A family that had several of its members killed by yet another member has sued the responsible party – a video game. Actually the suit is against a division of Sony that makes “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.”
To clarify, a 14-year-old boy was the triggerman in a triple murder at a ranch in New Mexico. But the suit claims the game showed him how to become “an extraordinarily effective killer without teaching him any of the constraints or responsibilities needed to inhibit such a killing capacity."
I’m quite sure the game didn’t teach him those things. That’s his family's job. A video game should not be relied upon to teach values. If they don’t already have them, video games should have a label reading “FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.”
It’s long been claimed violent video games and movies desensitize impressionable young minds. If they desensitize anyone to anything, it’s make-believe violence, not the real stuff. No mere game should be able to undo an individual’s value system.
This boy didn’t have one, you say? Then, there’s your problem.
Or maybe he had one, but it wasn't strong. Well, whatever his moral structure growing up – religious or otherwise – I doubt it included the suggestion that actually gunning innocent people down is acceptable.
Granted, we’ve come a long way from Pong. Some games feature graphic violence, hookers, drug dealers and other questionable stuff. But playing one does not free anyone from the moral or legal constraints to which all human beings should be expected to adhere.
If a kid truly has been inspired to violent acts by a game – and I am only playing devil’s advocate in saying that – that kid is apparently lacking a grasp on reality and/or proper rearing.
Kids who have no grasp on reality or no moral system shouldn’t be let out of the house, but, instead, should be put into a "special" one.
And families of those kids should take some responsibility instead of trying to turn a senseless tragedy into a payday. There should be no rewards for bad childrearing.