The Most Dangerous Game

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Well, I suppose it was inevitable:

20-year-old whose lawyers claimed the video game Grand Theft Auto and childhood abuse caused him to kill three small-town police officers was convicted Tuesday of capital murder….

While the judge barred jurors from hearing testimony linking the 2003 shootings to the game, defense lawyer Jim Standridge reminded them that Moore, after his arrest, told police "Life is a video game; everybody has to die sometime."

Moore had pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental defect…..

The victims' families have filed a civil suit against the video-game manufacturer and two stores, claiming Moore killed the three after repeatedly playing Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. No trial date has been set in the civil lawsuit.

Dan Koffler wrote about poor, maligned GTA last month.

NEXT: The Voice of Red America

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  1. The modern version of ‘the devil made me do it.’

    Too bad you can’t sue Mephistophilies.

  2. Not until he puts some media out, john.

  3. I play a lot of Zelda – yet somehow I’ve managed to never use my hook-shot or my four-sword on anyone (yet).

  4. I wonder if the families bought into the “Grand Theft Auto” defense during the trial, or only as a cash-in afterward?

    I think I know the answer.

  5. David,

    Don’t be so sure. A *lot* of people buy into this nonsense.

  6. Well that settles it. Life really is a beach – covered in dead carp and rotting seaweed.

  7. But everything’s cool if you watch out for the icky, crawly things.

  8. Don’t be so sure. A *lot* of people buy into this nonsense.

    Yes. They’re called idiots.

  9. Every clam has to die sometime – dashed to a stoney, seagullish death.

  10. Playing the game probably deadened his mind. I bought that game after reading all the hype about how it was the next most interesting thing to Satan think “wow, this might finally be some cool shit.” No such luck. After about the tenth mission of stealing a car or beating a deadbeat debtor for some lowlife, the magic was gone. What a boring game. If only it were as damaging and dangerous as its critics claim. I think anyone who buys the game has a false advertising suit against the game’s critics.

  11. So where were his parents while he was lost in cyberspace for (one assumes) hours/days on end? They should thank their lucky stars it wasn’t them that became targets of opportunity.
    Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if the deceased officers were wearing (or supposed to be wearing) kevlar? Isn’t it pretty standard practice in the US now? It certainly is up here in Canada.

  12. Rhywun,

    My point is that during the murder trial, I doubt that any them felt that he should found not guilty by mental defect. I would guess(but I’ve been wrong many times before) that they were dismissive of Moore’s attorneys’ claims that his actions were caused by a video game.

    After the trial, when there was money to be made from a tangential responsibility lawsuit, I think the “GTA is at fault”logic may have gained some traction.

    Off topic slightly, but does anyone notice that for all the violent media and video game studies, none seem to address whether people had violent tendencies prior to playing violent games.

  13. Maybe it was that Flock of Seagulls song that was used in most of the Vice City commercials that drove him to kill.

    I also have to kinda agree with John, I find the GTA games a little underwhelming. Maybe I’m too old or desensitized to find open-ended gaming environments and causing criminal mayhem interesting for more than a few hours.

  14. I get that way after watching 3 minutes of Larry King Live.

  15. David,

    I understood your point; I just believe that many average Americans really do believe that video games cause violence.

  16. I acutally think GTA is a kick ass game, and in the past I played it without doing missions, just causing random acts of violence and seeing how many things I could blow up before the cops got me. It did eventually get boring, but only after a good many months.

    Wow, maybe I should go out and knock over a few banks and then use this defense to get out of prison time…

  17. If I get blown up by terrorists can my family sue whoever is in charge of mecca?

  18. Rhywun,

    I agree with you. I tend to forget that people are idiots who believe whatever sensational crap was on TV last week, and react against it. 90% of the H&R topics that we post on are based upon that notion.

    I just think there’s something disengenuous about this case. Either you accept that Devin Moore is murdering scumbag with a lame excuse, or you accept his lame excuses for being a murdering scumbag. If the jury had for for the not guilty by mental defect, then the suit would have more legitimacy, at least in my eyes.

    If I were representing Rock Star games, I would ask the family members whether they felt Mr. Moore should be in prison, or a mental institution for his crimes.

  19. The thing that I think is most interesting and that no one has talked about yet:

    the verdict basically asserts that the kid was in his right mind when he committed the murders, essentially exonerating Rockstar of guilt by association. Does that mean the civil suit the victim’s families have launched against Take 2 Interactive is now without merit?

  20. So where were his parents while he was lost in cyberspace…

    Hiding in the basement, hoping he would go away?

  21. This is actually a very old problem that pre-dates the Age of Video Games. I used to know a very smart kid at my Catholic grade school who played a lot of chess.

    During our confirmation ceremony, the kid went berserk and tried to kill the visiting bishop.

  22. I doubt that the families “belief” that GTA caused the guy to commit murder will keep them from urging the state to sentence him to death either.

  23. Stevo, that was damn funny. (I’m hoping I’m right to assume it’s a joke.)

  24. I’ve never understood why some games get pegged for being too violent and other (even more so) get passed by completely.

    There’s more (and more graphic) violence in 5 minutes of “Dawn of War” (or indeed, any Warhammer title) than in all of GTA – heck, that’s not even including some of the disturbing philisophical backstory stuff that goes along with it.

  25. linguist — The fact that the church floor was done in a checkerboard pattern of black-and-white tiles may have helped set the poor kid off, psychologists speculated later.

  26. During our confirmation ceremony, the kid went berserk and tried to kill the visiting bishop.

    And I suppose he grew up to be a queen, right?

  27. Yes. One that owned a pawnshop.

  28. Stevo I think you are fibbing. We won’t be rooked.

  29. You can check the facts, mate.

  30. I wonder if the families bought into the “Grand Theft Auto” defense during the trial, or only as a cash-in afterward? I think I know the answer.

    And I think that answer would be correct.

  31. The same kid once walked through tall grass infested by rattlesnakes. He got his gam bit.

  32. Did the knights of Columbus try to stop him from taking the bishop down?

  33. If “the media made me do it” argument succeeds, does that mean the next time some nutjob claims that “God told me to kill ’em”, Bible publishers can be sued? Wouldn’t THAT be interesting?

  34. Portlander — that would be the greatest case of all time. I’d take it on just for all the death threats I’d get on my answering machine from all those neighbor-loving, trespass-forgiving Christians.

  35. Stevo – how about you check out finding a place at Orleans and Walton… (that’s Cabrini Green) as punishment for getting Murray Head’s “One Night in Bangkok” from the Rock Opera “Chess”.

    grrrrrrrr. Although it does make a hard man humble. Where he probably catches “the Gay”.

    WARREN. pour me a quadruple. dammit.

  36. This sort of stuff makes me want to conduct an experiment wherein I lock myself in a room that contains a high definition television screen with several consoles all containing MA or AO rated games, an impressive assortment of hard liquor, six cartons of Marlboro Reds, and a wonderous array of high-capacity self-loading rifles.

    If, after a week of playing games in this environment I come out of the room a raving homocidal lunatic then I will concede that these idiots might have a point.

    But until I get a grant to conduct this research, I will continue to scoff.

  37. Damn. First we have to defend criminal lawyers’ ethical prerogative to jealously defend their clients’ interests, and then THIS shit happens, and makes it seem like we’re fighting on the wrong damn side.

  38. Matt,

    That because it’s a series of wrong sides of varying degrees.

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