Should game makers compensate victims of crimes? 21% say yes

Inspired by the latest lawsuit against Grand Theft Auto, CNN is running a poll on the main page asking; Should video game makers compensate victims of crimes that courts say were inspired by their products?

Currently 21% of 11,000 votes say yes.

I wonder what the results would be if they replaced “video game makers” with “Hollywood” or “book authors”.

Or “parents”.

Aren’t the parents also named in the lawsuit?

Not according to the CNN article.

Money’s not enough. They should give me a backrub too!

I think until we start looking more at the parents, these problems aren’t going to be solved. We’ll just stay in denial while victims get rich.

That’s the american way.

U! S! A!

I disagree. We need to look at the parents, sure, but that won’t solve these kinds of problems any more than blaming games will.

We need to look at the kids. Harris and Klebold, that kid in Paducah, these two idiots, and the rest, weren’t under any more stress/abuse/etc., than most kids deal with every day. In fact, in many cases they were under less stress (white, middle-class, not abused at home, etc.,) These infamous kids just snapped differently than most people would. Kids who do things like this are the exception, not the rule, which makes the “blame games” argument silly and the “blame the parents” argument equally suspect. Nobody has been able to find anything outrageous that these parents have done, or not done, that isn’t found in lots of parents/families where murder sprees don’t happen. If anything, parents are most to blame for ignoring warning signs or simple neglect.

We also really need to stop looking for easy answers to complex problems.

And a back rub sounds great to me!

PS: And no victim so far has gotten rich.

What you said at the beginning of the quote is what I was getting at. In the end, you can really only blame the kids if placing blame is that important. The real task at hand is catching this before it happens, and that mostly falls on the parents of the kids. As long as we’re fixing blame on music, TV, video games, drugs, play do, invisible ink, milkshakes, sunlight, lack of sunlight, etc., we’re taking energy away from potential ways to prevent stuff like this in the future.

And while no victims have gotten rich off this in the particular way of video games killed my deceased relative, victims have gotten rich off the blame/sue happy culture of the US. I love the “we’ll settle without admitting guilt option.” It showcases all of the worst potential motives out there.

I’m a firm believer that no matter what society and government may try to do, the sheer fact is that there are nearly 6 billion people on this planet, and no matter what, if .0001 percent of them are nuts, there ain’t nothing’ you can do about it.

Part of the problem of “catching it before it happens” is… lots of kids apparently fantasize about murder sprees. They make comics, write stories, make enemy lists, draw pictures, make threats, devise schemes, and then they do… nothing else. You could be victimizing a lot of kids just venting normal teenage “fucked up-ness” if you try too hard to pre-empt a Columbine. A lot of psychologists think doing that, reacting with fear over a drawing or punishing someone for a story, only blurs the line between reality and fantasy and can be more dangerous than just letting the kid deal with it on his/her own.

“Catching it before it happens” bans cops n’ robbers on the playground. Analyzes everything kids do, and, here’s a true story: a 6th grade honor student (female) was suspended or expelled because she got a B+ and drew a picture of her teacher hanging from a gallows as a way to vent to her anger. She got punished and soon developed this “Weirdo” rep through school. I mean, come on!

Pictures like that are disturbing, maybe, and the teacher says she felt threatened, and I can kinda see why, but really, according to psycologists, pictures like that are normal and probably healthy.

The best news here is that, really, these kinds of events are incredibly rare. I mean rarer than being struck by lightning. No matter how much your local news emphasizes this sort of thing, it isn’t common at all.

Sorry for the rant, I’ve been doing a lot of research into this for GamerDad.

It’s the first thing one learns, almost.
Most criminals were ‘deviant’ youths, but most deviant youths does not become criminal.

Honestly, I haven’t done much research about this, so I will have to yield to what you say about research. Are there psychologists that feel the opposite (obviously some must, but is it a significant number) about overreacting leading to a further blurriness of the line between reality and fantasy?

