Grand Theft Auto Drives 8 Year Old to Murder His Grandmother

Grand Theft Auto Drives 8 Year Old to Murder His Grandmother

There are five major medical and psychological associations that agree violent video games cause an increase in aggressive behavior and violence. Those five associations are The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Psychiatric Association and The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. These associations issued a joint statement to Congress back in 2000 after 30 plus years of research and two giant meta-analysis proved a causal link between video games and violence. The statement explains that the link between violent video games and aggression is well-established. In fact, psychologists are now begging for the debate to move beyond the question of whether or not there is a link between violent video games and aggression and onto the question of why people continue to ignore the evidence of this fact. Last month, the game Grand Theft Auto drove an 8 year old boy straight to murder his own grandmother, and yet, some members of the public continue to deny that violent video games cause violence.

An 8 year old boy from Louisiana had been playing Grand Theft Auto while his grandmother, Marie Smothers, 87, looked on. The sheriff’s department concluded that the boy “intentionally shot Mrs. Smothers in the back of the head as she sat in her living room watching television.” They further concluded that the game directly contributed to the boys’ murderous actions, saying “…investigators have learned that the juvenile suspect was playing a video game on the Play Station III ‘Grand Theft Auto IV,’ a realistic game that has been associated with encouraging violence and awards points to players for killing people, just minutes before the homicide occurred.”

Doctors, psychologists and credentialed experts all agree that there is a direct causal link between video games and violence, and not only that, now experts are saying that violent video games may enable mass shooters to do a better job in carrying out their killings by teaching them to be better shooters. In speaking about Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, psychologist Brad Bushman says “it is possible that Alexis was a more accurate shooter because of the time he spent playing video games. That’s an inconvenient fact that you don’t often hear defenders of the games talk about.”

Speaking of “defenders of the games,” they are a very difficult group of people to engage in discussion about this issue. They become enraged when presented with the facts about video games, throw out insults at the observer and ignore the huge body of research that proves them wrong. The culprit behind their outrage is a scientist names Christopher Ferguson. He is the person responsible for clouding the discussion about video games and violence. He’s conducted his own studies and concluded that he has found no link between video games and an increase in aggressive behavior. He is extremely outspoken in the media, and there are thousands of news articles that report his findings. He has managed to dupe millions of people into believing his studies despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Now, an 8 year old has been driven straight to murder; the murder of his own 87 year old grandmother, by the game Grand Theft Auto, a game which awards players points for killing people. But it’s not just this one little boy who has been directly inspired to murder because of the game; all around the world there are multiple reports of Grand Theft Auto-inspired murders. Devin Thompson, 18, of Alabama, killed a dispatcher and two police officers in an attempt to re-create a real life version of the game. He later admitted this to investigators, saying “Life is a video game. You’ve got to die sometime.” The problem is not confined to the United States, though, in Thailand, teenager Polwat Chino admitted to police that he committed the murder of a taxi driver because of the game, saying “killing seemed easy in the game.”

In Georgia, three teenagers said they “learned how to do it” from the game when referring to multiple car bombings they carried out. In Hyde Park, NY, a group of teens went on a crime spree they claimed was directly inspired by the game.

Despite 30 years of evidence, an 8 year old boy murdering his own grandmother, and teens freely admitting that they committed violence because of the game Grand Theft Auto, people still refuse to believe there is any link between violent video games and violence. If 87 year old Marie Smothers were alive today, she would probably set them straight.

By: Rebecca Savastio

(op-ed)

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25 Responses to "Grand Theft Auto Drives 8 Year Old to Murder His Grandmother"

  1. Michael   December 11, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    You’ve got to wonder how sane the person is to commit these a regular person who plays violent games doesnt say “Oh heres a shotgun Like in Gta I’ll steal a car pay a hooker and then shoot her in the face” How mentally competant are these people who do these action’s if they see them in game’s? The question is Retorical.

    Reply
  2. warren   October 22, 2015 at 5:49 am

    right 8 yrs old the game is rated 18 so unlucky don’t let them play and they wont kill simples

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  3. Georg Cercadillo   September 17, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Everybody agree that 8 years old boys musnt play GTA, the people to blema are the fathers

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  4. A KIWI   August 13, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    Well in New Zealand we bloody love violence

    Reply
  5. Nick   June 16, 2015 at 12:59 am

    30+ years of research? What video games were they researching? Pong?

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  6. Doug   October 15, 2014 at 10:50 am

    What kind of parents leave a loaded gun where a child could get it. Don’t blame the game, blame the parents.

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  7. car games   September 18, 2014 at 6:09 am

    The games allow you to choose your best bike and then you ride on them and do race with other group of bikers. There are a lot of car games available for entertainment which you play easily online over the internet.

    Reply
  8. KickStrobe   June 10, 2014 at 8:41 am

    It depends who is playing the game, I played manhunt and I didn’t throw a plastic bag over a random person

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  9. Daniel Chapman   May 15, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    The ratings on these games are in place for a reason. I’m shocked a 14 year old was playing this let alone an 8 year old! Children should not be playing these games.

