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11/26/2003: Criminally Absurd

Violent video games are training children to kill
By Bill France, Herald Net

In the baseless argument that video games cause violence in children, Bill Grace, children's advocate, and amateur kiddy porn fluffer, pushes the limits of reality with his argument that "If a parent wanted their children to develop attitudes like Gary Ridgway, the confessed killer of at least 48 women, these games might provide a good training ground." You must be joking. Does he actually believe this tripe?

Throughout the "article" he keeps inferring that somehow video games are responsible for the behavior of those like Ridgeway, the Green River Killer. Stating "The video game scripts could be culled from Gary Ridgway's confession." So are you trying to tell me that the violent games of the early 80s where responsible for Ridgeway's crimes? Such games as the ultra gory classics, Donky Kong, and Pac-Man. I have not been following the case to closely, but I am pretty sure that not one of those 48 women was killed by a barrel while climbing to the top of a tower. That is the sort of thing that has a tendency to stand out from a new report. In truth, Ridgeway never touched a game controller. In this, fairly thorough, analysis of Ridgeway, his interests and hobbies are listed as "hunting, fishing, working in the yard, chopping wood and getting away with his wife in their RV. He scavenged for junk to sell at garage sales." Nothing about video games.

He argues that video games are simulations. That "Young players practice cutting heads off. [That] they rehearse shooting police officers and urinating on them." And that these simulations are "designed to hone the trainee's instincts, to help them build habits that that they can carry out quickly, without second thoughts." They use simulation techniques that are used to teach people to fly a plane, drive a car or fight wars. There is some truth to this. People do learn to fly in simulators, however the simulators used in flight training cost between a couple of thousand dollars and several million. well outside the budget of the average 14 year old. As for driving and fighting, I can not say as I have ever heard of anyone learning to drive from the likes of "Cruising USA" or to fight from "SoCom: Navy Seals."

My friends and I have what probably amounts to thousands of hours playing "Mortal Kombat," on of the most gruesome fighting games out there. Yet, surprisingly, none of us have ever ripped anyone's spine out or impaled them with a spear. Though I have, on occasion, called down lightning to smite my enemies.

His last talking point is, "Parents cannot trust their neighborhood stores to not sell hyper-violent video games to young children." I will buy that, but it should not need to be the stores responsibility. The games are clearly marked. Which brings me to my closing point about this on going video game debacle, and other lunacy of the same design. It seems to me that when you are teaching your kid things like, "fire hot" "stealing bad" "you can't do anything right" that you would teach them some personal responsibility. At age 12, a child aught to know that what they see on TV or in a movie are not necessarily real. Similarly, they should know that, stealing a car, picking up a hooker, having sex with her under an underpass, then killing her to get your money back, is not acceptable behavior. Well, maybe in New Jersey. So instead of trying to make some sort of imaginary connection between video games and violence, Mr. Grace should be preaching the gospel of better parenting.

Thursday the 27th of November, crazywriterinla noted:

I would like to quote Dick Cavett, who said: "There's so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?"

My mother tried to prevent me from watching wrestling, watching horror movies, playing video games and listening to gangsta rap because doing those activities turned people into violent duranged retarded sexist pigs. Meanwhile here on planet reality, I haven't thrown a punch in ten years, haven't killed anyone, video games cured my learning disabilities and I've never called someone a chick without permission.

I don't think it's the parents who can't trust stores; I think the parents can't trust themselves. If parents really wanted to raise their kids right, they'd focus on their kids educations. Or better yet, not have more than they can handle. Another rant another time, but I'm with you. I've had many flawless victories in videogame land, but nary will you see me actually throw a punch at anyone.