(born 1985) is a teenager from Alabama who sparked a large
controversy over the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
when he committed three acts of first-degree murder against
three Alabama policemen in 2003.
the two policemen and a dispatcher after being booked for
committing grand theft auto. According to the Associated
Press, when at the police station he said "Life is a video
game. You've got to die sometime." He then grabbed the handgun
of one of the police officers and shot its owner and two other
officers in the head. Afterwards, he drove off in a police car
but was later apprehended.
controversy involving his relation to Grand Theft Auto was
revealed during an episode of 60 Minutes in March 2005. In the
episode a student demonstrated the Grand Theft Auto games to
them, explaining that in one of the games there is a mission
that depicts exactly what Moore did: escape a police station,
kill officers and escape in a police cruiser.
trial in 2005. In August 2005, Moore was convicted as charged
and on October 9, 2005 he was sentenced to death by lethal
injection. Jim Standridge appealed the case.
of Moore's victims are taking legal action against Sony,
Take-Two Interactive, Wal-Mart and GameStop for their part in
the manufacturing and selling of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Jack Thompson was representing families in the
suit as an out-of-state attorney on pro hac vice status. His pro
hac vice license was revoked by Judge James Moore on November
18, 2005, and he was effectively removed from the case. The
judge stated that "Mr. Thompson's actions before this Court
suggest that he is unable to conduct himself in a manner
befitting practice in this state.
Strickland v. Sony is a court case whose
central focus is on whether violent video games played a role in
teenager Devin Moore's first-degree murder/shooting of three
police officers. In August 2005, former attorney Jack Thompson
filed the lawsuit against Sony.
Devin Moore was
convicted in 2005 for the 2003 shooting of 2 police officers and a
dispatcher as he was being detained for allegedly stealing a car.
He grabbed one officer's .45 caliber pistol and killed all three
before fleeing the station in a police cruiser he stole from the
station. He was eventually caught and sentenced to death by lethal
In March 2005, Thompson announced he was filing a lawsuit on
behalf of the families of two of the three victims in Fayette,
Alabama. He was also featured in a
60 Minutes special on the case.
August 12, 2005
Thompson officially filed Strickland vs. Sony. The third
victim's family later joined the lawsuit.
November 1, 2005,
Thompson sent an email to various websites commenting on the
opening day of the civil trial. In it, he compared Sony
Take-Two Interactive's sale of the Grand Theft Auto
video game to Imperial Japan's
attack on Pearl Harbor during
World War II. According to Thompson, certain
regional governments in Japan had prevented the sale of the
Grand Theft Auto games to minors, though Sony continued to
sell the game where its sale was not restricted in Japan and
abroad (Microsoft is doing the same for its own video game console).
Thompson also compared the distribution of violent games to the
distribution of pornography.
2005, Blank Rome submitted a motion to have Thompson removed
from the case, stating that Thompson would "turn the courtroom into
2005, Thompson withdrew from the case, stating, "It was my
idea [to leave the case]." He was quick to mention that the case
would probably do well with or without his presence. This decision
followed scrutiny from Judge James Moore, however Thompson claimed
he received no pressure to withdraw. At the same time, Judge James
Moore had taken the motion to revoke Thompson's license under
advisement. Jack Thompson appeared in court to defend his right to
practice law in Alabama (using Pro Hac Vice), following
accusations that he violated legal ethics.
Just before leaving the case, Thompson filed a motion with the court,
quoting noted designer Warren Spector (Deus Ex, Thief)
as being critical of Rockstar's actions, taken from a speech Spector
gave at the Montreal International Game Summit. He even implied that
Spector could be served a subpoena to testify, even though the
court's jurisdiction did not extend to Spector's place of residence.
