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Anti-Game Violence Lawyer Profiled

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the manchurian-candidate-is-you dept.

The Courts 58

Thanks to Reason Online for their article discussing recurring anti-game violence lawyer Jack Thompson, whom they describe as "nothing if not relentless" for his repeated attempts to sue videogame companies on behalf of violence victims. They also shine a light on his pre-videogame concerns, which include acting as "a primary force behind 2 Live Crew's obscenity woes", and even "peddling some genuinely intriguing claims about Janet Reno's time in Miami." The piece concludes by referencing similar "brainwashing fears" common to Thompson and an earlier crusader, Fredric Wertham, who "was at the forefront of the campaign to stop comic books from rotting the minds of the young with fantastic, colorful tales of violence, horror, and unconventional living arrangements" in the '50s.

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So is he from Star Trek? (Obligatory reference) (2, Funny)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927026)

"nothing if not relentless"

Isn't that how Geordi described the Pakleds?

Re:So is he from Star Trek? (Obligatory reference) (4, Funny)

jokell82 (536447) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927092)

Where's the "-1 Uber Geek" mod when you need it?

Re:So is he from Star Trek? (Obligatory reference) (1)

tpearson (621275) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927205)

This is /. you mean +5.

Re:So is he from Star Trek? (Obligatory reference) (1)

Gr33nNight (679837) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927342)


The Cataati are not the only alien people that StarFleet officers thought that they were no threat to them. About stardate 42779.1 the Enterprise-D encountered a ship under command of Grebnedlog of the Pakledrace.

These Pakleds are technology advanced, but heavy build, with a low forehead with a strange, shy grimace. This almost Neanderthaler like appearance,with their slow, looking for words, and simple speech abilities gave the impression that the Pakleds were a stupid, innocent race. Commander William Riker replaced Captain Picard because he was on sick leave, was mislead by their appearance and allowed Geordi La Forge to beam to the Pakled ship on his own. Geordi was captured and in exchange for the complete computer files of the Enterprise he was released.

Re:So is he from Star Trek? (Obligatory reference) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927385)

Now THAT's a genuine-living-in-his-mother's-basement-(-1)-uberg eek!

Can we feed him to the Sarnak? Can we please?

Re:So is he from Star Trek? (Obligatory reference) (1)

sporktoast (246027) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927866)

Okay, there HAS to be something much more sinister going on here.

The aforementioned "[...] genuinely intriguing claims about Janet Reno's time in Miami" [] turn out to be documented on the bizarre site Lesbian Studies [] , which seems to be one lone man's effort to expose how the government financed [] Lesbian Mafia [] controls America [] .

That's all well and good. One google-eyed religious crank is connected to another google-eyed religious crank. No surprises there.

But wait, look again [] and scroll down a bit. Thompson and Reno have the same goofy grin! It's not quite a separated-at-birth, but it's still kinda spooky!

Ah, forget it. These guys are bad enough on their own. Making fun of them just seems redundant.

I wonder if Donna Kossy [] know about them...

How is this different (2, Interesting)

swat_r2 (586705) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927037)

How is this different from the times when they used to burn books, and didn't allow women to read because they might start getting "ideas". Let's just shut down the Internet altogether as well! Absolutely scandalous.

Solution (4, Funny)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927104)

Lets kill all the anti-violence lawyers.

Little known fact.. (1, Informative)

\\ (118555) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927123)

Fredric Wertham was a failed comic book writer and/or artist, I can't remember which. After his failure, he decided all of comics were evil, and the industry pretty much still suffers to this day. (Of course, most of the industry pretty much sucks too, but I'm not trying to start a debate on that.)

Re:Little known fact.. (4, Informative)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927165)

There is a reason that this is a little known fact: it's not true.

Wertham was an accomplished psychiatrist who, noting a rise in juvenlile delinquancy, looked at his own patients, and observed identification with comic book figures in a number of cases. He then drew the connection. If you actually read Seduction of the Innocent, it's mostly not that hysterical - he's mostly reasonably raising the question of whether or not comic books were being sufficiently attentive to the fact that their audience was still psychologically developing, and extremely impressionable.

Seeing as there was no labeling whatsoever on comic books at the time, this is actually a fairly reasonable concern.

To say that the hysterical backlash that followed Wertham's book is his fault is not entirely dissimilar to blaming Columbine on id software, really. Wertham had the fortune, or perhaps misfortune, of raising the question of whether comic books were being responsible or not at a time when people were looking for something to blame - Wertham inadvertantly provided it.

Re:Little known fact.. (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 11 years ago | (#6933817)

Wertham isn't quite as bad as he is made out to be. However, he made the same mistake (or perhaps ligical fallacy) that Jack Thompson is making.

