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Gaming Companies Being Sued Over Columbine 800

Posted by michael
from the "it's-not-the-money" dept.
Rajeev Raghavan writes: "According to this article at the Denver Post. One of the families of the slain teachers at Columbine is suing 25 game companies for $5 billion in damages plus damages of $5000 to $10 million for individual parties in the class action law suit. Great, lets blame more people for our problems, shall we."
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Gaming Companies Being Sued Over Columbine

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  • I'd start by restricting guns, which do far more damage

    Don't you understand? Saying that guns do damage is even more stupid than saying that violent video games do damage. Guns are merely a tool; the problem is that there are some people out there that think that they should kill other people for no good reason. Violence in the culture may foster this belief, though personally I think that's a load of crap. Certainly, however, it is not the fault of the guns.

    Besides, guns are probably less deadly than bombs... I personally think that if we can keep the crazy students trying to kill everyone with a couple of guns we'll be a lot better than if they figure out that a few bombs can do much more damage.

  • If these people win, I'm done with America. I'm moving to Canada.

    Pack yer bags.

    The legal system here is beyond control when I can sue because I'm an idiot. ... but when you are suing because you spilled coffee on yourself ... can I sue my parents for getting a divorce when I was a young kid ..."

    It depends on who you are, who you're suing, who your lawyer is and how deep the defendents pockets are.
  • How is it if kids play Doom and shoot up a school, they're victims of the horrible video game industry.

    And how is it that if kids read the Bible and bring violence against other people because of some message that says to do so, they're just crazy?

    Get your priorities straight. The Bible has been the center of more violence than anything else in our civilization. Put an NC-17 rating on the Bible before you could even think of doing it for video games.

  • "Where will it end?"

    Good question. If the games companies involved here lose the case, then who knows where it will end.

    However, there's an optimistic view that says this court case is a positive thing: if the jury throws it out of court, and I really hope they do, then we have a precedent, and it may just turn out that the answer to the question "where will it end?" turns out to be "with this court case".

    Here's hoping.
    --
  • >If you consistently expose people to sex and violence they grow to accept it.

    Violence is bad. Please, can you explain to me how sex is bad?


    He was referring to "porn", not sex. Which is different.

    Arguably, not all porn is bad. But, a quick look at some newsgroups is enough to see that the over abundance of porn, most particularly the abusive and degrading one, can (and is) a factor in many sexual assaults.

    It's as possible to be addicted to violence as it is to be addicted to sex as it is to be addicted to drugs (ranging from Flintstone vitamins to gasoline vapors).

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • AC isn't making much of a good point by ignoring, as you do, the key points in the original message; and that is, of the degrading and abusive aspects of some of the porn found on the newsgroup.

    AC has yet to mature enough to realize that the abuse are not posted on usenet, but ratter publicized on it.

    And you have to realize that a person who's sexual dependency is heightened and excited by the abundance of imagery that teaches him(/her in rarer cases) "it's OK, everybody else does it" is a factor that will push that person across the line and commit those acts.

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • Yes, I am. Those points are irrelevant unless you can show that they actually have anything to do with sex crimes.

    I dont have to know that. It's been shown before. Read up on psychology and sexual behavior.

    I know precisely what's on Usenet. What's your point?

    Your mother was a hamster...

    (Or do you actually read and not just pretend? Cause if you do read, then you missed the point; nothing goes on in usenet (aka, it's not a phisical place eh?); nor what's presented or it's users are in direct cause, but ratter, what's presented is a factor of enforcement of ill-constructed judgement that can lead to acting upon criminal sexual behaviour by some predisposed individuals).

    Evidence, bucko, evidence. I'm quite sure that this is a conviction of yours, but that doesn't make it true.

    It's not my conviction. I do support conclusions brought in my psychology specialists of any kind on this subject however. And you're right: because they said so, it doesn't make it true. But, I have to trust those who know infinitely more on the subject than I do. I just took psy for 3 terms or so.

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • >> Funny, you ignore our religion and culture: a vengeful, violent biblical God who thinks nothing of wiping people out with plague

    > When one understands the nature of God, while not pulling the reality of violence out of context, you will understand that the Bible comunicates a loving God.

    Your god, being omnipotent, had a thousand other options that would have harmed no one. He decided to send a series of plagues. If that's okay, then what's wrong with what the Palestenians are doing? They don't have good options, yet we get upset about them picking one of the few effective ones, the same one your god consisently chose.
  • "Dale Todd, Evan's father, said he hooked up with Thompson through research he did on violent video games. He even obtained a copy of "Doom" and played it himself. He was appalled. "

    'Obtained' a copy. Hrm, he's a warez feind. Oh well.

    My issue is the fact that they use the OLD games as evidence. I dont belive games cause issues with kids, I just find it funny that they keep mentioning Doom instead of UT, or Half Life or anything else. They'll probably mention scorched earth or one must fall 2099 soon enough. :)

    _14k4 [poorheart.com]

  • Do we blame the alcohol industry when someone dies as a result of drunk driving?

    Unfortunately, bad example. $DEITY help me, but I've seen several lawsuits where the bar or liquor store was sued -- successfully -- for wrongful death in a civil court. Nobody's responsible for their own actions anymore. Why should they be?

    I don't know about this "jury of your peers" bullshit -- I think I'd rather have a panel of three judges who understand the law deciding the case... I've just seen too much evidence that the people who are too stupid to get out of jury duty are sheeple, not my peers. And, most of the people who don't try to get out of it and want to be there, will be far more likely to vote guilty on anything.

    No, I don't have evidence, I just felt the need to rant.


  • These kids had no value for human life, and they didn't lose that value from video games. It could have long time exposure to movies, tv, games, AND a lack of parental guidance, but who really knows.

    How about some 1.6 million abortions every year. If Mom and Dad can abort little Jessica, why can't I kill that gigantic prick at school?
    "Beware by whom you are called sane."

  • Woah there, hold it a second. You're saying I should have "just ignored it" when the abuse (verbal and physical) hit me in high school? Cool! You must have been one of the counsellors I used to ask for help! You're right in one regard, though: some people manage to get through it. Y'know what I did? I got sick of high school really fast. Two years of it was enough. At fifteen, I pushed really hard to get on the roster of students that the school district would pay (small) scholarships for to go to college. Here I sit, 23 years old, firmly upper middle class (for a full three years now, we've been in the black, instead of hemorrhaging money like my abusive "classmates" back in high school are now), quickly ascending the "corporate ladder", and in a much better position than I'm sure most of the loser jock and preppy assholes I attended school with are. Feels good. Not everyone can accomplish this though, and whether "it happens all the time" or not, it's not right. I went to school to learn certain things; I had expected "how to beg your way out of being bludgeoned with an engineer's scale," or "how to hold it in and show no emotion when the teasing got so bad you could just, well, kill your classmates" NOT to be on the roster of "things my high school will teach me." Yes, I really did want my classmates to die. I wished I could hurt them back. I lacked the physical strength, size, or agility to hurt them physically. I lacked the wit and clever retorts I needed to stand up for myself in the verbal assaults. I sometimes lacked the sheer will not to break down in front of them (which, I promise you, they revelled in). I truly relished the news that one of the pricks who'd been particularly cruel to me had been killed on a four-wheeler. Yes, I think it served him right. I earned some respect (or fear) that day at school by being in the best mood I'd ever been in there. I hope you don't get nailed by an American moderator, ad nauseum. More people are needed to shred your arguments to pieces as they so richly deserve. Yes, I survived the horrific experience that is high school. No, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. And to anyone from Thompson Valley High School who might be reading this: fuck you.

  • For instance, in Muslim countries women aren't leered at and treated as sex objects, because society conditions them not to.

    You are wrong. You don't see American women
    shy away from a mastectomy (in case of breast
    cancer) for fear of losing their husband's
    favor. You do see that in Muslim countries.
  • Hell, yes: by the very act of suing iD, they're impugning iD's products!