2005, Spector lashed out at Thompson for taking his comments
out of context, saying "Take two or three things, from different
contexts, mash them together and you can mislead people pretty
Devin Moore (born Devin Darnell Thompson on
15 May 1985)
is a criminal from Alabama who sparked a large controversy over
the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Moore was apprehended several hours later in
Mississippi. According to the Associated Press, after his
recapture he said, "Life is a video game. Everybody's got to die
sometime." Once in custody, Moore quickly confessed. He told
detectives that he shot the men because he didn't want to go to
The controversy involving his relation to Grand Theft Auto
was revealed during an episode of 60 Minutes in
March 6, 2005.
In the episode a student demonstrated Grand Theft Auto
to them, showing them the adult nature of the game. Moore, who had
recently graduated from high school, had never been in trouble
before. He had enlisted in the air force and was due to leave for
service at the end of the summer.
Moore faced trial in 2005 and pleaded not guilty. The
trial judge barred the defense from introducing evidence to the jury
that Grand Theft Auto incited Moore's shooting spree. Moore's
attorney, Jim Standridge, contended that Moore was suffering from
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the time of the crimes. Standridge
argued that Moore had been emotionally and physically abused by his
father as a child.
In August 2005, Moore was convicted as charged and on
October 9, 2005
he was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Jim Standridge
appealed the case.
Alabama license revoked
2005, Judge Moore rejected Thompson's request to withdraw,
and instead revoked his Pro Hac Vice admission (a temporary
license to practice in a given jurisdiction), in an 18-page decision.
Thompson responded with a letter to Alabama's Judicial Inquiry
Commission, questioning Judge Moore's ethics and accusing him of
violating the first 3 Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics.
Thompson also claimed the judge had "absolutely no authority" in
preventing him from withdrawing from the case, and so therefore the
court's decision to kick him off the case was a "legal nullity". He
accused the court of punishing him for "aggressively telling the
truth" while it "looked the other way when Blank Rome elegantly told
Judge Moore has also referred this matter to the Alabama State Bar
for "appropriate action" remarking among other things: "Mr.
Thompson's actions before this Court suggest that he is unable to
conduct himself in a manner befitting practice in this state."
2005, Thompson claimed that "We had heard going into this
civil case, before it was even filed, that a particular Western
Alabama lawyer had to be part of our litigation team or Judge Moore
would not give us a fair hearing. This lawyer himself claims, openly,
that 'Judge Moore will not allow you to survive summary judgment if
I am not on the case.' For too long we have heard swirling around
this Judge allegations of improper influence." (sic)
Thompson alluded that the "fixer" was local lawyer
Clatus Junkin, although Junkin denied he had any influence over any
judges, or that he had made such a comment, as he was "not that dumb
[...] or foolish enough to imply that [he] could [influence Judge
Moore]." He also declined Thompson's request to join the plaintiffs'
team, citing disagreements over Thompson's demands of complete
control of any contact with the news media. Judge Moore noted that
even though he had banned comments on the case outside the courtroom,
Thompson had issued 7 different communications between the start of
the case and the day he revoked Thompson's Pro Hac Vice.
After being thrown off the case, Thompson requested that Judge Moore
recuse himself from the case. Moore ignored him, stating "I can’t
consider it because he’s no longer practicing in the state of
Alabama. If some other lawyer in the case asks me to recuse myself,
I’ll consider it in court."
2005, Thompson announced that he will be "assisting
plaintiffs’ counsel during the discovery process and in the
courtroom at trial" when the civil trial begins in 2006 (the judge
ruled on both Thompson's dismissal from the case, and dismissal of
the case itself, during pretrial hearings). He also claimed he "will
likely be a witness in the case." Although he gave no details as to
what he would be a witness to, except that he claimed he had "warned,
in writing," Take-Two and Rockstar Games "that murders such as those
in Alabama would occur by teens who had rehearsed the murders on
their virtual reality killing simulators."
It should be noted though, that Judge Moore forbade Thompson from "[communicating]
with the court or the judge" or he "would be held in contempt of
court." While that order was appealed, it has not yet been ruled on.
