Alabama Newspaper Blasts 'GTA Made Me Kill' Defense

September 20, 2007 -
As GamePolitics has been reporting, convicted cop killer Devin Moore (left) was in court this week, appealing his Death Row conviction for killing two police officers and a dispatcher during a 2003 rampage.

Moore's defense lawyer contends in part that her client was driven to kill by playing Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto Vice City.

In wake of the appeal, an Alabama newspaper scoffs at Moore's video game defense. In an editorial, the Montgomery Adviser says:
The notion that the courts should take into account whether someone was exposed to violent video games as a reason for that person murdering someone has no real place in the criminal judicial process...

If courts started routinely to allow exposure to fictional violence in such things as video games and movies as a way to avoid or minimize punishment for violent acts, it could have a huge, negative effect on the nation's entire criminal process. Every violent criminal has been exposed to fictional violence in some form...

Millions of people, young and old, choose to watch violent movies and play violent video games and never harm anyone because of it.

Parents should monitor what their children watch... Consumer groups should campaign to minimize violent content... But those arguments belong in the court of public opinion, not in a criminal courtroom where a murder trial is being conducted.

GP: As a matter of clarification, this appeal involves Moore's criminal case. He was convicted in 2005 and sentenced to death. Moore is also a defendant - albeit an impoverished one - in Strickland vs. Sony, a lawsuit filed by Miami attorney Jack Thompson against several video game companies. Thompson was thrown off Strickland in November, 2005 by an Alabama circuit court judge, but remains associated with the case in what appears to be a behind-the-scenes role.

Comments

The article makes a great point. If we buy into this kind of defense, the entire prison population would have to be revaluated. Is there anyone out there that has never seen a violent movie (Die Hard for example) or played a violent video game? The obvious answer is no. If you're alive in America today, you've been exposed to violent images. And since we're not in total anarchy, I have to think that violent material has little or no effect on individuals.

Perhaps, if you are truly compelled to commit crimes after watching a movie or playing a video game, you are truly sick. Has anyone considered the possibility that people who do commit such actions are actually disturbed, much like the Son of Sam killer was? This wouldn't excuse their actions, but would explain them. Nor does this place the blame on whatever entertainment they have viewed. Rather it helps explain why that particular person was drawn to that entertainment.

Then again, by the same logic, I can argue that all criminals are insane. One definition of insanity is someone who deviates from social norms. Does someone who commits crimes not deviate from social norms? Most people could not kill a person in cold blood (some may even find it difficult to kill in self-defense) or rape a person, so logically a person who does has deviated from the social norm and is insane. Does this excuse their actions? I think not.

@ Conejo, BearDogg-X, and bayushisan

Sorry to lump you all together, but I just wanted to say that I fully agree with each of you. You each expressed my views and probably better than I could.

@ Tristram

Since being told their goals are unconstitutional certainly hasn't stopped them, I doubt this will have any impact at all on the anti-game community. Crusaders (people who fight because of faith) don't need evidence to support them, they don't listen to evidence against their convictions, they just believe in their viewpoint, and fight for total victory.

Go back in the GP archives and listen to Yee's interview on court TV. He can't argue against the unconstitutional nature of his legislation -- all he can do is claim there is evidence that supports his belief that violent games hurt children.

So no, I don't think anything, not even a study proving there is no connection between gaming and violence, would change their outlook.

If he is crazy (which you could argue all murders are to an extent), then changing his death sentence to incarceration at a mental facility is legitimate under US law. However, if we accept that murders should generally get a 'mental cleaning' during there stay, we may want to redesign our entire criminal storage system.

@ Gameboy

>This wouldn’t excuse their actions, but would explain them.

Such an important notion that so many people overlook.

Excuses come in two flavors: reasons, and justifications. Nothing will justify what Moore did, but I understand the public's desire to find a reason for it.

That reason, quite obviously, isn't video games, but the more tangible the scapegoat, the more comforting the general populace finds it. "Oh, so THAT'S what made him do it. Now I know and I feel better. Thanks, media!"

@JT
So... All this horrible horrible shit happens to Devin Moore (supposedly), and you still choose to claim that video games were the cause? For a man of such alleged intelligence, you have a remarkable tendency to ignore any fact that would draw power away from your personal vendetta.

If what you say is true, I would think that the horror of being dunked in BLEACH would have more of an effect than any game in existance.

I find it funny that this self proclaimed "warrior of God" is defending a murderer.