Wertham saw that juvenile delinquents read comics and assumed there was a connection. However, his logic was faulty in that at the time a very large percentage of the entire population read comics. Therefore, if a great number (I've heard as high as 90% of literate Americans, although I can't verify that statistic) read comics, of course a great number of juvenile delinquents read them as well.

This is exactly what is happening with videogames. As the articel correctly points out, a large percentage of males between 15 and 30 play videogames. Thus is should not be surprizing that a large percentage of violent offenders in that age range play vidoegames. However, Thompson is doing what Weartham did by pointing his finger and saying "See, there's the problem!"

Mod Parent Down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927739)

Parent should get a -1 Overrated until post is back at 1. The existing reply is correct - Wertham was never involved in the comic book industry.

Regarding Wertham (5, Insightful)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927141)

It's very easy to demonize people who try to look for societal causes for horrible things. Particularly when those societal causes are things like video games, or comic books. And so, in the 50 years since Seduction of the Innocent was published, Wertham has become a figure of comical ridicule - even by people who haven't read anything written by him beyond the oft-quoted paragraph about Batman and Robin.

The problem with things like that is that only token research paints a far more nuanced picture of Wertham.

I quote here from Will Brooker's excellent book Batman Unmasked, in which he gives a far more well-researched study of Wertham than most people do. He is reading here a passage in which Wertham talks about homosexuality:

"We might now quibble with the term 'malorientation', but overall, rather than expressing shock and outrage, Wertham's tone seems one of quite reasonable concern. He does not, in my opinion, come across as 'shrill' or 'anguished'. Rather than advocating a witch-hunt against deviants, he understands that in a climate where homosexuality is a great taboo, gay fantasies might be a source of worry for young men." ...
"If we learn that Wertham's suspicion of Superman comics was based on his discomfort with all aspects of Fascism and his fear that children might learn to admire both physical force and the domination of 'inferior' peoples, his writing on this subject may also make more sense.

It would no doubt surprise many of those who caricature him as a bigot to learn that, during the 1920s, Wertham was one of the few psychiatrists who would treat black patients; that he spent the war years campaigning without result and against great hostility to establish a low-cost clinic in Harlem; that his LaFargue Clinic was finally opened on 113th Street in March 1944 with the help of funding from Ralph Ellison and the support of New York's black ministers."

That is not to say that Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent is a good reading - his look at comic books is selective, and his case studies are limited.

But simplifying Wertham, or Thompson, for that matter, as an overzealous bigot looking to make a cheap buck off of popular hysteria is falling into the same trap you're accusing them of. As with most things, the issue is a lot more complex and nuanced than that.

I'm not saying that video games cause violence. But, considering the strong evidence that media does influence the attitudes of the people who consume it, I can see how a reasonable and intelligent person could believe video games to be harmful. /shrug.

Demonizing things is bad, mmkay?

Re:Regarding Wertham (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927419)

But simplifying Wertham, or Thompson, for that matter, as an overzealous bigot looking to make a cheap buck off of popular hysteria is falling into the same trap you're accusing them of.

You're right. It would be much more appropriate to simplify Thompson as yet another example of a reactionary who believes that his beliefs are "right" and is willing to fight for them without convincing evidence pointing in any particular direction.

Demonizing things is bad, mmkay?

Which is exactly the problem with Thompson and his ilk.

Re:Regarding Wertham (1)

Oddly_Drac (625066) | more than 11 years ago | (#6929136)

"I'm not saying that video games cause violence. But, considering the strong evidence that media does influence the attitudes of the people who consume it, I can see how a reasonable and intelligent person could believe video games to be harmful."

I like to think of myself as reasonable, but I find these constant excuses for a complete lack of moral and personal responsibility to be quite wearing. It's an 18 certificate game. Kids shouldn't have access to it, so where were the parents? Did they educate their kids that shooting randomly was wrong? We all know the answers to these questions, but for some reason we're expected to listen to the rantings of an extremist lawyer who thinks that litigation is valid method of social commentary?

Music, TV. Films and games that depict violence may have an affect on people in terms of desensitisation, but if it was true across the board we'd all be killing each other.

Re:Regarding Wertham (1)

ronfar (52216) | more than 11 years ago | (#6930007)

Oh no it isn't. It isn't complex and nuanced at all. Wertham's work was horrible quackery that came along at the right time. Your assertion that "demonizing things is bad" is more or less the same as saying, "You know, Hitler's ideas about eugenics might not have been all bad. Let's all think about them before coming to snap judgements."

Besides, "poor" Frederick Wertham was one of American history's most successful demagogues. This is like feeling sorry for the current "demonization" of the appalling J. Edgar Hoover. J. Edgar Hoover was an awful person and after he died people felt free to say so, but while he was alive he was maybe the most powerful man in Washington and no one could touch him.

