This writer is pretty firm in the belief that video games and their sensationalized violence do not incite children and teenagers to murder, slaughter, and kill. Other media, such as movies, television, books, and even the evening news incorporate sensationalized violence just as much (and, in many cases, more than) as their video game counterparts, yet, for some reason, video games are often pointed at and ridiculed as sowers of violent seeds in youth. Again, while this writer is pretty firm in the idea that this is a false presumption embedded in cultural stereotypes and pre-conceived notions, sometimes stories pop up that throw a wrench in that argument. This is one such story.
A student in Baton Rogue Louisiana must have been a big Grand Theft auto fan. He was probably hyped up about the recent release of Grand Theft auto Five, the latest installment in the franchise’s series, which has been doing very well. So, it makes sense that he would take all the energy sparked from his fun, new game and proceed to express it… by re-enacting the said game in real life.
The man in question was lacrosse-player Zachary Burgess, who justified his stealing of a truck, kidnapping of a woman, and damage to multiple cars to a local police officer by saying he wanted to, “see what it was really like to play the video game Grand Theft Auto.” He allegedly hopped into a truck outside of a bar that had a woman waiting inside it; he stole the truck and kept the woman inside by force. The man ran into nine parked cars as he tried to flee, and the woman managed to escape.
After being taken in and questioned by the police (which resulted in the lovely quote mentioned above), Burgess was charged with nine counts of Hit-and-Run, Simple Kidnapping and theft of a Motor Vehicle. The writer can’t help but wonder if Burgess was surprised to find real-like police officers much more difficult to evade than those in his game.
Image courtesy of the Grand Theft Auto website.