“the trial judge improperly excluded evidence of the defendant’s post traumatic stress disorder, exacerbated by the games, which the brain scan studies at Harvard show occurs.” –Thompson

What Harvard study? Kim Thompson’s ESRB accuracy study? No, that can’t be it. Sonya Brady’s study that showed that 18 to 21-year-old college kids who had played GTA III had higher blood pressure and more permissive attitudes towards drug use? No, that has nothing to do with brain scans and was the University of Pittsburgh anyway.

Oh! Maybe he means the Indiana University study. You know, the one where they used an MRI to look at the difference between the brains of normal kids and kids with disruptive behavioral disorders when playing violent games. The conclusion: kids with DBD have less activity going on in the frontal lobe (decision-making and behavioral control) then kids without DBD when playing violent games. The games used? A racing game and a James Bond game.

Oh wait, that has nothing to do with exacerbating PTSD, does it?

Care to clarify which study you’re citing, Thompson?


Andrew Eisen

Mr. Thompson, those books have nothing to do with the subject.

And you're saying that despite abuse, Moore would be a perfectly sensible human being if it weren't for video games.

Get your head out of your ass and quit making up your own facts, you deluded loony.

There aren't many examples of Jack Thompson's moral bankruptcy than this. While working behind the scenes to sue the pants off Rockstar, Best Buy, et al. on behalf of the victim's families, he simultaneously is pushing for Devin Moore to avoid his just punishment so he can further his anti-game quest.

Jack, I knew all along your heart "trouble" was complete bullsh_t. You can't have heart problems without a heart.

And as for your Belgium comment? I was thinking that since you're going to lose your law license anyway, you might try out for Miss Universe.

Nevermind that in the end im not sure how being abused as a child is at all any sort of excuse for going out and commiting murder. Maybe if he went and killed one of his abusers but no, he killed some cops. He has absolutely no excuse for his actions even if his father did the most vile things to him.

Who cares what Jack says, when in reality our side is winning on pretty much all fronts. Hell, major news stations are even(finally) starting to question this "games make you kill" mentality.

i would posit a theory that violent, disturbed people will go to great lengths to expose themselves to as much violence, even if fantasy, as possible.

it is more likely he played GTA because he was broken than he broke because he played GTA.

I am not sure we should feel good about this. While it seems to uphold the fact that video games don't make people kill, the courts reaction is more of a "he isn't going to get away with that." Then again, law being what it is, any precedent like that could be good. I wonder, though, is this really going to stop anti-gaming people? If JT really believed what he believes, he should be defending this kid saying that he is innocent because he was driven insane by video games or whatever the notion is. It seems to me this is a test of exactly how the minds of these people work. Do they condemn the violent criminals or do they see them as victims? Depending on how this works out it could be a great argument for the hypocrisy of the JT etc. etc. camp.

@Tristram

"If JT really believed what he believes"

Oh, he really does seem to, doesn't he?

To Jack, for when you eventually show up: we know you don't. We know the only reason you do what you do is for fame. And you're not talented enough for doing anything other than the role of a sick and twisted "moral crusader."

A very intelligent newspaper, and quite the wise reporter.

hats off to the author of that article.

"Parents should monitor what their children watch... Consumer groups should campaign to minimize violent content..."
But then parents would have to be "responsible", and what consumer wants to buy games without violence ever? Minimize violent content? that would destroy the market

Devin Moore is nothing more than a crybaby and a liar trying to get away with murder.

His argument about not getting a fair trial has no merit, considering that his defense attorney could have filed a motion for a change of venue.

Moore(and Jacky Boy and Standridge) lied about the comment Moore alledgedly made at the time of his arrest:

When Moore was arrested, it was stated he made the comment, “Everybody has got to die sometime.” This was later amended in December 2004 during a motion hearing claiming the statement was, “Life’s a video game. You’ve got to die sometimes.”

——-

Moore always got into trouble wherever he went:

In an earlier interview, Thompson’s(Devin Moore) father, Kenneth Moore and Fayette County High School Principal Radford Hester told The Tuscaloosa News the teen had many discipline problems at home and school.

Kenneth Moore describes his son as someone who loved trouble, stealing cars and dabbling in drugs.

“He was a good kid to people in town, but as soon as you get to know him he would change for worse,” Kenneth Moore said.

http://cathodetan.blogspot.com/2005/06/what-they-arent-saying.html
————
Devin Moore may even be lying about his alledged abuse:

Story from 2003 at the time of the arrest:
http://www.tremcopoliceproducts.com/fayette.htm
Moore’s father told The AP that his son was a troubled young man.

“I kept telling people about it, going to the church and telling people he was a troubled child, but people didn’t pay me no mind,” he said. “I raised him from a baby, but people don’t listen.”

