Last night, we reported that Daniel Petric, the teenager who shot his parents after being banned from Halo 3, had been found guilty with no links made to his videogame obsession. While yesterday the judge was praised for being smart enough not to fall for the videogame defense, it turns out that he might not have been so clever after all.
In fact, Judge James Burge has actually been dismayingly critical about videogames, quite happily blaming them for having a major influence on the mindset of Petric, who killed his mother and left his father wounded. His comments are somewhat unsettling when contrasted with the original belief that he did not find games responsible for this rather horrible crime.
“This Court’s opinion is that we don’t know enough about these video games,” stated Burge, at least admitting his ignorance. “In this particular case, not so much the violence of the game because I believe in the Halo 3, what it amounts to is a contest to see who can shoot the most aliens who attack.
“It’s my firm belief that after a while the same physiological responses occur that occur in the ingestion of some drugs. And I believe that an addiction to these games can do the same thing. The dopamine surge, the stimulation of the nucleus accumbens – the same as an addiction. Such that when you stop, your brain won’t stand for it.
“The other dangerous thing about these games, in my opinion, is that when these changes occur, they occur in an environment that is delusional,” he continued. “Because you can shoot these aliens, and they’re there again the next day. You have to shoot them again. And I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea, at the time he hatched this plot, that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever.”
For someone who admits he doesn’t know about videogames, Judge Burge certainly seems quite sure that they are just like drugs and allowed Petric to become detached from reality. Not really the way he came across yesterday, which is a real shame indeed. It seems that Petric is destined to go down in history as yet more tenuous “proof” that videogames turn people into murderers.