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Doom Causes Kid to Kill 458

Today's idiotic lawsuit...parents are suing Hollywood and some porn websites because some kid shot a bunch of his classmates. Here is an exceptionally choice quote: "The lawsuit claims that confessed shooter Michael Carneal, a 14-year-old freshman at Heath High School at the time of the Dec. 1, 1997, shootings, was influenced by the violence in ``The Basketball Diaries'' and by several violent computer games such as ``Doom,'' ``Quake,'' and ``Mortal Combat.''" The Mortal Combat techno track does make me want to kill whoever produced it, and I've never been fond of DiCaprio, but wow. What a great country we live in. Update: 04/13 02:11 by CT : several people sent us this story which says that 14 game companies will be sued. Guess who is among them?
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Doom Causes Kid to Kill

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    When you look at the amount of children which are going out and killing people lately you have to question the cause. Normal parents which raise their kids with love and teach them the difference between right and wrong have children which murder other children.

    Then you look at what they watch on TV and what they play on the video games. And not just fantacy TV, you have the news which glorifies the killing of mass people showing the bombing of kosovo. You have the media glorifying violence with such programs as "Scariest Police Chaces" or "Worlds most Violent Criminals" or "Cops".....then you have gangs sprouting up everywere, and movies like 'Go' (looks to me like this movie glorifies the "drug user/carry a gun and kill people" night life senario).....Its really no wonder our kids are fucked up in the head.....then you have all these wierd chemicals running through their boddies,...some prescribed by doctors which are known to make some people become violent....and from the candy and cerials they eat....and all this fast, no worry food they eat....I mean shit, what do we expect? Kids are fucking crazy as it is,...then we bombard them with violence and feed them psychodelic chemicals....shit lets give them LSD, couldn't be any worse.

    Granted, kids should know the difference between right and wrong, real and fantasy,...but when you take into account all the other crap,...well how can we really expect them to?

    There is just too much of this going on for it to be just the kids or parents faults....6 year olds are drowning their little siblings,...an 8 year old sexually asaulted his little brother....14 year olds are attacking school yards with hunting and assault rifles (kids who HAVE been taught the realities of guns and the difference between right and wrong)....there has to be other contributing factors to this mess, and just blaming the parents without accounting for all the violence of society as a whole is just stupid. I am sure Quake, Doom, and MK were certainly not 'good' influences on the child....but I am equally sure that they were not the sole blame of the child's violent actions.
  • The plaintiffs wish to suggest that, since an actor *may* have sought out media on his own accord, and *may* have listened to the occasional utterance, that those sources then bear responsibility for Carneal's actions? The same logic would suggest that, should I hurl a television out the window out of disgust with incredibly inane programming, that any poor schmuck that I hit should sue the members of the focus groups that led to such marketing.

    They have offended my common sense and exacerbated my irritation humanity, and strengthened a belief that many do not deserve to vote, make policy, or otherwise inflict their idiocies upon the rest of us. They have possibly increased my blood pressure, and have definitely worsened my opinion of the legal profession.

    There should therefore be a countersuit, naming as defendants the idiots of the world -- including these plaintiffs and their opportunistic lawyer(s).
  • ;(
  • Not to trivialize wholesale murder, but sometimes I wonder why stupid people are allowed to exist at all. Ignoring the fact that his parents are suing the wrong damn game companies, among other things, I find it absolutely ridiculous that they're blaming everyone but themselves, on whose shoulders any "blame" for the crime should really be placed.


    - A.P.

    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • I'm a gamer. I've played computer games since I was five with my TI 99/4a. I went through a few, morally questionable games like the Leasure Suit Larry series, the Id software titles, etc. Now, I've never felt any need to run around in a cheezy leisure suit trying to get laid while playing rambo and killing everything in sight.

    After I got done playing a game I never felt like going out and emulating the game. Maybe it's because that most games are nowhere near the quality of a good action movie or maybe it's because I'm not psychotic.

    Anyone who has the capacity and mental or emotional instability to kill someone cold doesn't need any help from the kill-everything-in-sight genre of games.

    A game doesn't turn you into a cold blooded killer and even if it could, good parenting... or hell, any parenting at all is enough to counteract it.

  • Well, I happen to like both their new and old stuff. Their old stuff is a lot faster and heavier, but the late-80s and early-90s stuff is good. I agree their really new stuff (post-1994 when Brett Gurewitz left) isn't that great, but No Control, Against the Grain, and Generator are great albums.
  • FWIW that's the pledge of allegiance, not the national anthem. Either way, I agree with your point. The founding fathers of the country saw no reason to put "under God" in the anthem, so I don't see why some later people second-guessed them and decided to add the phrase in. BTW does anybody know exactly when the words "under God" were added to the pledge? Is it yet another stupid thing we have to thank Mr. McCarthy (the 1950s Red Scare one, not the anti-vietnam-war one) for?
  • Neither attorney was available for comment prior to going to press, though the Adrenaline Vault learned one of them has a history of being associated with cases supported by conservative Christian organizations.

    Why am I not surprised? They should go back to church and stop trying to tell me what games I can play, what movies I should watch, and what music I should listen to.

    "Please give a 10, 25, or 50 dollar tax-deductible donation, and I assure you, your modest pledge will be used to censor TV and radio, ban questionable books, and contribute to many other Godly services. No longer will young Christian Americans hedonistically indulge in masochistic submission to rhythmic music, for with your monetary support, there is no end to what we can achieve in this country!" -Bad Religion, "The Voice of God is Government" [xvi.net], 1982.
  • This has everything to do with religious fundamentalism. From the beginning, the parents of the victims tried to paint it as a work of evil godless atheists trying to destroy Christianity by shooting at a prayer meeting. Then they found out the shooter was Christian. I guess that sort of ruined things, so they're looking for a different scapegoat. Instead of the evil atheists, it's now the evil game, movie, and porn industries.

    In case you have any doubts as to their motives, take a look at a quote from this article [avault.com]:

    Neither attorney was available for comment prior to going to press, though the Adrenaline Vault learned one of them has a history of being associated with cases supported by conservative Christian organizations.
  • Yeah, because they can trademark "Mortal Kombat" much more easily than the common english phrase "mortal combat."
  • The following is an incomplete list of the negligent people responsible for this tragedy, who should promptly be sued:

    ID Software, for making violent games
    Intel and/or AMD, for providing the processor to play aforementioned games on
    Any other hardware manufacturers whose product was used in the playing of said violent game
    the store from which the game was purchased
    The school district
    The school administrators
    The kid's parents
    The gun manufacturer
    the bullet manufacturer
    the store from which the gun was purchased
    the distributor of the firearms
    all movie theaters responsible for violent movie production
    all the actors
    the movie theaters
    the television stations which advertise the movies
    the newspapers which advertise the movies
    the porn sites
    the US Government for creating the internet on which the porn sites are located
    CERN laboratories for creating the www

    The scary thing is that they actually have sued a large number of the above listed entities.
  • Porn on the Internet is responsible for the decline of Western civilization...didn't you know? (sarcasm)

  • [washingtonpost.com]
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/lo ngterm/gunfight/gunfight.htm

    Why take responsibility when you can sue someone? Now, I'm starting to sympathize with the tobacco companies.

