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Friday, March 04, 2005

Quotes from Jack Thompson

Jack Thompson is insane. I'm making that statement boldly and probably with more evidence than a lot of the stuff you're about to read from Jack Thompson himself. I'm going to guess he has a narcissistic personality disorder. It's also possible that he's simply not very bright and compensates with spouting off nonsense. I'll let you be the judge.

Thompson has made it his personal crusade to bring down the violent video game industry. Any time a kid under the age of 18 does anything violent or criminal, all they have to do now is say "GTA made me do it", and they get free representation from Jack. He'll get on the press and get lots of coverage for his cause and threaten to sue Rockstar millions. To date, I haven't been able to find record of Thompson's cases actually going to trial. Needless to say, the definition of a crusade has changed a lot since our parent's time.

Thompson's argument is that video games are murder simulators. According to him, children lack the ability to distinguish violent fantasy from violent reality. So to a 14 year old, shooting an alien with a plasma gun is roughly equivalent to shooting an old lady with a revolver. Thompson claims he has scientific evidence of this. The problem Thompson has is that every study which tries to prove actual causation between games and violence comes up short. And this is the way it plays out in court:

"The issue is the causation. How do you prove the connection from the game to the violent act. Lawyers have tried [to prove the connection] but they haven't really succeeded yet." - CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

So let's put that down right now. Thompson has no case. He's empty handed but full of words. The only case he'll ever have is by coercing a young kid into blaming a video game for his actions instead of taking responsibility for them. This is a disservice to every side of the argument. It hurts those hoping to curb violence in the media by reducing their cause to a one note media train whose only end will be to pad Thompson's wallet. Eventually Thompson alone will have created so much legal precedent that nobody will try to bring anything resembling such a case to trial. It hurts those in defense of video games by inappropriately branding them the cause of American violence. It hurts those effected by violence by robbing them of a real day in court.

Right now, Devin Thompson is awaiting trial for shooting two police officers and a dispatcher. Jack Thompson (clearly, no relation) has the families going after a game developer. Instead of the focus being on the kid, or the parents, or the actions of the officers that day - it will be on Rockstar and Take Two. And when Thompson loses this case, which he most likely will, everyone involved will be worse off thanks to the man.

CBSNews has recently interviewed Thompson, so let's cross-examine some of his statements. (Bold = Thompson)

I can tell you that some crimes would not occur but for the violent entertainment. For the families of the deceased, that is the only statistic that matters.

This is not a statistic, however, that Jack can actually prove. So it's really what one would normally call an opinion.

Armies have been known to go on rape rampages after battles because the violence stimulates sexual aggression. How lovely that GTA weds sex and violence in the same game.

So you see, in Jack's mind there is a direct analogy between a barbarian horde raping and pillaging a countryside and playing GTA. To him, there's a connection between the rape of Darfur and raising your wanted level in a video game. I think there is a person out there having trouble distinguishing fact from fiction - but I think that person is Jack Thompson.

The heads of six major health care organizations testified before Congress that there are "hundreds" of studies that prove the link. All the video game industry has are studies paid for by them, which are geared to find the opposite result. Lawyers call such experts "whores."

Actually, Jack, I'd call someone trying to profit off of an 18 year old cop killer a whore. But that's just me.

Jack is of course engaging in spin here. For the record, the testament of which he speaks is here. Nowhere in the document does it link video games to criminal behavior. It says that studies indicate that over time, they can lead to more aggressive behavior and desensitization. It also says, quite clearly:

We in no way mean to imply that entertainment violence is the sole, or even necessarily the most important factor contributing to youth aggression, anti-social attitudes, and violence. Family breakdown, peer influences, the availability of weapons, and numerous other factors may all contribute to these problems. Nor are we advocating restrictions on creative activity.

Somehow, I don't foresee Jack quoting that in the future. However, it's the underlying problem he has. By reducing the entire problem of violence into one issue he lets all the other issues off the hook. And he won't win on that issue because he's insane - so in the end, nobody will be to blame and we won't get anywhere with this. Jack will probably make some money though.

Of course, as you actually grow neural pathways called dendrites that enable you to perform more easily the physical acts of violence.

The way Jack puts it, it sounds like Rockstar is actually capable of altering your brain chemistry to make you into a serial killer. In truth, your brain is doing this kind of stuff all the time. Sure, it's easier to commit acts of violence as you get older. It's also easier to hold a beer, click the remote and dance the tango. While video games might improve your hand-eye coordination, there's no proof that Counter-Strike would improve your aim with a sniper rifle.

