Jack Thompson Can't Play Hardball
It seems Counterstrike has officially eclipsed Doom as the cause of man's plight. target="" content="target=\"\" content=\"target=\\"\\" content=\\"target=\\\"\\\" content=\\\"target=\\\\"\\\\" content=\\\\"target=\\\\\"\\\\\" content=\\\\\"target=\\\\\\"\\\\\\" content=\\\\\\"target=\\\\\\\"xml\\\\\\\" content=\\\\\\\"namespace prefix = o ns = \\\\\\\\"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office\\\\\\\\" /\\\\\\\"\\\\\\"\\\\\"\\\\"\\\"\\"\"">?>?>?>?>?>?>?>?>
How'd this happen? Primarily as the result of one Jack Thompson, a lawyer and the most public opponent of video game violence – check that, just video games – since my childhood friend's mom barred him from Street Fighter II and the Terminator movies.
Thus, Thompson is well known to gamers. In the past, he's been a major opponent of Take Two's Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt series. Granted, these are violent examples, so too are "300", "Se7en", and "Gladiator"...but, I digress.
Recently, it seems Thompson may have finally stepped over the line. It didn't take him long to quickly make himself visible in the wake of the recent Virginia Tech massacre, popping up on Fox News and in the pages of the Washington Post.
However, it was his appearance on Chris Matthews' Hardball that has him looking especially foolish. During an interview, Thompson alleged that the shooter, Cho Seung-Hui, played Counterstrike. The confused counsel alleges that, as a result of playing the PC and Xbox FPS, Cho was especially cool and collected in carrying out his attack.
Let's take a good look at what's wrong with that statement. First, Thompson can only date the killer's playing of Counterstrike to his high school years. Seung-Hui was in his fourth year of post-secondary studies when the attack occurred.
Second, Counterstrike. Granted, it's a somewhat violent first-person shooter (or FPS) that pits soldiers against terrorists. However, it isn't particularly gory, with most victims in the game entering the pearly gates in a very PG manner.
The most puzzling bit is the game's age. Although widely played a few years ago, Counterstrike is about as relevant as Doom was during the massacre at Columbine. Almost no one played Doom in 1999, and almost no one plays Counterstrike now.
In Cho Seung-Hui's case, there's no evidence to show he's played it in the last four years.
It's fairly hard to watch Thompson's interview and not feel as if he's finally running out of material. Although violent video games continue to be made, thank God, it's increasingly becoming more difficult for whack jobs like Thompson to link them to violent crimes.
No one can really know what was wrong with Cho Seung-Hui. Speculation will take place for weeks, months, even years, but let's hope Jack Thompson and video games are spared the attention.