Wertham decimated an industry and provided political cover for Congress when it wanted to make political hay out of a convenient moral panic. I hope he's burning in a particularly interesting part of Hell.

Re:Regarding Wertham (1)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 11 years ago | (#6930825)

Have you read Seduction of the Innocent? Or anything about Wertham as a person?

How far do we go? (5, Insightful)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927151)

I've said, in many posts, that there are problems with violent video games and that my experience, when I used to work in social work, is that, no matter what proponents claim, they lead to violent behavior.

But the idea of banning them is completely wrong.

On the other hand, if someone makes games that are proven to lead to violent behavior, it seems victims would have as much right to sue the game companies as smokers who can't read warning labels on cigarettes have of suing tobacco companies.

On the other hand, wouldn't it be really cool if everybody had the backbone to just accept responsibility for their own behavior and stop trying to blame others or big companies for it.

Re:How far do we go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927271)

Personal experience is meaningless. Only through science can the truth be discovered.

On a side note, I'm thinking of suing Maya Angelou for making me experience a statutory rape and thinking I'm a lesbian by reading her self-titled book.

Re:How far do we go? (3, Insightful)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927291)

If personal experience is meaningless, it wouldn't matter what Maya Angelou wrote, since writing is subjective and based on personal experiences and ideas.

If personal experience is meaningless, then the lessons learned from experience is meaningless, and all the science and investigation that has come from that is meaningless.

Personal experience is not meaningless. We learn from personal experience. The scientific method was developed by people that had learned because of their personal experiences.

Re:How far do we go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6937973)

Well, using personal experience as evidence of a fact is foolish. The reason why it is largely ignored is because all sorts of problems can happen with perception. Sure, it seems to you that many violent children played videogames, but maybe you only remember the ones who were violent and played videogames (unless you have records of that, which would be better evidence). Personal accounts are difficult to determine if they are true because there are too many things to account for.

That is why a controlled experiment is needed; where scientists make sure that as many outside influences as posssible are blocked from interfering with the experiment. If the experiment is performed well enough, we could determine if children do indeed become violent from videogames and make sure that it was not another factor that caused children to be violent (or the possibility that they were violent already). One experiment is not good enough. The more experiments that are performed showing the same result (and performed by different scientists), the more likely we can believe that what the experiment tells us is a fact.

Personal experience isn't totally meaningless, it's just a terrible thing to make a decision about what is the truth. If we used personal experience, we'd have to believe that people like Jon Edward are really psychics and that horoscopes work.

Personal experience can be ignored if I have no other reason to belive what you state is the truth. If someone said I'd murdered a person, I'd hate to be sent to jail just on their word (particularly if I'm innocent).

Re:How far do we go? (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 11 years ago | (#6938532)

Just a point -- if what you are saying is correct, then how do we know Jon Edward isn't really a psychic? I've noticed that the "scientific community" is always quick to say such things are not possible, yet I have never seen proof that they aren't.

I won't go into the horoscope thing. I'm not trying to prove either Jon Edwards or Horoscopes, just pointing out that I have yet to see a complete and non-biased de-bunking of such. I will say this much on horoscopes, though: I've made it a point to actively find and engage in conversation with astrologers and found that real astrology has nothing to do with the horoscopes in the papers every morning. While researching it, I found that there was a lot more to astrology than any scientist who was trying to debunk it ever admitted to. Again, I'm not sticking up for it. I will say that the astrologers I've interviewed know much more about astronomy than astronomers and scients have ever shown they knew about astrology. How can you debunk or prove something wrong if you don't study it closely and find out just what it is you're debunking?

Re:How far do we go? (2, Funny)

El (94934) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927457)

I've had a simular problem dealing with kids that play too much Tetris. Every time they see a falling block, they can't resist the urge to spin it around and then drop it onto the lowest spot in a stack...

Re:How far do we go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927800)

"On the other hand, if someone makes games that are proven to lead to violent behavior, it seems victims would have as much right to sue the game companies as smokers who can't read warning labels on cigarettes have of suing tobacco companies."

I'm sorry, but that is just bad logic. I would agree if you could prove that games lead to violent behavior in ALL people. But that is simply not true.

Smoking will eventually cause cancer in anybody, if they smoke long enough. With violent video games, some people will never turn violent, no matter how much they play. See the difference? That's why people shouldn't be allowed to sue creators of content, for what the content *did* to them.

Re:How far do we go? (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928120)

I'm sorry. Next time I'll use tags so people can tell that obvious sarcasm is really sarcasm.