    Looksee, it's the American Legal System at work here. Rationality doesn't enter the picture.


    --
  • by FFFish (7567) on Monday April 23, 2001 @08:31AM (#272253) Homepage
    iD software should COUNTER-SUE, claiming that the parents' irresponsible guardianship led their children to cause harm to the business, by creating a situation in which the company's video games became linked, in the news media, to their killing spree.

    The reduction in sales has cost iD software millions of dollars. The parents are liable for that loss!

    Hey, it's no more inane than what's being claimed by big bad John DeCamp...

    --
  • Then why don't children in Switzerland grab their Daddy's assault rifle and go shoot up their classmates? Every adult Swiss male has one, you know, they are required to.

    Go ahead, come up with some flippant reply that will allow you to disregard this simple question so you don't have to think about what is wrong with these kids. People are not inherently evil and violent, there is something wrong with our culture. I don't profess to know what the real problem is, but taking away guns is not going to make it better (they'll just start making bombs).

  • by GypC (7592) on Monday April 23, 2001 @06:50AM (#272255) Homepage Journal

    You really think you would have killed someone if you had a gun? I grew up with guns around and never shot anyone. Sure I thought about it, in a fantasy mode like the way you'd think about punching your boss in the nose when you're really pissed off, but I never seriously considered it or thought I might "snap" and do it. Hunting as a kid taught me what bullets do to flesh and bone and I knew damned well that I would regret hurting a person like that.

    Do you really not trust yourself with the power of life and death over others? Maybe you should turn in your driver's license.

  • I think anyone, with even half a braincell, can see where this is going.
    If we accept it as a fact that movies and videogames are to blame for peoples actions, then why not books, comics, radio and theater as well ?

    If seeing someone beeing killed in a specific way, makes someone kill in a similar way, then it is just a small step from saying that 'hearing' about someone kill, will make someone to kill in the same way.

    And just where will we get a change to say that enough is enough, that ultimately, people are responsible for their own actions.

    Haven't we had enough of books beeing censored already, to be "political correct" for our children ?

    Will the evil wizard/witch just take off to a long Vacation in the future ?


    --
    Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?

  • >If I tell you jump off a bridge and you do it,
    > a[m] I responsible?

    Well, if by jumping off the bridge, I have a small
    chance of survival, while staying on the bridge
    with you, I do not, then yes, you are responsible.

    I wonder if it makes a difference whether the killers bought the game or bootlegged it. If any of them paid retail for a shooter, I'll eat my hat.

  • All it requires is enough supermarket chemicals to make an explosive charge, and incendiary charge, and a small delay fuse. That plus a bag of flour correctly applied turns the entire room into a big diesel engine for a fraction of a second, and then widespread confetti.

    The point is, levelling the school and everything for a block around it is easy, and can be done with stuff that's difficult to impossible to ban and no special equipment. Getting a gun is hard. The risk won't go away if you ban guns.

    Another point is, the person most likely to know how to level the school is wearing a collared shirt with pocket protector, not a trench-coat printed with a drunk Euro symbol. The risk won't go away if you terrorise minority groups, nor if you protect them.

    In order to fix the problem, you must fix the people. You won't fix the people with more indoctrination, regimentation and random harassment. You'll fix the people by not crushing their individuality, creativity, authority and responsibility; by giving them less time in schools, not more; by letting the parents back into their lives instead of shutting them out as much as possible.

  • That's why they want to crack down so hard, because it's something they can fix.

    No, it's only something that they think they can fix. Schools are doing what they are supposed to do [afhe.org], this is only an inevitable side-effect.
  • Not to mention the routine practice in *some* Muslim countries of mutilating women's genitals in such a way as to make it impossible to obtain any physical pleasure from sex. Or the practice of marrying girls off at ridiculously young ages.

    Go you big red fire engine!
  • If the court is idiot enough to let this go thru, we will have a whole slew of issues to blame on video games: We can sue pubs of driving/racing games for auto accidents, PacMac for my eating disorder, and, on the bright side, Msft for a new liver since they drove me to drink.
  • by banky (9941)
    Well, if a gun could only be fired once is "safe", then obviously duels should be reinstated; they traditionally used single-shot pistols. Ask Alexander Hamilton how safe one is. Oh, wait, he was killed. By a single shot.

    Second, saying that single-shot firearm is somehow useful for defense shows a misunderstanding of the reality of weapons used for defense. FBI statistics show that when firearms are used legitimately (this includes police officers), the rate of accuracy is low - something on the order of 20%. So, my "safe" single-shot pistol is virtually useless for defense. Only the most highly-trained marksmen would ever stand a chance of hitting a target - and police, like the military, don't get nearly enough firearms training.

  • FYI~ 'disinterested' and 'uninterested' can be used interchangeably in modern English, but they do have slightly different meanings. Disinterested can sometimes mean 'formerly interested' or 'lost interest in', while 'uninterested' always means the simpler 'has no interest in'.
  • WTF does someone do with 5 million anyway?

    I'd buy a new gaming rig... <g>

    C-X C-S
  • Attacking the First Amendment is generally much more lucrative than defending it.
  • And so if someone breaks the law and you get injured because of it, why can you not sue them for damages?

    Yeah, that's fair enough - but if the law really says that I'm not responsible for my own actions, then it needs to be changed.

    What next - getting away with theft because the combination of the capitalist society we live in and the lack of a well-paying job meant that I was "forced" into it?

    Cheers,

    Tim
  • by Tim C (15259) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:14AM (#272282)
    ...and the shops for making them so easily available and selling the games, too!

    Sue the tech support people who put the PCs together, and fix them when they break!

    Hell, sue MS - it's their OS that the games run under!

    What's next - suing people for not preventing people from doing things? Oh wait, that's already happened [bbc.co.uk]...

    Cheers,

    Tim
  • by seizer (16950) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:03AM (#272286) Homepage
    In this case, I imagine the lawyer is doing it pro bono (for free). It is typical in American pro bono cases, for the lawyer's percentage to be as high as 40%. Thus. 40% of 5 billion dollars - a hefty 2 billion. That should cover his costs rather nicely, with a few pennies left over.

    Plus, the publicity generated ensures him cases into eternity, even if he does lose.

    He knows what he's doing.
  • That's how conditioning works, and that's what's happened here. There is no way that violence has no effect.
    I'll - sort of - concede your point; one can become inured to violence. But I've spent years playing Manic Miner on my spectrum (and speccy emulator); so for it hasn't made me any more likely to jump over toilets. Equally, many nerd-hours spent on quake hasn't inculcated in me a desire to buy a shotgun (though I wouldn't mind a BFG).
    My point: computer games aren't violent. Hands up everyone out there who's ever been hurt playing quake (RSI doesn't count)? Who, upon joining the army, was fasttracked into the special forces because they can kill the end-of-game monsters on Doom without dying once?
    I like quake, for the same reason that I like Tapper. Both test my reflexes, and are fun to play. No-one dies when I play Quake, and no-one's teeth fall out after drinking soda when I play Tapper.

    I'm not saying that people can't be adversely affected. But I am saying that those people were pretty close to the edge anyway, and that they could be tipped over by something as innocuous as a computer game, or as sinister as a game show. There's usually no way of knowing what the exact stimulus was, and there's never any point in blaming that stimulus.
  • Dude! don't mention "Heathers!" They'll come and take away all my copies! :)

    Pope

    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • See, these people are limiting their scope. Suing video game companies is easy, since, though millions of people play them, it's Politically Incorrect to admit you enjoy them. It's kind of like pornography - no one will admit to liking naked people, but the porn industry is trundling right along.

