Coverage of Last Night's Jack Thompson - Gerard Jones Debate

April 3, 2009 -

A reported audience of 200 Bridgewater College students attended last night's video game debate between Jack Thompson and author Gerard Jones. 

So far we have found two local news reports of the showdown.

WHSV-3 offers this account:

Thompson believes that content should be regulated more efficiently, especially toward kids, pointing out the violent aspects of the popular game series "Grand Theft Auto." He says, "The problem is mature and adult video games that are very violent, increasingly pornographic, that are still being sold aggressively to young people. Kids literally process these games in the part of the brain that leads to copy-cat violence."

Jones, however, urged people to view video games in the same ways as movies and television, and hoped gamers would be more open to explain why they love to play. He says, "We hear a lot about the fear of what they might do, what might go wrong, but we hear so little about how these games are obviously fitting in to a sane, healthy life for a lot of normal people."

Meanwhile, Rocktown Weekly has this:

Jack Thompson... says that unlike other media, video games have been shown to affect neurological development in adolescents.

Thompson... says violent games desensitize youths and can train them to carry out massacres in real life, particularly if they have violent or sociopathic tendencies...

 

Thompson pointed out that the military uses video games to train new troops and desensitize them, making them more likely to shoot when it counts. [GP: According to John Stossel of ABC News, this is a self-perpetuating myth*]...

But Jones counters that violence existed in society long before video games came along.

For example, Jones said the gunman in a 1970s school shooting told authorities he was inspired by "Patton," a biographical movie about World War II Gen. George Patton.

"I cannot see our culture, our laws, our entertainment industry trying to adjust to" what mentally ill people might do, Jones said.

Thompson... advocates greater government control over the video game industry, especially in legislation that makes it a crime to sell video games rated "mature" to minors.
 

* Stossel tracked down the origin of the military's supposed use of violent games to desensitize recruits in his 2006 book Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity.

86 comments

Jack Thompson Debates Game Violence with Author Tonight

April 2, 2009 -

Fresh off his apparently failed attempt to legislate video game sales in Utah, disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson will debate the video game violence issue tonight with Gerard Jones, author of Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes and Make-Believe Violence.

The debate, which will take place at 7:30 on the campus of Bridgewater College in northwestern Virginia, is free and open to the public. It is unknown whether there will be any local coverage.

GP: Thompson and Jones previously debated in 2007 at a college in Pennsylvania. That debate was marred by a student who behaved rather badly toward Thompson. Such behavior only serves to reinforce negative stereotypes about gamers.

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