November 12, 2003

GTA IV - The Courtroom

And in entertainment news:

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The creators of the video game series "Grand Theft Auto" want a federal judge to dismiss a $246 million lawsuit filed by the families of two people shot by teenagers.

    Rockstar Games and its New York City-based parent, Take-Two Interactive Software, said the victims' families were trying to hold them liable "based on the expressive content of the video game."

    Retailer Wal-Mart and marketer Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., are also named in the lawsuit.

    Aaron Hamel, 45, was killed and Kimberly Bede, 19, was seriously wounded when their cars were hit June 25 by .22-caliber bullets while driving along Interstate 40.

    Stepbrothers William Buckner, 16, and Joshua Buckner, 14, were sentenced in August to an indefinite term after pleading guilty in juvenile court to reckless homicide, endangerment and assault.

    The boys told investigators they got the rifles from a locked room in their home and decided to randomly shoot at tractor-trailer rigs, just like in the video game "Grand Theft Auto III."
No, parents, I think the problem is YOU. You sense money. You make the cha-ching sound and scurry off to your lawyers. And I'm ashamed of you - your progeny did something terrible, and while they are minors, I'm afraid it's fairly simple at any age above 8 or 10 to know that you DO NOT KILL PEOPLE.

Your lawsuit is a disgrace, and it should not prevail. GTA III gave your murderous children only the idea of HOW; any media - a book, a TV show, a magazine - could've done that. A friend in the lunchroom TALKING about shooting at people driving down the interstate could have fulfilled the same function.

That "M" rating on the game? That stands for mature. But you wouldn't understand that. Blame always lies with "someone else," and there's no horrific realization on your part that your sons behaved like something less than animals.


Posted by hln at November 12, 2003 05:37 AM | Lawsuit Mania | TrackBack


Posted by: Ted at November 12, 2003 07:54 AM

Good points about parenting, but the way I read the article...the families of the victims are suing--not the families of the shooters. Am I wrong?

Posted by: Jennifer at November 12, 2003 07:57 AM

They should be suing the shooters--but it's the "deep pockets" game--go after whoever has the most money, whether it makes sense or not.

Posted by: Susie at November 12, 2003 10:56 AM

Jen - you're right. It makes the cha-ching part of my commentary moot, but the rest still stands. Suing the game makers is absurd.


Posted by: hln at November 12, 2003 12:52 PM

This case holds no water and a precedence has already been set to quash this whole thing.

Remember a few months ago when a guy who murdered his parents tried to use the "Matrix" defense? He was dressed in black head to toe, wore sunglasses indoors, and filled his parents full of lead because - you guessed it - he claimed that he was "trapped in The Matrix." The prosecution argued that MILLIONS of people have watched those films and NOT KILLED ANYONE. The judge (obviously not attempting to gain a seat on the 9th Circuit) was good enough to throw 'Neo' in the clink.

Now, how many people have played GTA and then -viciously - NOT shot up city streets and NOT become car-jackers? Hmmmmmmm......

This case hasn't worked any time it's been tried. It didn't work when they tried to blame AC/DC for the Night Stalker murders, it didn't work when they said Ozzy Osbourne was telling kids to blow their brains out (like anyone can understand what Ozzy's saying anyway!), it didn't work when they blamed Marilyn Manson for Columbine, and it's not going to work now.

How many times will these people try the same case in a different form before they finally get the picture that pointing the finger at people with lots of money will NOT GET YOU PAID?!

Posted by: Mike the Marine at November 12, 2003 01:19 PM

I'd love to know what video games or movies inspired Vlad the Impaler, or Jack the Ripper.

Posted by: LeeAnn at November 12, 2003 08:24 PM

FYI, the attorney working on this case seems set on blaming video games in other cases as well. There's a profile of Jack Thompson in the Philadelphia Weekly, here. I put up some stuff about it myself, here. I'll see if I can find a copy of the complaint - not sure it's freely available, though.

Posted by: Tony at November 13, 2003 09:52 AM