    So, let's ask what other targets they can take on.
    1. Hollywood. That's pretty easy to do as well. If you work at it you can point to the American movie Street Fighter, which not only combine violent media with violent videogames, but killed Raul Julia. Great evidence there.
    2. Cable Companies. They dare broadcast a variety of media, so they're encouraging things. You can paint them as an insidious octopus-like menace whose cables are infintrating our lives.
    3. Anyone remotely connected with the internet - after all it's the source of all corruption. There's all sorts of public figures who were involved in the internet - what great targets they make! And best of all, some of the net technology is a group effort, so there are TONS of people to sue! Suing everyone involved in Perl (which is used in CGI and thus is a major tool for abbeting use of the internet) could be a huge windfall!
    4. Anyone with a religion different from you. After all, we know that they're responsible for a lot of problems since people of your religion are obviously perfect, just occasionally going on killing sprees. Since religion is a choice, people making the wrong choice are thus responsible for their actions. With a bit of work you can sue entire countries with a dominant religion.


    Or, of course, the people could take some responsibility for their lives and deal with that time-tested statement "Shit Happens."

    With my sarcasm spent, let me note how lawsuits like these combine two of the worst parts of our society - a tendancy to blame others and a lawsuit-happy attitude. These people are blaming others for their problems, so they're going to take them down without caring about the repercussions or the ethics.

    Some moral stance they're making.
  • Most games have a rating on them, letting the purchaser know what type of material is contained within.

    In BC (not the rest of Canada) I believe there is law requiring vendors to actually enforce this rating. Everywhere else, it's just informational (as it should be).

    All those bible-thumping the media-made-my-kid-a-satanic-postal-worker types should go live somewhere else, like China.
  • by Salgak1 (20136) <salgak&speakeasy,net> on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:02AM (#272304) Homepage
    1. Parents were distant and disinterested, gave child whatever they wanted without question.
    2. Kid buys guns, ammo, nasty rock albums, violent games. And enough explosive material, albeit badly, and luckily, incompetently set up, to kill hundreds
    3. Parents never question, nor even apparentely LOOK in kid's bedroom, where reportedly massive evidence was lying in plain sight
    4. Kid goes totally postal.

    Yep. Sounds like those darned video games are to blame to me. . .

  • by RPoet (20693) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:49AM (#272305) Journal
    "Generally, I'm 100 percent on the side of the First Amendment"

    Except for when he's not.


    That is one transparent way of lying or self-deception. It's related to
    • "Don't take this personally, but..." (meaning "you're fat and ugly")
    • "I'm generally extremely tolerant, but..." (meaning "you're a perverted bastard, and i hate everything")
    • "I'm strictly opposed to censorship, but..." (meaning "Gimme what I want and illegalize the rest!")


    --
  • However, please note that it is not the parents of the kids who commited the shooting that are suing (at least, not according to the article). It is the families of the victims of the shooting. So, technically, counter-suing is probably not what you mean (unless you somehow think the victims should be held responsible for iD losing money...)
  • Violence has existed in human culture since its very beginnings. Man evolved, through a combination of wit and violence, above the animal kingdom, but has never lost that violent edge at any point in his history, as any casual inspection of the history of wars and crime will tell you. At the same time, art and literature throughout human
    history have depicted violence; it is a facet of human life, and no artist can simply wish it away if he wishes to remain true to life. (Anyone who believes that violence in art is a new phenomenon should enhance their knowledge of human culture by reading The Illiad. Acbilles is as cold-blooded a killer as has ever appeared on a computer monitor, and the body count far exceeds any Hollywood film I have seen recently.)

    Previous posters have created a tremendously simplified view of the world in which the media and electronic games condition and incite us (particularly children) to violence. In reality, even in the complete abseence of external media, man is an often-violent creature. One cannot eliminate violence from man; it is inherent to his nature.

    The reasons for every mass-killing in the last few years are complex, but largely have nothing to do with art, music, the media, or computer games. Millions of pscyhologically balanced people enjoy these with no problems. Instead, we should be asking outselves why some members of our society are so incredibly estranged and angry that they are driven to commit such acts, and what we can do to help them. We should also be asking ourselves why it is that guns are so easy to come by in our society that even an average teenager has no problem getting his hands on a few. Going after the computer gaming industry is a sad attempt to focus attention, but it misses the point entirely, and in the end will bring us no closet to solving the myriad of problems which are responsible.
  • Am i the only one here who gets a very strange, and dirty-tasting deja-vu feeling here?

    if i remeber correctly, before video games were a hit, rock-and-roll music was demonic, causing youngsters to missbehave. (70's).

    Then in the 80's and 90's music from the metal persuasion caused kids to kill and kill them selves..

    Then video games became populair, and now they are causing kids to go postal..

    The only red line i see here is that parents will blame anything that

    1) They don't know from there own childhood, since its strange and new, it surely must be the cause of this behaviour

    2) Will find any reason why there kids are not well-behaved, other then there own responcibilities..

    This in its self is human nature, we people seem to be very afraid of everything we dont know or grew up with. Think of the fear technology used to (and still does) bestow on people, think of rasism, think of gene modifications, etc .. Anything strange == evil and bad

    in the end its just the old 'monsters under your bed' syndrom, what we dont understand we fear.

    So far ok i gues, its what makes us human, but to sue the game companies, rock bands, etc because we are collectivly in denial about our own responsibilities, and histories lessons, is a bit far fetched and has a frantic ugly smell to it

    Hell, why not sue bed manufactures since they scare kids into thinking there can be monsters under the bed, and think of the violance that will cause!!

    Ps, please sue the 8'oclock news as well, if that wouldnt turn anyone violent, i don't know what would..


    -- Chris Chabot
    "I dont suffer from insanity, i enjoy every minute of it!"
  • by iapetus (24050) on Monday April 23, 2001 @07:22AM (#272315) Homepage
    Why aren't their less shootings in schools and more shootings in law firms.

    Because silver bullets are way too expensive...

  • Three, according to the article. All in the same family.

    What do I do, when it seems I relate to Judas more than You?
  • And what if I'm wearing the Euro symbol [userfriendly.org]?
  • "...the comic artists..."

    Well, weren't the comics to blame for twisting the minds of the parents and grandparents before the Comics Code [sideroad.com] in the 1950s?

  • Why sue the parents?

    The kids are the ones who committed the crime. The kids are dead. I can't really say for certain (not being a parent), but I imagine that the parents already a) feel like shit from this whole incident and b) they've already lost their kids.

    No amount of money will bring the victims back from the grave. Any lawsuit over this sort of thing is just profiteering. Fuck that.

  • The anti-"blame everybody else except me" angle is exactly what I was going for.

    Parents don't always know what's going on with their kids, and it's not always the parent's fault. Hell, when I was a teenager I frequently lied to my parents about my whereabouts, my friends, and activities whenever anything was happening that I knew they wouldn't approve of. I don't consider them bad parents, but I could have stockpiled weapons and gone on a shooting spree pretty easily if I'd gotten the urge.

    I'm really getting sick of civil lawsuits in general. You want someone punished for their misdeeds, get a criminal case going.

    A funny sidenote to all the anti-Doom sentiment...back in high school I used to play multiplayer Doom and Doom 2 via a BBS that would make a virtual IPX network (so's you could have 4 player over modems)...aside from other students in the area, know what the most common occupation of the players was? Lawyers. :)

  • These kids killed because, IMHO, they got pushed so far out of normal existence, it didn't really matter anymore. Look at the media forces that push different people away and you'll find a better culprit than the one which probably kept me from getting into a number of fights. Ban elitist consumer culture, if you want to ban something evil.
    --
  • I agree with you wholeheartedly except when it comes to one thing, I don't think guns are a social evil. Guns are, as George Washington put it, the people's liberty's teeth.

    Democracy depends upon many things, one of them being the ability of the people hold the government accountable for its actions. The people are senior to the government, not the other way around. Firearms provide the power to the people necessary to maintain that relationship. A people disempowered are a people disenfranchised. Something else that democracy depends upon is that the people be well informed. When information is controlled people are controlled. The first and second amendments to the constitution are, in a very real sense, the true foundation of our nation.