Re:How far do we go? (1)

mcasaday (562287) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927871)

I've said, in many posts, that there are problems with violent video games and that my experience, when I used to work in social work, is that, no matter what proponents claim, they lead to violent behavior.

Okay so I've read through the posts you mentioned, hoping that perhaps you bothered to include some information backing up your claim. Here is the most substantial thing you've offered from what I have read:

I worked with kids of all ages, usually in rough situations. I found, over and over, that the more kids watched violent videos and played violent games, the more they acted out and looked for violent solutions to their problems. It wasn't always the case of only the violent kids playing violent games. I saw well mannered kids get involved in violent videos or games and their behavior would change within weeks.

More disappointing generalizations. Throughout the rest of your posts you don't bother to provide even the hint of evidence. Instead you rely on your intimidating "decade of experience working with kids" trump card, which consistently shuts your opponents up.

Well, guess what? I've spend well over a decade being a kid consuming violent media, including video games. I was crazy for this stuff, and my friends all had the same ravenous appetite for it. I've never been in a fight in my life. I've never noticed any kind of unusual levels of violence in myself or my other videogame-brainwashed cohorts.

I don't, however, consider any of the above to be evidence either for or against the notion that violent video games spur kids into committing real world violence. Why? Because, like you, all I have is anecdotal evidence.

Re:How far do we go? (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928389)

If you have gone through and read all my posts (and thank you, by the way, for taking the time to explore my comments), then it is likely I made the point in a few of them (although I'll agree I may not have) that we are not the best observers of our own behavior. If you can, go ask Charles Manson if he thinks he's unbalanced. How about Hinckley? Do you think he thought he was mentally ill and that his behavior was extreme or unhealthy when he made plans and shot a President?

We are definately not the best judges of our behavior -- especially as children.

Think of whatever field you work in. When we start work in a field, we have hardly any experience (with some exceptions, but even college doesn't prepare us for the reality of what it's like when we finally set foot in the work place).

I cite my time and experience for 2 reasons: 1) It was ten years of observations. While I didn't note every observation on a clipboard and tally all the times I saw violent behavior that was related to violent games or videos, I learned. (Now, I know you're going want to cut me down on this, so I'll include some background. Spend 10 years doing anything and you learn to watch for certain causes and effects. A sailor learns that certain weather conditions lead to either good or bad sailing -- that's what he/she learns from experience. A doctor, even with years of training, still needs to learn from experience what little clues tell him/her to look deeper. Experience teaches us how to observe relationships between different events and situations.) I learned, from years of my own observations, and from the input from many well trained social workers, psychologists, and psychologists, how to read people carefully and how to difuse rough situations. Maybe you don't like it -- you dont' have to -- but I saw certain events happen over and over through 10 years and saw them, almost every time, lead to certain behaviors. Ten years of observation in ANY field is nothing to be written off.

And reason 2) That's not just 10 years of observation, but it's also 10 years of working with people who continually taught me how to observe -- both myself and others. As I pointed out, we are not good observers of our selves. We are not, by our own self, qualified to say if we are or are not balanced, mentally stable, violent, non-violent, or any other state that can best be determined by objective observation.

While you can call what I say "anecdotal evidence," I am citing evidence from professional experience and observed in professional situations, with a lot of training and supervision from many other professionals. I am not "armchair quarterbacking" and second guessiong a professional who has been trained to do something when I think I know more than someone who has spent years studying a field, training in it, or working in it.

I'm not saying that to intimidate, but to make a point. I write and spent the time I mentioned working in the psychology/social work field. Something I've noticed in both of those fields is that everyone thinks both of those fields are something anyone can do, and that we all know more than the professionals. Without the background, practice, daily work, and experience, you (not you personally) don't. There is a big difference between observing children and teens professionally for 10 years and saying, "I was a kid or teen for 10 years, so I know everything about it."

Re:How far do we go? (1)

mcasaday (562287) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928673)

There is a big difference between observing children and teens professionally for 10 years and saying, "I was a kid or teen for 10 years, so I know everything about it."

Please don't put quotes around that sentence as if that is literally what I said. :)

I don't question that you know a great deal about kids and I respect your knowledge and experience. Neither do I claim to know more than you about this subject; that's just silly. I just don't think your experience automatically makes you right on this particular issue.

You claim to have repeatedly observed a causal relationship between violent video games and violent kids. I find such a claim to be extraordinary given the large body of inconclusive research [] in that area.

If you have evidence that helps cut through the complexity of this issue, than please share it. If you have knowledge that makes clear what all of these studies (performed by people specifically focused on the issue of violent media and its effects on children) could not, I want to hear it.

Merely mentioning that you have a lot of experience with children is not enough to convince me.

