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Jack Thompson believes violent video games made Cho Seung-Hui cause absolute carnage on the Virginia Tech campus on Monday

The tragedy that occurred at Virginia Tech on Monday is one that many of us will remember for a long time.  Cho Seung-Hui, 23-year-old V.T. English major, took more than 30 lives before turning the gun on himself.  While the nation is still feeling the aftershock from the worst school shooting in U.S. history, some people are already beginning to exploit the tragedy for their own benefit.  

It is no secret that video games seems to have become a popular scape goat for everything that is wrong in America's youth today -- the incident at Virginia Tech is already having a negative backlash towards video games. In fact, Jack Thompson, well known for his anti-video game stance, went on Fox News to argue that violent video games had something to do with the shooter at V.T.

Even if you are against young people playing violent video games, it is most likely hard to defend Jack Thompson in this situation.  Instead of showing remorse and grief, much like the rest of the nation, Thompson decided to selfishly attempt to use the tragedy to rally Americans against violent video games.

More video game critics are coming out of the woodwork after Thompson made his statements on Monday.  It appears that Dr. Phil McGraw also believes video games desensitize and cause gamers to commit violent crimes.

This is certainly not the last we have heard of the anti-video game people.  If you want to hear what Thompson said, click here (YouTube video).

Our thoughts go out to everyone in the Virginia Tech/Blacksburg community.

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Something to consider.
By masher2 on 4/19/2007 12:59:00 AM , Rating: 1
Personally, I don't want to blame video games and, even if there was evidence against them, I still wouldn't support legislation against them. Butut consider this...fifty years ago, guns were considerably more common in society, yet such attacks were far less common.

It's not just school shootings on the rise. A recent story in a Houston paper revealed over 1,800 violent attacks by children against their own parents-- in one single county alone.

I don't want to blame video games...or Hollywood for that matter. And teens have always been troubled. But something is going on. Anyone have any ideas?

RE: Something to consider.
By James Holden on 4/19/2007 1:31:02 AM , Rating: 3
Well, the US still had stuff like in era's prior. The parallels between Charles Whitman and this kid are uncanny. I think he actually shot more people in fact, it's just that more survived as well.

However, it's increasingly apparent that the media is fueling this as well. This kid mailed a press kit to NBC -- he wanted to be remembered this way for what he did. And NBC, the responsible journalists they are, aired it unabridged. Gee, that sends a fantastic message to those planning Suicide By Cop in the near future. If you look back at Columbine, the kids there had websites and everything as well - they wanted to be remembered as mass murderers.

I think the difference between today and eras past is that the media is a near-frenzy. Pulling a stunt like this makes you an instant world celebrity, dead or alive. Maybe old Jack is looking in the wrong direction.

RE: Something to consider.
By Moishe on 4/19/2007 8:21:58 AM , Rating: 2
We have certainly seen people who want attention be able to use the media to their own benefit by making the biggest splash possible, essentially "going out with a bang".

The fact is, someone who is stable and anchored in reality will not flip and kill people, even if they are desensitized, even if they have a gun. We all have ample means to kill others in all manner of weapons, cars, planes, etc. It takes someone who has a mental problem or who has severe emotional problems to do something like this.

I do think that we are far more desensitized now than we were 100 years ago. I've seen numbers that I don't remember, but apparently by the time we're a teen we seen millions of deaths on TV. This HAS to have some effect on us. It's not like the actual value of human life has been reduced but we've lived a very large piece of life with entertainment that really is another reality. Young people who didn't have good parenting may not have the natural mental skills to be able to know what is real and not real. I've seen young kids see something mildly violent in a cartoon and get freaked out because they think it's real. I've seen the parents come and comfort and explain how that event was not real and tell the kid that what they see on TV is false. I've also seen the kid freak and and have no parent around to counter the reality. Why? Because the TV is babysitting for the parent who is too busy, too lazy, or too stupid to realize that it's the details NOW that create the adult later. Parenting is a huge responsibility that a lot of people take very lightly and it shows in adults who've grown up spoiled, never told "No", never told that human life has ultimate value, etc, etc.

So in a way, videogames and TV do have an effect on us. They do act as a form of brainwashing. BUT those effects are only really seen where there is already an instability or a lack of proper grounding. IMO, blaming videogames is pretty foolish and it ignores the greater problem. The problem is people and it's not something you can necessarily see coming, or fix.

RE: Something to consider.
By geddarkstorm on 4/19/2007 3:25:27 PM , Rating: 2
You are probably quite right, but there is some interesting historical perspective to think about as well. That is, we in the modern age see far less real death personally than those just a century before. Think about the Wild West or the hardships of frontier life. Really, actual, personally known death was far more common than it is now, but it seems TV has been used to replace that to some sort of an extent.