One instance is Pandemic Studio's Full Spectrum Warrior. If it works for soldiers, of course it works for teens. The video game industry has absolutely no rebuttal to that argument. NONE.

Really? I'll sell them one for free. The Army has used video games since Doom. They've used it to practice tactics and communication. They have never used it to make a more physically capable, violent soldier. That's just more of the old Thompson spin.

Yeah, playing Full Spectrum Warrior might make a teen a better soldier. But a) it's not going to cause him to start shooting people and b) it's not going to start replacing boot camp anytime soon - which is where all the things Jack accuses video games of actually take place.

You just watch. There is going to be a Columbine-times-10 incident, and everyone will finally get it. Either that, or some video gamer is going to go Columbine at some video game exec's expense or at E3, and then the industry will begin to realize that there is no place to hide, that it has trained a nation of Manchurian Children.

People, I couldn't make this up if I tried. Jack actually believes that the PlayStation 2 is a vehicle of child brainwashing and that the entire video game industry is one step away from footing the bill for the next great massacre.

Let's get that orientated. To Jack Thompson, a video game console is brainwashing your child. Through no fault of yours or the child's, the child will become a psychotic killing machine and go on a rampage. Without the console, this never would have happened.

That is insane.

Witch-hunters always like the black and white argument. As Thompson's own evidence indicates, the truth is much more grey. We deserve a more complicated, deeper discussion about violence in our society. I'm not going to say that entertainment and media might not play a role, but singling them out as the sole problem is an even greater travesty. And the only ones that will benefit will be the lawyers.

Updates:
We have a couple more notable witch-hunt follow-ups here and here.

45 comments:

Denis said...

Somehow, it makes me glad he's insane.
If he won somehow, it would be truly awful

Monique & Paul said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Monique & Paul said...

I am working with an Oakland, CA prosecutor in a murder trial in which the older gang members used GTA 3 to train teens to do carjackings and murders. The Army uses these games to break down the inhibition to kill of new recruits.You know, as someone who's played a number of games - fighting, racing and others - there's a large difference between driving a car, and playing Gran Turismo, kicking someone in the head, and playing Tekken 5 (I'm still waiting to godfist my roommate though), so the thought that GTA trains people to 'do carjackings' is ridiculous - it's absurd, it's beyond me how he could even argue that it's possible.

Buckley brought in a good point that I really appreciated, that many football and sports stars in general as associated with violent acts - be it rape, murder, etc - and yet, no one suggests that this violence is due to the sport, and further suggests that we end high school sports.

Thompson truly is a crackpot.

Brian said...

Something a lot of people missed, is that CBS News actually cut out a question and an answer from the original Q&A with Thompson. In it, Thompson called the head of the ESA the Goebbels of the gaming industry.

I wrote up the details here: http://www.kotaku.com/gaming/editorials/esa-pressures-cbs-news-034398.php

brian
editor
Kotaku

Jessica said...

I'm absolutely shocked that such a man exists.

There are hundreds of thousands of people who play video games out there, and yet, how many of them have gone berserk and killed someone in reality? The ratio is ridiculous.

While I understand why a person wants to change the violence in our society, I believe this Thompson fool could do a lot better putting all that energy into fighting a cause that's much more important. Like cancer. Something that kills *lots* of people, rather than drawing imaginary parallels to add money to his own accounts.

—J said...

I quoted you in my post about the issue; [link]

Don said...

Unfortunately Thompson isn't a glory hound (or if he is it's a secondary goal), he's a True Believer. He's been involved in this kind of nonsense in other areas in Florida for years - his anti-porn/obscenity obsession peeks out a little in this interview and he's got a long history of whackyness in FL. You can read about a little of it here.

http://conwebwatch.tripod.com/outthere/otthompson.html

BTW, although he is a nut, the Kendall Coffey thing is 100% true - he bit a stripper on the ass and tried to cover it up. We grow em interesting in Florida - Carl Hiassen's novels are labeled fiction but they're damned accurate.

Knuckles Dawson said...

