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Community Discussion: Blog by MechaMonkey | So, I e-mailed Jack Thompson, and he answered... [Full trasncript added][Still more added.]Destructoid
So, I e-mailed Jack Thompson, and he answered... [Full trasncript added][Still more added.] - Destructoid




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About
Age: 24
Profession: Law Student
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Sex: At least buy me dinner first

I'm a law student. I don't have the time or money for gaming. But I've been coming here for three years now, and I just can't bring myself to leave. I would make sweet love to every one of your mothers if they were here right now, just to thank them for bringing you into my life.
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Yesterday, after seeing all the c-blog hate directed at Jack Thompson, I was impressed by how many of us in the comments of those c-blogs said to cut out the hate. I even saw some positive things written about him, and I sort of have to agree. While he may be on the extreme side of anti-gaming, he started his crusade with noble intentions, and he truly does believe that putting a stop to violent video games will help the world become better and less violent, and we can't deny that it's a worthy ideal. None of us want to hear news of events like the NIU shooting anymore. And if he's grown a litter bitter towards gamers as a group over the years, I think that makes sense too. We'd probably all do the same if millions of people were constantly ridiculing us and making absurdly offensive Photoshops.

So I e-mailed him.

I dug up the address he's using these days (which I will not release) and sent him a somewhat long, respectful e-mail. In this e-mail was a plea to see past the hate that permeated most of his welcome to Destructoid and open up some sort of open discourse between himself and some of our more intelligent, educated, and well-spoken members, as opposed to the "GRAAAGH JACK THOMPSON R TEH SUCX!" crowd. I feel this would be beneficial and educational to both sides, if both sides could keep the discussion civil and actually have a thoughtful debate. No legal threats, no Photoshops, no name-calling. Just the facts.

I had heard that in that past gamers who e-mailed him were not received very well, but the reply I got was not vicious or mean-spirited. He was upset (as usual) about some things written about him, and he seemed wary that any of us would be open to talk civilly. Finally, he suggested we feature him on a podcast.

My thoughts?

"YES. Perfect."

We rag on Fox News for telling only one side of the story, and this would be the perfect opportunity for Destructoid to step above that. To actually feature Jack Thompson, gaming's #1 enemy on a podcast? Unheard of! Not only that, but we might get the opportunity for some real-time debate. I told him I'd try to wrangle up some support for it.

Unfortunately, his reply was that we're all uninformed and ill-mannered, and that we don't care about the NIU killings.

Sorry folks, looks like no Jack Thompson podcast. And sorry for no silly e-mail shenanigans either. I played it straight, and got a straight answer. It went south, but it started alright. Maybe there's hope for the future?

From: MechaMonkey
To: Jack Thompson

Dear Mr. Thompson,

My name is Bryan, and I am a member of the community of Destructoid.com, where you recently set up an account and commented on a blog post regarding the New York Post's treatment of the Northern Illinois University tragedy. I hope this message finds you well, and that your less-than-warm welcome to our community has not put you off too much. The internet in this day and age has become a powerful quasi-nation all to its own, and some of its citizens often react somewhat poorly and rashly when challenged on their own turf. On their behalf, I would like to apologize.

As a gamer, I do in fact disagree with many elements of your personal crusade. Despite this, I do hold you in great respect. You have chosen a cause that you firmly believe in, one that you have initiated with the highest moral standards in mind, and you have chosen to fight on to reach your goals, despite suffering an intense campaign of attempts at ridicule and embarrassment by your opponents. For this, I cannot help but applaud you. Your conviction and willingness to stick by your guns is rare in this day and age.

In the gaming community, especially here at Destructoid, there are some of us with that same conviction and drive. While we often find ourselves in direct opposition to your agenda, you will find that we agree with you on many points, such as the fact that minors should not be purchasing or playing "M-rated" games, and that events such as the recent shooting Northern Illinois Shooting are tragic and a terrible loss that affects the entire nation. Personally, I will even go so far to say that games such as Manhunt 2 do not need to be made at all, though I cannot say my fellow community members here at Destructoid will agree.

Having said all this, I hope we can find some way to initiate some sort of open dialogue between yourself and some of our more respectful and well-spoken community members and editors now that you have initiated contact with us via the blog comments. Our members hail from countless different demographics with innumerable professional careers and lifestyles. I sincerely believe that this sort of discourse could be extraordinarily enlightening and educational for members of both sides of the debate.

I hope that you can see past the actions and comments of some of our more immature members and see that we aren't all prepubescent, hormonally-enraged young boys, and that you in turn can step up and be respectful of us. I must say, I was disappointed that your entrance into our community was heralded by references to us as "e-tards" and "sociopathic kiddies", though I suppose it may have been somewhat fair considering some of the comments made about you. A man of your moral standards should take the higher ground though. I cannot deny that there are a fair number of folks here that I wouldn't hesitate to assign the designation of e-tard, but the most prominent among us are educated and open to civil, intelligent discussion of the key issues.

