Tue 24 Apr 2007
Gotta say, being called an idiot (advisedly) and a jackass on national news by Jack Thompson feels like a special milestone for me. Not so much for the name calling, but just to see good old Jack get all flustered and frustrated.
Interestingly, despite his flat out attempt to ridicule, dismiss and discredit me (as a paid puppet mouthpiece for the game industry), he emailed me with a formal challenge to an on campus debate (see full text below). That, along with a half-dozen other emails with his thoughts and pointers to articles, etc.
One such link he sent over was to the New York Times piece that delved deep into Cho’s silent life. In the lengthy article, video games were mentioned once, in passing. The article, instead focused on his depression, reclusiveness, hatred for the world, etc, etc. To me, the most significant quote was:
You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience. You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today…
That is complicated stuff that forces society to look deep inside at core issues of how humans behave, etc. Instead, Jack - grasping at straws - clings to the one passing mention of games, and forces anyone in his path to redirect their attention from the complex issues of society and humanity, and points the finger solely on video games.
To blame violent videogames for this, let alone videogames as a medium, is short sighted, hypocritical, absurd, and, frankly, a little desperate. It’s an argument made by people who fear a medium they don’t understand and want a bogeyman more than they want real answers.
OK, now onto Jack’s challenge…….
From: “Jack Thompson” firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Debate Challenge to IGDA
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2007 14:35:15 -0400
Immediate News Release – April 22, 2007
Jack Thompson Challenges Video Game Industry Flak to College Debate about V Tech Massacre
On Monday afternoon, six hours after the Virginia Tech school massacre, anti-violent video game activist and attorney Jack Thompson took to the Fox News Channel and told anchor Bill Hemmer the killer, whose name was not even known, was likely trained on violent video games, given his robot-like efficiency. Thompson noted that the student who was the author of the worst school massacre in world history, until Monday, had trained in Germany on the ultra-violent shooter game Counter-Strike, killing 16 and then himself.
One day later, the Washington Post reported that in fact Cho was a massive player of violent video games, especially Counter-Strike, according to his high school acquaintances. Today’s New York Times reports:
“When Mr. Cho entered Virginia Tech, which is crouched in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia, his parents drove him to school with guarded expectations. Perhaps he would no longer retreat to video games and playing basketball alone the way he did at home.”
What are the chances that Cho left his bad video game habits at home along with parental supervision? Slim and none, and Slim just left town.
Besides, all studies now show that the harmful effects of such violent games are long-term.
Thompson was right and has been right since he predicted Columbine on NBC’s Today Show one week before it happened, even identifying the violent video game Doom and the movie with the classroom shooting scene, The Basketball Diaries, that Klebold and Harris were consumed by.
Now the video game industry has struck back at Thompson, again. Jason Della Rocca, spokesperson for the International Game Developers Association, has publicly said of Thompson, “It’s so sad. These massacre chasers — they’re worse than ambulance chasers — they’re waiting for these things to happen so they can jump on their soapbox.”
Actually, Thompson pointed out yesterday on MSNBC, when asked about this libel, that he has been trying to prevent ambulances from being dispatched, trying to save lives, while Mr. Della Rocca and the industry that pays him have been training teen school shooters, dispatching ambulances, and recklessly creating massacres for fun and profit.
Jack Thompson has today challenged Mr. Della Rocca to one or more college debates, anywhere anytime, to discuss whether violent video games in any fashion caused school killings at V Tech, Columbine, Paducah, Jonesboro, Erfurt, Wellsboro, Ft. Myers, Pearl, Tabor, Fairfax, Anchorage, and all the other stops along this trail of tears.
Can Jason Della Rocca refute the brain scan science coming out of Harvard and Indiana Universities that explain this video game copycat phenomenon? What is his rebuttal to the US Supreme Court case striking down the juvenile death penalty that cited those brain scan studies? Is he willing to refute the American Psychological Association formal finding that there is a direct causal link between violent video games and teen aggression?
Or is Mr. Della Rocca, like others who are “spokespersons” for the violent video game industry, a coward who is unwilling to debate these issues in a public forum and not through a press office news release?
Debate, Mr. Della Rocca, debate. Put your mouth where your money is. Stop hiding in your industry’s corporate caves. Either debate or be quiet, as quiet as the people your industry has helped put into the ground.
Contact Jack Thompson at 305-666-4366 to see if Jason Della Rocca has accepted the challenge.