2006, Thompson sent a letter to the Alabama Bar, accusing
Judge Moore of breaking the bar rules by publicly disclosing that
he had filed a complaint about Thompson with the Alabama Bar. He
accused Judge Moore of denying Devin Moore a fair trial, and
claimed the FBI was investigating the Florida Bar's "disciplinary
process". Thompson gave the Alabama Bar until "five o’clock p.m.,
Eastern time, February 17, 2006" to drop the complaint, or else he
would file a "federal lawsuit in the United States District Court
in the Southern District of Florida on Monday, February 20, 2006."
The Alabama State Bar rules
state that a court official who revokes Pro Hac Vice due to
conduct must refer the matter to the Bar for review, and the Bar
decides if an investigation is needed. No complaint is required to
open an investigation.
Thompson's deadline of
passed, without action from either party.
2006, Thompson followed up with another letter, announcing
that he had filed a lawsuit against the Alabama Bar, for
investigating a complaint " which in fact was not even filed" in "violation
of its own Bar Rules."
The Alabama Bar has not yet been served notice
with any complaint from Thompson, nor has any Florida court
acknowledged a civil suit being filed.
Thompson announced that the Strickland v.
Sony plaintiffs were still his clients, and vowed to represent
them in-court when the trial resumes.
2007, Thompson filed a lawsuit against the Alabama Bar with
the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The
case has been assigned to the same judge who has had previously
presided over attempts by Thompson to sue the Florida Bar, which
were voluntarily withdrawn. Thompson claimed that his rights of "speech,
petition, and religion" were violated when his Pro Hac Vice
status was revoked.
2006, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld Judge Moore's ruling
against the dismissal of the case. Law firm Blank-Rome,
representing the defendants, had previously attempted to have the
suit dismissed during the pre-trial since it argued that the
defendants had a right under the 1st Amendment to sell mature
games to minors. At the time of the sale, there was no law
preventing such a sale. Thompson called the ruling "exciting"
because "no one has ever before survived a motion to dismiss." At
the same time, the Alabama Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments
as to whether the Fayette County Court had the jurisdiction to
preside over the case at all.
Grand Theft Auto Kills Three, Steals Car
By Lee Stein - Devhardware.com
August 29, 2005
world where you can sue McDonalds for making you fat, you can sue
the makers of Grand Theft Auto for training someone to be a
professional killer. The makers and marketers of Grand Theft Auto
are being sued in civil court over the murder of three men in the
town of Fayette, Alabama.
Eighteen-year-old Devin Moore
gunned down these men, two of which were police officers and the
third being a 911 dispatcher.
According to Attorney Jack
Thompson, an anti-gaming violence advocate, Grand Theft Auto
“trained” Devin Moore to do what he did. Grand Theft Auto is a
Let’s recap what happened on
June 7th 2003 that led to this crime being committed.
Devin Moore was brought into
the police station that day on suspicion of stealing a car. He had
no criminal history and was supposedly cooperative as Officer
Arnold Strickland booked him inside the Fayette police station.
According to Moore’s own
statement, he lunged at Officer Strickland, grabbing his .40
caliber Glock automatic and shot twice, with one shot hitting the
officer’s head. Officer James Crump responded to the shots and met
Moore in the hallway. Moore fired three shots, one hitting the
Moore made his way down the
hallway toward the door of the emergency dispatcher. He turned and
fired five shots into Ace Mealer, the 911 dispatcher. For the
third straight time, Devin Moore, a person with no criminal
history, was able to land a head shot.
He left the station by stealing
a police cruiser.
I'm Sorry, Officer. GTA Ate My Brain.
video game industry gave him a cranial menu that popped up in the
blink of an eye, in that police station," says Thompson. "And that
menu offered him the split-second decision to kill the officers,
shoot them in the head, flee in a police car, just as the game
itself trained them to do."
After his capture, Moore is
reported to have told police, "Life is like a video game.
Everybody’s got to die sometime."
Or, quite simply, Grand Theft
Auto ate his brain.
