Alabama Cop-Killer Appeals Sentence, Says GTA Made Him Do It
A man who killed two police officers and a police dispatcher in Alabama is appearing before an appeals court today, claiming that child abuse and Grand Theft Auto made him do it.
Devin Moore, 18 at the time, was being held on suspicion of auto theft in June 2003 when he wrestlee a gun away from officer Arnold Strickland. He then shot and killed Strickland, officer James Crump and dispatcher Ace Mealer. When he was arrested for the murders, he was reported to have said, "Everybody has got to die sometime." The statement was amended in December 2004 during a court motion which claimed the actual statement was, "Life's a videogame. You've got to die sometimes."
While his father stated after the arrest that Moore was a "troubled child" with a history of drug use and criminal behavior, Moore claimed that excessive time spent playing Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City "programmed him to kill," and put him in a dissociative state in which he was unable to discern the reality of his actions. The videogame defense was disallowed during his trial, however, and an insanity defense based on post-traumatic stress disorder failed to sway jurors. He was convicted of capital murder in August 2005, and sentenced to death for the crimes.
Despite being unable to use the defense in his trial, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals has agreed to hear oral arguments in the matter. Moore's attorney is claiming that while in a dissociative state, Moore reverted to "scripted behavior" influenced by his exposure to the Grand Theft Auto games and abuse suffered during his childhood.
The videogame-based appeal was spurred largely by Jack Thompson, who filed a civil suit in August 2005 against Wal-Mart, GameStop, Sony and Take-Two Games on behalf of the victims' families. According to Thompson, the defendants in the suit, by creating the game and selling it to Moore, "They equipped this man to kill. They trained him." Thompson was removed from the case in November 2005 for being "unable to conduct himself in a manner befitting practice in this state." The Strickland vs. Sony wrongful death suit has yet to proceed.
Jack Thompson's an attention-whore. And that's all I'm going to say about him so as not to indulge him.
But what I find most interesting about this situation is that you've got people like Hillary Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Joe Lieberman really pounding the anti-game-violence platform, suggesting a link between those games and violent behavior. Yet, in a situation where a man plainly acknowledges this link, it's not admissible in court. So, the puritans in Washington can indict game companies for their role in facilitating real world violence through video games, but people can't defend themselves with the same argument? Hypocrisy much?
Now, of course, I think this guy's full of shit. Just as I think that for whatever role violence in games or other media play in real-world violent actions, there is invariably another (or several other) factors that play a larger role - such as the alleged child abuse in this case.
I think one of the reasons you've got people like Clinton, Schwarzenegger and Lieberman suggesting a link between games and violent behaviour is because there's no actual proof of a link between games and violent behaviour, which makes the whole thing a bit dicey as a legal defense.
They should do a study and make his cellmate(s) play Manhunt over and over to see if there's a link between video games and violent behavior.
If the violence in GTA 3 turned this boy into a trained, capable killing machine, you have to wonder if that "hot coffee" mod turned any pimply basement dwellers into trained, capable love-making machines...
The one constant in western civilization is that every generation latches on to phenomena they don't understand, to explain behavior they don't understand. I betcha there's a lot of people convicted of murder that don't play video games, but talking about them doesn't serve the purpose of these sensationalists. Luckily, within the next 5 or 10 years, all the moms and pops of impressionable youths will have grown up playing Mortal Kombat, and the "issue" will dissolve like the others did.
There is a big difference between looking for cause and effect, and looking for justification of evil deeds.
I laugh whenever someone blames video games, especially in cases of gun violence. Holy shit. These people that claim that violent video games desensitize you to violence need to stop funneling cock for a little bit and come to realize the vast gap between the rumble of a controller and the recoil of a handgun. Having played the GTA games, Manhunt and the like, all manners of violent games in my childhood and younger years I could easily say that I've been desensitized to violence but no one can ever prove that. It's easy to say that you can take it but personally, I get a little nervous around police because they're carrying a gun and the realization that it can kill me and others is terrifying.
It's ridiculous to blame games for people's violence. There's all sorts of troubled people in the world with varying shades of crazy, and some problems can be quite hard to detect until it's too late. I've always believed that people that commit violent crimes and are claimed to be inspired by games are the type that were troubled enough to do it in the first place, in which case the game is little more than the straw that broke the camel's back. I can easily admit to being easily angered by trivial things and my first thoughts on dealing with problems is violence but I'm hardly dumb or crazy enough to go and kill someone just because they've wronged me or something. I've dealt with shit for many years being a 'freak gamer' for most of my life and branded as crazy by pretty much everyone I've known since grade school and high school and had to deal with their ignorance and idiocy, and everyone thought that if anyone would go nuts and shoot up a school that it would be me, since I'm a gamer. What's the worst I've done? Kicked some kid in the face, got into two fights in my life, and threw a bag of rocks through a school window. Man oh man, watch out for the dangerous crazy gamers, pressing buttons makes them learn to kill.