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Boy, 8, Kills Gran After Playing Video Game


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Credit: Sky News

 

An eight-year-old boy intentionally shot and killed his grandmother minutes after playing the violent video game Grand Theft Auto IV, US authorities said.

 

The town of Slaughter, Louisiana, is in shock after the child was able to access the family's gun and shoot the 90-year-old in the head while she was watching television.

 

The woman, who was helping to look after the boy, was pronounced dead at the scene at the Country Breeze Mobile Home Park.

 

Sheriff's deputies have not revealed a motive but they pointed out the child was playing the video game before the fatal shooting.

 

The game, which is rated "M" for mature audiences and is recommended for ages 17 and above, has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people.

 

The child told investigators that he accidentally shot the woman while playing with a firearm, WAFB-TV reported.

 

But evidence has led investigators to believe the child intentionally shot her in the back of the head as she watched TV, it added.

 

Neighbour Johnnie Scott said: "Where did she have the gun? Where did he see the gun, was it in his eyesight? That's the thought that goes through my head."

 

Child psychologist Kristopher Kaliebe said access to a violent video game such as Grand Theft Auto IV may encourage aggressive behaviour.

 

He said: "From a behaviour therapy perspective, I would say that's practising.

 

"So if you have a video game where someone shoots at a target, that's sort of practising shooting at a target.

 

"When you have a video game that is shooting at a human being, that is practising shooting at a human being."

 

The child is being looked after by his parents. The authorities are treating the shooting as a "homicide".

 

The boy cannot be charged with a crime because of his age, the sheriff's office said.

 

Louisiana law states: "Those who have not reached the age of 10 years are exempt from criminal responsibility."

Of course, the game will get the blame, not the parents who purchased an adult game and let an 8yr-old play it, not the grandmother who let an 8yr-old play it and certainly not the parent / grandparent who had a gun (either already loaded or with the ammunition in easy reach) where an 8yr-old could access it.

 

It won't be games in general though, it'll be the games like GTA, Manhunt, etc where you don't play a goody-two-shoes. They'll be like "they teach kids to shoot other people", ignoring the fact that these games are not for kids.

 

They'll also ignore the Call of Duty / war simulation style games where you also shoot other people as part of that game's objective. Conveniently overlooked will be the fact that games since the very first shooter have had the player shoot other human characters.

 

Jack Thompson will be over this like a rash and as before, the arguments will be nonsensical at best and downright dangerous in their inaccuracy at worst.

 

I feel sorry for the kid and his family, but games are not the problem. Never have been and never will be. Violence was around long before a controller was in our hands and this is a cold hard fact that is never raised in these arguments by the people condemning the industry.

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You're both right. I've got to echo DC and ask how does an 8 year old get hold of an 18+(??) video game AND a loaded firearm? What were the parents and grandparent thinking and/or doing?

 

The only thing you can say about the game is that if the boy was playing it and shooting people in the head (as is, I believe, a way of gaining extra points in the game? I have played games where you get extra points for a headshot, maybe not GTA though) then perhaps it has affected him? I doubt he's played it an immediately wanted to kill his grandma but maybe he's become curious about violence due to desensitisation. It's so fun and easy to shoot someone, what's it like in real life? I know where the gun is.

 

But, that's perhaps the effect of the game on an 8 year old, but not the fault of the game. It's the fault of the parents for allowing the boy to play it.

 

And, not to make light of a tragedy, but it had to happen in a town called Slaughter.

 

Cheers!

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I say this as someone who likes shooting guns and is pretty good with them; there is absolutely no way an eight year old who's never used a gun before could intentionally hit someone in the head. An adult couldn't even do that. It would have to be at absolute point blank range, a complete accident or, for some reason, some idiot's spent an extremely long time teaching a kid how to take headshots (being able to line up shots in a game has pretty much nothing to do with lining them up in real life, the don't require the same skills).

 

Obviously the "psychologist" (read; attention seeking wh*re) is talking out of her presumably massive arse, but, still, why is an eight year old playing an 18+ game, why is there a gun just laying around the place, why is the kid aiming the gun at people (if he is) when the other millions and millions and millions of people playing GTA aren't?