If you receive this, I would be grateful to hear your response. I have heard that in the past you have often replied with some measure of scorn when contacted by gamers like myself, but my only goal is to aid in creating an environment of open discourse, something I know a man of your intelligence and background can appreciate. I will of course keep your contact information and communications discreet, should you so desire, as I know you have had difficulties with such issues in the past. Thank you so much for your time.

Best regards,

MechaMonkey


P.S. - I will be attending Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School this coming fall. Any tips for a first-year law student? (Aside from not playing video games, which I imagine I won't have much time for anyway.)

------------------------------------

From: Jack Thompson
To: MechaMonkey

I think you all should have a podcast with me so I can say what I really believe about these issues, not what some gamers want to say that I believe.

Jack Thompson, Attorney

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From: Jack Thompson
To: MechaMonkey

The below is not by some random gamer at your site. It's by a guy running it. You can't expect me to take you all seriously:


Crack-a-Jack Thompson has been out in full force since the NIU shooting, going so far as to send tips to Destructoid and even join its community. It's very clear that the murders of youngsters excite him, as he grows steadily more active and wild in their wake, especially as he gets to complain about what he deems "murder simulators." In fact, in the comments for yesterday's post, that's the exact term Jackpot used:

"We need to get you sociopathics kiddies off these murder simulators and back to doing your homework."

Of course, this begs the question: Do any of we "sociopathics kiddies" actually play murder simulators? What exactly are murder simulators, and is Grand Theft Auto, BioShock or any other videogame worthy of such a label? Don't ask me, try asking simulator expert Robert Gauss. Gauss has worked with simulators for the US Army and knows a fair bit more about them than some defense attorney who's close to getting disbarred. This is what he had to say:

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From: MechaMonkey
To: Jack Thompson

Like I said, I can't speak for everyone. You've ruffled a lot of feathers in your day, and unfortunately some of those feathers have stayed ruffled. I'm sorry for that. I have personally spoken to other folks though who are interested in putting down the slings and arrows and trying to do this in a more civilized manner. As for a podcast, I think it's a great idea. We often call out Fox News for not allowing both sides to have their say, and I think it's an excellent chance for Destructoid to take another road. Of course, that decision is ultimately up to the editors.

Whatever the case ends up being, I wish you the best in your work, and hope that one day the millions of more level-headed Americans on both sides of this issue can find some common ground and make positive change in the video game industry. Thank you again for your quick reply, and I'll see what sort of support I can round up for a podcast.

---------------------------------------

From: Jack Thompson
To: MechaMonkey

Please don't lecture me about ruffling feathers. Gamers are ill-mannered and uninformed, and they prove it everyday. They couldn't care less about the people killed.

----------------------------------------

From: MechaMonkey
To: Jack Thompson

I'm sorry to hear that you think that about all of us. I'm currently involved in setting up a memorial service for the victims and their families at the university I attend.

I can see you're not interested, so I apologize for bothering you. Again Mr. Thompson, best of luck in the future, and God Bless.

-----------------------------------------

From: Jack Thompson
To: MechaMonkey

Why would you have a memorial at your university? do you go to niu?

-----------------------------------------

From: MechaMonkey
To: Jack Thompson

No, but just in support. Just as your efforts are in support. And I admire that you are working to prevent such events in the future, which is why I do respect what you do. I may not agree with all of it, but I can certainly respect it.

-----------------------------------------

From: Jack Thompson
To: MechaMonkey

Why don't you do something to stop these tragedies instead of making yourself feel better?

-----------------------------------------

From: MechaMonkey
To: Jack Thompson

I've worked directly with students suffering from psychological problems, including those committing suicide, both as a Resident Assistant and as part of a peer counseling group. I may not have your nationwide resources or expertise, but I'm doing what I can in the way I feel best. Though you are correct, more people do need to be acting instead of talking.

------------------------------------------

From: Jack Thompson
To: MechaMonkey

You don't have a memorial on another campus about something like this. that is designed to make you feel better about yourself and not help others.

------------------------------------------

From: MechaMonkey
To: Jack Thompson

A God-fearing man such as yourself should have no problem with people getting together and praying for the victims and their families. If you think prayer doesn't help, then we're getting into theological debate, and that's not a realm I'm keen on arguing about. Again, thank you for your time in responding, and I sincerely appreciate that you are trying to help me see that my actions aren't enough to initiate positive change.

-------------------------------------------

I feel sorry for him. I really do. A man of his conviction and drive could be doing great things. His talent is being squandered by his bitterness and refusal to see individuals as opposed to gamers as a whole.



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