Please note the important observation contained in this comment:Jack Thompson said: Sure, the sex and violence centers of the brain overlay one another, which is why the increasing mix of sex and violence is troubling. Armies have been known to go on rape rampages after battles because the violence stimulates sexual aggression. How lovely that GTA weds sex and violence in the same game. We are training a generation of teens to combine sex with violence, just what America needs. In response to: Does age or sex play a factor in violent, aggressive behavior? Alright. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the word "sex" in the context of the question regarding gender, and not intercourse? I mean, when you have "age" and "sex" in a question like that, it's referring to a demographic, not the relation of sexual behavior and violence. Doesn't that misunderstanding on Jack's part make him at the very least look foolish, and seeming to hear only what he wants to hear?

Falen said...

I'd just like to leave a comment for every religious person that blames video games...its called original sin!

Malthus said...

I thought it might be interesting to email Jack myself...so I did. If you wish to read what I sent him I just haphazardly uploaded a simple text version of it.
http://www.boomspeed.com/malthus/Letter.doc

Remlack said...

Intrestingly enough, I learned of Thompson while reading the latest Penny-Arcade newspost.

I see what he wants to do with his whole "Video Games spawn satanic children" spiel, or something akin to that; it's like he's trying to follow Lieberman (Senator Joe Lieberman, Gamer enemy extrodinaire--the one who wanted to ban video games following the infamous "Mortal Kombat Investigation"). His assertation of a disgruntled gamer causing "a Columbine-times-ten incident (which he has absolutely NO right to mention--the two students were acting on their own accord, not following instructions from any game) is stupid, and shows how much he flounders to try and put up a front for his cases.

I really can't see how playing a violent, M-rated game will change your brain chemistry either. Example--Conker's Bad Fur Day. The Sunflower and King Bee scene, to be precise. After playing CBFD, did I want to run out into a field and pollinate every sunflower in sight? No. And I realize that most of the games Thompson targets are with human characters, but according to him, every game with an M rating will forcibly change your mind.

He has no case. He's a hack as a lawyer, only because he tries to target something he himself doesn't truly understand. The people who commit violent crimes have their own agenda--video games are just the scapegoat that allows them to say, "Yes officers, I did horribly mutilate my little brother, and yes, I did steal that car, but Video Games brainwashed me into doing it." Instant protection by idiots who can't see past the dollar in front of their nose.

puck said...

man yet again some one climbs up that sturdy crutch to blame some thing for American violence. it's movie it's comic books,it's video games, hey wait a second how come no one ever blames the media????

when will we hear the story of one teen shooting another becasue of all the violence on CNN??

John said...

It's the standard "One Flew Over the Cucoo's Nest."

The "crazy's" rise to the top.

Nathan said...

As someone who is actually in the Army, I am always amused when people refer to the amazingly lifelike videogames that we use to become mindless, cold-blooded killers. If such games exist, I need to get my hands on them, because they must be pretty damn good. There is a laughably large difference between being good with at Ghost Recon and being able to hit anything on the rifle range. The America's Army game comes a little close, because it's designed by the Army and geared towards realism, but even the colonel in charge of that development product admits that it's more of a public relations tool than an actual training or recruitment device.

What people like Thompson will never understand is that even if videogames could transfer combat abilities to the person playing (which trust me, they don't), it's not about the capability to inflict violence, but the choice to do so. My commander is a huge Metal Gear Solid fan. He also spent a year in Iraq doing stuff that desensitizes you a lot more than a PS2. Yet, amazingly enough, he's still a loving husband and a great guy, the kind you wouldn't mind babysitting your kids.

People who engage in indiscriminate violence do so because of a lack of impulse control. It's not about how many dangerous skills or resources they have accumulated, but simply that they are unused to being held accountable for their actions. What a surprise then that thanks to Thompson, they still don't have to be held accountable.

Atomisk said...

I can say without a doubt that yes I am decensitized to violence because of Video Games, but that dosnt mean Im going to go on a rampage and kill everyone without feeling anything about it. In my opinion being decensitized to violence means that you are less likely to be horrified by choped off limbs on movies and whatnot, but going around and killing people is just insanity. Besides VG's dont train people to go kill. I could garantee you that if you put a gun in my hand I could unload an enitre clip at a firing range and not hit a single thing. There is a big difference bewteen shooting someone in a VG and shooting someone in reality and its called common sense. I could probably say that coming home, and playing Halo2 online and killing people there has prevented me from lashing out at classmates when they decide to pick on me or just act plain anoying in the classroom. But yes Jack Thompson in crazy. WHen he says the ESRB rating isnt working because parents buy M games for their 14 year old kids who have lost touch with reality already, and then the kida go and kill someone that its the publishers fault. Thats like saying that a dad went out and bought a gun, and beer for his kid to entertain him, but when the kid goes on a murderous rampage later it wasnt the dad's fault. And like the author of CTRL-ALT-DLT says in his response to the questions

Q: Is the self-imposed rating system for video games enough? Is the ESRB working? What is the relevance of a rating system for video games if the powers that be will black-list certain games because of their graphic content?