 

It's the bowling for Columbine argument; everyone who did something bad did something else before it, that's not a pattern or a cause just because it happened. As the example goes, just because the Trenchcoat Mafia went bowling before a killing spree, doesn't mean it's bowling's fault. Also, it's f*cking 2013 already, and the whole "violent media leads to violence" thing is so long dead and buried in respected psychology that it's not even funny. The most murder-y period in recent America history was the late 1970's. Remember all the violent video games in the late 70s? You couldn't move for them.

 

Thankfully, now that we don't have goths, or rap, or heavy metal, or horror movies, or violent video games, or low church attendance, or Mexicans we have the lowest homicide rate since the 50's. Well done social conservatives, you were right again.

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The problem with this and control is that, if the kid got the gun, they were breaking the law anyway.

 

Yeah, but the point of gun control is that it would make it harder to get one in the first place, especially for the class of people to which these things keep happening, ie Cletus 'n Crystal in the trailer, y'all.

 

If the law said you had to have a gun safe installed and pay for a home visit inspection before the license was issued, then this kind of thing would be reduced because, to be blunt, the trailer trash haven't got the money for that.

 

Couple that with laws to make gun owners criminally liable for all actions carried out with their weapon by people under the age of criminal responsibility, and suddenly it'll be amazing how much harder it is for 'lil Denny to find the gun and shoot Jolene "accidentally".

 

And, to clarify, yes, I am saying that if you own a gun and your child uses it to shoot someone because you were negligent, you should get the needle as if you had committed premeditated murder yourself.... because you did, you stupid, ignorant, unfit-to-live, sack of human-shaped shit.

 

You know what? **** this, I can't debate this topic with any detachment. A country which refuses to introduce gun controls can't pretend to be shocked when these things continue to happen. I don't believe in karma or any of that shit, but collectively, as a group, you reap what you sow and you get what you deserve. Even if that is an 87 year old getting her brains splattered on her TV. Your choices as a community led to that.

Edited by etz
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You know what? **** this, I can't debate this topic with any detachment. A country which refuses to introduce gun controls can't pretend to be shocked when these things continue to happen. I don't believe in karma or any of that shit, but collectively, as a group, you reap what you sow and you get what you deserve. Even if that is an 87 year old getting her brains splattered on her TV. Your choices as a community led to that.
No doubt.

 

The public dont need guns, shouldnt have guns, can live without guns. The UK is proof of this, but its so far gone now in the states, good luck trying to get it to change now.

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I know you were making a point in defence of video games but, just to be that guy, I have to point out there is a difference.

 

Becoming a world class footballer requires immense skill, whilst pulling a trigger requires none. I've no doubt there are countless people of all shapes and sizes who play FIFA religiously and dream about being a pro football player, even going down the park to practise their FIFA Street skills. They'll never make it as they don't have the skill.

 

But pulling a trigger and killing someone isn't about skill, but about mindset, which GTA detractors will argue the game gives kids that mindset.

 

Cheers!

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I've played GTA and other numerous Video games from an early age and I have also watched violent films. The difference is that I come from and an intelligent household which knows the difference between reality and the world of make believe.

 

This isn't a discussion about video games this is more to do with the family home

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It's a thread about a child who played GTA and then shot his grandma.

 

But you're absolutely right, it's mainly about the family allowing the child access to GTA and guns, and how negligent they've been. It has to be about the negligence of the parents rather than the content of the game.

 

If GTA has had an effect on the boy, I think it does highlight the need for stricter application of ratings on video games, and for parents to take them seriously.

 

Cheers!

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If GTA has had an effect on the boy, I think it does highlight the need for stricter application of ratings on video games
What more can the games industry do tough. These games are rated and not just for the PEGI ratings either (which I believe are industry-enforced classifications), they are rated (at least in the UK) by the country's official ratings board.

 

Grand Theft Auto 4, which he was playing, is classified in the US as M (for Mature) by ESRB, so again, the game's publisher could do nothing more as the shops would be restricted to selling the game to minors. The entire issue with this kid playing that game is down to the parents. As is the easy access to a loaded firearm.