Re:How far do we go? (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928695)

I'm not trying to convince you, I'm just supporting what I've said. It is clear you are strongly involved with gaming and trying to change the view of an avid gamer is not far from trying to change someone's religion or their political affilation.

Re:How far do we go? (1)

Flamerule (467257) | more than 11 years ago | (#6935298)

If I could jump in here...
It is clear you are strongly involved with gaming and trying to change the view of an avid gamer is not far from trying to change someone's religion or their political affilation.
It is clear you are strongly involved with anti-video-game-violence advocacy and trying to change the view of an avid anti-video-game-violence advocate is not far from trying to change someone's religion or their political affiliation.

Re:How far do we go? (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 11 years ago | (#6938621)

Yes and no. I am not as much anti-video-game-violence as I am of the feeling that it should be strongly and effectively kept from children and, yes, even teens. If you're of age and want to spend your time blowing people up, and that's how you blow off steam, go ahead.

And as to being anti--violence, I am. I wasn't. In school nobody ever picked a 2nd fight with me. I was the small guy everybody thought they could pick on. In PE, when we had wrestling, people were amazed that I always won. Nobody talked about being in a fight with me because they didn't want to admit they lost to the small guy. I had no problem with finishing (or, sometimes, starting) fights. I turned to non-violence because I saw violence never worked. It never actually solved anything. So I beat someone in a fight -- it didn't make them friends and only pissed them off. I had another long-term enemy.

I became non-violent and an advocate of non-violence because I found, through experience, that the consequences of violent behavior may have been satisfying in the short term, but were overall negative in the long run.

I did not spend my childhood as a non-violence person. I've seen both sides of the fence and found which side is mentally and emotionally more satisfying and more likely to create constructive outcomes.

Yes, I'm strongly involved with the anti-violence side. And that's the result of having seen both sides. But I know I'm not going to change anyone's mind on Slashdot. I never thought any of these discussions did. (Is that the point? I thought it was a chance to discuss and say what we thought and read what others thought -- if changing people's minds is the purpose of these discussions on /., let me know, because if it is, I've been missing something._

Re:How far do we go? (1)

PainKilleR-CE (597083) | more than 11 years ago | (#6931084)

The problem is the method, not the skills involved in observation or anything else, really.

As a social worker, regardless of how many years you spent doing it, there are a number of other conditions that come into play when it comes to you even observing a child in the first place (in a professional manner, that is). The only times I ever saw social workers or psychologists as a child were when I was having problems (namely, the judge ordered myself and my sister to see a social worker when my parents got divorced to determine whether or not we could decide on our own who we lived with, my parents did not have a nice divorce, and getting away from my mother was the best thing that could've happened for me at that time), and I saw a school psychologist a few times when teachers thought I was slow or falling behind (turned out I was bored and far ahead in terms of skill/knowledge/learning, so just not doing the work in many cases, if I were 5 years younger they probably would've put me on Ritalin)).

There were times in my life when my reaction to certain stimuli may have been violent, which would've been during the period 2 years before and after my parents divorced, for the most part (looking back puts things in a certain perspective), and the only fight I've ever been in during my life was during that time period (towards the end of it, in fact). The latter part of that time period also happens to overlap with the time at which we had first gotten the NES, though we'd had an Atari 2600 and various computers (with plenty of games) throughout most of my life (from the time I was about 2 years old). Did the NES have anything to do with my behavior? Yeah, it meant that I spent more time indoors and more time with those friends of mine that also had an NES, discussing and playing games. Did it make me more violent? It seems doubtful since the types of games I played were no more or less violent on the NES than on any other systems. The NES didn't even have better graphics than many of those computers.

The simple fact is that games are becoming more pervasive, more widely available, and more accepted in our lives. More kids are exposed to them. In any given case where a kid was violent, there's a certain chance that he played video games to some extent, based in part on the percentage of kids his age that played video games to that same extent.

Millions of people played Doom, and it was probably one of the most pirated video games of all time (on top of being one of the best selling games of all time). The game came out roughly 10 years ago. When 2 high school kids in a fairly well-off neighborhood (meaning that computers will be in most homes) shoot up their high school, there's a certain chance that you're going to find a copy of Doom in their house, and there's even a good chance that they played it and enjoyed it. Additionally, if they didn't have a lot of other games, there's a good chance they played it a lot, and maybe had a lot of associated material (books, mods, etc). Guess what? That doesn't mean the violent games lead to the violent actions. There are millions of case studies available of people that played Doom and went on with their lives as usual.

When you find a violent kid, you're likely to find someone that may enjoye violent games, books, movies, TV shows, whatever. Any person tends towards media that reflects their internal world to some degree, people like to be able to identify with the music they listen to, or with characters in a movie, or book, or game.