A: As with any rating system, it's only as good as the people who enforce it. There is no "magic system" that will automatically keep mature games out of the hands of kids. If we put an "Adults Only" tag on a video game, but then the parent still goes out and buys it for their child, or the store clerk still sells it to a minor, nobody turns and yells at the parent, or fires the store clerk. That same parent will even turn around and attack the video game companies for putting out a violent game, when it was their own ignorance that placed it into the hands of their child

Publius Americanus said...

I would like to point out that there is some legitimate research showing that violent media can have different effects on abnormal persons than it has on normal persons.

An abnormal personality with a pre-existing propensity for violence can indeed become obsessed with any kind of violent image -- a poem, a movie, etc. -- and use it as a textbook of violence.

In particular, the research of Diana Russell, when applied to the FBI's annals of violent crime, is very revealing.

A THEORY ABOUT THE CAUSATIVE ROLE OF PORNOGRAPHY

Sociologist David Finkelhor has developed a very useful multicausal theory to explain the occurrence of child sexual abuse (1984). According to Finkelhor's model, in order for child sexual abuse to occur, four conditions have to be met. First, someone has to want to abuse a child sexually. Second, this person's internal inhibitions against acting out this desire have to be undermined. Third, this person's social inhibitions against acting out this desire (e.g., fear of being caught and punished) have to to be undermined. Fourth, the would-be perpetrator has to undermine or overcome his or her chosen victim's capacity to avoid or resist the sexual abuse.

According to my theory, these conditions also have to be met in order for rape, battery, and other forms of sexual assault on adult women occur (Russell, 1984). Although my theory can be applied to other forms of sexual abuse and violence against women besides rape, the following formulation of it will focus on rape because most of the research relevant to my theory has been on this form of sexual assault.

In Sexual Exploitation (1984) I suggest many factors that may predispose a large number of males in the United States to want to rape or assault women sexually. Some examples discussed in this book are (1) biological factors, (2) childhood experiences of sexual abuse, (3) male sex-role socialization, (4) exposure to mass media that encourage rape, and (5) exposure to pornography. Here I will discuss only the role of pornography.

Although women have been known to rape both males and females, males are by far the predominant perpetrators of sexual assault as well as the biggest consumers of pornography. Hence, my theory will focus on male perpetrators.

A diagrammatic presentation of this theory appears in Figure 1. As previously noted, in order for rape to occur, a man must not only be predisposed to rape, but his internal and social inhibitions against acting out this rape desires must be undermined. My theory, in a nutshell, is that pornography (1) predisposes some males to want to rape women and intensifies the predisposition in other males already so predisposed; (2) undermines some male's internal inhibitions against acting out their desire to rape; and (3) undermines some male's social inhibitions against acting out their desire to rape.
Source:
http://dianarussell.com/causation.html

And note:
THE MEANING OF "CAUSE"

Given the intense debate about whether or not pornography plays a causal role in rape, it is surprising that so few of those engaged in it ever state what they mean by "cause." A definition of the concept of simple causation follows:

An event (or events) that precedes and results in the occurrence of another event. Whenever the first event (the cause) occurrs, the second event (the effect) necessarily or inevitably follows. Moreover, in simple causation the second event does not occur unless the first event has occurred. Thus the cause is both the SUFFICIENT CONDITION and the NECESSARY CONDITION for the occurrence of the effect (Theodorson and Theodorson, 1979).

By this definition, pornography clearly does not cause rape, as it seems safe to assume that some pornography consumers do not rape women, and that many rapes are unrelated to pornography. However, the concept of multiple causation is more relevant to this question than simple causation.

With the conception of MULTIPLE CAUSATION, various possible causes may be seen for a given event, any one of which may be a sufficient but not necessary condition for the occurrence of the effect, or a necessary but not sufficient condition. In the case of multiple causation, then, the given effect may occur in the absence of all but one of the possible sufficient but not necessary causes; and, conversely, the given effect would not follow the occurrence of some but not all of the various necessary but not sufficient causes (Theodorson and Theodorson, 1979).