Kenneth Moore said he sent his son to live with the young man’s mother two years ago because he couldn’t control him. He said that his son would often steal his car and that last year his mother found a gun in the house belonging to him.

“I’m a discipline parent and everybody around town knows I’m a good parent,” Moore said. “One parent can’t do it all by himself.”


————

Devin Moore was stealing cars and getting himself into trouble long before GTA3 was even released, thus making the so-called "video game defense" completely NULL and VOID.

@BearDogg-X

i agree completely, he just tried to get away with his crimes nothing more

@ Cullarn

Pun intended?

But seriously...lets cut the kid a break. He obviously has mental issues and he is going to die for it.

@Tristram

@Tristram

With all due respect Tristram that's part of the problem. As a society we keep being told to "cut someone a break". We keep excusing bad behaviour with lines like "they were abused" or "they're a minority and felt like they had no hope" or my personal favorite "he went insane for a moment and couldn't help it." We have to stop this. Excusing behaviour doesn't help to protect society.

Instead those criminals that can be rehabilitated should be, but it also needs to be understood that prisons are a punishment. It also needs to be made clear that, as a society, there are certain behaviours that we're not going to excuse.

It is human nature, though. People tend to blame others for their mistakes, and when you are looking at death row or prison time, it makes it all the easier to do so.

As far as I'm concerned, if you are actually MADE to murder by a videogame, then you have an insanity plea. Nothing more or less.

@bayushisan

I just meant from the name calling.

@ BearDogg-X

I agree with you. Devin Moore was always getting into trouble with the law, even long before GTA 3 and Halo was released. Devin Moore is a liar and a trouble maker.

"The notion that the courts should take into account whether someone was exposed to violent video games as a reason for that person murdering someone has no real place in the criminal judicial process…"


this article is absolutely right. the fact is, that common sense tells us that everyone has been exposed to violent media one way or another, it is inevitable.

Devin moore did not commit the crimes he comitted because he was playing GTA. Moore was not "driven to kill" as his lawyer has so nicely put it. Moore chose to do what he did, Videogames will have the same effect on the brain as playing a violent real game like football. Thompson will most likely try to use the brain scan study as a way of saying that moore couldn't help himself, but that's just information that is not in context. you have to look at it compared to other activites that are similar, but still diffferent (real life sports for example) and if the brain scans show the same, well, that point is then SOL and JWF (s*** outta luck and Jolly well F*****)

and other than that, there really is no proof that can be supported that proves videogames cause people to commit violent acts. Violent people just like videogames already.

@BearDogg
I watched, on TV, as he looked at the camera walking into the courthouse and said that he did it and if he could he would do it again.

Now, at sentencing, the little bitch wasn't so brave.

Bravo for the legal system, I was wondering if they were gonna let this bs continue. As per the comments concerning JT believing his own crap, I believe he does, regardless of how unbelievable I find that myself. How else could his actions be explained if you consider that most intelligent people think he's an idiot, he may be disbarred soon, hes been thrown off of legal teams in video game cases, anti-video game legislature has been shot down left and right, and hes even stooped as low as using his son to attempt some weird form of entrapment that has no legal bearing anyway.

There is sense in the media. At least, one small part of the US media.

I agree with most of what is said in the article, especially the line: "The bottom line is that millions of people, young and old, choose to watch violent movies and play violent video games and never harm anyone because of it."

However, one or two statements by the writer irked me a little.

"Frankly, we do believe that a case can be made that exposure to graphic, fictional violence contributes to the acceptance of such violence by some people. We suspect that it can desensitize some people to the effects of violence."

I suppose he covers his bases here by referring to "some people" instead of making a blanket statement that fictional violence makes every accpt violence in real life. I suspect he is referring to people who are already predisposed to violence, but if a person is like that already, violent imagery or no, they are going to act that way! Blaming violent imagery for the actions of already violent people is folly I believe.

"But that is a reason to argue for minimizing such graphic violence in video games, television, movies and music, not for allowing it as an excuse for murder."

Again, violent people are going to be violent no matter what happens. They don't need to see Reservoir Dogs, play GTA or read Stephen King novels to act that way. Some people will get violent if you cut them off in traffic, or if they lose their place in a queue.

"Consumer groups should campaign to minimize violent content in movies, games and music, especially when they are aimed at youth. But those arguments belong in the court of public opinion"

No-one should campaign for anything like this. First of all, movies/music/games that contain or refer to real life violence (as opposed to Star Wars style or cartoon unrealistic action) are intended fo adults/mature teens and are NOT marketed to youth. If young people find out about them, that may be unavoidable, but can anyone remember the last time a movie trailer for a horror film contained a line like "In theaters May 2007, bring your children!" Or an ad for a game like The Suffering with a tagline "Fun for all the family".