Of course, the real problem is when you find people overly susceptible to media influence with a tendency towards violence. Those people can easily create a feedback loop in their own behavior, essentially escalating their own tendencies through media consumption. The problem is not with the media itself, though, it's with properly identifying that person before they become harmful to themselves or others.

I call BS (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 11 years ago | (#6932775)

" matter what proponents claim, they lead to violent behavior."

Wotta crock. The root of their violent behavior is probably because their parent's (or anyone they have a close connection with) abuse them physically or emotionally creating an unstable individual.

I know dozens of people that have stable family lives, a good group of friends, and they play violent video games (mostly MOHAA or other war games) and they find games like GTA fun but obviously realize it's only a game and move on.

I bet most of the people performing violent acts after playing video games have greater issues in their personal lives that should be addressed rather than just sueing game companies into the ground looking to take the blame out one someone else.

It isn't games, music or movies that cause people to shoot shit up it's piss poor parenting, a social setting (most of these violent acts are committed my middle school and high school age kids) that's all about being the "in kid". It's society at large.

Who's to blame for last years beltway snipers popping shots off at people? Didn't one of them have military training? That made him effective at killing but the seeds to kill were planted years before I guarantee.

This year we'll blame Rockstar b/c their game influenced some f'ed up quacks to draw attention to themselves by taking pot shots at semis. Has anyone done some background checking on these guys to see what their lives have been like?

Let's all just pop some happy pills, blame everyone else and go on living truly screwed up lives because we're too lazy to actually work through our problems.

Re:How far do we go? (1)

Lucky4U (706400) | more than 11 years ago | (#6935864)

People should teach there kids respect for other people. you can want to through people in front of trains when they are asses, but that would only hurt yourself, and the people that have to deal with you. If kids think they could be abusive becuase they can in vidio games, or whatever else you want to point your finger at. Somewhere we went wrong. we set a bad example. we should deal with our anger. just some other way. Hell, if we would go to the gym, instead of popping off at someone, there wouldnt be any fat people. and health problems would be down, and people would save on health insurance, live past retirement,spend there saved money on a hot ride, get laid more often. everyone knows that would make anyone happier. it would be great! sorry I got off subject. To sum it all up,teach kids respect, play vidio games, work out with rage, get liad at the end of the day!

Re:How far do we go? (1)

rhakka (224319) | more than 11 years ago | (#6939313)

They lead to violent behaviour?

That's interesting. I've been playing primarily violent videogames (fighters and shooters) between the levels of regularly and obsessively for ten years. Yet I'll let someone hit me twice without fighting back and I haven't raised a hand in anger in more than 15 years.

Guess I'm just the lucky exception huh? Or maybe it's not the games, eh? Ever stop to think that violent kids may be attracted to violent games rather than games making kids violent?

Your experience is limited. That's why we have studies instead of story circles when we are trying to determine trends. Fact is no study has determined any kind of causative link between playing violent games and violent behaviour. Some excitability/aggression has been shown directly afterwards. Much like excitibility and aggression is shown after sporting events as well. It's competitive. Competition makes boys aggressive for awhile. What a shocker eh?

What is that I hear? (1)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927153)

Is that my spotter calling out a new target? Why yes, yes it is. Just got to shift my sniper scope a little to the left. Not too far, SCO might not be dead yet.

Humm. (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927322)

In the meantime, should Thompson ever discover hentai games [] , he will find that all his deepest worries about sex and violence have already come true--with tentacles.

Someone please email him this URL :)

Sure glad there are dickwad's like Thompson trying to protect me, I might do something stupid and like, turn the station if I dont like something.

Misplaced priorities (2, Interesting)

El (94934) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927411)

Television contains hundreds of murders every night (and that's just the news!). Movies contain every more graphic depictions of violence. These reach a much larger audience, but I don't see anybody trying to hold the television of movie industry liable for violence. Better lobbyists? And by the way, the Talmud, Bible, and Koran contain graphic descriptions of adultery, rape and murder... shouldn't they be censored before they give those avid bible-readers any more ideas?

Re:Misplaced priorities (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927478)

It's not that other media have better lobbyists (they do), rather it's because they have both age and previous court decisions and laws supporting them as being protected by the 1st amendment. Because video games (specifically, video games with increasingly realistic depictions) are a relatively new popular phenomenon they're an easier target. People who play video games (apart from solitaire and the like) are still a relatively small percentage of the population and the demographic skews very young - and young people are generally still not taken too seriously.

Until video games are established by the Supreme Court as protected speech no less than paintings, sculptures, movies and books, game publishers will continue being very tempting targets for lawsuits of this nature.