 

Anyway, the local police are blaming the game for the incident. Uproxx has the story.

 

Below is the official police statement -:

 

"Although the juvenile initially told investigators that he accidentally shot the victim while playing with a firearm, the investigation has led investigators to believe that the 8-year-old intentionally shot Mrs. Smothers in the back of the head as she sat in her living room watching television."

 

"Although a motive for the shooting is unknown at this time investigators have learned that the juvenile suspect was playing a video game, 'Grand Theft Auto IV,' a realistic game that has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people, just minutes before the homicide occurred."

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To be fair, on the clip from the local news that I saw, they did make it clear that GTA4 was only supposed to be played by people over 17.

 

However, I will say blaming the game is typical of our pathetic societys' culture of deferred, deflected and/or diminished responsibility, because **** addressing the actual problem, let's just behave like giant dicks. Yay, go humanity!

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What more can the games industry do tough. These games are rated and not just for the PEGI ratings either (which I believe are industry-enforced classifications), they are rated (at least in the UK) by the country's official ratings board.

No I meant being stricter with the parents about the ratings on video games. I think the software publishers are doing all they can. I sometimes think that parents don't take an 18 rating on a video game as seriously as an 18 rating on a slasher flick.

 

Cheers!

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The former White House "video game czar" (official title: senior policy analyst for the White House Office of Science and Technology) Constance Steinkuehler tells the Christian Science Monitor that the discussion about Grand Theft Auto's part in yesterday's shooting involving an 8-year-old in Louisiana is simply bait for pageviews and viewership because there's no research to support such claims.

 

"If you look at the state of research right now, there isn't a causal link between violent media and violent behaviors," said Steinkuehler. "That's contested in some corners," she adds. "You have to keep in mind that in much of that work that's trying to assert there's a positive relationship, it's pretty tenuous – showing, for example, that after 20 minutes of playing a game subjects have an increased likelihood to fill in a letter in a word that is EXPLO_E as 'EXPLODE' rather than 'EXPLORE.' ...There are a lot of inferences that you have to draw in order for that to work."

 

Last year Steinkuehler served as the senior policy analyst for the White House Office of Science and Technology, where she briefed Vice President Joe Biden on violent media in the wake of the Sandy Hook School shooting in late Dec. of 2012. While Steinkuehler has serious doubts on research showing a link between games and violence, she won't entirely dismiss it either.

 

"If you want to hold the stance that games are a powerful vehicle for learning in subjects like social studies, or history, or science, or math, but not in terms of violence, or things that concern us ... I find that argument difficult to swallow," she says. "I have a hard time dismissing the concerns of the public over violent media."

 

But she continues by saying that the thing that she finds most troubling about this research is that they "jump to variables like video games instead of the most obvious variables in the circumstances – there's a loaded gun in the house."

 

"There's an 8-year-old playing a mature title.... I find it an incredible distraction when something like this happens, and there's this incredible tragedy, that we jump to these variables that if they're part of the equation they're almost negligible," she says.

 

Steinkuehler believes that some of the most important factors fade to the background when the media reports on a video game-linked killing. These other factors, she says are important and need to be examined.

 

"It's amazing how quickly we'll jump to implausible explanations when the obvious ones are right in front of us," she says. "[We focus on video games] instead of worrying about things like poverty, safety in the home, making sure there are two parents in the home, making sure the media children consume are developmentally appropriate, and keeping them away from loaded guns," she says.

 

Finally, she says that solutions for youth violence are obvious but more complicated than banning or further regulating games like Grand Theft Auto.

 

"The obvious issues aren't as easily solvable and politically savory. You want to make a difference in children's lives? Address poverty, number one. Address the fact that children are homeless, and in unsafe environments. It's just not as politically sexy as claiming that GTA is murdering children."

 

Source: CS Monitor

Kind of an interesting read, though mostly just reiterates what most people already know. Also, as noted on the site I found it on, it's interesting she's the former Czar, maybe she was talking too much sense to be convenient.

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