Now, if the writer had said "Consumer groups should campaign to minimize violent content in movies, games and music WHEN they are aimed at youth" then I would agree. But he only says "especially" when aimed at youth. This means that groups campaigning to minimize violent content is something that should happen regardless!

This is something that should never happen. Does he believe people should start petitioning Stephen King to not have as much blood or horror in his novels? Or ask that developers make the next Call of Duty or Medal of Honour game to have you hug your enemies into submission? The second you start campaigning to change the content of any creation, is the second that you begin infringing on others' first amendment rights. They have a right to create their constitutionally protected rights, and we as consumers have a right to purchase and enjoy these works.

We can only hope this is what the court's ruling will say as well. Good to see that at least one person in the media has some common sense.

@Shoehorn O'Plenty

It's spelled: Medal of Honor. Bloody American spelling. We'll call it Medal of Honour if we sodding want!

the trial judge improperly excluded evidence of the defendant's post traumatic stress disorder, exacerbated by the games, which the brain scan studies at Harvard show occurs.

Moore's father would beat him and put him into tubs of chlorine bleach. he had post traumatic stress disorder from this, and the hard science shows that the violence in the games feed into this.

of course, you all would know this if dennis mccauley were a real journalist and would talk to people other than industry hacks.

jack thompson

GP: While what Devin Moore did was horrible and unforgiveable, you have to look at his upbringing. Although you'd like to paint me as hiding the truth, quite the opposite is true. We've reported in the past, for example, that Devin had a drug-addicted mother and a terribly abusive father.

BTW, have you figured out where Belgium is yet?

unfortunately for all of you here, Malcolm Gladwell has written a best-selling book called Blink (he authored the #1 New York Times national bestseller The Tipping Point, and Gladwell proves the relevance of video game violence to these types of murderous acts. Sorry, expertise trumps video gamer and Alabama newspaper editorial bull. Jack Thompson

@ JT

so let me get this straight, just because someone wrote a book automatically makes it fact? And would you be so kind as to highlight this "proof" in the book?

Also Jack, why the hell are you defending a murderer?

@ Jack Thompson
everyone, get on board for another round of Ripping Jack Thompson's Arguments apart!

1. the trial judge improperly excluded evidence of the defendant’s post traumatic stress disorder, exacerbated by the games, which the brain scan studies at Harvard show occurs.

Moore’s father would beat him and put him into tubs of chlorine bleach. he had post traumatic stress disorder from this, and the hard science shows that the violence in the games feed into this.

of course, you all would know this if dennis mccauley were a real journalist and would talk to people other than industry hacks.

To begin with, you have amazing punctuation and an amazing ability to write a proper sentence. You must be so proud of the great works you do with your law degree, when you can't ever write a proper sentence with correct Capitalization.

I've never heard anything about Moore's father beating him: although I do recall him standing in front of a camera as he was going in for sentencing and saying the he killed them both and would do it again. So you'll beg my pardon if I call bullshit on you JackAss.

2.unfortunately for all of you here, Malcolm Gladwell has written a best-selling book called Blink (he authored the #1 New York Times national bestseller The Tipping Point, and Gladwell proves the relevance of video game violence to these types of murderous acts. Sorry, expertise trumps video gamer and Alabama newspaper editorial bull.

Hey Jack, you should read the tipping point. And Blink. Tipping point has nothing to do with videogames.

This is an excerpt from Amazon.com:
Gladwell includes caveats about leaping to conclusions: marketers can manipulate our first impressions, high arousal moments make us "mind blind," focusing on the wrong cue leaves us vulnerable to "the Warren Harding Effect" (i.e., voting for a handsome but hapless president).

Oh man, he's talking about leaping to conclusions! Wait, who could that apply to?

Oh wait, you Jack Thompson.

See, I've read both books. So go fuck off and try again.

Sincerely,
Austin Lewis.

@VenomandCarnage
Because he's got Narcissistic Personality disorder. You see, it doesn't matter who he helps. As long as HIS agenda is furthered, fuck the rest of us.

Nice pwn there, GP. ^5.

Jack, I sometimes find it hard to believe even you cannot possibly be so dense as to not realize that you are condoning murder. You're essentiall helping to give people a way out of the death sentence or other such punishments for taking another person's life. Your idiotic "crusade" not only insults the entire ciminal justice system, but it insults the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones to people like Moore.

