Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How a Judge in Ohio Got Something Right, While Being an Idiot

taken from

If you’ve been coming to Highlark for a while, you might remember a post I made about a few stories in the news about teens that were convicted of murder, where gaming and games were mentioned. To recap, one of the stories was about a teen in Ohio. When Halo 3 released in September of 2007, the teen played obsessively – around 18 hours a day (which is just ridiculous). Recognizing this obsession, his parents took the game away from him and forbid him to own or play the game. Well, one day he went to his father’s lock box, took out the 9mm handgun, went to his parents room and told them to close their eyes – he had a surprise for them. He shot them both, killing his mother and severely wounding his father, and then he took back his copy of the game and ran from the home.

Well, I’ve been waiting to find out what the sentencing would be like in this case, and now it’s in. So, life in prison – GOOD. Eligible for parole in 23 years – not so good, but he was a minor, so this is still a fairly harsh sentence.

What I don’t get are the judge’s comments. “The other dangerous thing about these games, in my opinion, is that when these changes occur, they occur in an environment that is delusional. Because you can shoot these aliens, and they're there again the next day. You have to shoot them again. And I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea, at the time he hatched this plot, that if he killed his parents, they would be dead forever.”

Really? To play a video game, there are many steps that you have to go through in order to begin, so let’s just break this down. First (provided it is a home console such as the Xbox 360 – the one that you’d use to play the game in question – and not a portable, handheld system), you have to go to a designated area – usually a living room, den, bedroom or wherever the home entertainment center is. You have to put the television on, and you have to put the video game system on. After making sure the correct game is in the disc tray, you have to pick up a controller, which you will use to control everything. You select the correct icon on the system menu that starts the game, and then you have to wait for the game to load. As the game loads, you see the logos for the various companies that made the game possible – Bungie for developing the game, Microsoft for publishing it. Then there is main menu. From here, you can choose what kind of game to play. You can start a game from the beginning, or load a save and start from where you left off the last time you played. The game will them load again and bring you to your choice. You’ll watch cinemas starring science fiction characters that have no place in reality, on planets that don’t actually exist – situations made possible by technology that isn’t real inside of storylines concocted by a paid writer. All the while, you have to stay in the one designated area for the game – if you look away from the television, the illusion is over.

So, if someone were to somehow blur the line between a game and reality – if they somehow forgot all of these steps and thought that the real world around them was in fact a fake one they can boot up in their living room – then they would have to be truly delusional, horribly out of touch with reality, and possibly mentally deranged. Normal people cannot understand the delusional or deranged – that’s what separates the two groups. So if this judge does a better job than the defendant could do explaining how real video games are, and how they can cause delusions leading people to believe their loved ones are scripted characters that can be killed and then rebooted into existence, then doesn’t that mean he’s also delusional and, quite possibly deranged? Is it just me, or does it seem that with an ignorant and dangerous statement like that, shouldn’t this idiot be removed from the bench he sits behind and sent off to a padded cell somewhere??

Anyone else agree with me?

- Goodchild

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