The Disc Shop
Computer Games in the Child’s Life
Computer games have a large army of opponents who is never tired of blaming the gaming industry with all the mortal sins. I cannot say that I do support them and their accusations. Surely they are not groundless. But I want to find out: are games the only ones to blame? Do you remember the winter tragedy of 1997 in provincial American town of Paducah? On a bright winter morning of the first of December, a 14 –year-old Michael Carneal’s took six guns to school with him. After that he hid in the trees and waited till school prayer ended. When the pupils started going out from the chapel he fired rapidly and killed three schoolchildren and another five were seriously wounded.
The journalists informed the whole world of the tragedy without any delay. I consider it to be the first mistake. Why? Some people may think: “Why can’t I try such a trick myself and become known all over the world?” Believe me, there are enough people who would think just like that. Media should not provoke their ill imagination with such scandals. It is my personal belief.
But we are living in a free society, with a guarantee of freedom of speech and concealing this fact from public would prove quite the opposite. Unfortunately, my misgivings came true. The tragedy echoed in Colorado in a small town of Littleton after a while. Two youngsters Eric Harris (18) and Dylan Klebold (17) took into account their predecessor’s experience and brought to school about forty hands- made radio-controlled mines. Then they started to blow up the mines and in the panic they fired their hunting rifles at their school mates. Twenty innocent people were killed. When the police arrived these two “heroes” shot themselves in the school library. Like in the case with the first teenager the two guys were vehement fans of DOOM and Quake. The trio spent all their time in net battles, had their own web pages devoted to their favourite games and built the levels. Analysing the reasons of the outrageous conduct the specialists were stumped with the question who was at fault? The parents of the killed children knew exactly who was to blame.
They sued the entertaining industry with $ 130 million dollars. They brought a charge against three owners of porno sites, a few companies developing the computer games and film company Warner Brothers for their film “Basketball Diaries”, where the main character kills his teacher and his school mates. However the main stress was on the cruel games. The prosecution insists that the games produced by these companies “present violence in especially attractive and pleasant manner”. May I ask, why are games the first to blame? Thousands of new games come up every year and thousands of people play them. The contents of the games can not be compared with the abundance of informational dirt in the movies. My personal opinion is that films have no competitors in violence. Films demonstrate really scary things: how the crimes should be prepared and what fun it can be to kill people like you. In this aspect games are underachievers. Besides the movies we also have TV where every criminal report shows the different types of murders with anything available.
Don’t you worry about it? The court unconditionally acknowledged the negative influence of games on Michael’s immature psyche. However, the examination proved him to be quite adequate! After this he was sentenced to a life imprisonment without being eligible for ticket of leave during the first 25 years of his term. Harris and Klebold will be judged by quite the other court.
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