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Grand Theft Auto sparks another lawsuit

Old 02-17-05, 09:03 AM
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Grand Theft Auto sparks another lawsuit

Rockstar parent Take-Two Interactive, Sony, Wal-Mart, and GameStop are blamed for the murder of three policemen by a teenage car thief.
Just when the furor over Grand Theft Auto: Vice City's "Kill all the Haitians!" level had finally died down, the game sparked another lawsuit. Along with its predecessor Grand Theft Auto III, the crime-action game is being blamed for inspiring the triple murder of three Fayette, Alabama, police officers.


Devin Thompson, 18, is accused of the slayings, which occurred after he was arrested in 2003 for suspicion of the crime of grand theft auto. According to the Associated Press, when he was caught, Thompson said, "Life is a video game. You've got to die sometime." While being booked at the station, he allegedly grabbed a police officer's pistol and then shot its owner and two other officers in the head--all three died. Thompson is then said to have driven off in a stolen police car, but was later apprehended. He is currently being charged with three counts of first-degree murder, and is set to go to trial on July 11.

Two of the victims' next-of-kin have filed a lawsuit accusing the two GTA games as having "trained and motivated" Thompson to commit his crimes. Besides Take-Two, the other defendants named in the near-60-page, $600 million suit are Wal-Mart and GameStop, where Thompson is said to have bought both M-rated games while under the ESRB-mandated 17-year-old purchase age. Sony Computer Entertainment America, makers of Thompson's PlayStation 2 console, is also named in the legal filing.

"I don't want another family to go through what our family has been through the past few years. It's about saving lives," said plaintiff Steve Strickland, a brother of one of the victims. The plaintiffs' attorney is none other than Jack Thompson, the Miami-based lawyer who has waged a one-man crusade "over the past twelve years in a national effort to hold accountable the entertainment industry for the harm it does to our children," according to his Web site, Stopkill.com.

After targeting gangsta rap's violent lyrics in the early 1990s, Thompson has spent the last half-decade railing against the perils of violent video games, which he refers to as "murder simulators." While speaking to the local NBC affiliate, Thompson said "[the game] industry has targeted, with the most popular and violent game in history, every police officer in America and put a bull's eye on their back." To back up his claims, Thompson cites studies at Harvard University and the University of Indiana that he asserts "prove that adolescents' brain functions are damaged by a steady diet of violent images."

For its part, Take-Two was conciliatory to the victims' relations, saying, "We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the officers killed." However, it gave no ground to the plaintiffs' attorney. "With regard to Mr. [Jack] Thompson, unfortunately he has a habit of doing this kind of thing often. No court has yet to take his legal claims seriously. The suggestion that there is a link between the use and sales of Grand Theft Auto and this tragic incident is utter nonsense. Anyone suggesting that such a link does exist is either misguided, misrepresenting the facts, or both."
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Old 02-17-05, 09:31 AM
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it's easier to accept a lost when you have a few hundred mill in your pocket, guess the kid who commited the murders didn't have deep pockets. this is a situation where both the victims and the defendant aren't holding the right person responsible.
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Old 02-17-05, 09:57 AM
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a video game does not make one disturbed enough to kill. One has to be disturbed to begin with. For every 1 person that they blame games on there are 5 million others that it didn't affect. He is 18! A sane rational age. It isn't like he is 12 and thought it would be cool. He had to have been messed up to begin with.

GTA is just an easy target.
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Old 02-17-05, 09:59 AM
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There may be something to this. After an extended period of playing World of Warcraft the other night I went up in the mountains and started chasing the wildlife with my sword, only for their leather.
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Old 02-17-05, 10:12 AM
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it's sad when people feel like they can justify the death of their loved one by blaming something else that isn't related, and at the same time trying to get a crapton of money out of it.

also I agree with everyone else, the kid is disturbed to begin with and anything could've set him off to do those kind of things. he is just lame enough to mention that "life is a video game.." thing before he killed the officers.

this pass blame crap is getting lame. I remember this whole deal when Mortal Kombat first came out.
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Old 02-17-05, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Groucho
There may be something to this. After an extended period of playing World of Warcraft the other night I went up in the mountains and started chasing the wildlife with my sword, only for their leather.
Or kinda like how after playing The Guy Game, you get this strange urge to start looking up naked pictures on the Internet. Weird.
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Old 02-17-05, 10:39 AM
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Of course games can give you the idea to go kill people. Kids are stupid.