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  10. Random Guy   May 5, 2014 at 8:50 am

    @Rebecca Savastio “All of their research, all of their study, all of their PhDs and doctorates are all totally meaningless?” Just because somebody has all of those doesn’t mean they’re accurate 100% of the time. Or at all for that matter.

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  11. An "Enraged" Gamer   February 26, 2014 at 10:17 am

    The sheriff’s department concluded that the boy “intentionally shot Mrs. Smothers in the back of the head”
    My main problem with that quote, is the use of the word ‘intentionally’. The boy was eight. I highly doubt he knew he was doing, and the idea of blaming this murder on Grand Theft Auto just baffles and astounds me. It’s not like grand theft auto is the only violent material on earth. There are several million instances of violence in the TV, Movie, Music and Video Game industry. This is the reason age ratings exist. How can blame be solely placed on grand theft auto. From your line:
    “game which awards players points for killing people.” Just shows that you don’t have a clue what you are talking about. There is no points in GTA. There is no reward at all, outside of the story. It’s not as if grand theft auto is an instructional video on how to load a gun, and turn the safety off.

    The fault of this tragic incident, lies solely on the shoulders of the grandparents. They left a loaded gun, within reach of an eight year old boy, without even turning the safety on. Still, you blame grand theft auto. Not only that, but you insult gamers and people who disagree with you (myself included), with your line:

    ““defenders of the games,” they are a very difficult group of people to engage in discussion about this issue. They become enraged when presented with the facts about video games, throw out insults at the observer and ignore the huge body of research that proves them wrong”

    It was this line that encouraged me to write this. While it may not have been intentional, you came across as an arrogant person in this line. I am not enraged, and I don’t believe you fully understand what that word means. Having an opinion, even if it is wrong isn’t being enraged. Maybe by claiming to be in the right, when in reality, you aren’t is what’s making them angry, but that is just a theory. Not only that but you say that I only have my opinion because of some scientist, that I’ve never heard of:
    “The culprit behind their outrage is a scientist names Christopher Ferguson.”

    Having an opinion isn’t even close to the same thing as being outraged. My opinions are just that, MY OPINIONS, and I don’t have them because some scientist told me to have them.

    In closing, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, and you managed to pin someone’s death on a game, which has become the fastest selling form of media ever, so regardless, rockstar win. I hope you go through your life and live thinking that you are always right and sit behind your ‘five major” sources, while I enjoy playing GTA and not murdering people, the way everyone else does.

    Reply
  12. sherlock   December 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Maybee the old bat should not have left the kid play the game, I mean, it says 18 y on the focking box. What a crocking load of horsefock!!!

    Reply
  13. "Enraged" Gamer   November 3, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I for one do not care for ones “credentials.” COMMON SENSE should tell us everything we need to hear about this issue. People do bad things all the time, it comes with human nature. The problem is that when bad things happen we all look for someone to blame rather than accepting a bad situation as a tragedy. Bad parenting? Sure. Criminal neglect of storing a firearm? Absolutely. But if you’re going to blame every relatable crime around the world that’s portrayed in a video game for people’s decisions.. well I don’t need a PhD to say you’re full of crap. Accept it for what it is, a tragedy. Don’t buy these types of games for your kids, and for the love of god keep your firearms locked up and out of an 8 year olds hands. While you’re at it, how about you smash your tv and computers to boot? The content found on the Internet and everyday television is just as, if not more, impressionable to a troubled youth’s mind than any video game I’ve ever played, and you can take that to the bank. Just PLEASE stop using tragedies like this to further your liberal agenda. It’s disgraceful to the actual victims of these events and makes you sound like an utter tool. It’s far easier to blame a video game for all of society’s ills; than to acknowledge that we as a species are violent by nature and do horrible unspeakable things to each other EVERY DAY. I could go on and on with this but I feel I’ve made my point. Have a nice day.

    Reply
  14. Jay   October 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    This is the reason why the games have an age rating. Little kids should not be playing a game like grand theft auto simply because they become influenced by the game.

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  15. Anna   September 30, 2013 at 1:15 am

    I’ve been playing the game for many years now, ever since III, with many of my friends a fellow gamers, can’t ever recall feeling angry and violent after the game nor my friends.
    Who is to say these games don’t fall into the hands of wrong people? These people might already have some kind of psychologic issues or violent tendencies. For example teen who murdered a cab driver, might have already been mental, the kids who went on a spree might have one person instigating it and making others follow him ( gang members, trying to fit in, etc.) and for the kid who murdered his grandmother.. No offense but who lets an 8 yr old even know of the existence of that game? And if the grandmother had no idea then why was she even watching an 8 yr old?
    Third question is why was there a gun in the house? And how did the kid know where it was and how to use it?
    We all can let out kids watch and play a ton of violent and crazy video games and movies , then show them where weapons and tools are , what do you think they would do? Kids at that age are copy cats and majorly can’t distinguish what’s wrong and what’s right and what the consequences might be

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  16. No   September 24, 2013 at 11:08 am

    If these people are driven to commit murder and other crimes because of video games then they clearly shouldn’t be playing video games. Why ruin it for everyone else just because some mentally unstable people took things too far? They could be lying about their “motives” too. There is just no evidence of video games being the cause. Also… if the kid didn’t have access to the gun, nobody would of gotten shot. Clearly there was something wrong with the way this child was raised. Don’t blame it on the game industry.

