Sound like a bad combo? It’s because it is.
The story goes, an 8 year old boy was playing Grand Theft Auto 4. The boy put down the game, found a gun, and proceeded to shoot his grandmother in the head.
I’m writing this article because I was notified by the writer of this article about what went down, and that something needed to be said in defense of the objects in question before the knee-jerk reaction happens and we’re all, once again, blaming the wrong thing for a tragedy.
1. Most of the Left will immediately tell you it was the gun. It wasn’t the gun. A gun is an inanimate object that is only able to be used as a weapon in the hands of man. It didn’t tell the kid to pick it up and shoot his grandmother in the head. So we can rule that out.
2. Most of the Right would blame the game. It would be a logical solution, since the boy got the idea from a very violent video game which grants you the ability to kill indiscriminately. I’m going to say that, yes, the game did give him the idea. Weird coming out of MY mouth, since (as far as my knowledge goes) I’m the number one advocate for video games in the conservative movement, but there’s no getting around it. Thing is, I’m STILL not going to blame the video game.
A: That video game was not in any way meant for children. It says so on the cover. That big M on the cover stands for “Mature.” Not “Magnificent,” or “Monkeys,” or ”Muah! Kisses.” Who gave an 8 year-old access to that game?
B: The game didn’t tell the kid to pick up a gun and kill, just like the gun didn’t speak to the kid and convince him to do so either. Millions of people have played that game (including myself) and I’m pretty sure a vast majority of them are yet to commit a crime of any kind. I’ve jaywalked a few times since then and have an expired tag on my car, but I think we can all concede the game had no influence on that.
3. The hard Left would blame the boy. Not the boy himself, but the boyhood in the boy. A few days ago I wrote an article titled “Why Take the Man Out of Mankind,” and talked about how we need to invite boys to be dangerous. I said a boy needs to be able to pretend, and experience being a warrior because in the end, it’s practice for the real thing. He’s going to have the urge to do it, because it’s how boys are wired.
I still stand behind this 100% despite this news, but let’s all remember that the boy was up against two major factors here.
One, there was a video game that he shouldn’t have been playing that was putting the perspective of being dangerous in the wrong light. If I had to give a boy an example to follow it wouldn’t be the protagonist of GTA 4, Nico Bellic. There is no way an 8 year-old can put that kind of gameplay in context alone… because he’s 8. He longs to play the hero as every boy does, and when he sees Nico blowing away half the population of Liberty City and still getting to be the good guy, it sends a really skewed message. Me and my friends know its a game, but the 8 year-old is in a stage where every game (in or out of the virtual world) is serious business. A young boy throwing a pretend grenade at a box of bad guys to save the universe is a wonderful thing; a young boy playing in a virtual world where death is dealt because you feel like it, is not. He has to be taught that virtue.
The second is that the boy didn’t have to pretend. The very instrument by which he was killing in the game was readily available to him. Again, an 8 year old boy wants to be dangerous, and would naturally be drawn to the weapon. When he picked it up he wasn’t an 8 year old: he was Nico Bellic.
When I was about 13 my dad handed me a shotgun and explained to me how to use it. We went hunting dove that day and I had gotten my first experience with a gun. It was terrifying, exiting, and very educational. I’ll never forget what he told me. “This isn’t a toy son, this a tool of destruction. It’s designed to kill.” Then he proceeded to show me just how designed to kill it was as we shot birds out of the sky. Let’s consider the factors in my story.
One, I was a bit older than 8. Two, I was under complete supervision. Three, my teacher was experienced with firearms himself and was very adamant about safety… that’s it. That’s the perfect formula for a responsible boy with a gun. I’ll be doing the same with my son/daughter should I have one. It’s all about responsibility.
No centurion in ancient Rome was handing his young boy his gladius and telling his son to go have fun with his buds. He had a sword because his son needed one for play, but it was wooden and had a thick edge.
So who was to blame for this tragedy? Read the common theme in what I wrote above. The one thing lacking there was a responsible adult. Whoever handed the kid the game, had the gun laying about where a kid could just find it, and thought a boy wasn’t going to try to be a boy deserves a Darwin award. It’s that level of stupid.
There’s your culprit. Crap-tastic parenting.