That’s right. He played one too
many games of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (that edition is
mentioned specifically as it contains a mission in which you
infiltrate a police station, kill officers, and steal a police
vehicle), which hard wired him to act this way. It inspired him to
steal a car. It inspired him to resist the police. It inspired him
to murder. It inspired him to grab the officers gun and proceed to
“reenact” scenes from the game.
And monkeys might fly out of my
Well that was a bit harsh on my
part, but let’s be honest here. If a person is obviously unglued
from reality, you don’t blame one of their forms of entertainment
for causing this disconnect. It’s like blaming a sneeze for the
There is no doubt that movies,
television, books, music, comic books, and even video games can
influence people. The other day the AFI most memorable movie
quotes played on television, showcasing all the little lines of
thought and humor that have integrated themselves into our
We all remember kids lighting
themselves on fire ala MTV’s Jackass, which came after kids
playing with fire ala MTV’s Bevis and Butthead. Jennifer Anniston
changed her hair and sent the women of this country to the beauty
salons. The swing dancing GAP commercial kick started a swing-dancing
craze that lasted for about a month, but it was responsible
nonetheless. Books and music change people’s perspectives and can
define a generation. You get a nice warning label when you buy a
superhero Halloween outfit that says “Does not grant the ability
But I guess my point is this.
It is one thing to say that our various forms of entertainment can
influence our lives in some ways, but it’s another to say that
they are solely or mostly responsible for causing us to act in a
I Guess It's
Truth is, despite the fact that
we might have been shepherded in a certain direction, many of the
same things that I mentioned above would have happened anyway.
People have been parroting quotes from books and stage plays long
before movies. Young children have been doing stupid and foolish
things for all time, and will continue to do so with or without
MTV. Women are always looking for the inspiration and the means to
change their appearance. The desire to get out of the house and
dance was always there among the populace, and the GAP commercial
just gave some people an excuse. The underlying social tensions
were always there during the 60’s and 70’s. Lennon’s music just
expressed it more eloquently then anyone before him.
And people always grow up
thinking they are invulnerable, with or without a big red S to
wear on their chests.
So video games aren’t going to
“re-program” someone to act out violently or not. Those impulses
were probably already there, hence his desire to play GTA as often
as he did. Trust me, Bassmaster 5000 isn’t causing people to run
and go fishing anytime soon. The people who play those games
already liked to fish. It didn’t brainwash anyone. And while we
all might have violent impulses within us, almost all of us have
the self-restraint to not act out on them.
Brain research shows that the
brain of a teenager isn’t fully developed in the centers
controlling things like “impulse decision.” While this may be
another factor in the murder, an “impulse” is something along the
lines of buying a candy bar in the checkout isle of the
supermarket, not stealing cars, murdering two police officers and
a 911 dispatcher.
And we are not talking about a
12-year-old boy named Lionel Tate. We are talking about an 18 year
old man, a person considered an adult by almost every measure we
use to size up these types of things. And even if we were talking
about a 12-year-old boy, the same questions come up.
Where were the parents? Did he
even have parents growing up? What of his teachers? Didn’t he have
a mentor figure to go to for advice, or impart some wisdom
sometime in the kids 18 years of button mashing? Didn’t anyone
teach him right or wrong, in church school or otherwise? What of
his friends and peers?
If GTA is responsible in any
way for Devin Moors actions, then these people also share the
responsibility. Quite frankly, they share more of it that a simple
After all, there are thousands
of people, teenagers included, who play these games and do not act
out in violent ways. I myself am a fan of violence in games, a.k.a.
“murder simulators.” However, the only law that I have ever
knowingly broken has been removing the tag from my mattress that
says “Warning, do not remove under penalty of arrest.” That and
several speeding tickets that we will never speak of again.
Not every kid out there who
plays a violent video game will turn violent, but some do. The
logic that sensors games is the same panic-stricken logic that we
now hear post Columbine High School, “Not every kid who listens to
Marylyn Manson will shoot up his school, but some do”.
This is specious reasoning if I
have ever seen it. Quite frankly, it just doesn’t hold water.
