8-Year-Old Boy Murders Elderly Woman, "Grand Theft Auto IV" Takes Flak
August 26, 2013 1:55 PM
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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
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
National Rifle Association
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.
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RE: Rated 'M'
8/26/2013 7:51:31 PM
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'
8/26/2013 10:32:24 PM
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.
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