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Thailand Cab Driver Murder Sparks Video Game Kerfuffle
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Vex Harrow
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Joined: 06 Jul 2005
Posts: 400
Location: Tempe, AZ

PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 3:50 pm    Post subject: Thailand Cab Driver Murder Sparks Video Game Kerfuffle Reply with quote

Video games are probably the most misunderstood media of the modern day—at least of the Oughts (or whatever we want to call the decade 2000.) At the forefront of the controversy—generated mostly by pious windbags like Jack Thompson, “think of the children” political sycophants, and people simply mistaken about security and society in general—is Grand Theft Auto, a title by Take Two Interactive of Rockstar Games. And it looks like the proverbial shit is finally spattered near our fan.

A number of articles have appeared in popular media about people connecting the murders of taxi cab drivers and thefts of their cabs back to this video game. Even when better and more coherent theories of the crime seem to fit the bill.

The important event to this commentary happens to be a murder/robbery that occurred in Thailand: Report: Thai Teen Robs, Kills Cabbie in Effort to Recreate Grand Theft Auto IV. Except that it quickly became apparent that no such connection existed.

Thailand then rapidly moved to ban GTA from the country.

And finally today I’m seeing an article about a spokesman from Spain calling for a ban on GTA in that country as well.

To quoth myself, “Well paint me annoyed yellow.”

Cab drivers are already crime magnets…yes. As a job, hacking puts drivers in direct contact with a huge gamut of social strata from one side of the tracks to the other. There is no doubt that cab driving weaves in and out of the dark underbelly of every city and caters to any number of interests, both deviant and innocent. They carry money—they carry cash—this makes them apt and real targets for crime.

We do not need to argue that a “video game made him do it” when it’s obvious that his intent was to rob the guy. Not an uncommon threat to cab drivers. Ignoring the irresponsible take on video games, this is also an irresponsible reply to this sort of act. Behaving as if a murder/robber is less responsible for his act because a video game possibly influenced his actions. Make no mistake that’s exactly what this sort of freak-out session says about it.

This young Thai man (he was 19 after all) was fully responsible for his actions. Made a predatory decision to skip over a larger, stronger cab driver and attacked the driver he did because the man was smaller. If he played GTA is a totally disconnected issue; it’s akin to blaming the last book he read because it had violence in it. This is not something that anyone with a scintilla of sanity should accept as plausible.

Spain, please don’t be stupid.

Stop muddying the issue. You are not going to get the right attention to the problem by placing the blame on a video game. People want to be crazy, they want to jump on and hitch their personal wagons to this tragedy. Calling for bans of media for an issue that requires actual police work, probably social change, is dim-witted and lazy.

Drive safe, cabbies. We love you.
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