  • I fully expect to hear someday that his parents will join in the lawsuit (after all, he was a victim too!)

  • by Enry ( 630 )
    Sue the families of the children who were killed. If they (the children) didn't get in the way of his bullets, he wouldn't be in so much trouble now. Sheesh.

    I'm rather suprised (or not) the parents didn't express their concern about these games earlier, or prevented him (through any of the many programs available) from going to porn sites.

    Oh, and someone already sued God and won (He didn't show).
  • I heard a rumor that if you inserted the Super Mario Bros. game cartridge backwards into a NES then you got to play the XXX version. Luigi humps the Princess or something like that...

    Pu-leaze! This kind of thought is bringing us back into the stone age.
  • I have friends (and family) teaching K-6. If a child can't distinguish between fantasy and reality by the time they're 5, it's something that's noticed and responded to. It is not, then, too much to expect from a 13-year-old.

    Would you say that playing with squirt guns and water baloons predisposes kids to play with guns and bombs? Wargames and sparring have been around forever; As long as it's known to be nonlethal, it never has had or will have a serious detrimental effect.

    Distinguishing between things happening inside a screen and things happening in the surrounding world really isn't that tough. Heck, the (excessive, very-very-bad-thing) TV watching by most children prepares them for that just fine.

    Speaking of which... TV and video games are not nearly the influnce they're blamed to be in terms of violent behavior (general stupidity, yes; cynicism, yes; apathy, yes; violence, no). Proper parenting is much, much more important. These folks are in no position to file lawsuits; The blame lies first with the child himself, and second with his parents.


    Re "where's the skill?", you obviously haven't played Team Fortress or a similar Quake mod where actual teamwork, strategy and planning is neccesary. If no skill were neccesary, do you think folks would find these games fun?

    Re the video game age ratings, they already exist and have been in use for quite some time. Quite ineffective, though.
  • Posted by The Orge Captain:

    So everyone who listens to those types of music does drugs and the drugs make us murder people? Thats interesting cause then i can argue that the prerpy little momie dressed me i never do anything bad, staright a kids who listen to there one hit wonder backstreet boys or spice girls or whatever have an excuse to go out and rape people ? Well all the songs are about sex so it must make there hormons build up to the point where jacking off does them no good so they go and rape someone.

    As for are music tastes ? anybody who listens to billy joel or john tesh or anything equally queer should really think about what your tastes or maybe you'll find they arnt as good as you thought.

    As for the loss of human life the world could live without another 14 potential yous. You know small minded, sterotypical, unintelegent, and totaly useless.
    And like you i have the cajones to post as someone other then "Anonymous Coward"
  • Posted by alcohol:

    1. Do not let your children look at pornography if you think it will make them kill.
    2. Do not take your children to movies if they think they will make them kill.
    3. Do not buy your children computer games if you think they will make them kill.
    4. Do not start up stupid lawsuits.
    5. Pay attention to the RATINGS on the videos and video games.
    6. Do not let your children have guns.

    If you were to kill someone with a gun, would the person's family sue the gun company or the bullet company? It was the child's choice.
  • Posted by alcohol:

    too bad it happened in AMERICA? i think that he should have been dropped in KOSOVO. damn, he's a stupid kid, who gives a shit, is there a difference if he is 22 or 12? he's gonna go postal anyways.
  • Posted by The Mongolian Barbecue:

    If we allow lawsuits for this kind of stuff, what's next? Movies and video games are not the only violent medium. How about books? Take crime and punishment- it involves a number of axe-murders. What if someone read this book and committed an axe-murder and the book was subsequently banned? Where does this end? It doesn't, until we live in a bland homogenized society where everyone kills each other out of frustration and inability to express themselves.

    The parents of this kid need to grow up. Maybe they are so desperately sad from the pain that they can't think of anything better to do than hurt others. But judging from their obvious lack of parenting to this point, they are probably pretty immature.

    Anyway I hope the legal system swats this shit down. Its a shame that so many companies will have to waste money on their defense.
  • Posted by The Mongolian Barbecue:

    They're probably laughing all the way to the bank. I bet the second the cameras leave they wipe off the false tears and break out the champaign. Well, at least the parents of the kids who were only wounded. But this raises an interesting point. If your wondering how to pay for college, just have one extra kid, get him to kill a few friends **insert gunshots, screams and cash-register noises** , and cash in on a settlement.
  • What I want to know is why the parents of the shooter Michael Carneal did not do anything to control their child's access to materials containing pornography and violence. For the parnets of the victims to blame the entertainment industry, and especially the computer game industry for a child's actions is absurd.

    I liken it to this: trying to sue the crack because your kid smoked it and it killed him.

    The drugs aren't the problem, the user is for not informing him/herself to smoke them. In this case, the role of the parent is to be the decision maker/moral guidance for the child, and if they had done their job right, they would have kept open communication with their child and would most likely have noticed the problems he was having before this ever became a problem. Just a simple acknowledgement and communication about an alienation problem can be enough to curb it at times.

    Generally when I play these games (quake, sin, etc), it's a stress release. I just simply think about whatever problem I'm having, layer it over another player in DM, and chuck a few rockets at it. :) At least this way, if I'm going to be violent, it's going to be with a mouse and a keyboard, not weapons by any means. Frankly these games have done more good for my demeanor than anyone telling me I can't have them.

  • The media clearly influence behavior. Otherwise, advertising would be pointless. There is not a hard cause-and-effect relationship though. I, for instance, have seen many thousand Coca Cola ads in my life, but I have never bought Coca Cola. People as a group however are more likely to buy Coca Cola if they have seen Coca Cola ads. The fact that many people here claim "I have played Quake all my life and have never killed anybody!" is completely irrelevant. The relevant question is: "does playing Quake increase the likelihood to kill?"

    Advertising is seldom a means of harboring influence anymore. No one buys a Coca-Cola because the advertisement convinces them to buy it, but because they hear it and think "gee, I want a coke", or "i wonder what coke tastes like, maybe i'll get one the next time I buy a pop". They don't like Coke, they will never purchase it again regardless of advertisement.

    Same goes with Quake. No one plays quake thinking "wow, I want to kill people, I think i'll do it on my computer", nor does anyone think "this is so easy in quake, maybe the next time i'm out i'll try killing a real person". AÎdrenaline from playing the game may easily be a factor in aggression right after playing, but it7s just not plain logical to suggest that a computer game (and even less so a movie) is suggestive of killing real people.

