8-Year-Old Boy Murders Elderly Woman, "Grand Theft Auto IV" Takes Flak
August 26, 2013 1:55 PM
comment(s) - last by
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'
8/27/2013 11:30:49 AM
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'
8/27/2013 11:48:44 AM
GTA is about as realistic as an animated Adult Swim version of the Godfather.
RE: Rated 'M'
8/27/2013 1:02:38 PM
As far as killing of people. The rest of it is as you describe. :)
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