Thursday, 22 September 2011

“I’LL DO A GRAND THEFT AUTO MASSACRE”



Fateful words apparently said by Able Seaman (AS) Ryan Donovan, apparently shortly before he killed Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Ian Molyneux, and shot at Petty Officer (PO) Christopher Brown and Chief Petty Officer (CPO) David McCoy. Not just words spouted by a member of the Armed Forces who liked to play video games, went to school with Tinie Tempah, had a history of disobeying orders, thought of himself as a bit of a “gangstah” and, oh yeah, got absolutely rat arsed the night before he went on his rampage – but these words that adorn the title of this blog (for ironic purposes) was the headline I was greeted to this morning as I picked up my usual daily newspaper – The Mirror.

Now I like reading The Mirror, it’s easy reading, and they hate the Tories. So yeah they usually have my seal of approval. They haven’t always been the best newspaper (especially going back around 10 years to the incident in a Leeds nightclub involving Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer), but on the whole they’re pretty good.

Not anymore. I don’t feel as an avid computer gamer, who works with the Armed Forces in my real job, that I can ever take their reporting seriously anymore. The family and friends of Lt Cdr Molyneux, don’t deserve this speculation. All they deserve are the facts, which is what they’ll be listening to in court, they don’t deserve to see a picture of the killer on the front of a national tabloid, with the headline “I’LL DO A GRAND THEFT AUTO MASSACRE” with the following sub-heading of “Submarine killer inspired by computer game”.

Absolute rubbish, the guy was clearly just a fucking nut-job. As I mentioned in my previous article about Doom being released in Germany, some “experts” after the Columbine High School Massacre tried to point at “SHOCK HORROR” in their little den, there was a copy of Doom!!! That’s why they shot dead 13 people, injured around 50 people, and attempted to then blow the school up with home-made bombs. Of course.

Same goes for this guy. If someone has it in them to do one of the most heinous things in the world, by taking the life of another in cold blood – then there is something wrong with that person. When someone kills because they think it will be cool, or because they want to inflict pain on someone, or because they want to imitate someone or something, then that person is clearly disturbed. I must stress that I do not include soldiers, or those who are protecting their families in this bracket – soldiers go to war to protect their nation (and by extension the people of their nation) from threats or invaders, killing someone to a soldier only occurs when it is absolutely necessary, and when it is the last resort. Vincent Cooke, who killed an armed burglar in his house recently, did exactly what I would do – kill anyone who I felt was an immediate threat to my family. I would not think twice about killing an intruder in my house who threatened to harm any of my nearest and dearest, and I’m sure the majority of anyone with a family would think the same way.

I’m getting slightly off track. The Mirror, and other newspapers tried to lambast Grand Theft Auto – again – and blame it for this terrible incident. Again the media trying to make video games out to be these nasty horrible things that make people do things they wouldn’t normally do. “You see that John Smith from down the road, he raped his cat, set fire to his car, threw his wife out of the window and immolated himself…I bet it’s because he got an Xbox Kinect.” That kind of thing. I don’t read the Daily Mail, but I would have thought they would have jumped on this as well, maybe not just blaming GTA:IV but GTA:San Andreas – mainly because the lead character is black, and as all Daily Mail readers know, it’s the blacks and gays and immigrants that cause all of the problems in the whole wide world because they’re black, gay or not from Britain. I mean, they must hate Barrack Obama, 2 of the 3 boxes ticked…

Again I digress, this all stems from this reported in the Daily Mirror – “Shortly before the shootings, wannabe gangsta rapper Donovan, who called himself Reggie Moondogg, had told friends that he was planning a massacre in the style of Grand Theft Auto.” He was planning a GTA style massacre. Right so basically, he told friends he wanted to kill a lot of people, and he said he wanted to do it in like he would in GTA. That doesn’t mean that one day he was playing GTA, and suddenly he thought “HEY!!!!! This massacring people is good fun, I must grab a gun and shoot as many people as I can, just like Niko Bellic.” What if he had said, he wanted to kill a lot of people, and do it in the style of say Kill Bill, grab a samurai sword and start hacking at people right, left and centre? Would the headline then be “I’LL DO A KILL BILL STYLE MASSACRE”? Well knowing the way the warped, blame culture, of the media goes, probably yes. It seems that they cannot just accept that the guy wanted to kill people, and just used GTA as an example.

