpetrators will not 'amount to anything' - pun intended. It's never the parent's fault that little Johnny decided to go on a killing spree.

"Johnny listened to Marilyn Manson. Johnny watched those dreadful films. Johnny played those violent video games. One of those things must be responsible! It can't be the parent's fault - they're perfect!"

What a load of horse shit. If the above statement were true, then that would make me and just about everyone I know, a potential homicidal maniac.

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