My personal opinion? This is not based on the latest research and stats. I don’t have kinds of my own to put into Skinner box (an alum of my alma mater) to test my theories. Someday I will have kids and who knows what will happen then. But I feel teenagers are given way too much leeway. While I agree that normal teenage fucked up-ness exists, if a kid is expressing this through death lists, murder spree fantasies, making threats, and devising schemes, that kid has already gone too far. Should the kid be punished? Not necessarily, But it needs to be looked into. And if doing that further blurs the line between reality and fantasy, then it really needs to be looked into. The kids that all pulled off these murder sprees had one thing in common, they just weren’t right at some emotional level. That needs to be noticed somehow. How? Not sure myself, I guess I’ll find out.

Now truth be told, I had a fairly well-adjusted teenage experience. Sure my parents split up as that period got started, but I had a lot of friends, I was good in school, had a great girlfriend, did pretty well in sports, and so on. And I don’t believe it was luck either. I truly believe my parents had a huge part in all of that happening even as I spent more time with friends and less time at home.

Not true at all, that feels like it’s just giving in to the slippery slope that crops up in this type of discussion. I don’t think it has to ban cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, or things like that (unless your teenager is still playing those, again, something worth looking into). It’s paying attention to when your kid is playing cops and robbers on the playground, not banning it.

OK, the techer here is just being a little bitch and the decision makers were reactionary. That was just a scribble, not a death plan. And I do believe this is a problem with the catch it before it happens mentality within the schools. As for analyzing everything kids do, you bet. Maybe not with a microscope, but I really believe you should try and have a decent idea of what’s going on in your kids’ lives, as much as possible at least. If my daughter drew a picture of her teacher hanging, I would definitely feel a need to take some kind of interest in that at some level. Even if my interest leads me to the information that some psychologists find that type of expression healthy, at least I took the initiative somehow. But I do worry that too many parents are either too busy, too lazy, or too progessive to really get involved with their kids. I hear some parents say they feel strongly about not getting involved in their children’s problems, the children are independent creatures that need to work through the problem on their own. I’m uncomfortable with that mindset, very uncomfortable.

This is truly the good news. It gets big headlines, but it still remain VERY rare.

And I apologize for the rant as well. There only seems to be one truth when it comes to kids, there’s definitely no set gameplan for getting it right. I’m not trying to say some people are good parents and some people are bad ones because I don’t know the kids they’re raising. Some kids have to be on shorter leashes, some need no leash at all, it seems to depend entirely on the kid. The parents have a responsibility to figure that out, even if that requires analyzing a lot of what the children do or say.

I may end up being a terrible parent, I have no idea, and unfortunately I won’t really know until the kids are already here and on their way. I feel like I will probably err on the side of caution. As the joke went on a recent Frasier (I think), there would be no psychologists if there were no parents.

This may be true, but ultimately one way or another as a parent you are responsible for your kids. If you don’t have the time to watch them, nuture them and get them help when they need it then maybe you shouldn’t have kids.

I’ve lost count of how many of my elementary and junior high school teachers I subjected to horrific deaths in my drawings.

Vats of acid, impalations, defenestration…I’d draw my teachers in all sorts of compromising and painful scenarios.

I was a sick little kiddie. But the thing was, I kinda grew outta it. I mean, I’m still extremely twisted in a quite morbid way, I just don’t draw those kinds of pictures anymore…;)

I agree that almost all kids will grow out of it, but I think the parents have to be there to help ensure that. Do you think your parents were able to lend a helping hand with that, either directly or indirectly? My guess is that a lot of parents do somehow.

You’re right that paying attention is important when it comes to kids doing scary things. The common reaction when you find a “death list” or that your kid has drawn a disturbing picture, or written a short story that has a kid shooting up his High School is to come down on that kid like a ton of bricks.

“You’re a mess! You need a psychiatrist! What’s WRONG with you!”
Instead of “What does this mean to you? Why are you doing this? I want you to talk to someone about your problems.”