Tell me Jack, have you, for example, phoned any of the families of he 9/11 victims and told them how the hijackers "trained" on Microsoft's Flight Simulator? How about the families of the V-Tech students Cho Seung Hui killed? Did you tell them about his supposed obession with Counter-Strike? I'll bet you haven't, and it's because you know you have nothing to stand on but your unnamed "experts" and flawed studies. Just give up, you're fighting a battle that can only end in your humiliation and disbarrment.

@Austin Lewis

Well done mate! One question: Where the hell did you come from? Everyone's just appeared in about two minutes..

"the trial judge improperly excluded evidence of the defendant’s post traumatic stress disorder, exacerbated by the games, which the brain scan studies at Harvard show occurs."

Just the other day, you referred to people at Harvard as "leftwing extremists", now all of a sudden they are back to being credible again? (exact quote: "Dennis, when you figure out what this societal debate is about regarding video games, and that it’s not going to be decided by leftwing extremists at Harvard ... ") Which one is it?

"unfortunately for all of you here, Malcolm Gladwell has written a best-selling book called Blink"

I think I'm not the only one here when I ask this, but who the hell is Malcolm Gladwell? Just because "Joe Shmoe" wrote a book doesn't give validity to his and your claims. This is the same tactic that one idiot, ex-Lt. Col. Dave Grossman tries to pull on people- that his book was nominated for a Pulitzer, and so that would automatically validate all of his claims. Wrong. Numerous works of fraud have been nominated (and even won) Pulitzers.

I also find it quite ironic that Thompson seems to bring up the video game defense in this case, yet refuses to explain how Moore's father stated Moore was stealing cars, getting into trouble, and doing drugs BEFORE the Grand Theft Auto games were released.

But what do you expect? When idiots like Thompson are caught in their web of lies, they just ignore the valid claims made by individuals, just to keep their propaganda going. Just look at the VTech incident.

Look, if you killed it's because you chose to do so. There's no evil demon or spirit lurking in games and TV that'll possess your body and make you kill at a moments notice. Games like GTA do not weave magic spells or broadcast mind control rays to make people kill. In the end, the one who kills is the one who did the killing. Not some disc, in a box, connected to the TV.

Games do not make you kill, you make you kill. It's as simple as that.

@GP:

Awesome catch on belgium, Dennis. Not only can't this man read violence studies or Bar complaints, he can't even decipher a map!

You earn 100 points and a cookie. go you. (I swear I'll quit awarding cookies, eventually)

Also...way to go Jackie boy, way to pass your middle school geography class. Belgium isn't in the Netherlands...dumbass.

There are many people who have had abusive/terrible childhoods AND played games and turned out fine. I know a few myself.

Moore chose to do what he did, and since he did something so terrible without a second thought, he should at least have the balls to man up to what he did and face his rightful punishment.

Malcolm Gladwell has written a best-selling book called Blink (he authored the #1 New York Times national bestseller The Tipping Point, and Gladwell proves the relevance of video game violence to these types of murderous acts.

Gladwell has done no such thing. He talks about "gut feeling", not cranial menus, not imagined hovering crosshairs, not "programming".

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/05/16/050516crbo_books

Gladwell addressed "learning from video games", in a review of "Everything Bad is Good for You", and stated:

When you read a biology textbook, the content of what you read is what matters. Reading is a form of explicit learning. When you play a video game, the value is in how it makes you think. Video games are an example of collateral learning, which is no less important.

Games may help shape attitude, but you argue instead that it conveys skills. The two are not the same.

In Blink, Gladwell argues that training the mind to better do analysis and problem solving is the key. So becoming a killer zombie reacting to prior training doesn't fit into that at all.

Make up your mind. Either gamers are zombies following programming, or they are quick thinkers who analyze a situation rapidly. You can't have it both ways.

And if it was quick thinker, then Moore is still just as guilty, because it boils down to a decision HE made.

So if you're going with the twinkie defense, you can't use Gladwell's book as proof at all.
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

@BlackIce, Leftie
Man, I just got my sandwich for lunch, sat down, went gamepolitics, and lo and behold, Jack Thompson had to say some more retarded bullshit. So I came in to debunk it.

@JT

From what I've read on Devin Moore and his abusive history, the video games seem to have been a form of escapism from a particularly abusive and brutal reality.

We've seen the same thing occur with other forms of violent media which were (and still are) accessible to minors. People who re-enact scenes from particularly violent movies. The fact that Moore's form of escapsim is video games as opposed to... slasher films does not damn video games anymore than the movies.

You have just chosen the 'devil' of the age. It occurred with comic books, role playing games and rock and roll. You're trying to get your name in the books as some kind of noble advocate for public decency, when it is YOU are the hack for the opposition.

@Austin Lewis

I see.

By the way, I answered you question on the first article about the "Cop Killer"
 
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