Re:Misplaced priorities (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927718)

"the Talmud, Bible, and Koran contain graphic descriptions of adultery, rape and murder"

I don't know about the Talmud or the Koran, I'm just talking Bible here, but I can't recall any graphic descriptions of adultery or rape. It's mentioned often enough, but "Adam lay with her" is about as graphic as it gets. No, too hot!

Now violence, violence I'll give you. Gotta love the sword being swallowed by the fat man's gut in Judges. Adultery is mentioned quite a bit, rape less so, but neither are particularly graphic in descriptions.

Rated M for Moses (2, Informative)

CdotZinger (86269) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927859)

The Talmud contains a lot of strange, "dirty," and bloody stories. There are some which now would be called "horror" stories, with G-d as the "bad guy" (some of which are actually scary, in a startling, slasher-movie way). But since almost no one outside of rabbinical schools reads it, no one gets too worked up about it. You could make a pretty faithful religious-educational survival-horror/"Grand Theft Torah" game starring Akiba (though if you did, the ADL would undoubtedly spend millions to ruin your life).

The Koran of course has a lot of typical Biblical violence, because it, like the Book of Mormon, is a supplementary text to "the" Bible (Torah + New Testament), and its tone was influenced by the fiery stories of Zoroaster et al. Rape and such get mentioned about as often as you'd expect in a religious book--which is to say, many, many times more often than in most other books.

The Old Testament contains, for example, the Song of Solomon, which is, by old-timey standards, a pornographic story. The King James translation is the most "erotic" and evocative.

And, of course, all of these stories are "graphic," their being, like all writing, composed of graphemes.

Re:Misplaced priorities (1)

balzi (244602) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927899)

Good point -- maybe Movies and TV need better violence and 'sexually explicit' warnings and policing.
Can't argue with that. I'm all for better censorship across the board. Standards ahve gotten a little too low for my liking.

On the Bible/Talmud/Koran depicting murder, rape and adultery. 'Tis true, BUT calling it graphic is a stretch... The Bible never tries to 'tabboo' a subject.. it speaks of things openly and God is always interested in showing the reader the right way to do things..

wouldn't work too well if he said -" stealing; 2. no swearing; 3. no doing that stuff that is really bad and when you're not married and don't force anyone to do it either or especially before your married - yeah, so just keep that in mind.. alright thanks. umm where was I. oh yeah! 4. no more bowing to rocks and stuff..."

deos that do some light shedding?!!?

This is how you fix this bastard (2, Funny)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927622)

Every video game should come with a simple picture, doesn't have to be too large, of some breasts. Like this one [] . Doesn't have to be too racy, but it should be prominent on the front and back cover of the box, and on the startup screen for the game.

That ought to make it crystal clear to everyone concerned that SOME GAMES ARE NOT FOR KIDS. And if you're a parent who would give a game to your kid with a photograph of a nude woman right on the box, then you're a sucky parent who doesn't have the right to sue anyone for anything. I bet that would be an excellent defense in court too.

Goddamn, some people just can't watch their kids for a minute to see what they are playing. And a pair of boobies will definitely not deter me from buying a good game.

Re:This is how you fix this bastard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6929360)

Every video game should come with a simple picture, doesn't have to be too large, of some breasts. [...] That ought to make it crystal clear to everyone concerned that SOME GAMES ARE NOT FOR KIDS. [...] And if you're a parent who would give a game to your kid with a photograph of a nude woman

Quite a few mothers show their breasts to their just born children. They've even a word for it, `breastfeeding', I think. Awfull, isn't it?

Anyway what is so dispicable about the human body that children cannot see breasts?

I'd say that violence is a lot worse than a normal human body.

Re:This is how you fix this bastard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6929448)

The fact that what he mentioned would work is funny and says a lot about where our society holds murder and sex in relation to eachother.

Re:This is how you fix this bastard (1)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#6930853)

Sex and violence are treated out of proportion. In the US we crack down on sex, but violence slides by. Parents who would never let their children see boobies on TV will let their kids see a murder on TV. And they don't pay any attention to the parental notice labels.

In my opinion, there's no better parental notice than a healthy pair of C cups. This is a judo move. We take the parent's warped priorities (boobies are bad, violence is good) and use it to our advantage.

What do you call .... (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 11 years ago | (#6927652)

What do you call 15,000 anti-games lawyers in the bottom of the ocean?

A good start.

Re:What do you call .... (1)

mink (266117) | more than 11 years ago | (#7005793)

I didnt know anti-game lawyers played shadobane.

Anyone else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927969)

that this is just another way of profiling innocent people as potential/already criminals? Guilty by association as it were.

I'm a politicians worst nightmare.
I'm informed and I vote

Re:Anyone else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6927998)

Before someone jumps down my throat about this.