Some evidence suggests that telling a troubled person that they’re “crazy” or “a mess” pushes them toward doing something about it. Being “crazy” is a liberating label. “I’m crazy? That means I can do anything!” Instead a kid like that needs positive reinforcement. For example, instead of freaking out about a kid writing horror fiction that’s a little too close to Columbine for comfort, instead, maybe get that kid into a writing class. Or help him polish it into something he could feel proud of, story-wise. Or best of all, use it to talk about Columbine. How stupid Klebold and Harris were. How cowardly that act was. If your kid is drawing a lot of disturbing stuff, get them into comics, an art class, etc., Turn the outlet into something proactive and positive.

Most teens feel powerless. Unattractive, uncool, loser teens especially feel this way. Anything you can do help a kid feel in control of his emotions, gain some power over his life, is a good idea. Where most parents fail is in support and encouragement.

If you don’t mind some self-advertising:
GamerDad is built on the theory that the best way to protect kids isn’t to protect or shield them from violent or mature games or media. (Though this is a good idea if you can do it.) It’s to get involved. To play games and watch movies with kids. To encourage what they’re into and to understand it, to be involved. Not every parent is capable of that, but I think it’s the best answer available.

Parents are to blame in these cases. More than movies, games, and even guns or gun culture are to blame. But blaming the parents shouldn’t obscure where the real blame should go. On the killers, IMO.

I think we should sue the Republican Party because they’re against gun control.

Sir Bub,

I see what you’re saying now and I agree with you completely. An overreaction can be just as damaging as a gross underreaction. And I can see how labelling someone as crazy can have an unintentional liberating effect.

I don’t mind the self-advertising at all because it seems like that’s the best approach to take with a kid. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t but I really feel like it’s the best way to try.

I just get shocked sometimes by how detached some parents are with their children. It’s almost like as long as the kid isn’t shooting heroin right in the living room, the parent’s job is done. One thing my Mom did was prevent me from playing certain games (D&D anyone?) and seeing certain movies. Well, lo and behold, I got access to them anyway and was able to see them for what they really were and put them in their proper context.

I have to admit, I would be somewhat pleased if my kid took the time to write a short story, even about a topic such as Columbine (assuming it wasn’t just a thinly disguised how-to plan). I’ev done a lot of writing in my life, and even the non-theraputic writing ended up theraputic in a number of ways.

As for teens feeling unattractive… I fully support boob jobs for pre-teens, male or female. Giant guns can make so many tough situations a little easier.

What I’m about to say really doesn’t belong in the games forum, but neither does this whole thread, so I’m not going to feel too bad about it.

I wrote a long piece on Columbine several years back; I’m not going to bore you all with the whole argument. The key thing I’d like to point to is that Klebold and Harris were motivated not by hatred but by a desire for fame and recognition. In this, they were very normal teenagers. Like the thousands that try out for American Idol, the Real World, Survivor, etc., they wanted the image of fame: unconditional love, affirmation, adoration, luxury, freedom, and so on.

Now, I’m not one to argue that society is to blame; I’m a firm believer in individual responsibility. Nor do I believe that “self-esteem” or the various strategies for generating/maintaining/protecting it that have been in vogue in some circles are in the least bit effective.

But, when we start pointing fingers at games, movies, tv shows, comic books, the internet, or anything else people like to blame because they have violent content, we may be missing the point. The culture that puts fame and money at the pinnacle of achievement persuades people every day to change the ways they behave, and some people are always going to go too far.

Parents have a lot to do with it, sure. So do peer groups and larger communities. There is no panacea; no solution will “fix” the problem. But in our desire to make these sorts of events less likely in the future, maybe we should consider what makes people feel like “losers” in the first place.

These kinds of events may be endemic to our culture, as American as the rags-to-riches story and the rhetoric of personal achievement. Perhaps the best we can do is to focus on being positive contributors to all of our communities, and be ready to console the inevitable victims.

Sorry to get all Koontzian on you.