But that, my friends, is not
where Attorney Jack Thompson’s argument falls to pieces. No,
simple logic dictates that Playstation 2 does not teach a person
how to fire a gun, let alone a .40 caliber glock automatic pistol,
let alone practice killing in the preferred method of two shots to
the center mass and one to the head.
So how do you explain that
Devin Moore was able to kill three people in an extremely
professional manner? You kill a character on Playstation 2 by
pressing a button. Devin Moore did it as if he had been trained.
And no reasonable person is going to believe that button mashing
on Playstation 2 can train you to be a marksmen. All button
mashing will do is give you nasty blisters and a minor case of
carpel tunnel syndrome. Criminal record or no, this person had
obviously handled a gun before. He obviously knew how to shoot one.
The real question is when did he do it, where did he do it, and
for what purpose. Those are the real question the jurors in the
case should be asking.
So, in the end, should we buy
into the prosecution’s case? This seemingly innocent kid just
snapped, killed three people like a professional killer, stole a
police cruiser, and did it all because murder simulators ate his
If you believe that, then I
have a bridge to sell you in Vice City.
Teen Charged In Ala. Cops Shooting
Suspect Allegedly Shot Two Officers, Dispatcher While Being Arrested
FAYETTE, Ala., June 9, 2003
(AP) A teenager was charged Monday
with three counts of murder for allegedly shooting two police
officers and a dispatcher, then fleeing in a cruiser, as they tried
to book him for car theft.
Devin Moore, 18, was captured nearly four hours later after shooting
the three Saturday in this rural community of about 5,000 people. He
remained in jail without bond and faces a possible death penalty if
Moore, who had just graduated from high school and was about to join
the Air Force, allegedly took one of the officer's guns, shot all
three at the Fayette police station and fled, prosecutors said. He
was captured in Mississippi, about 12 miles west of the Alabama line.
A public defender for Moore had not yet been assigned.
Moore's father, 48-year-old Kenneth Moore, said after the hearing
that had trouble disciplining his son for years and that his son
deserved to be charged with capital murder.
"You live by the sword you die by it, that's the Bible," said
Moore's father, 48-year-old Kenneth Moore. "God works in mysterious
Officer Arnold Strickland, in his mid-50s, Cpl. James Crump, 40, and
dispatcher Leslie Mealer, 40, were shot and killed.
Can A Video Game Lead
March 6, 2005
(CBS) Imagine if the entertainment industry created a video
game in which you could decapitate police officers, kill them with a
sniper rifle, massacre them with a chainsaw, and set them on fire.
Think anyone would buy such a violent game?
They would, and they have. The game Grand Theft Auto has sold more
than 35 million copies, with worldwide sales approaching $2 billion.
Two weeks ago, a multi-million dollar lawsuit was filed in Alabama
against the makers and marketers of Grand Theft Auto, claiming that
months of playing the game led a teenager to go on a rampage and
kill three men, two of them police officers.
Can a video game train someone to kill?
Grand Theft Auto is a world governed by the laws of depravity. See a
car you like? Steal it. Someone you don't like? Stomp her. A cop in
your way? Blow him away.
There are police at every turn, and endless opportunities to take
them down. It is 360 degrees of murder and mayhem: slickly produced,
technologically brilliant, and exceedingly violent.
And now, the game is at the center of a civil lawsuit involving the
murders of three men in the small town of Fayette, Ala. They were
gunned down by 18-year-old Devin Moore, who had played Grand Theft
Auto day and night for months.
Attorney Jack Thompson, a long-time crusader against video-game
violence, is bringing the suit. "What we're saying is that Devin
Moore was, in effect, trained to do what he did. He was given a
murder simulator," says Thompson.
"He bought it as a minor. He played it hundreds of hours, which is
primarily a cop-killing game. It's our theory, which we think we can
prove to a jury in Alabama, that, but for the video-game training,
he would not have done what he did."
Moore’s victims were Ace Mealer, a 911 dispatcher; James Crump, a
police officer; and Arnold Strickland, another officer who was on
patrol in the early morning hours of June 7, 2003, when he brought
in Moore on suspicion of stealing a car.
