Monday, January 26, 2009

Obession is a Dangerous Thing (Part I)

It should be noted, dear reader, that obsession is a dangerous thing.

Also, that patience is a virtue. Bear with me here.

Recently, two stories in the news jumped out at me. So far in the month of January of 2009, two American teenagers were convicted of killing family members in cases that both mention that dastardly devilish device demoralizing us all – video games. In one of the stories, from Maryland, the nefarious “video games” are merely mentioned amongst the other, more important facts. In the other story, out of Ohio, a game – HALO 3, specifically – is listed as the reason for the crime.

Immediately, I found this odd. Not the story from Ohio – before I’d read full articles about it, I was convinced that it was just another opportunistic story for “the media” to jump all over gaming and tell the public how terrible and detrimental it is for our youth. What seemed odd was the story from Maryland – it basically stated that the youth shot and killed both of his parents, and both of his brothers, and then left the scene to go “play video games” with his friends. Aside from this brief mention in the story, games and the influence of gaming was not mentioned at all. Was “the media” slipping in my old age?

Video Game Addiction?

In the story out of Maryland, the attack perpetrated by the youth was horribly disturbing, and apparently may have been the result of a psychotic break brought on by a lifetime of abuse imparted upon him by his parents. At the sentencing, the youths extended family, including aunts, uncles and grandparents, all stood by him to show him their support and claimed that they had no doubt in their minds that he had been abused. This seeming to be the case, the press thankfully didn’t latch on to the small part of the story where he left to go play games.

Let’s take a look at this case for a moment. If the claims of abuse are true, then, from a psychological standpoint, one can draw certain conclusions. If we assume that past abuse caused the teen to “snap” from normal reasoning and was the major contributing factor in his actions, then we can extrapolate that leaving the scene to play games might have actually been somewhat therapeutic for him, providing that lost sense of normalcy after such a (though self induced) traumatic event. And so, while I usually get mad at “the media” for the way they portray gaming as evil every chance they get, I actually applaud them for their coverage here.

(to be continued)

Md. teen who killed family gets 4 life sentences [Associated Press]

- Goodchild

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