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March 14
2013

Teen Shoots Parents, Shocks Everyone By Blaming Video Games

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game violence
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14 year old Nathon Brooks has been charged with the attempted murder of his parents in Washington State after they…wait for it…grounded him from using electronics for two weeks. Even better, he later told police that he played violent video games constantly and blamed their influence for his actions.

“He said he quit playing violent video games because he thought they were making him more violent,” Moses Lake police Sgt. Mike Williams noted in the incident report. “I asked him how much he played video games, and he told me ‘24/7,’ up until he got his electronics taken away.”

According to police reports and surveillance footage from inside the house, Brooks pried open his father’s gun safe, and took the .22 caliber pistol into his parent’s bedroom. It was there that he shot his mother, and father multiple times in the head, but not before they were able to call 911.

A local hospital has discharged Brooks’ father and has his mother listed in stable condition. Fortunately, despite playing large amounts of violent games, Nathon was unable to kill his parents after multiple shots to the head. But that hasn’t stopped the blame from falling onto video games.

Not only have many mainstream media reports focused on the police quote above, they’ve also drawn pretty clear comparisons back to the gun violence debate going on in Washington D.C. and the recent massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Because that’s what they’ve been trained to do – focus on the scapegoat.

Never mind the fact Brooks has also claimed that he heard voices in his head repeatedly telling him that he could do whatever he wanted if his parents were dead. Never mind he says he’s considered killing them since age 8. Never mind that he was investigated by police in 2010 over allegations he had molested a girl (when he was 11!). Never mind that he was grounded in the first place for stealing his father’s credit card and that his behavior problems at home and in school had gotten bad enough that his parents installed cameras IN THEIR OWN HOME so they could keep an eye on him.

Clearly video games are the culprit. Yes. Clearly.

What instead seems clear to me, as noted by Jim Sterling over on Destructoid, is that not only has the media learned to shift focus and blame onto violent video games, so have the killers. Even if psychologists walk away from this kid saying he’s not clinically insane, he’s definitely competent enough to blame video games himself to shift the focus.

Is that what we’ve let happen? We’re so willing to shake blame and a bit of societal introspection that we’ll give attempted murderers some leeway if they admit to the topic of the hour?

Please say no, America. Please. Be better than that this time.

[story via Rawstory.com]
[img via geekosystem, which has a fantastic write up about violence that deserves some attention]

7 Responses

  1. avatar Dragoon2063 says:

    The kid clearly has mental issues that aren’t video game related. I’m hoping that the police and courts etc will notice that and the fact he is trying to shift the blame. That picture is in really bad taste by the way.

    • avatar Mike Barrett says:

      I slapped that picture up because I didn’t want to use the image of the kid that’s floating around. Not only is he a child, but I’m also against the way media tends to make killers into celebrities. (I considered not using his name, either, but feel that’s an important detail to the story in general as it would be in any other trial.)

      If you’re offended by the image, I can switch it out for something else.

  2. avatar Dragoon2063 says:

    Oh no, that’s ok, I didn’t mean any offense. I hope that kid doesn’t get any special treatment.

  3. avatar Michael says:

    Sadly, America isn’t better than that. Not anymore. No, it’s all video games fault. Because we can’t be bothered to take responsibility for our own actions anymore.

    • avatar Keith says:

      Like the the parents choosing to keep a gun and ammunition within reach of their mentally disturbed child?

      • avatar Mike says:

        I’m with Kevin.
        If the kid’s behavior is bad enough that they had to put cameras in their own house, don’t you think, at SOME point, they should’ve thought, “Hey, we should probably get rid of this GUN!”
        What do you think the kids response would be if the gun hadn’t been in the house? Sure, he would still have reacted violently, maybe even grabbed a kitchen knife, but even then two full-grown adults against a 14 year old with a knife have a much better chance of a non-fatal resolution than two full-grown adults against a kid with a gun.

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