    The fact is, the kid was disturbed, alienated, and depressed. I personally think that the society around him was directly responsible, and as much as I hate to suggest it, the kids that were shot themselves were probably most likely to blame.. After all, i'm imagining he had a goal on who he was going to shoot. I'm not saying they deserved it or anything of that sort, but kids are very cruel little shitheads and a lot of school teachers aren't of the highest caliber when it comes to "giving half a shit about their students".

    The kid had prior problems in school, and they obviously were not addressed very well. I imagine, that in class, some of these kids may have been bothering/teasing him, which might have created the alienation. It's the teacher's job to maintain a classroom for all the students. This happens all the times, and sometimes, I've even seen teachers get into the act themselves, lowering to the social graces of an 8 year old.

    And not every kid has the ability to defend himself or just ignore the problem. This is how defensive mechanisms start, his was a one time shot with a machine gun. (no pun intended)

    Most likely the kid has had multiple nervous breakdowns that have not been treated properly. The parents, the teachers, the school, and the kids are to blame, whether they intentionally did it or not.

  • i'm sure it was john Carmack's intention to make thousands of crazy teen's go out with assorted weapons and kill other kids. I'm sure that was his intention. Everyone always wants to blame somebody else for there fuckup. John Carmack is a great human being....he brought us doom and quake...and is making OpenGL and industry standard for 3d graphics (not directx). What can i say...he's John Carmack, leave him alone

    You're right! After all, we all know that Commander Keen is the antichrist. :)

  • ...the big city mayors are already doing that.

    And it makes as much sense as the other lawsuit we're discussing.

    But this suit, and the lawsuits going after the gun manufactures, and the lawsuits going after the tobacco companies, are really all about one thing: money. The big payoff. They're going after the guy with the biggest pockets.

    It's just abuse of the legal system, plain and simple.

  • Microsoft products really make me want to hurt, kill and mutilate people.
  • The whole feminist movement is a joke. What has it solved? Men still rule 99% of the world. And there's no Germaine Greer or Andrea Dworkin who will change that.

    Giving up on social progress so easily?
    Feminism is a relatively new thing. It will take time to get rid of sexism. But (generally) every generation is a little more open-minded than the previous.
  • by TedC ( 967 )
    Email me the code (or a URL) and I'll look at it if you want.


  • The coffee, maintained at a scalding 180F-190F because the customers supposedly "like it hot", caused severe third-degree burns. She spent seven days in the hospital and was treated with skin grafts.

    nitially she only wanted payment for her medical bills but McDonald's refused to even negotiate with her. Consequently she contacted an attorney who had settled another coffee burn case with McDonald's. In the course of the trial company documents revealed that "in the past decade McDonald's had received at least 700 reports of coffee burns ranging from mild to third-degree, and had settled claims arising from scalding injuries for more than $500,000."
    In the interests of conserving bandwidth, please read my reply [slashdot.org] to another message in this thread that does the math your "facts". A 1 in 7 MILLLION problem rate does not indicate a problem with the company selling it.

    BTW - they're absolutely right when they say "There are more serious dangers in restaurants." What next? Taking care of the one in a million moron who pokes himself in the eye with a fork?

  • Rob's word wrapper appears to wrap URLs, too. That should have been http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=99/04/12/20172 09&threshold=0&commentsort=3&mode=nested &cid=2890 without a space between mode= and nested screwing it up.
  • Sure YOU may know the line between computer and reality, but do kids?
    Question - has anyone ever found any evidence that supports the "violent videogames == violent kids" theory and has stood up to peer review and been corroborated by other studies?
    Anyway, conclusion time. These games should be restricted from children. There is a reason why people below 18 are not allowed to vote. There is a reason why people below 18 cannot have sex with people above 18, without the older person going to jail. There is a reason people below 21 can't drink.
    Which goes to prove this approach doesn't work. When was the last time you heard of some high school kids having trouble finding booze or cigarettes? Ever meet a minor who isn't sleeping with an adult because of the law?

    This is the same problem so many ligitation-happy people forget - the people who will follow a new law are the kind of people who wouldn't have been causing problems in the first place.

    Without responsible parents new laws will be about as effective as the 65MPH speed limit unless you carry enforcement to Big-Brother levels. Of course, it's easier to pass a law than do something that actually works...

  • Imagine the massacre that'd happen if a statistically significant number of the millions of people surfing for dirty pictures did start killing people: "Your son only shot 4 people? We're too busy to come out for anything less than 10 casualties before next June, so we'll mail you a form to complete."

    I wonder if the companies being sued can file a countersuit for poor parenting. I'd be amazed if those porn sites didn't have some sort of "You must be old enough to legally view the contents of this site" verbiage up - couldn't they sue the kid for violating their terms of usage? Besides - aren't those the sites that are supposedly making tons of money on subscriptions? What's a 14-year old doing with a credit card?

  • Check out the following link for the facts of the case: http://caoc.com/mcdonald.html
    That would be only the facts which don't support McDonald's, as you expect from a group of consumer attorneys who are in the business of suing large companies, often on questionable grounds. For instance:
    McDonalds also said during discovery that, based on a consultants advice, it held its coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees fahrenheit to maintain optimum taste. He admitted that he had not evaluated the safety ramifications at this temperature. Other establishments sell coffee at substantially lower temperatures, and coffee served at home is generally 135 to 140 degrees.
    This is debunked in the alt.drugs.caffeine FAQ: 2.1.- What is the best temperature for drip coffee? According to chemical studies, the optimal water temperature for drip coffee is 95-98C. According to my notes, colder water doesn't extract enough caffeine/essential oils from the beans, and above such temperature the acidity increases wildly. (Note: 95-98C = 203-208.4F)
    During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700 claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992. Some claims involved thirddegree burns substantially similar to Liebecks. This history documented McDonalds knowledge about the extent and nature of this hazard.
    McDonald's did know about the extent of this hazard - namely that it's almost nonexistent. That article claims that the $2.7 million in punitive damages is roughly equal to two days of McDonald's coffee sales. At a buck a cup that works out to 4,927,500,000 cups of coffee sold over that 10 year period or 7,039,284 people who managed to survive the Boiling Coffee Of Death for every single problem!
    (Critics of civil justice, who have pounced on this case, often charge that Liebeck was driving the car or that the vehicle was in motion when she spilled the coffee; neither is true.)
    Note how they attempt to seem fair by disproving a pointless argument. If anything, this makes it look even less like McDonald's problem - she couldn't even pour the coffee without spilling it in a stopped car!
  • Well, maybe not that much off topic, but Rob, I noticed Today's Weather in Hell no longer shows up on my custom page. I looked around the Brunching site and found it
    here [brunching.com]

    BTW, Today's WIH is detatched eyeballs.
  • Have you seen the inside of a prison lately? They aren't there for reform. They don't even pretend to be.

  • In which case the blame still falls on the parents. Either way it was their responsibility to raise him to be a decent human being.

