PC News

GTA case filed in Tennessee

Placing the blame

The families of two people shot by teenagers allegedly inspired by the game GTA3 have filed a lawsuit in Tennessee against Sony, Take 2 and Wal-Mart. The families seek damages from the firms totalling $246 million, and alleges that the game in question "inspires and trains players to shoot at vehicles and persons". Though presumably you'd already have to be out of your mind to be inspired to shoot at vehicles with a loaded weapon; a fact overlooked by Jack Thompson, the Miami lawyer taking on the case.

Aaron Hamel, 45, a registered nurse, was killed and Kimberly Bede, 19, of Moneta, Va., was seriously wounded when their cars were hit June 25 by .22-caliber bullets as they passed through the Great Smoky Mountains. A report on MSNBC states.

"There is no credible evidence that violent games lead to violent behavior," responded Douglas Lowenstein, president of the industry Entertainment Software Association. "While video games may provide a simple excuse for the teenagers involved in this incident, responsibility for violent acts belongs to those who commit them." Apparently, the boys told investigators they were mimicking the game in retrieving rifles from a locked room in the family home, and then shooting randomly at vehicles on the interstate 40.

Lawyer Jack Thompson attempted a similar $33 million case in 1977, which failed with the court of appeals concluding that it was "simply too far a leap from shooting characters on a video screen to shooting people in a classroom".

Without wishing to sound like a broken record, I fail to see how any court in it's right mind can even entertain a case such as this; given the amount of cultural inherencies which would already have influenced the boys long before and after they played GTA3. Should the parents be blamed for letting them play the game/gain access to the weapons used? Perhaps the rifle manufacturers should be blamed for not having the foresight to predict that their products might be used to kill? We may as well sue the news corporations too, for reporting and presenting real-world violent events.

In conclusion there are simply too many factors at play to blame one single influence in William and Joshua Buckner's lives for the resulting tragedy they caused; and before even these influences can be blamed - the mental states of the guilty must first be held accountable.

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