It is also interesting to note, however, that what we see on TV or video games people often have a disconnect from, so that if something happens in real life around them, they are as sensitive to the event as if they'd never been introduced to it at all, so it seems from my observations. I say this based on how afraid and shocked people get at events like this; all while things like 24 air massive disasters and stuff. So really, TV and video games are not noticiably desensitizing people (or it's hard to say), as when real events happen, there's no indication that the event effected them any less than otherwise--they still freak out. Katrina, 9/11, this... I don't see any obvious desensitation (which is defined as a lack of response in an organism. Instead there are quite indeed huge responses going on)

RE: Something to consider.
By masher2 on 4/19/2007 10:33:59 AM , Rating: 1
> "However, it's increasingly apparent that the media is fueling this as well..."

How would you feel about legislation requiring the media to treat such individuals like they do rape victims? Bar them from broadcasting their name, photo, or anything else. That certainly removes some of the incentive to "go out with a bang".

Honestly, as famous as Cho Seung-hui is now, the next guy to come along is going to try to kill at least 34, just to break the record.

RE: Something to consider.
By James Holden on 4/19/2007 1:04:13 PM , Rating: 2
That would certainly ruin some incentive, in my opinion. I'm actually not even against publishing the guy's name -- I just think that there should be some checks in place for the media to reduce the amount of the circus that's going on.

Saying who he is and what he did is one thing; saying who he is, what he did, interviewing his hair dresser, playing his personal manifesto and airing his press kit is unacceptable IMHO.

RE: Something to consider.
By kalgriffen on 4/20/2007 10:29:06 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. While I don't think legislation barring the media from airing events like this should be put in place (too much room for potential abuse). Sensationalizing these events gives the perpetrators the attention they crave. Not to downplay the tragedy, but I would like to see some self-censorship on the media's part.

I wonder how much 24/7 news channels have contributed to issues like these, and would they still be as bad if the media refused to give them in depth coverage?

RE: Something to consider.
By zombiexl on 4/19/2007 7:40:52 AM , Rating: 5
Butut consider this...fifty years ago, guns were considerably more common in society, yet such attacks were far less common.

Consider this..
1) There were less people crowding each other out.
2) Children were allowed to be disiplined without the threat that the govt was going to take your kids for smacking their ass.
3) The prisons were not overflowing with drug offenders, keeping real criminals on the streets.
4) We over diagnose questionable mental illnesses like ADD & ADHD (goes back to not being allowed to discipline your kids) and under diagnose real mental issues. I find that these diagnosed kids generally have a good attention span for things they are itnerested in doing (video games, etc), just not things they dont feel like doing.

RE: Something to consider.
By novacthall on 4/19/2007 8:39:41 AM , Rating: 3
A very interesting post, zombiexl.

I've debated this point with countless individuals ad nauseam. The fact of the matter is that, ultimately, a stable mind is more than capable of handling the apparent rigors of playing a violent video game, watching a violent movie, or reading a violent book. Giving a disturbing video game to a troubled child is akin to giving a budding white supremacist his own very copy of "Mein Kampf". If the mind is willing to accept an idea, ideal, or concept, the content absorbed will invariably affect the individual deeply.

The vast majority of us qualify as "stable minds". I speak from experience that violent video games have had no effect on me (I directly attribute my inherently good aim with a firearm to the fact that I am male, and consequently practice my aim several times a day, water consumption permitting). When I was young, and had difficulty separating fantasy from reality, as many young boys, my parents restricted my access to games that would otherwise have a negative effect on me. My parents had the money, and therefore had the power to control very closely what I played. My parents (seeing a trend, yet?)made it clear to me that while some of my friends might have had certain games, I was not to play them and they told me why. They turned the whole thing into a learning experience, and I believe I'm better for it.

I realize that every child is different, but I think your second and fourth points are dead on the money. Multiple times, I was accused (and that really is the best word for it) of being attention deficit by teachers who simply could not be bothered to deal with an active young male. In every test, the accusation was dropped because I was able to read an engaging book or play an engaging video game for eight hours on end. Similarly, if challenged, there was no end to my focus in the classroom. Years ago, they had a different name for ADD and ADHD: they called it "BOYHOOD". That said, I have met some truly hyperactive children, but the population nowhere near the epidemic proportions that the public education system seems to believe.

I truly believe that the systematic drugging of our young males is having a detrimental effect on society as a whole. You're finding that less males are finding their way to higher education. Less males are taking on leadership roles. Sloth and complacency seem to be more commonplace than they were ten or twenty years ago. It may be a simple correlation and I understand that correlation does not indicate causality, but it correlates nonetheless.