  • This suit is typical. I don't know how they will prove any of it in court though. I've watched the movies. I've played the games. I've seen internet porn sites. I haven't shot anybody at any time to my knowledge. Now does that mean I am abnormal? Should those things have caused me to do something that my parents taught me was wrong?

    If they should have, then perhaps I need treatment. Otherwise, I'd say the child who shot those people is the one who is in need of treatment as well as a set of parents who are willing to accept the responsibility of raising a child. I think those defendants should countersue and bring in witness after witness who will testify that they, like me, have been subjected to all those things that the parents claim turned their son into a killer, and yet they have not killed anyone.

    The simple fact is that when you look at the big picture, there are vast numbers of people who have seen the violent movies, played the violent games, and visited internet porn sites, and have not committed a violent crime. The parents will probably be hard pressed to come up with more than a handful of people to testify otherwise. In that case, I would say that those who blame their crimes on movies and games and such are the abberrations and there is probably another factor involved. It could be something as simple as bad parenting, or it could be more complex. Either way, frivolous lawsuits aren't going to fix the problem.

  • Interestingly enough, the local newspaper in San Antonio, TX just ran a story on GNOME. It was on the first page of the business section. Had a picture of Miguel and everything. It was titled something like "Open Source Software Looking to Invade Microsoft's Turf" or something to that effect. Nice to see it getting some notice even at the local level now.

  • I guess that's what people must think. You can't limit someone's right to reproduce because you would have to impose on their religious beliefs, their cultural beliefs, and/or alter their body or lifestyle drastically. You can't tell someone not to do it or you end up with a situation like they have in China. One child per family. You go to the clinic 4 times a year and if you're pregnant, you get an immediate abortion. If you break the law, you go to jail. While I understand the problem of overpopulation, it doesn't make the solution very palatable. Of course, people seem to understand the problems of having too many animals and generally aren't against controlling the animal population. Why is it that the human population should be allowed to grow unchecked? Don't some of the same problems show up?

    Who would get to decide who was fit to have a child and who wasn't? What if standards keep rising? Maybe we should only let reasonably intelligent, AND athletic people have children. Maybe that would cut down on deaths from heart disease, cancer, smoking-related ilness, drug-related ilness, etc. The bottom line is that someone would get the role of God in determining who would live and who would not.

  • While I don't share your view that these games will warp a kid's mind, I do believe that a rating system for games is a good thing. I think it should be up to the parents whether or not a child should be allowed to play a certain game. A rating system would help them to decide whether the game is something they want their kid to play or not. It's as simple as that. Don't sell games with a 17+ rating to a kid unless the kid is at least 17. Just like going to the movies. No big deal. Once they are old enough to be held fully responsible for their actions in a court of law, then let them buy what they want and do what they want and pay the price if they do something stupid.

  • Even though I had read otherwise in the article, after reading the previous posts here, I started thinking that it was the parents of the child who were suing. This is not the case, and so I must correct my post.

    I think those defendants should countersue and bring in witness after witness who will testify that they, like me, have been subjected to all those things that the parents claim turned their son into a killer, and yet they have not killed anyone.

    The above should read:

    I think those defendants should countersue and bring in witness after witness who will testify that they, like me, have been subjected to all those things that the parents of the victims claim turned the child into a killer, and yet they have not killed anyone.

    There. All fixed. I promise to try harder in the future :)

  • ``We intend to hurt Hollywood. We intend to hurt the video game industry. We intend to hurt sex porn sites'' on
    the Internet, said Jack Thompson, one of the parents' lawyers.

    Is there some other type of porn that I should be aware of?

    Don Negro
  • He actually seems pretty well adjusted.

    Don Negro
  • After a day of many annoying things going wrong, and having to correct other people's stupid mistakes, it's either gun down a bunch of CyberDemons or whoever happens to be on the crowded train.

    Seriously, for every study that claims violence in media leads to violence in reality, there is at least one that says not.

  • Time to round up laywers everywhere and put them in deep space...
    (especially disney laywers)
  • >If you really want to find them [snort], do a search for warez...)

    How true! I gave up looking for a bootleg version of Win98 (don't flame me, please - I've since seen the light and converted to Linux) because of all the porn crap at virtually every warez site.

  • I'm interested in finding out how they plan on suing the internet porn industry. The kid obviously ignored all of the warnings on the sites stating that he was of legal age of consent or whatever nonsense the page recomends before entering the site. If anything, this adds to the fact that his parents are totally and completely unsuitable.

    Who bought those games for this boy? Who gave this boy a computer and internet access without supervision? Who enabled this boy to have access to 6 firearms without being locked up? Was the id programmer sitting behind the child in his room, telling him to go out and kill? Was there a scantily clad woman handing him his grandfather's pistol, and telling him to go kill the little church girls? Lets say there was an id programmer physically there and encouraging the child to murder people in cold blood. Where were the parents?

    Lets put the blame where it fully belongs. Lets stop parents from blaming their lazyness onto the backs of the media.

  • If you think this lawsuit is silly, is beyond the bounds of reason, is symptomatic of a legal system gone wrong, then you need to listen the next time a politician starts to talk about tort reform, because that's the name of the remedy that will need to be applied.

    One caution: Be careful just which politician it is, and listen to exactly what he's saying. Most of them are lawyers themselves, and would rather masturbate naked on CNN than do something that could be percieved as harming the legal profession. Most of them talk a good line, but few actually follow through. You have to get a running start to take on a well-funded and strongly placed behemoth like the American legal system.

    As an example, during his tenure as vice president, J. Danforth "Dan" Quayle (himself a lawyer, as is his wife--they met in law school) made tort reform one of his pet issues. As far as I know, Dan got about as many reforms enacted as miles he walked on Mars.

    But if I thought that goofy sumbitch had a goat's chance of actually getting something done, hell, even I'd vote for him!

  • Really, what else is there to say? If a person is so unstable that they're going to imitate a game or a movie, you need to look back earlier to the real cause of their problem. Such a person went over the edge long ago and would probably react negatively to pretty much any random stimuli.
  • The last time I played quake I don't remember any body parts flying.
  • Advertising is seldom a means of harboring influence anymore. No one buys a Coca-Cola because the advertisement convinces them to buy it, but because they hear it and think "gee, I want a coke", or "i wonder what coke tastes like, maybe i'll get one the next time I buy a pop". They don't like Coke, they will never purchase it again regardless of advertisement.

    Note however that Coke ads never mention the taste or the ingredients of the stuff. They desperately try to present the drink as "cool". In other words, they try to trick people into buying the stuff for reasons completely unrelated to the product. And people don't see through this, they buy Coke like sheep.

    I don't think anybody knows precisely what goes on inside the advertising victim, but it is clear that the probability of buying Coke goes up after having seen a Coke ad, for whatever reasons.

    The question to be answered is: Does the probability of violent behavior go up after having played a violent video game. I don't know the answer, but I suspect it is yes. If it is, and the game manufacturers know about it, then they are partly responsible for the violent acts since they are consequences of their actions. The people committing the violent acts are of course also responsible; "I played too much Quake!" is not a valid excuse.