What you then go on to read is this in the article “He had gone on a booze bender the night before the attack, and volunteered for guard duty while drunk. He was handed an SA80 rifle with 30 rounds the next day after passing a test to see if he was sober.” So the Navy felt, that after a night of drinking, that he was sober enough to handle a weapon? How come when that would appear to be more of a thing to actually lay some real blame down, it is only touched upon in 1 paragraph? After this revelation, they go back to blaming computer games, and I would love to meet the prosecutor, who obviously has some hidden agenda regarding video games. The article goes on to read – “Donovan…told PO Andrew Love he was planning a Grand Theft Auto Massacre. Mr Lickey (prosecuting lawyer) added “The defendant just giggled and said he was thinking how to start a massacre. He started talking about Grand Theft Auto, where you start a massacre and rack up points by killing.””

When an educated man, such as a lawyer, spouts such rubbish as that last line, “start a massacre, and rack up points by killing” you think, that really, apart from those who play them regularly, and those who study their workings, not many people know about computer games, and most of those people who haven’t got a clue, look at them like people used to look at electric lightbulbs or televisions. For those who don’t know, and to reaffirm the belief of those who do, you do not “rack up points” by killing people in GTA. That implies that the game is just a glorified Pac-Man or Space Invaders, and the sole point of the game is to rack up points to get on a score board. When actually the GTA games are very intelligent, very well written works, that deserve the same critiques as books and films. Yes, they have their share of violence, and it is an open world game, which means that in between doing various missions, you do what you want – be it driving around; racing; buying new clothes; looking for secrets (such as the Heart of Liberty City or the infamous Ratman of the subway); or seeing how long you can run from the cops after getting their attention. That’s just a mechanic of the game, you can choose to be good or bad (to a point).

Take Stanley Kubrick. Well regarded as one of the most influential and highly respected directors of all time. Directing 2001: A Space Odyssey, Spartacus, Dr Strangelove, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining and others, but also directing A Clockwork Orange – which depicts absolutely horrific gang violence and rape, and was again blamed for inciting people to do what was done in the film. If someone has it in them to do something like that in the first place, they were going to do it regardless of what films they watched or what games they play. But doesn’t it stand to reason, that if someone has a depraved interest in something wrong, like the thought of murdering another, that they would read up about it, read about various murderers or serial killers, or play out their depraved fantasy in a virtual environment – such as the open world gameplay of GTA? Of course they would! That doesn’t mean that everyone who plays GTA has a vested interest in murder, just like not everyone who plays say FIFA games actually have an interest in football. I play WWE games, but I cannot stand watching it on the TV. I play GTA, but I haven’t yet carjacked someone, picked up a prostitute, then killed her to take her money. I play GTA but I haven’t actually killed a load of people then gone on a World’s Deadliest Criminals style car chase from the police. Although I have in GTA. That doesn’t make me a monster. That doesn’t mean the game is inciting me to do this, or that I think of GTA as a “killing simulator” which it was also described as in The Mirror. Killing simulator…ha. If GTA is a killing simulator, then it’s a shit killing simulator. Where are the pitchforks? Nooses? Axes? Steam-Rollers and various other killing implements? Where are these extra points for killing people? How do they benefit my game? How? How? How? Please tell me how.

Fucking media outlets, to be honest, I’m fucking incensed by their naïve, Mary Whitehouse style, age old view of computer games as these tools that turn normal average people into fucking murdering bastards who wouldn’t have done what they did, were it not for the pixellated little twat on the screen that is being controlled by these normal average people, within whose mouth butter wouldn’t melt.

Did Bonnie and Clyde need computer games to kill people? NO! Did Vlad the Impaler need pixelled inspiration to drive him to murdrer countless hordes of innocents and display their heads on pikes? NO! Did Fred West kill those poor kids because he played a violent computer game? NO! Why? Because even if they had played violent games, they would have done the same as they did anyway, because that is just how their brains were wired. Some people are wired for good deeds, some people are wired for nastiness and some people – like Cliff Richard – are wired for sound. Sorry had to be done.

I apologise for going somewhat off-topic in parts, and rambling for some parts, but I think I got my point across – yet again computer games are pointed at for causing someone to commit murder, I think it’s wrong, and a very backwards view on the whole situation. Like blaming witches for a bad crop, the media try to burn computer games at the stake, and no matter how many times they do it, eventually they will come to their senses over the whole affair. Until that time comes, they will be pointed at, sneered at, and blamed for things that they – like “witches” – had no involvement in.



Toolbox24 - Written 20/09/11