    Reply
  17. Erik Swanson   September 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I agree on both sides that Violent video games on young impressionable mind’s can and in some cases will leave bad influences on children. I also agree that there was more to this story then what we are being told here. Its hard to argue a subject like this because no matter what side your on, your wrong. I do not like this statement made by the author

    *“defenders of the games,” they are a very difficult group of people to engage in discussion about this issue. They become enraged when presented with the facts about video games, throw out insults at the observer and ignore the huge body of research that proves them wrong.*

    We are not hard to talk to, just don’t come across as some high and mighty person just because we play video games.

    Like a lot of people are saying we as the gaming community have been in trouble for violent video games in the past. Which is why we implemented the ESRB which flat out tells you on the box, what the game has in it and what age group it was for. An 8 year old was obviously bugging either the grandmother or parents to buy him this game. I do not need science or lab tests to tell me this was a bad parenting decision as the child should not have ever got or played this game. People blurt out science facts to make them look right when all it takes is to simply look at the situation to get a more accurate take on what really happened.

    The Child wanted a game, The parents said no, The child whined and cried till the parents gave in. A NO SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE END OF IT, Like any 8 year old he will cry over it for probably a day or two but a new thing he will want will come up and GTA 5 would have left his mind. I babysit my 3 and 4 year old nieces and they do the SAME EXACT THING. I know its hard on the parents to see there child upset like this but its worth it in the end to keep things like this from happening. PLEASE PLEASE READ THE BOX AND BE A PARENT.

    I am a 26 year old IT Professional and a avid gamer for over 22 years.

    Reply
  18. Rebecca Savastio   September 21, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Phantom: I agree that the child should not have had access to a gun, of course. That goes without saying. However, that does not change the fact that after the investigation the police concluded that Grand Theft Auto WAS the reason the child shot his grandmother. And going straight for the crackpot statement? You said that five very well-established, well-respected medical and psychological associations are all “crackpots.” You don’t think that invites comment?

    Reply
  19. Milton Ruiz   September 21, 2013 at 2:58 am

    It is one thing to show a link between violent video games, and violent behavior. It is entirely another to show causality. It could very well be that violent video games do not cause violent behavior; but that violent people are more drawn to those games, such as GTA V, as opposed to say, Disneyland Adventures. I’m calling BS (bunk science).

    Reply
    • Milton Ruiz   September 21, 2013 at 3:05 am

      Also, who let’s an 8-year-old play GTA V (the game has violence, nudity, torture, drug use, foul language and the user basically plays as the bad guy, it’s not rated Mature for nothing), and have access to a gun? THAT person needs to be locked up forever.

      Reply
  20. Rebecca Savastio   September 21, 2013 at 12:07 am

    @Phantom: So, you’re saying that The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Psychiatric Association and The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry are ALL “a bunch of crackpots?” They’re ALL wrong? All of their research, all of their study, all of their PhDs and doctorates are all totally meaningless? Hmm. That’s an interesting take on the issue.

    Reply
    • Random Bystander   September 21, 2013 at 12:47 am

      I believe the point he/she is trying to make is that the child in question would not have been able to execute his grandmother if the child did not have access to a firearm. Under no circumstances should a firearm be out in the open in a household with a small child, you see these types of things all the time. While video games may or may not contribute to violence it is solely on the parents buying these children these games and not taking the responsibility as the parent to teach this child right from wrong and if they fail to do so this is the end result. It is poor parenting combined with impressionable youth, not either or, the games specifically state rated M for Mature not Rated E for Everyone, and if the parent feels the child is ready to play a game like Grand Theft Auto it is their responsibility.

      Reply
    • Phantom   September 21, 2013 at 12:48 am

      So you dodge the point of my statement entirely. They all went strait for the game just like you went strait for my crackpot statement both ignore the fact the kid got a gun with ease and the gun was already loaded and had the safety off. Also if the game was the actual problem why does the kid have it? No matter who is right me you its going to lead back to bad parenting pure and simple. I’m not going to bother replying again since you will most likely just ignore the real issue once more, have a good day.

      Reply
  21. Phantom   September 21, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Doctors, psychologists and credentialed experts, more like a bunch of crackpots. Its bad parenting many kids have gotten violent games and haven’t harmed anyone, What harms people is bad parenting. Who the hell leaves a gun with the safety off out where a kid could get it? Blaming the game is an excuse its the parents fault pure and simple.

    Reply
  22. Henk de Groen   September 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Isnt it true that the Protestant Housewife League of America has a strong lobby amongst all aforementioned research facilities?
    Hasnt it been their agenda since carmageddon to dictate others how to have fun.

    The kid wouldnt have shot the woman if he wouldnt have acces to a firearm.
    Plus a kid that shoots some one will do so appart from any game he or she might have played.
    Something wrong with the upbringing.

    Maybe the The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry should screen that entire family to find the nutcase who is sick enough to keep a gun loitering arround the house.

    Reply

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