  • If you kill several people and you are not mentally ill, then you are obviously responsible for you action. That doesn't mean that you are the only one responsible.

    People are probabilistic information processors. If you change the input, then the probability distribution of behavior patterns will change.

    The media clearly influence behavior. Otherwise, advertising would be pointless. There is not a hard cause-and-effect relationship though. I, for instance, have seen many thousand Coca Cola ads in my life, but I have never bought Coca Cola. People as a group however are more likely to buy Coca Cola if they have seen Coca Cola ads. The fact that many people here claim "I have played Quake all my life and have never killed anybody!" is completely irrelevant. The relevant question is: "does playing Quake increase the likelihood to kill?"

    Everybody is responsible for their own actions. If you knowingly do something which increases the likelihood of somebody else killing someone, then you are partially responsible for the killing, along with the killer.

    It is not at all far-fetched to claim that violent media are partially responsible for these highschool murders.


  • I feel sorry for the poor schmuck named Leonard DiCrapolio who gets killed by accident ;^)
  • Furniture porn? :^) Lotsa naked chairs out there...no telling what they're doin'...
  • I currently live about an hour away from where this happened. My family is from Kentucky. Your suspicions will now be confirmed...

    ...Kentucky suffers from extreme inbreeding.
  • The saddest thing in the article is that the plaintiffs have named several students at the school in the suit - presumably friends of the child who murdered their children. I can't believe that anyone in their right mind, however traumatised by the loss of their loved ones, would name classmates in a compensation suit.

    What a sad, sad world we live in. My mother's a lawyer, my partner is about to qualify as one and I know that some (most?) lawyers are decent people, but when you read of cases like this it makes you lose faith in the whole profession.


  • They probably will want to sue for the pain and suffering experienced while listening to the MK background music... :op

    Now, seriously, this is nuts. A great number of school kids play MK/Doom/Quake/Duke Nukem/Wolfstein 3D with the Barney patch/etc., and visit pr0n sites all too frequently, however they continue living normally. This particular kid just isn't sane. And if his parents want to do something about it, they should've prevented their kid from using the computer/video game in the first place!

    It's interesting to see how families expect to blame others for their own mistakes...

  • Assume the parents are clueless (which they seem to be). Accordingly, they don't have the capability to do that. The only thing left to do then is to close all possible venues of deviant behaviour.

    But, who knows; maybe they were trying to do that and the kid found a way to circumvent his parent's watch. Oh well...


  • Last time I shot someone I didn't see any body parts or blood fly out all over the place. ;)

    Please people be serious.. ever since the dawn of freaking humanity kids have played "war". It was no real then as it is now. For everyone person who can't tell the differance between a "game" and "real-life (tm)" there are 100000 who can. Is it fair to punish the majority because of a flaw in one person? or should we address the real problem.. the ONE person that HAS the problem.


  • "Stand Back -
    I may be dangerous!"

    Heheh.. that's a really nice quote for the back of a t-shirt.

  • This is just another example of poor parenting. There are millions of children who play these games every day, and none of them are influenced to commit physical harm to anyone or anything else. Sure they can get you wired up, but caffeine can do that too, and I've never heard of anyone suing Maxwell House.

    I bet the reason why the parents of the victims are not suing the parents of the shooter is because they have no money! It has nothing to do with right wrongs, it just makes them look greedy.

    I wonder how long until this lawsuit gets dismissed.

    Timur Tabi
    Remove "nospam_" from email address

  • Yeah, but PV=nRT is an ideal gas law-- it doesn't take into account various other forces that make almost all materials deviate from the ideal gas law. If it wasn't for non-ideal gases, modern refrigeration (based on the fact that some gases absorb heat upon expansion) would be impossible.

    Now an ice cream bar served as Bose-Einstein Condensate might be interesting...
  • i remember that one....
    the laywer (steve was it?) got beat up by sean penn and was trying to determine who to sue.

    didn't want to sue sean penn or madanno out of fear of retribution, and couldn't sue opus (his companion when he got beat up) because opus was broke.

    in the end it was decided to sue the manufacturer of the camera he was carrying at the time, since everyone knows corporations have huge dough....
  • Approximately quoted from Calvin & Hobbes:

    Is TV violence part of our culture? Sure! Does it desensitize people to violence? No doubt about it. Does it blur the morality of violence? Seems likely. But does it actually
    cause violent behaviour? Well, that's debatable. It's all in how you phrase the question.

    Not that I think these people should win the lawsuit, but I don't think that media culture in the U.S. values human life too much, either.

  • How many of you have seen "A Clockwork Orange"? Good movie, wasn't it?

    Remember when they took that criminal, strapped him down, made him watch all sorts of rapes, beatings, murders, etc. They gave him drugs to make him feel sick while he was watching these. As a result, he would always feel violently ill whenever he thought about rapes, beatings, and murders, so he would not rape, beat, or murder.

    Let's just try to set this up in reverse. That is, while exposing the subject to scenes of violence, we give him the company of friends/family/significant-others, the delicious smell of popcorn, a soda, or a good beer. We don't even have to strap him down, because why would he leave? What do you think the result will be here?

    I'm not saying that we are all as perfectly trainable as Pavlov's dog, but I think that such associations do have the effect on our actions. But it is something to think about....
  • The families of the children that were killed are the ones suing. Not the parents of the shooter.
  • Can commercialism be blamed for lacking parenting. I see this too much in the news. Everyone wants to put the blame elsewhere, such as the media, or software developers, but god forbid should they look to themselves for a little reponsibility. It is NOT the fault of the Media, the software companies, the porn sites or anything else. The blame in this case lies directly on the parents in this, and almost any other case of "Doom Did It".
    Let's not get into "what if" about the parents. It's not a case of "what if" any more. It's a case of "They are bad parents."
  • Isn't it interesting... the damn kid who did the
    shooting doesn't make the list of responislbe parties.
  • They should not keep him from using anything. They should have raised him with a sence of right and wrong.
  • Okey, this comes right back into the lap of the parents. "Oh, you evil influence, you warped my baby's mind," "Oh, bad nasty music, you made my little angel into a thief/killer/etc," "Oh, no, no, no, we need the government to HELP us" all boil down to the same pile of shit: parents aren't doing their jobs.

    Hate to take the unpopular viewpoint here, but blaming others is NOT right. These people's child, for whatever reason, is a monster. No if's, and's, or but's about it. Now, they want to dump this on the lap of what appears to be everyone BUT themselves. It is their fault? I don't know. I would hope not. Is it just a freak instance of someone's chemical balances out of sync? Possibly. But, that's really not the issue. What I do know is that this "here, government, raise/protect/guide my child" mentality is BAD.