    Why anyone would want to jeopardize either one is beyond me. I think that there are an awful lot of people out there who are simply not informed. They're ignorant, misled, and running as fast as they can towards a precipice that they don't know is there. The problem is that they're trying to drag the rest of us along with them.

    One of the most valuable tools anyone can have is a knowledge and understanding of history. Of course the subject is itself riddled with political BS, but not everything is skewed, and its not too hard to see through the BS when it is there provided you seek out enough sources. Study history and an awful lot of things that are going on in the world and in our country today will seem almost comically familiar. Its the same old song and dance, just a different tune. History repeats itself because, while times may change, and situations may vary, human nature is static.

    Lee Reynolds
  • Aren't they the ones that went in and shot up everyone? How exactly is it that anyone else is responsible for their actions?

    Why is anyone looking to blame video games, the internet, their parents, the music the listened to, the color of their socks, etc? Put the blame where it belongs, on the shooters themselves.

    I don't remember anyone wanting to blame the practice of camping for the crimes of the Unabomber. I don't remember anyone blaming Jack Daniels for the crash of the Exxon Valdez. No one blames cigar companies for what Bill Clinton did with their products. So why are we looking to blame anyone and everyone other than those truly responsible, Klebold and Harris?

    Now you might be thinking that the fact that they were young meant they weren't responsible for their actions. Bullshit. They were 17 and 18 YEARS old, not 17 and 18 months old. Neither had been a child for some time.

    If you're old enough to understand your actions and the consequences of them, you are old enough to be held accountable for them. I don't think anyone can argue that the two didn't know what they were doing or what the end results would be.

    I really do wish that just for once the public would place blame for a crime on the person truly responsible, the criminal themself.

    Lee Reynolds
  • Its hard to believe that they aren't including the movie and TV industry in this suit. Maybe that'll happen after the made-for-tv-movie comes out and the checks clear.
  • by Mignon (34109) <satan@programmer.net> on Monday April 23, 2001 @06:01AM (#272336)
    ...Kids with guns, lots of guns, kill people.
  • A kid in a highschool simply wouldn't be able to do anything more than injure someone if not for the guns.
    So the bombs that were in the Columbine High School had no potential to do more than "injure someone"? If anything, the access to firearms reduced the death toll, because the killers got more personal gratification by blowing people away one by one than they would have by killing them by the dozens.
  • Violence has existed in human culture since its very beginnings.

    Well not the very beginnings, only since the monolith taught us how to use tools.

  • The people filing this suit likely know perfectly well that even if they win, nothing will change, but that is not what they want. They are exploiting the death of their family member to get money for themselves, and to me this seems like it is dishonoring the memory of those who had died. I really hope they do lose this one, there are so many precedents to follow. The only direct responsibility is that of the attackers, indirectly, maybe those who bullied them so much. Video Games didn't trigger this, if anything it may have given them a place to vent. Blame the parents for being so neglectful. Blame the bullies for unfairly tormenting people. Certainly, blame the attackers for not dealing with their problems in a better way. But don't go leeching money off anyone with deep pockets who can turn a tragic death of a child into a ticket to fame and fortune.
  • Obviously not the families if they want to keep dragging this out. This is absolute bullshit. They aren't doing this in the best interest of the kids; they are doing it in the best interest of the pocket books. They want to pick a fight and claim victim when they get bit.

    I personally blame the media. All they ever show on TV is real-life blood and guts, not the pretend stuff in movies and in games. Every damned time there is a shooting or a supposed threat they swarm the scene like flies on a fresh pile of shit. They make a mountain out of a mole hill. They never tell you that violence in schools is on a massive decline. That's right! Violence in educational institutions is dropping like a rock! You'll never hear that from the media though because that's a big source of revenue for them. When Columbine happened, violence in schools was less than half of what it was in the mid-70s. It's been going down ever since. Now you may not believe me since everything you hear on TV or read on the front cover of newspapers says otherwise. They have a new "incident" every damned day. Without the real numbers in front of you, an unknowing person that just watches the news would think that our country is going to hell in a hand basket. It is true though. Violence in schools is on the decline. Do the research. Find out for yourself. I have. The irresponsible actions are actually promoting violence in our schools. They present the kids with guns and their friends with the chance to become a martyr (or at least think they will be). I don't know what we can do to fix the problem though. If we try to hold the media accountable for their piss-poor actions, they will scream "freedom of speech" and "freedom of the press" from the highest hilltops. I love those freedoms as much as the next guy and I wouldn't want them taken away either. Still there is something that can be done, isn't there? What about simply requiring that the media record where every piece of information for an article came from so that if they are ever accused of being irresponsible, that info can be audited by a official power to determine if they were actually reporting fact of fiction. If they falsely reported something, I think they should be forced to print a retraction and the retraction should be placed in the same position in the paper. ie, if they accuse teacher XYZ of being a horrific sex offender on the front page and later it is found out that a couple of his students set him up, than the retraction should be displayed just as prominently on the front page.

    This violence in schools issue is a very touchy subject for me. I have gotten in more hallway verbal brawls over it than imaginable. My mother is a elementary school teacher in a small district. I came from a rural community with a graduating class of 32. I've been brought up hearing all this about the media and the poor job many parents today are doing for years. It wasn't until I actually did the research that I could then believe it for myself. Do you realize that last year there were more suicides by teenagers claiming to be tortured at school than there were deaths by school related shootings? That gives you something to think about. How many of you have seen those commercials that go something like "Do you part. Mentor a child."? Maybe we should. If all /.ers see part of this problem as being a lack of appropriate guidance from parents, maybe we should step up to the plate and become a mentor. I'm willing. Are you?

    --

  • We really cares for the kids?

    I was so pissed when I started writing my comment that I goofed up the title rather badly. I meant to saw Who really cares for the kids? in reference to those people that are suing and just not letting it go for the kids sake.

    --

  • by werdna (39029) on Monday April 23, 2001 @07:30AM (#272345) Journal
    The plaintiff seeks remedies, presumably for negligence, resulting from allegations that a computer game tortiously resulted in the injury, death and mental injury suffered by the students in Columbine. Even assuming that the first amendment the claim could stand after a first amendment analysis, it seems an unlikely result.

    Its very difficult to be liable under a negligence theory for the criminal intentional acts of a third party. The Plaintiff will have to prove that the defendants owed a duty of care to the particular plaintiffs (or in the case of wrongful death, the decedents), and further that the video game caused (not just in the "but for" sense, but also in the sense of legally, or proximally causing the result). This is an enormously tough row to hoe, both legally and factually.

    In each case, the plaintiff will have to prove that it was forseeable that this particular individual would have injured these particular defendants, or similarly situated defendants. Unlikely. A substantial body of law tends to treat intentional torts, such as violent crimes, to be intervening acts that are not forseeable, perhaps even as a matter of law. Such an intervening act might well "cut off" the chain of proximate cause from prior conduct of a defendant.

    While the abuse excuse might have (however unlikely) been a defense for those who actually did the shooting, had they lived, there is no law of which I am aware that would provide reasonable grounds for using abuse excuse as grounds in support of a plaintiff in a civil case to impute proximate cause to a vender of content for the intentional acts of a third party.

    In other words, there may well be legal grounds that would, in themselves, preclude bringing the matter to trial, or admit judgment as a matter of law for the defendants. Even if it did survive summary judgment and motions to dismiss, and even if the tearful and sympathetic plaintiffs led a jury to find for them, the judge might well issue judgment for the defendants notwithstanding the verdict. Even were the judge too timid to intervene as she should in the face of a meaningful verdict, there could well be rock-solid grounds for appeal.

    All that from basic tort law issues, even presuming that the first amendment does not, itself, preclude the cause of action entirely.
  • Riiight.

    Better not hire any boys named Sue, they've been known to go loco.

    Now imagine the lawsuits from this one! How are you going to cope?