RE: Something to consider.
By zombiexl on 4/19/2007 9:32:56 AM , Rating: 2
A very interesting post, zombiexl.

Thanks, I honestly thought i'd get rated down.

Multiple times, I was accused (and that really is the best word for it) of being attention deficit by teachers who simply could not be bothered to deal with an active young male.

I'm pretty sure schools get additional state and federal funding based on the numbe of ADD & ADHD kids attending.

Back when i was younger the medicine for acting up was discipline. Not Oh Johnny if you keep doing that I'm going to send you to your room (with your plasma, 360, ps3, cellphone, computer, etc).

One reason I have a room in my house dedicated to toys and games for my kids is so they dont have that stuff in their bedroom's. But then again I also discipline my children and take an interest in what they are doing, or want to do. I also will smack their rear ends when needed. To satisy the extreme "dont beat your kids" crowd i'll mention that I also discuss with them what they did, why they are in trouble and why they did what they did.

If anything is to blame its the overly passive attitude of today's parents and society in general. Although I dont think anyone but the gunman is to balme in this case.

RE: Something to consider.
By geddarkstorm on 4/19/2007 3:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
I have to agree, this is a good post with very good points.

Children do need disciplin and parental guidance. A parent has far more sway over a child than anyt other adult or person. We can see this both in the reflection of obeying parents and gaining their morals, as well as the opposit of rebeling against parents because the child wants more attention from the parent or what not.

Also, you are very right about over diagnosis of highly questionable "mental illnesses" like ADD/ADHD. I am the oldest of 6 kids, so I've already had to help raise three considerably younger siblings. Children are naturally hyper. Heck, children of most mammalian species are naturally hyper and lacking in attention! You wouldn't try to train a foal to be a show horse at that age, in general it wouldn't pay attention or want to. This has firm grounding in the biology of the brain, which is still developing in children and through the Teen years: creating new neural connections, testing connections, trying to find the right balance of neural transmitter ratios, and still killing off immproperlly connected neurons. This process takes alot of effort and "play" on the brain's side of things, which is manifest in an obviously lower ability to concentrate in those below the state of adulthood. It's friggin simple biology; I'm not even sure there is even that much foundation for ADD & ADHD scientifically (and the "extreme" cases of it turn out to be autism/aspergers anyways). I know what a real brain disorder is though, as two of my brothers have/had them (one had chemical imbalances that make him overly agressive and vicious but they were corrected as he grew up out of it (mostly), the other has autism, and even autism is quite similer to "normal" except they communicate and perceive differently, albiet only slightly differently).

And then, what does it do to the developping mind to shoot it full of chemicals it isn't supposed to have? I feel our overreliance on drugs will be the Roman Lead Pipes of our modern age.

RE: Something to consider.
By Christopher1 on 4/19/2007 4:17:00 PM , Rating: 2
Now, I agree with most things there except the second one. There is NO reason to hit a child in order to 'discipline' them. I have two daughters and have NEVER had to do that, because 99% of the things that they do that are 'wrong', they did not know that they were wrong in the first place so why should I physically punish them for that?
That just teaches them that someone can violate their bodies if they think they have done something 'wrong' that they did not know was wrong.

I have absolutely NEVER had to physically discipline my daughters, simply because I taught them from VERY early that it was not right to physically attack someone else and when they broke something or did something 'wrong', I simply told them why it was wrong and told them that the next time if they did it, they would be punished. I can count on one hand the number of times where I had to punish them, because I didn't punish them if they cam to me and ADMITTED they did something wrong on their own and could explain to me why they did it and learn from that.
Actually, 9 times out of 10 when they broke something, they were goaded into it by ANOTHER child who already knew that the thing they were trying to get my daughters to do was wrong, and therefore I took those children to their parents and had them punish their children for instigating the thing in question.

We are overdiagnosing ADD & ADHD. I was diagnosed with those 'illnesses' when I was young and my parents now realize, after watching my daughters and me REFUSING to put them on mental drugs, that what I was doing was NORMAL childhood behavior for our family!

The drug offender thing..... we would do better to just legalize drugs and treat drug users who get hooked (there aren't many of those!) as a public health issue, not a criminal justice issue.

Less people crowding each other out..... that is not the real problem. The real problem is that people today are not learning how to RELATE to other people, because their parents basically imprison them in their homes because of the specter of the 'big bad pedosexual' grabbing and raping their children, of which I happen to be one and shake my head when I see the blatant propaganda that is put out about us because people don't try to get to know us and believe everything the media says about us!
Personally, I would NEVER grab and rape a child, that would tarnish my soul and spirit in the extreme.