I'm refering to this Jack Thompson guy profiling all gamers as potential murders.

just wanted to clarify

Why don't sharks eat lawyers? (0, Troll)

Dr. Bent (533421) | more than 11 years ago | (#6928344)

Because they're full of frothy, liquid shit...that's why. And this guy is no different, I'm sure.

I really want to know when this whole idea started that the government (in particular, the federal government) is responsible for your personal well-being? When the US was founded, the whole idea was to keep the government weak so that individuals could live as they please, and you wouldn't have lawyers and politicians running the show behind the scenes. That's why the Bill of Rights is a list of things the government can't do, not a list of things it can.

Now, it seems, it's the government's job to tell me what I can eat, drink, smoke, say, think, fuck, and buy. And It's all because lawyers like Mr. Thompson (and the judges who used to be lawyers like him) have turned the Constitution into a "living document", that can be interpreted as they see fit for any particular situation. "Oh, creating a video game, that's not free speech. But donating money to a political candidate, that's protected by the first amendment."

Excuse me? Could you explain that again slowly? And please repeat the parts that are supposed to make any fucking sense at all?!?

Government is evil. It's evil because all government eventually devolves into tyranny. Good ideas established by Good people get warped and twisted and preverted by guys like this, until eventually you just have to tear the whole thing down and start over again. Which is a damn shame, because up until now, we had a pretty good thing going here.

Re:Why don't sharks eat lawyers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6936076)

Burn baby burn

Burn it alll


Re:Why don't sharks eat lawyers? (1)

Derkec (463377) | more than 11 years ago | (#6936591)

Interesting, but part of the foundation of the government is promote the welfare of it's people and defend them.

How aggressive should it be in achieving these goals? That's a matter for interpretation. The government has always been involved in your personal well being.

And no, the point wasn't to keep the government super weak. A key observation is that the Bill of Rights was a compromise. Some thought the constitution didn't explicitly protect enough rights. In order to get the const. ratified, founders had to promise to add those amendments. I would cite the premable as more indicitive to the founder's intent than Amendments tacked on after the ratification.

I would also observe that if they really wanted a weak federal government, they wouldn't have messed with the Articles of Confederation. The Articles were so weak and pathetic, the government had to be strengthed in the most recent constitution.

I would also observe, that in many ways we are a freer country now than we were at the founding. For instance, we don't have fucking slavery. We also let women vote.

Moreover, the assumption that the founders had the perfect government envisioned and we need to follow their wishes endlessly, seems a bit naive. While some of them were certaintly brilliant folk, we have brilliant people today as well. That said, I tend to think messing with the constitution should be avoided as much as possible.

Hu??? (1)

Jhonny (705236) | more than 11 years ago | (#6929201)

They think taking away kids violent games is gonna help? More likley it will just make them more angry they dont have their games and they will take it out on other people... YEAH!!! Thats the solution! Go buy a shotgun and blow up some people instead of playing quake... Wonderful....

video game violence... (1)

1eyedhive (664431) | more than 11 years ago | (#6929729)

...!= real life violence. frankly i have more concern over those kids who start paintballing at -+10 than those who start playing Quake at the same age. Simple reasoning, if a kid handles a gun, he will naturally become adept as using said weapon, and it would nly take a momentray lapse in judgement for said kid to point a loaded paintball gun not at a player wearing protective gear to an unprotcted bystander's cranium at near point-blank. The quake junkie, on the other hand, will have lightning quick reflexes, hand-eye coordination, etc, all without being prone to violence. My parents didn't let me play any violent game til i was 10 (1995, doom it was), and that was free shareware, i didn't buy one til i was 13 (the Q3 based Star Trek: Elite Force). All this talk about violent video games, poppycock i say. now physical violence, thats another story.

Proof of the Time Traveler (1)

robbway (200983) | more than 11 years ago | (#6929735)

Jack Thompson is right. All killing sprees are caused by video games. Therefore Lizzie Borden must've either traveled in time or had a time traveller visit her so that she could log in 200 to 400 hours on Quake to numb her ethical reasoning power. Then, because she was exposed to so much on-screen violence, she killed her parents. I have to find this time traveler so we can introduce video games to the Spaniards before the inquisition.

Re:Proof of the Time Traveler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6937865)

What a minute. The only way she could time travel would be if she met Dr. Who... Which means we should sue Dr. Who for the people who Lizzie Borden killed!

Oh, c'mon! (1)

jonathan_the_ninja (704301) | more than 11 years ago | (#6936011)

Honestly. Trying to sue a game company for something like that is like accusing a mother for the murder of her teenage daughter who commited suicide right after she got mad at her for doing some little thing that she [her daughter] did all the time. I hate it when people try to slander videogames when someone does something stupid after playing them.
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