The case of a murdered Thai cabbie with spurious links to Grand Theft Auto refuses to leave the press, and is generating a wave of hysteria worldwide. The fear mongering has now reached Spain, where cab drivers are calling for a ban of the game, along with any other title that displays excessive violence or “celebrates” drug trafficking and prostitution.
Josep Maria Goñi, secretary general of the Catalan Taxi Federation is leading the charge, asking the Spanish government to yank Grand Theft Auto from store shelves. If the translated story is correct, he has used the Thai murder case as the basis for this request, as if Grand Theft Auto is actively encouraging a wave of cabbie murders in the world. Another day, another absurd panic.
I won’t lie. As someone who works with taxi drivers in real life, I relish the opportunity to bash their virtual heads in, but that’s because I already know and loathe most of them, and GTA can be a great catharsis for that. Does it work vice versa? Highly doubtful — nobody’s going to develop a murderous hatred of cab drivers from a videogame. I can state with authority that cab drivers do a good job of making themselves detestable, and don’t need a game to help them.
This whole thing is ridiculous. GTA has been on store shelves for months, and so far we have had only one murder case with flimsy and questionable links to it. That it has caused such fear and panic demonstates how truly frightened and confused as a species we human beings are.