As I have already presented the research on males' proclivity to rape, I will next discuss some of the evidence that pornography can be a sufficient (though not necessary) condition for males to desire to rape (see the list on the far right of Figure 1). I will mention when the research findings I describe apply to violent pornography and when to pornography that appears to the viewer to be non-violent.
Source:
http://dianarussell.com/causemeaning.html

More information can be found at:
http://dianarussell.com/

XenoManx said...

Okay, if this idiot really does believe that video game violence somehow causes otherwise rational people to immitate things they would otherwise never do, why is he wasting his time on small fries immitating Tommy Vercetti when there are so many old 'Scorced Earth' players out there possibly risking the destruction of all humanity?

That being said, perhaps he would feel better if his victims had been stoned to death or crucified, to say nothing of killing with the jawbone of an ass, because the other idiots were forced to get their 'ideas' from wholesome sources like in good book? In fact, one could easily make the argument that the descriptions of death and violence in religious scripts are causitivly linked to immeasurably more killings than any video game (I don't mean to pick on any religion more than any other, but aren't the concepts of martyrdom and jihad just perfect examples of this?) so while we're gutting the first amendment, why not ban organized religion as well?

There's still the classics as well. Who could forget Shapespeare's Tidus Andronicus wherein two brothers rape a young girl and cut out her toung so she can't identify them? I guess all literature is subject to censorship as well.

When you think about it, I'm sure people have been raping and murdering each other since long before the advent of the written word, so free will has to go as well. The fact of the matter is, thats just not possible. Furthmore, taking away free will, like all of these rhetorical infringements mentioned above or any real infringements dreamed up by radicals like Jack Thompson, would just be wrong, regardless of any possible benefits. If he can't see that then he is in no position to lecture anybody on issues of morality.

Josh said...

jack's email is : jackpeace@comcast.net

let's all have fun.

Josh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rajin said...

i belive it should be "it hurts those affected." instead of effected.

Rajin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rajin said...

It hurts those effected by violence by robbing them of a real day in court.

Rufus_Kain said...

"Of course, as you actually grow neural pathways called dendrites that enable you to perform more easily the physical acts of violence."The average joe might believe this, but the truth is that a dendrite is the receptor site of every single neuron in the brain. You are born with as many as you will ever have, and they do not involve violence directly. Though without them, the brain could not communicate with the rest of your body or even within itself.

Thompson is just working on elevating lawyers past the point of ambulance chasing. The new legal fad is to follow the car as it leaves the blockbuster parking lot.

Steven said...

So, Jack Thompson is a nutcase, that much is glaringly obvious.

But, speaking as a gamer in his 30's, who has been playing games for years and years, whose favorite games are First and Third Person Shooters like Bf1942 and GTA:SA, I can tell you that I am not, by any means, desensitized to violence.

I have seen a single dead body-aside from in a mortuary_in the span of my lifetime, and that has haunted me more then I care to admit for the last 10 years. In contrast, I have killed thousands upon thousands of people online and not had trouble sleeping. How does that work? Could it because-wait for it-I know the difference between "games" and "reality"?

The problem with an argument like what he is saying is that he's trying to remove the responsiblity from the parents. Also, notice his love of the blanket statement? "Are parents paying asttention to what their kids are playing?" he is asked. "Nope" is his one word response.

Speaking as a parent with a child who plays video games, I can say, unequivocally, I VERY much pay attention to what my daughter plays, and I live 3000 miles away. I know her mother does as well, because we're gamers ourselves, and there are some things that we know are not appropriate for her to play.

What the REAL problem here is, that kids are growing up today with no supervision and interaction from their parents. That's because those self-same parents were latchkey kids growing up, and so they have no real idea how to ineract with their own children. "I was left to fend for myself when I was their age," they think, "and I turned out alright!" Meanwhile, their kid's in the bedroom, playing doctor Frankenstein with the Bratz dolls or watching internet porn or sucking down prescription painkillers because the parent can't be bothered to even make an attempt to interact with their kid because they barely even know how.

Besides, Thompson seems to be forgetting something important about "Manhunt", his secondary target: that game SUCKED. And why? Because there was no real storyline, the graphics were terrible, and the enjoyment factor was minimal at best. It's not really that fun to kill mindlessly in a video game.

Plus, let's look at the GTA series from a serious perspective for a moment: what could you learn about crime-indeed, life itself-if you did it solely based on GTA?

All cars either A: have the keys in them or B: can be hotwired and driven off in a matter of seconds.

