Print 70 comment(s) - last by mehcin.. on Sep 2 at 2:25 PM

The boy shot his caregiver in the head

An 8-year-old Louisiana boy has shot and killed his caregiver, and the video game "Grand Theft Auto IV" is being blamed for his actions.

The incident took place in a mobile home park near Slaughter, Louisiana, and the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office has ruled it a homicide. 

The boy, whose name has not been released, reportedly took a gun and shot his elderly caregiver -- identified as Marie Smothers, a woman of about 87-90 years old (her age hasn't been confirmed yet) -- in the head. The gun is believed to be Smothers'.

The boy said it was an accident, but officers believe it was intentional. The theory is that the boy took the gun and shot Smothers in the head while she was watching TV.

According to reports, officers noted that the boy was playing "Grand Theft Auto IV" right before the murder occurred. The child's motivation for the murder hasn't been confirmed as violence learned from the video game, but reports are leaning in that direction. They seem to be just assumptions with no real evidence. 

Grand Theft Auto IV

Reports also note that the child had a normal and loving relationship with Smothers.

The child has been released into the custody of his parents and likely won't be charged for the crime considering his age, according to Huffington Post

Whether or not video games lead to violent behavior has been a question under review for some time now. Many conflicting studies have been conducted on the subject, but none provide definitive evidence for or against the claim.

For instance, a 2011 study by researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) found that the brain becomes less responsive to violence after excessive and short exposure -- meaning that video game violence leads to an increase in aggression as the line between appropriate behavior and inappropriate behavior is blurred. 

The National Rifle Association (NRA) even blamed violent video games for violent crimes earlier this year after the tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. 

However, a 2007 study by Texas A&M International University researchers in Laredo, Texas found no real link between violent video games and aggressive behavior. 

"Grand Theft Auto" is a video game series that allows gamers to engage in motor vehicle theft within the game. It has strong adult themes, such as the use of weapons and even sexual content, and it is rated "M" for mature. 

Source: Huffington Post

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RE: Rated 'M'
By Souka on 8/26/2013 2:44:49 PM , Rating: 5
Couple things...

How'd the kid get the gun? The caregiver is at fault for this happening.

Who let the kid play this game? The caregiver is at fault.

I have twin 8yr old boys... GTA is one game they do not need to play, its just sad really.

RE: Rated 'M'
By Motoman on 8/26/2013 3:03:01 PM , Rating: 5
This is kind of the thing.

Firstly, don't blame the video game (or the movie or the comic book or whatever). is an M-rated game, and no responsible parent or caregiver should be letting an 8-year-old play it.

Secondly, anyone who owns firearms has to be responsible for that firearm...and that means making it 100% impossible for a child to get their hands on a loaded weapon.

Who knows what the kid was thinking...whether he thought he was playing or knew the gun was real and loaded - indeed, whether or not he really grasps the concept of killing someone and making them dead, forever. But it's absolutely inexcusable for a child to be able to gain access to a loaded weapon, regardless of whatever else was going on.

RE: Rated 'M'
By tng on 8/26/13, Rating: 0
RE: Rated 'M'
By ClownPuncher on 8/26/2013 5:53:10 PM , Rating: 3
Accidents happen to the best society has to offer, too. It was just a completely avoidable accident.

RE: Rated 'M'
By tng on 8/26/2013 6:43:23 PM , Rating: 2
Accidents happen to the best society has to offer, too.
Yes they do and for the same reasons as well.

Just wondering if the trailer park is the kids home or just where his babysitter lives, or lived.

RE: Rated 'M'
By mi1400 on 8/27/13, Rating: -1
RE: Rated 'M'
By ClownPuncher on 8/27/2013 11:44:17 AM , Rating: 2
u wot m8?

RE: Rated 'M'
By MZperX on 8/27/2013 11:55:08 AM , Rating: 2
You don't reflect much credit on your own DNA with this post. :-/

RE: Rated 'M'
By WiiKnee on 8/29/2013 8:56:59 AM , Rating: 1
Why isn't there an option in my browser to translate this message?

RE: Rated 'M'
By FaaR on 8/27/2013 6:18:50 AM , Rating: 3
Where is the real mom and dad? Can we just sum this up by saying "Trailer Park Trash"?

If kid is with gramma, presumably the parents are working. Could be passed out drunk at a bar too, who the hell knows, but as the article doesn't say that I don't think there's cause for assuming something in that direction. Also, where do you get the impression they're "trailer park trash"? What a disgustingly fascist way to express yourself.

RE: Rated 'M'
By tng on 8/27/2013 5:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
Also, where do you get the impression they're "trailer park trash"?
Oh the irony, you are so upset that I had the nerve to imply that they were possibly trailer park trash then call me a fascist.

As to where I came up with that, here you are...
The incident took place in a mobile home park near Slaughter, Louisiana

Again, a caregiver? Mom and dad are absent and not even included in the story, 8 year old left to play a game that even I think is to violent for my tastes... If you don't get the association from that, you don't live in the US or haven't for very long and shouldn't talk.

RE: Rated 'M'
By boeush on 8/26/2013 10:59:55 PM , Rating: 2
Who knows what the kid was thinking... whether or not he really grasps the concept of killing someone and making them dead, forever.
I'd say any 8 year old who fails to grasp that particular concept, has to be ruled developmentally disabled (and severely so.) I distinctly remember having a very solid grasp of that particular concept, back when I was 4...