    This goes hand in hand with my rant against the vchip, CDA, CDA-II, and stupid "your music made my kid crazy" lawsuits. I'm sorry folks, but if your child can be turned into a killer by playing a good LAN deathmatch, they weren't brought up right. If they try to spend their middle school library time looking at 3-way goat orgies, they weren't brought up right. If you can't trust your child to behave properly when you're not around, they weren't brought up right. I hate to point out the obvious, but if the biggest influence in a child's life is a CD or web site, there's a suspicious lack of parental influence in their life.

    Wake up, people. If you bring your kid up right, they won't shoot people. They won't burn down buildings. They won't worship the devil. They won't treat women as objects. I look at all these bills (like the CDA, vchip, internet decency act, and more), and they all scream "Hey! Raise my child for me! I'm toooooo busy!" Newsflash, ladies and gentlemen: it's not the government's place to define values, raise children, or censor anything. If you don't want your child to see/hear/smell/taste/try/do -whatever-, tell them! Talk to them! TEACH THEM.

    This suit strikes me as totally amazing. Much like the man who sued Ozzy because his son killed himself after listening to an Ozzy CD. Give me a break. I've got some pretty nasty CD's (Metallica's cover of "So What", anyone?), but I'm sure as hell not going to go rape, plunder, kill and burn everything in sight.

    You know, the people who support this kind of crap are the ones who say "I can't supervise my child 24 hours a day!" To them, I say "You don't have to supervise them. Raise them right. Teach values, respect, and courtesty, and the rest will take care of itself." Wake up folks, anyone who says the biggest influence in their kid's life is a shooter game, CD or movie needs to wake up, and ask themself WHY.


  • Well, what's keeping you? Get out there, earn your parents some money!
  • I recommend you sue the entire US of A for its criminal failure to imbue you with a sense of irony.
  • p.s. sorry about the grumpy tone, but my freaking C++ pointer-project is just not bloddy working :-)

    What's not working?


  • >Beleive it or not.. in the early 20's when
    >personal lawsuits were first introduced,

    "personal lawsuits" ??? Does this mean "personal injury lawsuits"?

    And assuming you mean the 1920's, you're off by several centuries--battery and negligence are ancient causes of action.
  • Excuse me? Let me get this straight ...

    1. I buy a hot liquid -- that's supposed to be hot, then
    2. I burn myself with it because I'm drinking it while driving a car, then
    3. It costs a lot of money to repair the damage I inflicted on myself, so
    4. The company I bought the coffee from is supposed to pay for it?

    Would someone please explain the logic to me? Why didn't she sue the car maker as well, for not making a car that allowed her to drink coffee and drive at the same time? Or Juan Valdez, because coffee beans were used to make the coffee?

    If I ran McDonalds, and someone came to me, using that sort of logic, I'd be pretty hard-pressed to think of a reason to pay them. In fact, if I did pay them, the McDonalds shareholders would have every right to fire me.

  • So, with all due respect to the families who were affected by this tragedy, this suit has "Ambulance Chaser" and "Religious Extremism" written all over it.

    It's fairly evident this suit has virtually nothing to do with recovering damages for a tragic loss, and nearly everything to do with advancing a misguided political and social agenda. It's impossible to say from the brief news release whether this was hatched by the parents, the laywers, or someone else.

    In the past, parents stricken with such a tragic loss have traditionally formed memorial foundations, whose goal is to raise awareness of the conditions that contributed to their loved one's death. MADD, The Polly Klaas Foundation, and others come to mind. I would counsel the parents in this situation to do the same. It is a far more lasting and constructive contribution they could make than any contrived lawsuit could ever hope to accomplish.

    I disagree about the religious extremism bit; I don't remember them mentioning anything of a religious nature. As for the "ambulance chaser" bit, well, you may have a point there. But look at what they said. "We intend to hurt..."

    This is revenge. That's all. This kid hurt them, so the parents are going to hurt what they believe caused the kid to freak out. This is especially sad since they're aiming at the wrong target, but the fact remains: this suit has no nobler motivations than vengeance.
  • Someone beat them to it. I seem to recall reading somewhere about this guy in NY who's suing God for not giving him talent. He bases his case on the fact that Jimi Hendrix as well as several other musicians have thanked God for their gift of musical talent. :) The story ended by saying " To this day God has not commented on the case "
  • Sorry for shouting, but, Rob, you need am icon just for stories about cluelessness.

    I would suggest a graphic that looks like this:


    but blinking on and off (like on the VCR's)
  • I know a lot of you here are fraggers, so would object to what I have to say.

    This is expectable. When you get games, where the sole purpose is to go around shooting people, what the hell is supposed to happen? If you sit and play these games too long, it really warps your mind. In what the fuck kind of game do you go around and shoot things for no fucking reason? "But it's just a game," you say. Hell, let's all grab some shotguns, and go out to the fields, and start trying to blow each other's heads off.. what cool special effects we can have - wont that be a wonderful game?

    "But it's different because it's on a computer, and not for real," you whine. With the graphics nowadays it's gettting pretty fucking real enough. This is the great use that humanity has found for computers - drawing flying bloody body parts fast enough so that it seems smooth to the human eye. Sure YOU may know the line between computer and reality, but do kids?

    Third, what is the fucking point of these games? Sure, the graphics woo me too, they're nice. But how can people even play these things for more than 2 minutes? Where is the skill? Do people go around bragging about their skills in controlling their keyboard arrow keys? If there is a certain skill in that, wouldnt it be comparable to the skill involved in jacking off or some similar inconsequential activity?

    Anyway, conclusion time. These games should be restricted from children. There is a reason why people below 18 are not allowed to vote. There is a reason why people below 18 cannot have sex with people above 18, without the older person going to jail. There is a reason people below 21 can't drink. It all reflects a general concencus that you need to attain a certain age before which you are not fit to make concious, sound decesions regarding certain subjects - and this is one of them. I think games should have ratings which segregate them to certain age levels.

    I can hear all you libertarians shouting - "Freedom!." But for certain things, freedom shoul d be restricted. 10 year olds do not have the freedom to have intercourse with an adult. This is because they are not deemed mentally fit to make such a decesion. Violent games fall into the same catergory.

  • That's all this is, and unfortunatelly, it won't stop until someone gets burned.

    Personally, I see this sort of thing as a direct result of the 60's thru the 80's. The "free love" that turned into "it's all about ME", that later became the "MY money" decade. Parents have become so bent on material posessions and image projection (keeping up with the Joneses) that they have lost their grip on the real nature of parenting. They truly believe that if they provide for their kids material needs, their kids will grow up to be shinning examples of good parenting. (I am speaking strictly of the average, median parent, and to varrying degrees - the ones we hear about in the news are the pathological extreme of the trend to MEdom)

    Consider the Ramseys, the Menendez... The more kids see of image and posessions, the less they know of soul and responsibility. And I believe that this is an offshoot of the reaction to the hippy lifestyle.

