Free Speech?

According to the UK’s Independent, a $100MM lawsuit has been filed against Rockstar, the company who makes the ultra-cool Grand Theft Auto video game for console systems like Sony’s PlayStation and for the PC. The case was filed after two teenage boys, Joshua Buckner (age 14), and William Buckner (age 16), who are stepbrothers from Newport, Tennessee, shot and killed a 45 year old man and serious injured a 19 year old woman. They claim they got the idea from the Grand Theft Auto series.

We’ve been hearing the same theories on video games in the last 10-15 years that were said about television long before that – which are very similar to the focus of the film “Footloose”, in that music desensitizes you in such a way where it makes you do things you might not do – or that in this case, the violent images the kids see cause them to think that they could do this for real, without the repercussions of real life – because they always get away with it in the video game.

Personally, I get to a point with this where I feel if you start disallowing games and such like this, you start down the slippery slope to “Fahrenheit 451”, which is not a place I’d like to go, thankyouverymuch. Perhaps that seems a bit extreme – but I think the film, television and video game industries, along with the music biz have done a solid job at trying to keep materials out of the hands of those it’s not suitable for. They can’t control the kid at the video store who lets the 12 year old rent this video game or that one.

Right or wrong, this seems a little bit extreme to me, and opens up some doors I don’t think companies are going to want to go through. Soon enough, we won’t have anything entertaining, water lilies will be everywhere, and we’ll all be sitting crosslegged and chanting “om” for the rest of our lives.

That’s my opinion. [link via Drudge]

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