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

  • Well, if they were smarter geeks, the bombs they made would have wasted the cafeteria and killed far more than their guns. But they were duds.

    A sick and agile mind is more dangerous than any kind of brute force.

    <joke>
    Now if they'd been let loose with a dozen grams of
    marijuana, who knows how many may have died.
    </joke>


    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.
  • And people like to pretend, probably because they enjoy porn and violence, that it doesn't harm people, but anyone who can seriously believe this is quite frankly mad.
    Apparently, its just a matter of time before I'm snatched off the street and tossed in to a padded room.

    I've had access to erotica and pornography for quite some time. Granted - back in MY day, we didn't have this fancy-smancy internet to click-click for porn. We had to sneak MAGAZINES. But later I got into the BBS scene and eventually stumbled on content of a more adult nature than computer discussions and game software. It doesn't hold a candle to today's high quality stills and Divx movie caps... but it was something for its time.

    Nudity and sex wasn't the only thing I managed to find. I made a fair collection of bomb making information. It ranged from the idiotic to some rather interesting and complex formulas. But it was all forbidden knowledge and I had a regular arsenal of it.

    I also played video games. Lots of them. Days lost at the local arcade. I played computer games. Lots of those. What the game lacked in visual carnage, I made up in gleefull attempts to rack up more kills.

    I played role playing games - lots of those, too. And the grand-daddy of them was Dungeons and Dragons. My grandparents sent concerned letters to my parents chock full of literature from their church warning of the psychopath I was becoming by being exposed to such filth. My parents were concerned. I rolled my eyes and played away.

    I had an interest in "gun games". Despite my parent's best attempts to wean me away from any interest in guns... I still found them interesting. I played war games. I organized games of Assasin at my high school. Photon was simply amazing.

    I was also a target for ridicule in high school. And I was none too happy with my experience there.

    All this has not caused me to lash out in violence of any sort.

    Today, I still watch porn (occasionally with my wife). I play video games - to include the violent FPS games that are so popular. I play online RPGs. I play dice-and-paper RPGs. I do both (openrpg.com [openrpg.com]). I play paintball. I find firearms facinating... though I don't own any.

    I am now a husband, a father, and a career professional. I've served in the US military, and I'm a stable citizen in civilian life.

    I failed to blow up anything or go on a shooting spree. I forget to treat women as sexual objects. You'll have to forgive me if I've failed to live up to my "conditioning".

    People do destructive things. I've known a few in my life. But the vice is often just a symptom of a greater problem.

  • by Zulfiya (44302) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:08AM (#272351) Homepage
    For instance, in Muslim countries women aren't leered at and treated as sex objects, because society conditions them not to.

    Err... yes, but in Muslim countries, women are also stoned to death for being the victims of sexual assault. Not your best example.

  • Not to get offtopic, but I think a lot of the dialog in Canada about bullying has arisen from a number of teen suicides that directly resulted from bullying. The number of suicides in teens far outnumbers the number of kids who go to school and try to shoot their classmates.

    IIRC, Suicide is the #1 cause of death (or #2?) amoung people that are under 18, in Canada -AND- the United States.. and teen suicide isn't talked about seriously in the USA either, except in the context of "avoiding depression", and feeding the kiddies antidepressants..

  • by xtal (49134) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:48AM (#272362) Homepage

    These people bringing the lawsuit are on the right track, they mailed John Carmack personally to demand that he personally prohibit any person under 17 from playing his game. He is a genius coder, he must be able to figure out a way to do it. Senseless auto-killing brainwashing ought only be reserved for those over 18

    I have a personal pet theory of why school administrators and (some) parents are going apeshit about Columbine, getting kids booted for even mentioning guns, etc - That theory is that these parents / teachers / adminstrators know FULL WELL the kind of things that drive kids to shoot randomly, they know how bad it is, and they're scared shitless that their kid might get shot. (or hell, why stop with your classmates, might as well go for the office..)

    That's why they want to crack down so hard, because it's something they can fix. The underlying issues are much harder. School shootings in Canada (on a smaller scale) have provoked national debates (on TV, even) about the nature of school bullying and what adminstrators can do about it. I saw no such coverage on CNN; the focus was on evil kids and black hearts.

  • oh fucking yawn. Do the world a favour, ban everything for people under the age of 18. Lock them in their homes and dont let them out lest they learn something about how cruel and unkind the world is.
  • by MartinG (52587) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:23AM (#272366) Homepage Journal
    You seem to be confusing games with reality.

    The examples you gave are the conditioning of an individual to behave in a certain way because they see others behaving the same way.
    Using your examples of muslim women and swearing etc, people behave that way because people around them behave that way.

    Quite how you link playing a game with violence in it to actual violence is unclear. Muslims don't respect women more because they played a game about respecting women. Kids dont kill people because they played a game about it either.

    If however, kids say others killing people in real life that would of course make them more likely to copy that behaviour.

    Here's another example:

    If the people a kid spends most of their time with (ie, parents) clearly demonstrate that they don't give a fuck about the kid then that conditioning will teach the child to behave in the same way to others. In extreme cases this can easliy end up with somebody getting shot. I expect when that heppend the parents would know deep down that it was their fault, but probably live in denial and try to blame others and convince the world it wasn't them via the publicity of a lawsuit against games companies.
  • They can't cope because they never had to cope. Coping is a skill that is learned, like any other. A toddler who bawls his/her eyes out about going to bed, if ignored, will learn to cope, while if the parent comes in and "poor babies" him/her to death, the child will become a spoiled brat. (Assuming this method of parenting continues throughout the child's life.)

    Organisms (yes, including humans) adapt quite well to their environments. People do what is demanded of them. Ask a child psychologist that doesn't have a political agenda.

    I'll probably get nailed by an American (US) moderator, ad nauseum. Carmack shouldn't have to put up with this.

    If we shipped all the lawyers in the world to some island, what kind of society would they build?

    "The first thing we do..."
    ------
  • I thought bullets killed people.
    ------
  • Because the parents of shool-shooting-types will probably buy their kids the games. Only people like me, who learned a lot about 3D graphics programming from playing Quake (seriously), will suffer (and I'm not exactly going to go around shooting people).
    ------
  • I overcame the teasing easily (believe me, there was a lot), because my parents always told me that those people's opinions didn't matter in the end ("You'll be the one with the good job making money", etc).

    Your parents really make the difference of how well you take being a geek at school. I guess you didn't have the same support I did.
    ------
  • by Saige (53303)
    Guns are entirely safe when used properly.

    ROTFL. I suspect you don't even see the irony of this statement.

    Or maybe it's just that nobody has "used a gun properly" toward you. The proper use of a gun still involves sending a projectile at high speed. Toward a living thing.

    Proper usage of a gun is to KILL something. Last I checked, killing something doesn't qualify as "safe". Or do you want to go tell Death Row in Alabama that the state's electric chair is "safe"? Somehow I doubt that would affect their fears.

    "But wait," you chime in, "you don't have to kill anything when you shoot a gun! I shoot at targets all the time!" Well, there are plenty of ways to do the same thing without launching lethal projectiles. Surely you can shoot a paintball gun for target practice, for example. Or fire rubber bullets (which are still lethal when used like the police use them - ie not firing them at the ground first).

    The only purpose of a gun is to kill. I wouldn't call that "safe" in any manner. Perhaps when properly used they're safe to people not in the line of fire... which meant that there was nothing unsafe about their usage in Columbine.
    ---
  • My favorite online mag has a mention of him as well, as part of a skeptical look in the whole recovered memories thing that he seems to be involved with.

    http://www.csicop.org/si/9609/conspiracy.html

    My balony detector is going off hardcore.

    Another articles that might pertain discusses the bullcr*p that is "Subliminal Messaging" http://www.csicop.org/si/9204/subliminal-persuasio n.html

    Does anyone know of a single peer-reviewed paper that has been published making the link from viewing violence to persueing violence that has since held up to scurtiny?

    I've heard a lot of anecdotal eviedence, and occasionally about a poorly done study. I have yet to hear of one that has held up to a skeptics scrutiny though.
    ---
    RobK
  • by mwdib (56263) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:00AM (#272375)
    As a Nebraskan, I wasn't terribly surprised to see the lawyer for this suit was named as "John DeCamp." Those of us in Nebraska have long experience with this man's erratic behavior, wild charges, publicity seeking and general fuzzy-headedness (just my opinion, of course). For example, do a Google search on "John DeCamp Nebraska." You'll get to read about a long series of unsubstantiated litigation claiming DeCamps' clients as victims of cultism and satanic abuse . . . and that's just for starters. Sigh.
  • I agree with most of your comments, except for this:

    Take your right wing views about the Big Bad Liberal Media "America Should Eat Itself" Conspiracy and put it somewhere painful.

    Censorship is hardly limited to the right wing. In the last US election the loudest calls for censorship came from Joe Lieberman, and let's not forget Tipper's crusade against naughty words in music.

  • by gotan (60103) on Monday April 23, 2001 @06:40AM (#272379) Homepage
    While i agree with you that there are a lot of concerned parents out there (they have a reason to be concerned), that is not why everyone picks on videogames or any kid that puts "shoot" and a classmates name in the same sentence.

    That's why they want to crack down so hard, because it's something they can fix.

    No, they don't fix a thing by sending a kid that was bullied home for three days. The kid will only learn to keep his trap shut. And no, they don't fix a thing by banning videogames either, because most will ignore that ban anyway and only learn to hide things from their parents.

    These kids have proplems. Some need professional psychiatric help. They need to be found. Many of those kids need people to talk to, their parents, teachers, social workers. That means time. Time many parents don't have because they work hard at two or three jobs, time the teachers aren't paid for and time of social workers which the richest country on earth choose not to employ. And time is money. Either money the hard working parents don't earn, or money professionals need to be paid with.

    So there is the solution. Talk to the kids about their problems, have someone guard the schoolyard for bullies. Build places where kids can go after school and where some socialworker ensures that things don't get out of hand. But it's an expensive solution.

    Now if you don't want to pay all that money, but want to quiet the parents worries there's an other option: do something, anything, and make a lot of mediaruckus about it. Pick out something like games and say "Hey, those games turned the child a killer", disregarding the fact, that in other countries children play the same games without killing half the school. And send children home for three days if they say the bad word at school (no, not "fuck", "gun").

    A cheap solution, but one that won't help much i think.
  • I find it simply disgusting that these parents are trying to sue video game manufacturers for the deaths of those at Columbine. In my opinion, this has about to do with video games as the cigarette lawsuits had to due with cigarettes. The people who will profit most will be the lawyers. It's all about money.

    What truly sickens me about this situation is that the parents gaining monetary gain from video game manufacturers is that it only fuels the fire that caused the tragedy in the first place: a lack of personal responsibility.

    The parents of the murders at Columbine, along with the slayers, were responsible for the tragedy that took place. Had the murders not chosen to lash out, there would have been no loss of life. Had their parents taken the responsibility to raise their children properly, the train would have been stopped before it left the station.

    Do we blame the alcohol industry when someone dies as a result of drunk driving? Do we blame the knife industry every time someone uses a butcher knife in a slaying?

    The video game industry provides a product whose market is, not surprisingly, adult. While the average child recieves two presents a year, the average adult has a rather large disposable income. Why should it be surprising that the video game industry targets a more mature demographic?

    Perhaps the true value of the suit to the parents isn't in the cash value, but rather the precident that this sets. This suit would legally establish that some external force is responsible for the tragedy at Columbine, rather than a generation of self-absorbed parents who care more about being the partner at their firm rather than a mother or father at home.

    This suit will only harm those it claims to be protecting. Until we take responsibility for our fate, it will be left up to chance. I hope that this suit is thrown out of court, not only for the mockery this makes of personal responsibilty, but also, by extension... "for the children."

  • Actually, the point of my statements can be related to the knife argument, in that in the same way that a knife makes murder easier, so would (theoretically) the desensitation of video games. The fact remains that you should punish someone who _uses_ a tool, rather than the person who manufactured it. A knife or gun does not premeditate whose death it will bring about.
  • While you do certainly make a point on cigarettes, I still hold my position that cigarette lawsuits had more to do with lawyers' wallets than it did with smokers' health.

    In backing my claim, I would first like to point out that nobody (with rare exception) was forced to smoke. Smoker did so, realizing that smoking is a harmful habit. Even before science back up the claims of harm from smoking, it was a common fact that smoking was not good for you.

    While I will not refute that smoking is addictive, I will point out that smoking is mostly psychologically addictive, rather than physically. Yes, a body can become physically addictive, but the reason most people don't quit smoking is because they _choose_ not to.

    I am a certified hypnotherapist. Virtually every person I have treated has been able to quit. I say virtually, because there were indeed those who didn't _want_ to quit, and consequently didn't. I knew those people, personally, and they used smoking as a crutch to feel safe.

    While smoking is physically addictive, quitting smoking does not cause a person to malfunction like with real addictions. Alcohol is much more addictive than smoking. Who has ever gone to detox to get rid of cigarettes?

  • You know. I have the hardest time figuring out who these people are politically, in reference to the people behind this rediculous class-action lawsuit. Are they liberal Democrats or fundy Replublicans? IIRC, the Democrats, liberal or not, are usally on the "stay out of my personal or family decisions" but "fund my needs" side of the argument. The republican fundies are "this is how you should make personal and family decisions" but "stay out of my capitol investment" and "fund it yourself" side of the argument.

    The reason I muse over this is because I want to correctly address the right party when I curse them. Based on the above logic, I could say, "Fscking fundies," but I'll refrain. Instead, I'll call them "Fscking clueless jerks."

    --

  • Instead of suing over violent games (which in fact enable the kids to express theire violence - which is build-in the human genes - without arming anybody) they should sue the goverment that allows these kids to have access to guns!

    When I looked south of border and see the americans wanting to ban sex and violence in the media and in the other hand is letting people get almost any guns they want, I'm not sure if I must laugh or cry!

    It seems that the americans prefers to loose free speech as long as they keep the ability to kill the neighboors.
  • now I can sue slashdot for all the time I've wasted at work, not to mention the trauma of being moderated down...

    ----
  • It's not the gun's fault nor the bullet's fault, nor most of all it ain't and just can't be, no no never, the fault of the guys who own the stock in the companies which sell the guns. It's their own fault, those whining losers that stop bullets, and I can prove it.

    Logically. (You like logic dontcha?) First of all, why do they die anyway? Nine times out of ten they bleed to death. It's lack of blood that does 'em in. Now, is it or is it not, the so-called "victim's" own heart whichs pump, ejects, squirts all his entire supply of blood out on the pavement? Irresponsible litigious bastards, the blame is plain. After dying of their own free will, they have got the nerve to want to send my client to jail!

    Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

  • by glindsey (73730) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:38AM (#272411)

    From the article:

    Dale Todd, Evan's father, said he hooked up with Thompson through research he did on violent video games. He even obtained a copy of "Doom" and played it himself. He was appalled.

    I don't blame him, what with its blocky, 320x200x256-color graphics, 2.5D engine, MIDI music, and lack of any TCP/IP compatible multiplayer capability! Why, the game looks like it's, oh, six years old or something! I'd be appalled too!

    (I shudder for the day when the media realizes the existence of Half-Life or Unreal Tournament...)

  • It is The Evil John Carmack who is actually behind this law suit -- as a cynical conceit via which he hopes to pawn off more copies of his obsolete video game PONG, er, I mean DOOM.
  • I must be getting old, and my memory must be fading, but I don't remember hearing stories of kids dropping anvils on other kids heads after watching too many loony toons. There has always been violence in the media. I happen to agree that you should shield younger children from too much violent content. The problem is that the video game manufacturers are putting ratings on the games already, but parents are still letting their children play those games.

    It is not the games industry's job to raise your children. It's not even their job to raise the children of those people you think are doing a bad job of raising their children. If society feels that selling these games to children under 17 is that bad, then they should lobby their politicians for a law preventing the sale of that material to children.

    What bothers me is the increasing trying to sue and finacially harm companies which are selling legal products in a legal manner. This lawsuit should be dismissed, and the Sanders' should have to pay the legal fees of the game companies.

    The Sanders' families suffered a great loss, but it's not the game companies fault. They and their greedy lawyers shouldn't be allowed to distort the court system in order to get some kind of warped revenge for this tradegy.
  • Shows what you know about muslim countries. I married into a liberal muslim family and even they still aren't big on the respecting women thing (for example, they've got a lot of daughters, but only because they thought they had to have a son, so they kept having kids until a son was born, then they stopped). The more radical muslims are far, far worse.

    Ever hear about honor killings? This kind of murder is almost sanctioned by many islamic governments (although the Quran itself is not big on the idea at all). Here's a link to the first hit in Google on "honor killings:"

    http://www.uchastings.edu/cgrs/campaigns/honor.h tm

    The short and ugly reason behind the way women are treated (forced to wear full-body coverings, not allowed to speak, etc) is that Islam considers men to be uncontrollable sexual animals. If they even get so much as a hint of a woman's sexuality, then they will not be able to stop themselves from assaulting her. Because of this attitude - this conditioning, women, especially unaccompanied women, are often in far more danger out in public in muslim countries than they would be in similar circumstances in a western country.
  • Now, I haven't bought a game in ages, but don't most games these days have a rating on them? Or at least it says on the box "extreme violence"? Maybe that's just in Canada, or just in BC, I don't know.

    In any case, if a kid is playing Quake for hours a day and parents don't know, then it's probably their fault. All they need to do is knock on the kid's bedroom door and see what's up.
  • by mastersage (83040) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:19AM (#272427) Homepage

    Ok, I don't post often, but this is too much for me.

    First, there are no computer game companies responsible for the actions of anyone. If I tell you jump off a bridge and you do it, and I responsible? No! Next thing we see are going to be parents of teenagers who end up with children suing porn companies and book publishers because they publish sexual content. Monkey see, Monkey do. Monkey needs to get some common sense.

    If these people win, I'm done with America. I'm moving to Canada. The legal system here is beyond control when I can sue because I'm an idiot. Don't get me completely wrong though, there are still some good law suits out there the help protect the American people, but when you are suing because you spilled coffee on yourself, or because you're reading a superman comic and you try to fly like superman. That's just too much. And people win these cases. How I ask you?

    When this is over, can I sue my parents for getting a divorce when I was a young kid. Or sue my father for making me move around the country every two years? "It disrupted my life and I could have turned out better." I can just see the headlines now "Son suing father over incident that happened 20 years ago."

    I think it's time for me to write a script to send the DOJ about six million emails telling them they need to work on this system a little. I don't think that what happened should have happened, but that doesn't mean this is how you deal with it.

  • by drin (83479) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:12AM (#272428)
    I don't by any means want to diminish the horrific nature of the acts at Columbine and other such places, but where has personal responsibility gone? It strikes me as amazing that the first thing people want to do is externalize the causes of these tragedies, to find scapegoats to blame for the actions of a misguided (and in some cases, truly ill IMHO) few.

    On second thought, I guess it's not that amazing. It's just far simpler to point the finger of blame at others, rather than acknowledge that part of the problem might have been in the homes and family lives of the shooters.

    (Preamble for below: I'm Canadian, and I live in the U.S. - have for some years now).

    The American (it's primarily in the U.S. AFAIK and yes, I've travelled extensively off the north american continent) culture of victimization is an astounding thing. Personal responsibility takes a back seat to finger pointing and blame mongering. It's sad to see reasonable, mature adults, no matter how distraught they are, abdicating their responsibility as parents in order to blame others for the sad events that resulted largely from their home situations.

    In the U.S. the media has helped entrench this culture, making it all right to blame external forces and people for everything from bad breath to ... well, to EVERYTHING. It's really a shame.

    -drin

  • by Bill Daras (102772) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:49AM (#272473) Homepage
    In America today, there is a common inability to admit that you got screwed over by circumstances beyond anyone's control. There always needs to be someone to blame, something to do, some way to "get back" at the people/person who caused your pain. That's not always possible. When there are suspects to be tried, compensatory damages to be collected from the wrongdoer we have our "justice", no matter the real benefit, at least we can say "somebody paid for what happened".

    We are so used to it, this automatic satisfaction, we cannot begin to understand that things aren't always "fixable". That unlike the sitcoms we grew up on, not everything can be neatly wrapped up in a set period of time. When there is an absence of "justice", when there is no tit-for-tat, we freak out.

    We have grown up believing hopelessness is not a white, middle class, suburban feeling. It is something felt by people half the world away, when we see them on the nightly news. Hopelessness is for people in some foreign-looking hellhole, not an upscale, midwestern community.

    The parents in Littleton are trying to find something to fill the dark void in their life, the part of them that was ripped out by events beyond their...or really anyone's control. I have sympathy for their plight, but they should not continue on their quest to place blame where it doesn't belong. It's not easy to simply blame two people who are now dead, we can't get our ideal "justice"...but we have to realize and accept that we don't always get the satisfaction we want...or need. There will be no day in court, no explinations, no chance to scream at Eric and Dylan for the lives they ended.

    There are far too many questions still lingering after two long years, and it seems we are nearly out of answers. No one will ever get to ask Why, to dig into the motivations of the killers, to get anything but the slightest hint of the thoughts behind the massacre.

    Such is life.

    With the inability to even begin to understand anything beyond what was seen in the hallways of Columbine on that afternoon, it is impossible and irresponsible to make assumptions about the deeper issues, the intangible aspects of what was going through their minds, what might of driven them to do what they did. Suing game publishers for billions of dollars is not justice, it does not punish anyone who was involved in any way, it does not bring back the dead, nor does it honor their memory. This is lashing out plain and simple. Lashing out against people who had no part in their troubles. Who didn't do anything, but who are simply convenent targets for rage, the rage of people without any answers, without any hope and who have a disabling inability to deal with the events in their life.

    After all that has happened, you think people would have learned by now that no good comes from doing such things.

    I implore the parents of the Columbine victims to stop this crusade...even if it suceeds there will be no tangible benefit...except the piece of mind that somebody paid.

    I don't think we as a society can afford that. (Note: I strongly suggest people watch the film The Sweet Hereafter [imdb.com])
  • by StevenMaurer (115071) on Monday April 23, 2001 @08:41AM (#272512) Homepage

    Remember that in America, everyone has identical access to redress of grievances. That means:

    1] You can file a suit about anything or nothing.
    2] If it IS about nothing, you'll be thrown out on your ear.

    This is not a real lawsuit. It is not based on any law, statute, legal doctrine, or precident. The lawyer involved is simply using the legal system to try to make political waves.

    In short: The Lawsuit Is A Troll Intended For the Media.

    Slashdot bit, as did you. I'm sure a lot of radio talkshow hosts will be using it as a topic for their rants. This kind of pseudo-story is their bread and butter.

  • by nehril (115874) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:10AM (#272515)
    Right. The shooters at columbine have no responsibility for their actions, they were conditioned to shoot all their classmates and then commit suicide. Their parents are not to blame either, because no amount of "parenting" could prevent the automatic brainwashing that happens when you play Doom.

    As a matter of fact, since millions of kids play these overly violent games everyday, we can now understand why millions of kids take guns to school and shoot millions of other, non-videogame-playing children and then kill themselves every day.

    These people bringing the lawsuit are on the right track, they mailed John Carmack personally to demand that he personally prohibit any person under 17 from playing his game. He is a genius coder, he must be able to figure out a way to do it. Senseless auto-killing brainwashing ought only be reserved for those over 18.