Carjacking someone is easy because, no matter how big or small you are, you'll be able to pull them out of the car and get into it inside of 5 seconds.

You can be shot, stabbed, blown up, and fall off of a really high building multiple times; so long as you've got full health and are wearing body armor, you'll survive just fine.

If you have the cops after you, ducking into a nearby pay n'spray will instantly grant you powers of invisibility and you'll be able to walk into a police station without any further incident.

No matter how many times you shoot someone, so long as an ambulance is nearby, they can be revived.

Flipping a car upside down means it will explode.

Ditto shooting the gas tank.

A large portion of the population is armed, regardless of age, gender, career, or location.

There are only 10 radio stations, and they play the same 10 songs over and over again. *wait, that's actually true*

I'm sure I missed something, but the point is, GTA is no more a murder simulator than listening to Black Sabbath would make someone want to go burn people at the stake. If those things happen, then the problem lies with the person doing it, not the external stimuli.

And, finally, we are talking about a man who actually used the expression "rue the day" in the first paragraph. Seriously, how can you take a guy like that with a straight face?

Zifnab said...

To be fair, while this guy may be a nut, he's a nut with a point. To say that video games don't at least desensitize people indicates that you just don't understand the impact the games have on you or that you just won't admit it.

So is the video game the direct cause of child violence? No, of course not. We all know tons of people - sane and rational people - of all ages that play video games on a daily basis. I've seen people curl up playing Soul Caliber or Warcraft or Halo for hours and not finish the games with any more or less desire to commit some hanous act of violence.

That said, between violent video games, easy access to drugs and alcohol, poor parenting, and weak firearm restrictions this country has cooked up a cocktail for disaster. Video games are only one ingredient, but after you've shot someone in the head for the thousandth time in Counter Strike, the trigger on your friend's 9mm feels just a little bit lighter.

Everyone has to take responsibility here. While by-and-large games don't make people violent, many go too far. Some of the more graphic displays in GTA, Mortal Kombat, Soldier of Fortune, and the like really do go to far. Parents need to take care of their kids, but the video game industry also needs to watch out for itself. Same goes with retailers. You wouldn't feel right seeing a ten-year-old getting a lap dance from a stripper, why should you feel any better if the stripper is digital?

Responsibility cuts both ways. Everyone needs to look out for their own. And if anyone tries to dodge the bullet - parents, siblings, schools and teachers, police, retailers, and game manufactorers - they need to be brought back in line.

Everyone's fucked up. Everyone deserves a hard slap across the face.

Squirrel said...

Fellow blogger, thank you.

It can't be said enough that these people are blithering idiots.

Tom said...

Jack Thompson is the ultimate example of a fanboy, just, you know, without the games. I'd be willing to bet he's never played any of the games he claims to know so much about, under the pretense that he would end up being brainwashed, or worse, himself.

Tony said...

Excellent post, man. I posted a round-up of comments from other bloggers on my site, with some of my comments here. You really did a bang-up job on this, I tip my hat to you. You, sir, are a blogging genius.

I'll be watching tomorrow's 60-minutes episode with trepidation and antcipation.

CrystalBlaze said...

i belive it should be "it hurts those affected." instead of effected.
# posted by Rajin : 11:39 AM
Actually, 'effected' maakes for a dandy Freudian slip on Thompson, as his so-called case is all effected, not about actually affected folks. They were weak and violent and troubled before they played the games, just as the Heavy Metal listening folks didn't kill themselves because of Metal.

Guys, it's just our turn. It was Gaming on paper in the 80's, Music in the 90's, and for that matter cartoons with actual stress or non-happies in the 70's!

It's video games now. America has never cease the witch hunts, and never will. They just change what defines a witch, and get back to burning away!

Kirk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kirk said...

As a psychology student and gamer I've studied a lot of the research on violent behavior and video games. What I've found is video games do make people violent, sort of. Just like any other competitive activity agressive behavior increases while playing games. Video games don't make people any more violent than a game of soccer or basketball.

ampers& said...

At first I only thought he was misguided, but you've convinced me he's insane. Great work, good read.

XenoManx said...

i belive it should be "it hurts those affected." instead of effected.
# posted by Rajin : 11:39 AM Actually, 'effected' maakes for a dandy Freudian slip on Thompson, as his so-called case is all effected, not about actually affected folks. They were weak and violent and troubled before they played the games, just as the Heavy Metal listening folks didn't kill themselves because of Metal.
# posted by crystalblaze : 10:53 PM

I beleive the quote rajin was referring to was the one by Josh earlier in this blog, not an actual Jack Thompson quote. Although I do agree with everything else you said.