    And it goes further than that. People don't like to take blame, it's human nature. People don't like to be proved wrong either. So reformers are branded as heretics, revolutionaries are beheaded and Judas Priest is put on trial for convincing a fan-kid to commit suicide. God knows that it couldn't have anything to do with mommy and daddy having an open marriage.

    Let's think about this: Smoking. This is a free country, yet in L.A. you can't smoke on the street because you're affecting the health of someone else. Nevermind the fact that L.A. has a chronic SMOG problem, it's the smokers who get blamed. It's a free country, if you don't like the smoker - leave the area.

    What does this have to do with Id Software getting sued? Everything! It's always "their" fault, it's never "our" fault. We (American parents) do not take responsibility for our kids problems. We mean well, so it cna't be our fault. It's "THEM"!

    People, raise your kids to OWN their actions, to understand CONSEQUENCES, and to leave the campsite better then they found it. First, do no harm.

    Oh BTW: The telletubbies are GAY! It's all THEIR fault..
  • IIRC, that's one of Dworkin's quotes. I can't say for sure, though.

    This, however, is definitely one of hers:
    "Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women's bodies."
    -Andrea Dworkin
  • in the end it was decided to sue the manufacturer of the camera he was carrying at the time, since everyone knows corporations have huge dough....
    If memory serves, the corporation was Nikon.
  • I once ate a whole bunch of dots
    I got real sick
    Then I ate a strawberry, and wondered where in the $@^$ my 500 points went. Same with the peach.



  • Only sue people with money. From an old "Bloom County" strip (recall the strip and win a prize!). That means you CAN'T sue the killer's parents. While proper, they can't cough up the big bucks necessary for a "proper" settlement.

    Don't get me wrong, I really feel for the parents of the dead children, but COME ON! Sometimes shitty stuff happens for shitty reasons, and there isn't someone conveniently standing around waiting to have a finger pointed at them! Yes, your kid is dead, and yes, that sucks . . . but that doesn't entitle you to money!

    This whold damn American "tradition" of putting a price on suffering is pretty lame. What effing good is it, being rich, if a member of your family is gone?

    I could go on and on, but I shan't. I think I'll go read "Bloom County."

  • I was thinking about that a few days back in the context of all the "vilify the internet" media hysteria. It came to mind as I was walking across campus, when the sight of some utility tunnels opened up for maintenance work reminded me of the days and days of media coverage after some student "disappeared" while playing live-action D&D in the tunnels under Rice University, way back when the media first heard about FRP games.

    It seems that when anything new comes along and the mainstream doesn't understand it, they try to blame all the world's problems on it.

    It used to piss me off when I was a teenager and my preacher would take every opportunity to mention the evils of rock & roll. Never mind that you only had to turn on a country music station for 5-10 minutes before you heard someone singing about how he had gotten drunk and futtered his best friend's wife. The preacher couldn't (or didn't see fit to) rant about that, because country music had been around for ages, everyone knew what it was, and you couldn't blame the young-uns' behavior on it, because most of the adults in the congregation had been raised on it.

    Then, like you said, D&D came out and the media had to find something sinister behind it. Friends told me with a straight face that the pentagonal faces used on some of the dice (being regular solids) were a sure sign that the game involved devil worship.

    Now it's national news when someone makes a pen pal over the internet and ends up getting raped or murdered when they meet in person. Never mind how many times a day these things happen after people meet in traditional settings -- the media has got to have something to get the public worried over, and since most people don't understand the internet, well, what more could the media hope for on the slow days between wars and impeachments?

    In four or five years, after the "new" wears off the internet and the local newscasters finally hear about OSS, you can bet we'll be portrayed as a cult of dangerous loonies when word gets out that some notorious criminal runs Linux at home.

    I guess all that rant is just my long way of saying "you got that right!
  • You are absolutely correct.

    What is sad is that this kind of thing has been going on for years (not the first suit of its kind), but nobody seems to be able to stop it.

    I wish the courts had punitive powers over litigants who bring such obviously frivilous and misguided cases to trial.

    That might dissuade people from these kinds of lawsuits, but maybe I'm hoping for too much. Can people this stupid be convinced by logic?
  • I don't know if the UK's game ratings are mandated by law or are voluntary, but violent games get 15 or 18 ratings in this country, just as movies with "adult" content do. My copy of Doom came with a 15 sticker on it which looks almost identical to the stickers on videos rated 15.

    I personally find Doom's violence orders of magnitiude less offensive than the content of a lot of 15-rated movies. Doom just seems so obviously "pretend" to me. This will not be the case with newer, more realistic games, of course.

  • Anyone can file a lawsuit for any amount of money for the price of the filing fee, which is usually less than $200. It doesn't matter if the claims alleged have any merit; it doesn't matter if the defendants are known, unknown or nonexistent; it doesn't matter if the damage figure has any basis in reality. It's therefore irresponsible on the part of journalists to report on such filings as if they had any independent significance, and without providing some assessment of the plaintiffs' chances of prevailing.

    That having been said, there's something peculiar about this lawsuit. Everyone is familiar with the cases where it's alleged, "Song X [or Film X, or whatever] pushed my son over the deep end." Putting the obvious First Amendment defenses aside for a moment, it's clear how you might prove causation in such a case -- e.g., the song/film/whatever said "Remove your liver with a rusty spoon," and young Johnny actually removed his liver with a rusty spoon. It's clear that there's some sort of connection, even though Johnny's mental problems might mean that the connection isn't legally sufficient to make out a claim.

    In this case, the plaintiffs seem to be alleging that all these media products are somehow jointly responsible for this boy's act. I have no idea how I'd go about proving that. I imagine the lawyers for each company might say to the jury, "Even if media violence drove the kid over the edge, there's no evidence before you that my client's product was the straw that broke the camel's back."

    Some states, and I don't know if Kentucky is one, recognize something called "market share liability." If Bob gets poisoned by pesticide X, but it's not clear whether the pesticide was actually made by A or B, then A and B might both be held liable depending on their market share in this product (e.g., A makes 55% of the pesticide, so it pays 55% of the damages). Something like that might conceivably form the basis for dividing up liability here, but the analogy isn't great: What percentage of the "market" for media violence does Quake represent, for example?

    If the case isn't settled quickly for its so-called "nuisance value," I imagine the defendants will move to dismiss the case, and they'll be successful.

  • It is true, violence in video games do result in more violent behaviour. Psychology 101. Adults, children and babies will ALL be noticeably more inclined to behave violently, simply after having watched a few minutes of video of someone behaving violently; with children the effect is more so than with adults. And this is just watching violence, never mind acting out violence in a murder simulation. Decades of research has proved this over and over again. There is NO debate left there.

    I'm definitely not saying that these video games should be banned - after all, generally, adults who play these games are responsible enough to NOT go out and blow up other people after having a round of Quake. They should be allowed to play these games.