RE: Something to consider.
By zombiexl on 4/20/2007 9:10:09 AM , Rating: 2
You said:

Now, I agree with most things there except the second one. There is NO reason to hit a child in order to 'discipline' them.

and then:

The real problem is that people today are not learning how to RELATE to other people, because their parents basically imprison them in their homes because of the specter of the 'big bad pedosexual' grabbing and raping their children, of which I happen to be one and shake my head when I see the blatant propaganda that is put out about us because people don't try to get to know us and believe everything the media says about us!

So you believe its wrong to physically discipline a child, but not wrong to have sex with one? If i've misread that please correct me.

RE: Something to consider.
By Christopher1 on 4/19/2007 4:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
You have to remember that there were also a hell of a lot less people fifty years ago, and that life was a hell of a lot simpler back then as well.

Now, our lives are rush, rush, rush, and we are putting extreme pressures on people to 'succeed' in life and getting on people's cases for things that I don't believe we should get on their cases for or that are not real, sexual harassment to name one.

Now, about that 'children attacking parents' thing.... that is usually because their parents are abusing them or being overly controlling in their lives, and I CHEER everytime those children fight back against their oppressors.

I just wish they would do it on a NATIONWIDE basis in the United States and other countries where they are basically looked upon as being the property of the parents.

Oh, and as to the guns being more common in society 50 years ago.... no. We have MORE guns around now than we did 50 years ago, and there are guns in MORE homes now than 50 years ago and more of them in each home.

The bottom line is that we are IGNORING people who need help. This guy probably shunned friendliness because he had bad experiences with people being spontaneously friendly to him, and he didn't trust people.

Now, they are trying to say that "He was a victim of sexual abuse most likely!" now. Sorry, but I was a 'victim' of sexual abuse who LOVED it and never thought and still doesn't think he was a victim because I was raised with the notion that if you allow someone to touch you or go to someone and ask them to touch you, you consented, which is the RIGHT thing to teach children.
'Sexual abuse', even being forcibly RAPED, is not an excuse for killing people who have nothing to do with that abuse.

A bigger problem is that we justify so many acts of violence today and say they are acceptable. If we would start teaching children that violence is NEVER acceptable unless someone is actively trying to kill you and it is you LAST choice between you and death...... we might finally have a less violent society!

RE: Something to consider.
By Hakuryu on 4/19/2007 6:25:42 PM , Rating: 3
My 85 year old great aunt tells me stories of how when she was in gradeschool, kids used to carry pocket knives to school, and even play a game where you would stand in a circle and throw the knives into the dirt.

They didn't have sensationalist news shows (or people) trying to make a buck or get well known off any sensitive subject. Just think about Oprah or this guy in 1925 if they had the media penetration of today... you would hear no end to the outrage from media types about kids with knives, which would just happen to inflate their watcher base and make them look good.

I feel the news media is more the cause of continuing rampages like this than video games. If someone is unbalanced enough to kill like this, I doubt shooting demons with a rocket launcher in a video game is going to affect them more than watching real murder and real war on the news.

I rarely watch the news, and turned off the TV after every channel had something on about this shooting. I just don't want to see it. I feel bad for the people involved, but watching hours of TV about the attack is only going to make me sick. It probably is going to make someone with homicidal tendencies plan a bigger killing however, just to outdo the previous one and gain the spotlight.

RE: Something to consider.
By rcc on 4/20/2007 11:59:33 AM , Rating: 2
My 85 year old great aunt tells me stories

You don't have to be 85. I'm in my 40's, and I've carried a pocket knife since, well, actually I can't remember not carrying one, it's one of the essential tools of life. Point being many of us carried folding knives to school, and used them on a daily basis, and no one cared because it's a tool.

What really bugs me about this most recent event, is that according to the reports I've seen, this guy walks into a classroom shoots people, leaves, comes back because he can hear people alive still and shoots some more. And no one did anything. This really worries me. It's really difficult to kill 30 people in a closed environment with a handgun (or two) unless they stand around and let him. 30 years ago he'd have been swarmed under by a group of people that knew they were going to be shot anyway and had little to lose.

We are breeding sheep, which is all well and good if you want a warm fuzzy uncomplicated life. But when the wolf comes around, it's best to not have muzzled the dog.

If some of the students, or facility members, had stopped this guy at some point, we'd be celebrating the heroes and mourning the lost. Not mourning the lost and putting a media spotlight on the killer.

Those who lost loved ones and friends have my sympathy. But for the system that is creating/allowing the problems and preventing solutions, I have mainly contempt.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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