Additionally, regarding steven's post at 12:31 PM, when he said "I'm sure I missed something," I think that something is you can easily outrun a speeding vehicle over short distances, and of course the biggest one of all, if you get caught you can just reset and try again, no harm no foul.

dr_draik said...

I'll be honest. Playing computer games has desensitised me to violence. What a blow. So, if someone gets shot in front of me, I won't stand around gaping, but be able to help them. But wait, that's very unlikely, so maybe if someone breaks a limb? Being desensitised to violence (and thus blood and gore, damn those games!), I will be able to help them, instead of being squeamish about the blood. If I got hold of a gun, went utterly crazy and began shooting everyone in sight, even though my current mental state was not at all conducive to rational thought, and what normally applied in logical processes would no longer be as important, having played video games would OBVIOUSLY allow me to keep attacking and killing people, instead of immediately snapping back from my insane state of mind and beginning to cry.

If video games kill people, then so does Jack Thompson. After all, all publicity is good publicity, and his crusade brings video games a lot of publicity, and obviously create a lot of interest in them, which means that more people will play terrible, violent video games, and thus be desensitised to violence, which ALWAYS leads to insane killing sprees. Always. Of course...

Lets look at another point - he describes video games as 'murder simulators'. Right. So lets sue Tom Clancy. I'm sorry? You don't see the connection? Well, in Tom Clancy's books he has told us how to make a nuclear bomb, where to get the equipment and the expertise, and how to smuggle it into the US. Or, we could consider the detailed plan of spying on someone, and attacking their home even while protected by Secret Service agents! And who could forget how to ruin the West's economy in one blow! I mean, he's positively Columbine times a thousand!

If anyone reading this has missed the logic, then you're in the same boat as me. Personally, I find reading a well written book as absorbing, if not more, than a computer game. Should we ban all books? Come now, let's be logical and consider the real world, rather than that of a single-track, closeminded, witch-hunting (the parallel is unbelievable), attention grabbing (and please note, I've given him the benefit of the doubt on money-grubbing) lawyer.

Ultimately, violence rests on a huge number of issues. Genetic predisposition, childhood guidance, media, weapon and opportunity availability, and motive all combine to form a bridge out over the abyss (if I want to take a page out of Jack's book and use lovely, emotive language). In my opinion, any one of those requirements being missing would prevent the violence. So instead of destroying legitimate entertainment, why not establish a culture of parent-child involvement or simply properly regulate public and criminal weapon distribution? It is hard work, certainly, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done - after all, stopping Hitler was hard work, and some heroic people did that...

miklaw said...

Why doesn't he blame potatoe farmers? I'm sure that all of these kids who have committed videogame violence have also eaten potatoes. In fact, I bet that more violent criminals have eaten potatoes than played video games.

lull said...

I can see how some people might think that playing video games can cause desensitization towards violence. Several people have even commented that they believe this to be true of themselves. Perhaps it is true. I believe however that if it does do this it is on such a small scale as to have no real effect. There is a profound difference, which I believe may be difficult for some to truly understand, between seeing someone shot in the head right in front of you in a video game and having the same thing happen in real life. I’ve been playing video games for about 15 years now and cannot recall ever having felt truly bad about violence that I have committed or seen committed in a game. If I were to experience something similar to one of any number of situations that I have played through in many games I’m certain that it would have serious and long lasting effects on my life. As an example, I would like to draw attention to a comment made by someone else earlier.
I have seen a single dead body-aside from in a mortuary_in the span of my lifetime, and that has haunted me more then I care to admit for the last 10 years. In contrast, I have killed thousands upon thousands of people online and not had trouble sleeping.

NoRealLife2 said...

I am a dedicated Sims2 fan, and spend quite a bit of time on their BBS. Talk of Jack has dominated for the last 2 days, and this morning I read the Gamespot article. This guy doesn't have his facts straight, so I politely and professionally emailed him. He immediately replied 4 times, threatening me, using vulgar language, and calling me names! He has emailed my emails to Hillary Clinton, Lieberman, and others, so when he emailed me that he prayed I wouldn't have more children, I forwarded everything to Clinton, Lieberman, and all the rest! Stupid jerk!

AssaultOnFreeSpeech said...