There was a Law & Order episode on this exact topic last week.
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Old 02-17-05, 10:43 AM
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I blame twinkees for me gaining 2 pounds....

get real
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Old 02-17-05, 11:40 AM
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Any word of a possible "Unique Stunt Bonus" for the bereaved parents?

(No normal person thinks of a video game as a "murder simulator" - jeezuz - I'm sick of hearing that term...)
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Old 02-17-05, 11:52 AM
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You don't believe that movies, music, video games or any other media can influence how a young person behaves?

While "normal" people can of course tell the difference between reality and fantasy, we don't have to worry about them, do we? "Normal" people don't murder, rape, etc.
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Old 02-17-05, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Toad
You don't believe that movies, music, video games or any other media can influence how a young person behaves?

While "normal" people can of course tell the difference between reality and fantasy, we don't have to worry about them, do we? "Normal" people don't murder, rape, etc.
If they weren't influenced by GTA, they'd be "influenced" by something else. Are you saying we shouldn't provide controversial entertainment material to "CRAZIES"? Or are you being sarcastic?

Perhaps my term "normal" wasn't right - maybe the "normal" people are just "not quite as fucked in the head as the crazies".

I just think there's a long list of things that caused this latest "video game murder" - and video games are a long way down that list.
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Old 02-17-05, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Toad
You don't believe that movies, music, video games or any other media can influence how a young person behaves?

While "normal" people can of course tell the difference between reality and fantasy, we don't have to worry about them, do we? "Normal" people don't murder, rape, etc.
My personal belief is that if a young person is disturbed enought to kill, they will anyway.

All games, movies, music etc. can do is give them ideas on how to kill.

And in all honesty, who cares if it's a copycat murder or just a regular shooting etc. Like Archie Bunker said about gun murders in regards to gun control "Would you feel any better if they were thrown out of windows."

And I'm not defending the games, I hate the GTA series. Hate the gameplay, don't like the content. But I don't think it causes anyone to commit violence in real life.
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Old 02-17-05, 12:13 PM
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That's sort of my point --- that sometimes media outlets do give the idea. Sometimes the idea is the worst thing about it.

Take those kids after that football movie came out in like 1993-1994 that showed them laying in the middle of the road. This was imitated, and some dumb people died.
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Old 02-17-05, 12:52 PM
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We'll just have to agree to disagree. I don't care about the "idea" in murders, and I'm not going to lose any sleep over people dumb enough to lay in the middle of the road.
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Old 02-17-05, 02:19 PM
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Lame, I hope the judge throws this out without even looking at it.
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Old 02-17-05, 04:45 PM
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As hard as I try, EA's SSX still hasn't turned me into a pro snow-boarder.
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Old 02-17-05, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by slop101
As hard as I try, EA's SSX still hasn't turned me into a pro snow-boarder.
To be fair; GTA didn't turn this guy into a pro criminal either...




(he got caught)
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Old 02-17-05, 07:19 PM
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I will be happy when society starts looking at themselves as the blame for their problems especially parents. If your kids are criminals then the fault is between you and the kid. What is in the kids CD case and Playstation have nothing to do with it.
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Old 02-17-05, 07:31 PM
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Everybody is trying to find a scape goat.

To paraphrase Chris Rock; people are trying to figure out what games kids play, what music they listen to.....whatever happened to "crazy"?
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Old 02-17-05, 08:11 PM
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there has always been crime throughout the years people have always kill people, who was to blame back then?

how about the hundreds of murders that happen every year from those who have never held a controller in their hand or watch a movie, what happen to it's just some sick warp minded nut case to blame, end of story.

how about Scott Peterson what was his background? what game did he play, movie or tv show did he watch to do what he did?

it's the person in control or out of control to blame and only to blame.
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Old 02-17-05, 08:19 PM
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I've played / beaten / enjoyed GTA III, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas and i'm still an upstanding citizen. This is just another case of utter nonsense to try to blame a videogame and get a bunch of money in the process. I hope this case gets thrown out.
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Old 02-17-05, 08:25 PM
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First it was television and movies, then it was heavy metal music and gangsta rap, now it's video games... in a few years they'll find a new scapegoat to blame.

And I hate to say this... but a competent police officer doesn't allow his gun to be stolen by a suspect in custody. Something was seriously wrong there.
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