    What I'm saying is that parents should learn that they actually have to make a bit of effort, and actually try some "responsible parenting" - games like Quake are not meant to be played by kids, it even says so on the box, IIRC. Parents are supposed to enforce that. Sure, it's a really cosy notion that parents think that they can now leave the computer or television to raise their kids.

    If you don't plan on actually making an effort to be a decent responsible parent, you shouldn't be having kids.

  • I'm an adult. I am aware of the fact that hot liquid can burn me and injure me. I am not ignorant in this regard.

    It is plain and simple COMMON SENSE. Hot liquids can burn and injure. Virtually every single person is taught this from when they are very young and all through their childhood.

    Does anyone really believe that Macdonalds is supposed to put a warning label on every cup of coffee saying, "Hey, did you know that hot liquid can burn and injure you?" (Can you picture a customer reading this and saying, "really, I did not know that!". Puh-leeease! Get real. If you are a non-retarded adult and don't already know that, then you should be locked away in a padded cell so that you can't hurt yourself or others.

  • A policeman arrests a man.
    He says it's societys fault.
    The police start to arrest everybody around
    the area.

    way ahead of it's time
  • Smiley captioned for the humor impaired

    You've obviously never seen a Playborg centerfold. Lat month, it was a Quad Xeon with 256MB RAM, a full rack of SCSI drives, and the cover completely removed! Mmm-mmm.

  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Monday April 12, 1999 @03:29PM (#1937961)
    I disagree. There is a very clear-cut line between fantasy and reality. I think it's obvious what side of that line video games are. Those who cannot see the line (due to being raised badly, the probably culprit in this particular case, or being just plain wacko for whatever reason) should not be blaming others for acts they committed. It's rather like that one guy who said he went on a killing spree because he'd eaten so many Twinkies that he had gone crazy (this was a looooooooong time ago; you probably will be hard-pressed to fine a Web link to it).
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Monday April 12, 1999 @07:42PM (#1937962) Homepage Journal
    I disagree about the religious extremism bit; I don't remember them mentioning anything of a religious nature.

    I inferred it. Religious extremists in the United States have been decrying Decaying Moral Values for a couple of decades now, mostly upon uninterested or better-informed ears. The defendants in this case look very much like the laundry lists proffered by The Moral Majority, and other organizations of similar credibility.

    This is revenge. That's all.

    Agreed, and none too well veiled at that.


  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Monday April 12, 1999 @03:34PM (#1937963) Homepage Journal

    It's difficult to editorialize this without seeming like an insensitive bastard. The loss of children to parents is incalculable and unfathomable, and their pursuit of this action speaks rather directly to the degree of pain the loss of a loved one can cause.

    So, with all due respect to the families who were affected by this tragedy, this suit has "Ambulance Chaser" and "Religious Extremism" written all over it.

    It's fairly evident this suit has virtually nothing to do with recovering damages for a tragic loss, and nearly everything to do with advancing a misguided political and social agenda. It's impossible to say from the brief news release whether this was hatched by the parents, the laywers, or someone else.

    In the past, parents stricken with such a tragic loss have traditionally formed memorial foundations, whose goal is to raise awareness of the conditions that contributed to their loved one's death. MADD, The Polly Klaas Foundation, and others come to mind. I would counsel the parents in this situation to do the same. It is a far more lasting and constructive contribution they could make than any contrived lawsuit could ever hope to accomplish.


  • by dria ( 9758 ) on Monday April 12, 1999 @04:14PM (#1937964)
    When I was a kid, parents used to blame role-playing games (AD&D primarily) for stuff like this. It's simply that parents don't want to take responsibility for the fact that their children are twisted little socially-maladjusted freaks, so they hold up the first scapegoat they can lay hands on. These days it's violent movies and video games. It used to be role playing games. Before that it was rock & roll.

    None of these things are banned yet, tho', so I wouldn't worry about it too much. The courts (of most countries) have plenty of precendent on record that will avoid really stupid things from happening.

    - deb
  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Monday April 12, 1999 @03:36PM (#1937965)
    Take another look at the game developers that are being sued: Sega and Nintendo. Now, take a look at the games being accused of "influencing" this guy: Doon, Quake, and Mortal Kombat.

    What's wrong with this picture? Perhaps these parents should at least be suing the companies that make the games they hate so much?

    Actually, if they're suing anyone it should be the parents of the shooter (notice that the parents of the shooter are not involved in this case at all) for doing a damn poor joob of raising a kid who couldn't even distinguish between fantasy and reality enough to refrain from going on a shooting rampage.
  • by remande ( 31154 ) <remande@ b i g f o o t . com> on Monday April 12, 1999 @04:23PM (#1937966) Homepage
    I strongly believe that the society that we have, steeped in fictional sex and violence, is going to have an effect on people, especially children. This is a cumulative effect, and parents exist to counteract this. A parent needs to have more influence on a child than the mass media does; when a parent finds that they don't, they must reach out for help. When parents fail at this, or don't even try, the parents are being negligent.

    Tools that parents have to do this of their own free will are Good Things. I will also turn around and say that some of these tools add up to outright censorship, which is a Bad Thing. Parents have the right and duty to censor for their children; the government has neither.

    OTOH, I do not believe that the above is any excuse for any lawsuit of the form "This child listened to this song or watched that movie and then went psycho". It is true; there are people who will play a game of Doom (or watch a violent show, or listen to a violent song), and do something horrible. Sometimes this will involve killing themselves or somebody else. This should raise some large flags: this kid was messed up beforehand.

    There are some sick people out there, basically bombs ready to go off. They have hidden triggers. Sooner or later, someone or something is going to pull the trigger without realizing it. They won't even know that there was a bomb to be triggered. The one who pulls the trigger is in no way responsible for the bomb; they had no way of knowing. It could be Ozzy Osborne. It could be Danny Osmond.

    So who is responsible? first off, the person who lost control is responsible for losing control (how many people forget this one!). You can argue that some people are so far gone that they have no control over themselves; I won't argue that, so long as those people get a free trip to the rubber rooms. People without self control have no place in society, regardless of why they have no self control.

    In the case of a child who loses control, the parents or guardians are responsible for their own negligence in parenting. Again, I will offer exceptions for parents who realized that they could not control their child and tried to get help. Some kids are too much for some parents to handle, but these parents must make every effort, and enlist help. The parents who don't talk to their kids, don't know what their lives are like, don't know their friends--I have little sympathy for.

    You can argue that the world is responsible for saturating a young mind with violent imagery. Unfortunately, the world cannot be held accountable for anything. You can change the world, though. Don't like the violent TV shows? Change the channel. Don't let your kids watch it. Teach them other ways to solve problems and deal with their anger. Get together with others and write letters to the broadcasters. This is a capitalism; companies put out the sex and violence because it sells. Vote with your wallet, and with your remote control. If enough concerned parents stop watching the violent shows and start watching other, next season's lineup will be full of non-violent programming. This is already happening, for those in range of a PAX TV station.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin