Flash backwards to February 19th. You were sitting at home, probably crying, and the rest of the world was going along on its merry way. Gabe, one of the dynamic duo behind Penny Arcade was writing a news post about a recent CNN story in which yet another group of kids murdered yet another homeless guy, and yet again blamed gaming. You guys are probably getting as tired of seeing this kind of thing as we are, and everyone kinda shrugged it off as yet another incident of parental ineptitude blamed on video games by the media at large.
Later that day Gabe received an electronic mail from the stepmother of one of the murderous wee lads, and far from e-stabbing Gabe’s face off, the woman had very valid, constructive points that shed a new light on all of the recent incidences of kinder-murder.
Hit the jump for choice quotes and delicious baby red potatoes.
We had absolutely no idea what else we could do. We already had him in counseling, and we did everything the counselors suggested. We tried rewarding his good behavior (what little there was) to try to get him to see that when he behaves like a normal human being, things are good and people enjoy being around him. Nothing phased him at all.
Then, things took an even worse turn when he decided that whenever he didn’t get his way, or we did something he didn’t like, he told his counselors and teachers that we were abusing him. (Never happened.) And for some inexplicable reason, everybody believed him. I understand that child abuse is a very serious situation, and that they have to take every possible case seriously, but this was clearly a case of him manipulating people to get what he wanted. We had people from the school, cops, and social services over at our house or calling us on a weekly basis stating some new abuse that he had made up. At 14, the boy was already 6’3” and over 200 pounds. Of course, there was never a mark on him, because no such abuse ever took place.
One particular night (cops involved, as always) he decided that he didn’t have to listen to anything we said, and that he wasn’t coming home. He went to live with his mother, where things got worse by the day. He stole everything out of her home and sold it. He invited gang-bangers and drug dealers to her home, and she feared for her safety constantly. She called the cops numerous times because she feared for her safety, but again, the boy said that she abused him, and the cops always took his side. (For reference, the mother is about 5’3” and barely clocks in at 115.) He planted a loaded gun in her room, called the cops and told them that it belonged to the mother’s boyfriend. The boyfriend actually ended up serving time because of this fucking bastard kid. She had two other young children in the house, and the gun and the abuse charges were an intentional plot to get the other two kids taken away from her. She tried restraining orders against the kid, but since he was a minor, they wouldn’t allow it. Every time he got picked up, she pleaded with the cops to take him to jail, maybe that would finally get though to him, but they just kept bringing him home to her. I don’t understand why everyone who was involved with this kid just blindly took this juvenile delinquent’s word over all else!
The night that he and his friends murdered that poor homeless man, the mother said that he was acting particularly cocky. Then he threatened to kill her. We had absolutely no idea of what he had done until they found the man’s body. He was immediately waived into adult court (at 15) and sentenced to 15 years. We were all absolutely sick with grief for this man.
It goes on and on for quite a bit, but the end point is that perhaps it isn’t always the parents who deserve the blame. Much as there are sociopathic adults, sociopathic children do exist and it wouldn’t be a huge stretch for them to manipulate the media’s current obsession with the dangers of gaming towards their advantage. If this kid, who got his rocks off through manipulating people could pull the kind of stunts his stepmother attributes to him, it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to imagine his painting himself as the poor victim of the corrupting influence of gaming; and of course, the media would lap it up like the spilled blood of a crow (or some other extremely gothic reference).
Damn you modern media! Damn you to hell!