Does anyone else see the plain as day resemblance to Josef Stalin? Jack Thompson's assault on free speech (and human nature) is almost as bad as Stalin's communist propaganda.

Thompson refuses to acknowledge his opponents, creates false truths, and tries to grab his audiences' attention using popular buzz words.

Somebody needs to expose his lies and present this information to the same audience he is appealing to. That is the only way to catch this neo-Stalinist in his game.

TheClinicallySaneForTheDisbarringOfJackThompson said...

I would like to say hello to you all, and read my first post. I loook forward to some fairly intelligent conversation, some of my views on Jack Thompson that havent already been posted here, can be found in my first post. Thank you.

TheClinicallySaneForTheDisbarringOfJackThompson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
collova said...

As a survivor of the Columbine school shootings, I am personally appauled at the usage of the Columbine as a verb by Jack Thompson. We are not a statistic, we are people and that was a school, it shouldnt be used as someone to "Columbine" somewhere. How dare you Jack Thompson. I am also been a gamer before and after that horrific horrific event. Id like you to tell me im desensitized to violence.

Boomer85 said...

"Dear Mr Thompson,

You sir, are a jackass. I live in the United Kingdom so do not think about threatening me with any form of legal action as It will not hold up in the court of law in a country where we use more than heresay and scarmongering to determin facts.
First of all how DARE you mention Columbine. Do you know the families, were you adversly affected? Do you even know what the 2 kids plans were? I didnt thinks so, because if you did you want not correlate the killings to video games, as they HAD NO RELATION TO EACH OTHER. You say videogames are bad and evil, well If we were to create an perfect game, of no violence and no sex, no bad language and no mature content what would it be? It would be a pile of steaming cow shit. Mature audiences would turn away from such drivel and there would be no more games.
Why have you chosen video games as your personal crusade? Do books not offer graphic depictions of violence and sex? Have you ever read any of Stevn Kings novels? Even your prectious bible talks about crucifiction, on the mound where Christ was crucified, there was defication, stagnant ground from the dead bodies and blood from the wounds. Sounds nice doesnt it?
Only in such a country as the US could a complete tool such as yourself gain any backing or momentum. How dare you try and parry the blame onto video games, when it is the families or the people who have commited the attrocities fault.
I hope you realise that no-one takes you serious in anyway, you are the laughing stock of the internet. People actually like listening to what you have to say, so when you open your mouth you make everyone laugh so much that people now quote your innapropriate and quite often wrong opinions. Which is to say all that they are. You have no science backing, you have no real evidence, just heresay and opinons.
I bet you love to hear the sound of the cash draw, because we can all see that that is all this is, a money making scheme.
Please reply, I would love to hear what you say on the matter, It is most interesting to hear what someone has to say about videogames when they have never played a videogame in their life. If you had then you would know that violence is in human nature and that letting it off in video games is far better than real life. It is the people who have a problem in the first place, be it mental or social that go and commit these crimes.

As i said, shame on you for mentioning Columbine - mere scaremongering, using an image of violence and videogames to creat hype.

Yours sincerly,

Mr Kite gamer of 12 years and have never had an incling to create an effegy out of someones skull then drink the blood of my enemies and random children I have slaughtered to fulfil my sexual desires.

p.s. I cant wait to hear what you have to say about the game prey!!"


This is just the first of many e-mails that I am sending to this prick. You have some real nutters in your country, and this is what everyone needs to do, e-mail the fruitballs letting them know that they are alone in their fight for whtever it is they are fighting for!!

Robert said...

"If we were to create an perfect game, of no violence and no sex, no bad language and no mature content what would it be?"

It would be Pac-Man. Or Tetris. Neither violent, nor sexual, and no foul language in sight.

Thompson talks about the "number of violent games" as units shipped - presumably, because this vaguely indicates the number of people playing.

I think we can fairly GUARANTEE that pretty much everyone who has contributed to the unit count of GTA has played Pac-Man and/or Tetris, and besides those people, there's everyone ELSE who has played the latter two games without EVER touching GTA.

The picture's there, hanging on the wall, right next to the writing.

matthew said...

It may just be me, but maybe, just maybe, Jack Thompson overlooked the fact that Tetris is a game that practices suicide bombing. Who knows, maybe he'll draw the line between lining up blocks with a little cheezy explosion sound and, excuse my comaprison, flying a plane into the World Trade Centres. The highjackers must have been practicing Tetris for years!

mrtommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.