Moore had no criminal history, and was cooperative as Strickland
booked him inside the Fayette police station. Then suddenly,
inexplicably, Moore snapped.
According to Moore's own statement, he lunged at Officer Arnold
Strickland, grabbing his .40-caliber Glock automatic and shot
Strickland twice, once in the head. Officer James Crump heard the
shots and came running. Moore met him in the hallway, and fired
three shots into Crump, one of them in the head.
Moore kept walking down the hallway towards the door of the
emergency dispatcher. There, he turned and fired five shots into Ace
Mealer. Again, one of those shots was in the head. Along the way,
Moore had grabbed a set of car keys. He went out the door to the
parking lot, jumped into a police cruiser, and took off. It all took
less than a minute, and three men were dead.
"The video game industry gave him a cranial menu that popped up in
the blink of an eye, in that police station," says Thompson. "And
that menu offered him the split-second decision to kill the officers,
shoot them in the head, flee in a police car, just as the game
itself trained them to do."
After his capture, Moore is reported to have told police, "Life is
like a video game. Everybody’s got to die sometime." Moore is
awaiting trial in criminal court. A suit filed by the families of
two of his victims claims that Moore acted out a scenario found in
Grand Theft Auto: The player is a street thug trying to take over
the city. In one scenario, the player can enter a police precinct,
steal a uniform, free a convict from jail, escape by shooting police,
and flee in a squad car.
"I've now got the entire police force after me. So you have to
eliminate all resistance," says Nicholas Hamner, a law student at
the University of Alabama, who demonstrated Grand Theft Auto for
60 Minutes. Like millions of gamers, the overwhelming
majority, he says he plays it simply for fun.
David Walsh, a child psychologist who’s co-authored a study
connecting violent video games to physical aggression, says the link
can be explained in part by pioneering brain research recently done
at the National Institutes of Health -- which shows that the teenage
brain is not fully developed.
Does repeated exposure to violent video games have more of an impact
on a teenager than it does on an adult?
"It does. And that's largely because the teenage brain is different
from the adult brain. The impulse control center of the brain, the
part of the brain that enables us to think ahead, consider
consequences, manage urges -- that's the part of the brain right
behind our forehead called the prefrontal cortex," says Walsh. "That's
under construction during the teenage years. In fact, the wiring of
that is not completed until the early 20s."
Walsh says this diminished impulse control becomes heightened in a
person who has additional risk factors for criminal behavior. Moore
had a profoundly troubled upbringing, bouncing back and forth
between a broken home and a handful of foster families.
"And so when a young man with a developing brain, already angry,
spends hours and hours and hours rehearsing violent acts, and then,
and he's put in this situation of emotional stress, there's a
likelihood that he will literally go to that familiar pattern that's
been wired repeatedly, perhaps thousands and thousands of times,"
"You've got probably millions of kids out there playing violent
games like Grand Theft Auto and other violent games, who never hurt
a fly," says Bradley. "So what does that do to your theory?"
"You know, not every kid that plays a violent video game is gonna
turn to violence. And that's because they don't have all of those
other risk factors going on," says Walsh. "It's a combination of
risk factors, which come together in a tragic outcome."
Arnold Strickland had been a police officer for 25 years when he was
murdered. His brother Steve, a Methodist minister, wants the video
game industry to pay.
"Why does it have to come to a point to where somebody's life has to
be taken before they realize that these games have repercussions to
them? Why does it have to be to where my brother's not here anymore,"
says Steve Strickland. "There's not a day that goes by that I don't
think about him."
Strickland, along with Mealer's parents, are suing Moore, as well as
Wal-Mart and GameStop, which sold Moore two versions of Grand Theft
Auto. Both companies sent us letters insisting they bear no
responsibility for Moore’s actions, and that the game is played by
millions of law-abiding citizens.
