Police Blame ‘Grand Theft Auto’ For A Tragic Shooting

Slaughter, LA, saw a pretty horrible tragedy, recently. An eight-year-old shot his ninety-year-old caregiver in the head, intentionally. It’s unclear the connection between the boy and the woman, but there’s no way you can play this as anything other than a tragedy.

But far be it from Louisiana Police not to trivialize this by blaming video games! Specifically, Grand Theft Auto IV.

Here’s the exact statement from Slaughter, LA, police:

Although a motive for the shooting is unknown at this time investigators have learned that the juvenile suspect was playing a video game, Grand Theft Auto IV, a realistic game that has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people, just minutes before the homicide occurred.

One of the biggest problems with blaming video games for tragedies like this is that it doesn’t do anything to prevent them. Cody Posey, one of the cases Jack Thompson tried to glom onto, is a pretty good example: Depending on who you ask, he either had severe psychological issues that were obvious, but left untreated… or he was subject to a nightmare of abuse that everyone around him was aware was happening and nobody lifted a finger to actually stop. Either situation is what you might call a “pressing social issue” but there was the usual sideshow about Grand Theft Auto in that case.

If this kid was in the care of a ninety-year-old woman who does not appear to be a direct relative, there’s likely a story there that we don’t know about, and it’s probably not a happy one. Children with psychological issues, or children who have psychological trauma visited on them by our child-care system, are often not given the treatment they need. As long as the kid is being fed and has no obvious bruises, they’re essentially left to deal with their problems on their own. This kid could simply not know the difference between reality and fantasy, or he could be actively dangerous. Almost certainly he has been failed, by his parents, by the system, or both.

It’s easier to blame media than it is to actually do something. But it’s also shameful, and hopefully the Slaughter police department has the decency to be embarrassed. Things like this shouldn’t happen, but as long as we pretend there are simple solutions to these problems, they will.