RE: Rated 'M'
By MrBlastman on 8/27/2013 11:30:49 AM , Rating: 2
I don't blame the game but damn, GTA IV is the only game I've ever played that I stopped playing because it was too chillingly realistic. I was walking around on a crime spree in the game, shot a truck driver in the head and they slumped forward with their head on the steering wheel, letting the horn blare forth. I just sat there and stared at it for a minute. I then turned the game off and haven't ever played it since.

This might be surprising considering I love horror movies--slasher films in particular, gore, violence etc. In fact, I love my games more the bloodier they are. I enjoy things depicted in games like Brutal Doom (a mod), Chivalry: Medieval Warfare (who doesn't like chopping people to pieces), Team Fortress 2 (when people exploded for the first time from the rocket launcher I squealed in delight), the original Rise of Triad (eyeballs...) and the list goes on.

The thing is... all of this gore and violence I enjoy... All of it doesn't try to be realistic. There's hyperbole and with it, complete detachment from reality. About the closest a game gets to real is Chivalry and even then since Monty Python has the Black Knight segment in Holy Grail, well, it alleviates a lot of it.

GTA IV, however, doesn't try and exhibit extremes--it tries to be real and simulate reality. This is where the line is drawn. No matter how much we might enjoy gore, violence and mayhem... a rational individual will know how to distinguish fantasy from reality. When reality becomes to great, a boundary is crossed and a sane person might grow disgusted with it.

I know all the games I enjoy are fake. That just makes them more fun because I know in this little fantasy world I can paint the walls red and litter the halls with limbs because in the end, it is so over the top and excessive it is blatantly obvious it is just a game and nothing more. GTA IV crossed this line. It tried to be too stark and I haven't been able to pick it up again as a result. In no way should an 8 year old ever be playing it. Even a 10 year old. It's just too much to handle. I'd much rather my young daughter watch me play Doom or Dark Souls than ever see me play a GTA game.

It doesn't mean we blame the game here but the adults present definitely had something to with it all. With an older person--yeah, we can reason how the game wouldn't have lead them to do something bad but with a young child, on the other hand, well, it might just do enough to desensitize them and in their little heads they might ration... hey, I wonder what it'd be like if I tried it on Granny?

To do that though, would still require a kid with some screws loose to begin with. My daughter is only 3.5 years old and we already teach her hurting people is bad.

RE: Rated 'M'
By ClownPuncher on 8/27/2013 11:48:44 AM , Rating: 3
GTA is about as realistic as an animated Adult Swim version of the Godfather.

RE: Rated 'M'
By MrBlastman on 8/27/2013 1:02:38 PM , Rating: 1
As far as killing of people. The rest of it is as you describe. :)

RE: Rated 'M'
By Totally on 8/26/2013 4:00:53 PM , Rating: 1
I don't mean to be presumptuous but:
The incident took place in a mobile home park...
You're going to have to lower your expectations a little.

RE: Rated 'M'
By DigitalFreak on 8/26/2013 6:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention a town called Slaughter...

RE: Rated 'M'
By Devilboy1313 on 8/26/2013 7:16:38 PM , Rating: 2
Who takes a loaded gun, with no trigger lock, to babysit?

No to put the blame on the victim, but there is a level of stupidity that just should not be exceeded.

If you own a gun and are around kids you should always make sure it's not loaded and/or have a trigger lock. It's not that hard. There are just too many stupid people who just don't understand basic firearm safety.

Would you leave your car running with a 8 year old all alone in it? How about a running chainsaw and a child? Of course not, that would be bad parenting.

RE: Rated 'M'
By M'n'M on 8/26/2013 7:51:31 PM , Rating: 5
Who takes a loaded gun, with no trigger lock, to babysit?

In this case, nobody. The 87 yr old woman was the kids grandmother and from what I can tell, the boy was staying at her trailer, hence the "caregiver" terminology. I haven't see anything as to why she had custody of the kid and where the parents where. Neighbors interviewed didn't think anything was unusual about the kid.

So this would seem to be a case of the adult not keeping the weapon (a .38 Detective Special) secured properly. That she was shot in the back of the head while watching TV is largely her fault, lots of kids that age can't be trusted to understand the consequences of what they're doing.

RE: Rated 'M'
By vol7ron on 8/26/2013 10:32:24 PM , Rating: 4
When I grew up my parents taught me not to run with knives or scissors (or fork in mouth) as well as how to hold them properly when transporting them. They explained how it was sharp and how injury could result.

I have friends that teach their children what a sidearm is, how to use one, and they instill in them a responsibility when around firearms.

The problem is education, or lack thereof. That's what parents should be responsible for - educating their children. You don't leave gasoline and matches around without educating your children, you don't own a firearm without also educating your children.

The point of having a sidearm is often to have it in the event you actually need it, so keeping it unloaded, or locked is often a bad idea. Instead, keep your kids educated. The same thing applies to drugs and alcohol. Education is the basis of parenting.

RE: Rated 'M'
By Just Tom on 8/30/2013 10:19:28 AM , Rating: 2
There were times back in the day when I was babysitting my neighbors' kids that I would have liked a gun, or a taser at least.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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