Take-Two Interactive, the creator of Grand Theft Auto, and Sony,
which makes the device that runs the game, are also being sued. Both
declined to talk to 60 Minutes on camera. Instead,
they referred it to Doug Lowenstein, who represents the video game
Lowenstein is not named in the lawsuit, and says he can’t comment on
it directly. "It's not my job to defend individual titles," says
Lowenstein. "My job is to defend the right of people in this
industry to create the products that they want to create. That's
"A police officer we spoke to said, 'Our job is dangerous enough as
it is without having our kids growing up playing those games and
having the preconceived notions of "let's kill an officer." It's
almost like putting a target on us.' Can you see his point?" asks
"Look, I have great respect for the law enforcement officers of this
country.... I don't think video games inspire people to commit
crimes," says Lowenstein. "If people have a criminal mind, it's not
because they're getting their ideas from the video games. There's
something much more deeply wrong with the individual. And it's not
the game that's the problem."
But shouldn't Moore, alone, face the consequences of his decision to
kill three men?
"There's plenty of blame to go around. The fact is we think Devin
Moore is responsible for what he did," says Thompson. "But we think
that the adults who created these games and in effect programmed
Devon Moore and assisted him to kill are responsible at least
Thompson says video game companies had reason to foresee that some
of their products would trigger violence, and bolsters his case with
claims that the murders in Fayette were not the first thought to be
inspired by Grand Theft Auto.
In Oakland, Calif., detectives said the game provoked a street gang
accused of robbing and killing six people. In Newport, Tenn., two
teenagers told police the game was an influence when they shot at
passing cars with a .22 caliber rifle, killing one person. But to
date, not a single court case has acknowledged a link between
virtual violence and the real thing.
Paul Smith is a First Amendment lawyer who has represented video
game companies. "What you have in almost every generation is the new
medium that comes along. And it's subject of almost a hysterical
attack," says Smith. "If you went back to the 1950s, it's hard to
believe now, but comic books were blamed for juvenile delinquency.
And I think what you really have here is very much the same
phenomenon playing itself out again with a new medium."
Why does he think the courts have ruled against these kinds of
"If you start saying that we're going to sue people because one
individual out there read their book or played their game and
decided to become a criminal, there is no stopping point," says
Smith. "It's a huge new swath of censorship that will be imposed on
Despite its violence, or because of it, the fact is that millions of
people like playing Grand Theft Auto. Steve Strickland can’t
"The question I have to ask the manufacturers of them is, 'Why do
you make games that target people that are to protect us, police
officers, people that we look up to -- people that I respect -- with
high admiration,'" says Strickland.
"'Why do you want to market a game that gives people the thoughts,
even the thoughts of thinking it's OK to shoot police officers? Why
do you wanna do that?'"
Both Wal-Mart and GameStop, where Moore purchased Grand Theft Auto,
say they voluntarily card teenagers in an effort to keep violent
games from underage kids. But several states are considering laws
that would ban the sale of violent games to those under 17.
Judge sentences gamer to death
20-year-old who used Grand Theft Auto as defense
for triple homicide sentenced to lethal injection.
By Tim Surette, GameSpot
Oct 7, 2005
Earlier this year, Devin Moore, now 20, was on
trial for the 2003 triple homicide of three Alabama policemen. While
in detention for stealing a car, Moore grabbed the pistol of one
officer and used it to fatally shoot a total of three of them.
The defense mounted a case based on a childhood
full of mental and physical abuse, as well as an affinity for
violent games. One game in particular, Rockstar Games' Grand Theft
Auto III, was singled out, because gamers can steal cars and kill
cops in it. Moore had said he was inspired by the PlayStation 2
In August, a jury swiftly convicted Moore of the
charges. And today, a judge laid down the most severe punishment the
justice system allows.
Moore will be put to death by lethal injection.
Defense attorney Jim Standridge will appeal the case.
The victims' families have sued Take-Two
Interactive (parent company of Rockstar), Sony, Wal-Mart, and
GameStop for their parts in the manufacturing and selling of the
Image of video game