8-Year-Old Shoots 90-Year-Old Caregiver, Everyone Blames Video Games
An 8-year-old Louisiana boy shot his 90-year-old caregiver Thursday evening.Â Every news outlet covering the story is blaming the video game he was playing before he pulled the trigger. No one wonders why an 8-year-old had access to a loaded gun to “play” with.
Here are a handful of leads from the news articles covering the incident:
WAFB.com:Â East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office officials say they believe an 8-year-old intentionally pulled the trigger and killed an elderly woman Thursday evening right after playing ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’. Although they believe it was an intentional crime, according to Louisiana law, the child will not be charged.
FOX News:Â Louisiana authorities say an 8-year-old boy intentionally shot and killed a 90-year-old woman who was his caregiver after watching a video game with violent themes.
NY Daily News: Boy, 8, played violent video game, killed 90-year-old woman – but will NOT be charged: cops. The child just finished playing “Grand Theft Auto IV” before he fatally shot Marie Smothers, 90, inside a Louisiana mobile home, police said.
You get the picture. Each story is comfortable hypothesizing that a video game led an 8-year-old to kill his caregiver at point-blank range. Not a single one raised the question of “why” a loaded gun was available as a play-toy for a child.Â The crime is believed to be intentional, but he will not be charged. In Louisiana, thoseÂ who have not reached the age of 10 years are exempt from criminal responsibility.
Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA, held a press conference the week after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut to remind people that virtual guns are more dangerous than real ones. He blamed violent video games for the prevalence of gun violence in this country – not the guns themselves or the lax laws legislating gun sales that allow people who have no concept of gun safety to keep loaded weapons around their homes. You have to pass a test to be allowed to operate a vehicle, but not to purchase and store arms in your home. That would be unconstitutional! Well, the NRA’s PR machine is working, as evidenced by several media outlets willing to blame a video game for the death of a woman rather than the loaded gun used to kill her.
From a Huffpost article about the NRA press conference:
“We haven’t found any evidence to support the notion that exposure to violent video games is linked in any way to an increase in violent acts,” said Christopher Ferguson, an associate professor of psychology and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University, who has conducted more than two dozen studies on video game and movie violence. “We’ve found that people can distinguish between a fictional universe and real life.”
An 8-year-old should not be playing Grand Theft Auto. But it’s alarming that we seem to be buying the bullshit the NRA is feeding us. I played Frogger incessantly as a child and never tried to cross the lanes of traffic on the busy expressway near my home.
The bottom line is – this boy was not properly supervised. I am more alarmed that this improper supervision included the ability to play with a loaded weapon than the ability to play a violent video game.