  • by stilwebm (129567) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:38AM (#272560)
    I hope this case turns out like the Iomega class action case. Instead of a cash settlement, they should offer rebates on purchases of new video games.

    hehehe
  • by JiveDonut (135491) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:06AM (#272569) Homepage
    "Generally, I'm 100 percent on the side of the First Amendment"

    Except for when he's not.

  • by Shocker69 (141391) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:06AM (#272582)

    From the Article:

    "But money may be the smallest part of the goal," said John DeCamp, the Sanders' Nebraska-based attorney. "This is a class action that says that, ultimately, money ain't gonna do it."

    Then how come they already put a price tag on it? The fact that the attorney is the one that is saying this makes it even more unbelievable.

    The ignorance of this world never ceases to amaze me

  • by andr0meda (167375) on Monday April 23, 2001 @07:04AM (#272627) Homepage Journal

    ..that irony of yours..

    Not having kids play cool video games is

    having kids feeling uncool, boored, frustrated and easy to have a grip on, obviously.

    It`s them having to search for cool alternatives on the web, like how to make H bombs and blow the pentagon or how to hack microsoft.be (again).

    It`s them having to see these beautifull all-american documentaries (in technicolor) on tv or in the theatre on how to kill your neighbour in 30 movie shots.

    It`s them sneaking around with books that no-on should read, including their own parents at age 16, but hey, they did so anyway.

    One wonders what the point is of lawsystems and education if lawyers have even lost grip on the difference between imagination and reality.

    I have been trashed with huge quantities of dangerous FPS radiation myself, yet, I wouldn`t ever think of actually shooting anyone. Come to think of it, where could I possible get a gun ? Fuck!.. Must be the shitty strict gun-license policies in my shitty country. Ah well..

  • You have just on the reason why I am a *former* teacher. Kids and parents both always find something to blame for everything. My kid isn't learning because you aren't teaching him. NO, your kid isn't learning because you don't see that his homework is getting done, and let him run around with gang losers who tell him that getting good grades is a bad thing, so he goofs off and causes trouble in my classroom. You're picking on my son because he's (insert ethnic background here), I told him he didn't have to listen to a racist. NO, your son gets in a trouble because he won't do his work, swears in class, and disrupts my class on a daily basis, not to mention threatening me with violence. It's insane. The parents are the one who should feel the brunt of this blame, when it was apparent from the police reports that these kids had free reigh in their households. The parents obviously had never set foot in these children's rooms nor gave them the time of day. As a teacher, I may have noticed kids being teased, kids being ostracized, etc, but man, that has ALWAYS happened. I was tormented as a kid, and there has ALWAYS been a school bully. It's just that now, it has become fashionable to retaliate with violence of a more permanent nature. These kids had no value for human life, and they didn't lose that value from video games. It could have long time exposure to movies, tv, games, AND a lack of parental guidance, but who really knows. It isn't just kids going postal, remembering where we even got the phrase 'going postal'. Adults are doing it to. It isn't because guns are legal, because they have always been legal in this country, so there is something else. My dad was raised around guns, and hunted for food, then fought in a war for pete's sake, but that doesn't make him want to go postal on K-Mart. The family unit in this country is probably to blame for a lot of today's problems when it comes to kids. Too many kids are raising themselves, and doing it badly. They also have bad role models, their parents, to learn from. It isn't just single parent households either. Perhaps that contributes, but not in the Columbine case. In fact, I see a case of this happening right in my own family. I have a cousin who just bought a house and moved out of parents' house with her son. Before, there were always people home, and he was a reasonably good kid. Suddenly, he's a latchkey kid, and within two months he's on probation, which then escalates from there, until last week when he hit someone and was charged with battery. Perhaps this kid would have still gotten in trouble, but I don't think he would have if he wasn't doing as he pleased.
  • by rstevens (190122) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:08AM (#272681) Homepage
    and for our next trick, we'll be suing george lucas for the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
  • by Codeswallop (208940) on Monday April 23, 2001 @05:02AM (#272722)
    And people like to pretend, probably because they enjoy porn and violence, that it doesn't harm people, but anyone who can seriously believe this is quite frankly mad.

    If you consistently expose people to sex and violence they grow to accept it. It's as obvious as anything. It's conditioning. For instance, in Muslim countries women aren't leered at and treated as sex objects, because society conditions them not to. In Western societies, women are objectified through their portrayal as breasts on a stick on TV.

    That's how conditioning works, and that's what's happened here. There is no way that violence has no effect. Just as kids exposed to lots of swearing swear more than those in environemnts where swearing is taboo, those exposed to violence are more violent. Anyone who says otherwise is only doing so because they enjoy violence and sex so much.
  • by aussersterne (212916) on Monday April 23, 2001 @07:07AM (#272732) Homepage
    What an utterly simplistic view of the world.

    Women aren't treated as sex objects in Muslim countries because society's conditioned them not to? Bah!

    1. Yes, they are. Rape and incest in some areas of the Middle East are epidemic. Women may routinely be bought, sold, stolen or killed because of their sexual behavior or perceived sexual potential.

    2. Conditioned? What do you mean by this? The pervasive influence of religion and a given cultural context? Funny, you ignore our religion and culture: a vengeful, violent biblical God who thinks nothing of wiping people out with plague, flood and famine on a whim; broken families where one or both parents are long since gone; abandoned children left by working parents with underpaid day care staff, all in the interest of affording a boat; parents who refuse to take the time to give their kids the tools to deal with a modern world full of sex and violence, preferring instead to fight against sex education and "godless" ethics-based guidelines...

    You know, I was beaten up or beat someone up nearly every day in grammar school. My first day of kindergarten, I was knocked down at kicked silly.

    Know what? This was decades ago before the prevalence of the video game industry or the media saturaion of ultra-violent Hollywood. Care to know what the causal factor was in my neighborhood?

    -- Apathetic parents who couldn't be bothered to get upset when their kid beat someone up in school -- or couldn't even be bothered to find out that it was happening in their kids' lives to begin with.

    -- Just enough "poverty" to keep people fighting for the middle class by working long jobs and keeping their children in day care.

    -- A culture of judgmental administrators who were constantly making these kids feel worthless. After all, they were nothing but mindless, violent punks from broken families who would never amount to anything and thus weren't very important in the grand scheme of things anyway...

    Sound like any recent cases you can name? Take your right wing views about the Big Bad Liberal Media "America Should Eat Itself" Conspiracy and put it somewhere painful.
  • This makes me sick. First the families of the shooters settle with the victims families for millions (as if they aren't destroyed enough - now they'll forever be reminded of their son's evil by being bankrupt for life.) now this. Columbine has become synonymous with school shootings - "Being Columbined" should also refer to suing everything in sight. The parents, the school, the police, teh software industry, teh gun makers, the makers of black trench coats.

    I am so sick and tired of everybody whining about being a victim. The only people responsible for Columbine were the two shooters who are now dead. Grieve and get the hell over it! But no, we have ot drag it out ruin as many lives as possible, and provide lawers with millions in fees. Sure - some idiot KNOWs the brakes on a dump truck are defective but sends it out on the road cause he's lazy - that's liable. BUt suing someone because they SHOULD have known something was going to happen is a joke. I'm a parent - you think you know all that your kids do, but you don't and never will!

    Columbine was terrible - but it is swinging the lawsuit pendalum even further.

    --

  • Even before science back up the claims of harm from smoking, it was a common fact that smoking was not good for you.

    Common, except for the tobacco companies, who frequently trotted out their own experts to point out there was no proof that smoking caused $DISEASE. When it could be shown that the officers of the company knew that this was false, they became liable.

    If Miller, Coors or Budweiser ran an ad saying "Have an extra beer before you drive home. There's no proof it'll make you crash" they'd be similarly liable.
    --

Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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