Sunday, May 30, 2010

Do videogames cause violence in children?

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Global Sun-Mail: “We report, You believe”
Global Sun-Mail
We report, You believe

Mr. Weaselnort was a journalist. Working for the Global Sun-Mail, he was assigned on this beautiful day to investigate a decidedly unbecoming topic: that of a school shooting, the news of which had erupted across the airwaves only half-an-hour previously. A dozen students dead, over thirty injured. Horrible, just ghastly. And Mr. Weaselnort, despite the grimness of the subject, was not unexcited at the prospect of being the first to print a report on the story.

Mr. Weaselnort quickly drove to the the shooter’s home address, being charged with covering the violent student’s background and home conditions for that “human”, “personal” aspect that sold so well. He verified the address and got out of his crappy little car, examining the house before him. It was a run-down building that looked like an upgraded shack: small, grimy, undesirable.

He strode up the dry, yellowing lawn and cleared his throat, fixing up his cheap tie and suit, before knocking. A few moments later, the door opened to reveal a large, burly man with a beer bottle held loosely in his hand.

‘Hell do you want?’ he growled, his speech slurred.

‘I’m a reporter for the Global Sun-Mail, I’m investigating about your son –’

SLAM. Mr. Weaselnort jumped back as the door shut in his face.

That was fast.

Let down but undeterred, Mr. Weaselnort knew there were other ways to glean good information about his subjects, drawing from years of experience working with other news sources named Globe, Sun and Mail. He went around the house, slinking along the wall to remain stealthy, until he came across a window. Peering through the grimy glass, he saw that he was staring into a bathroom. There were numerous items on the counter that, upon closer inspection, appeared to be syringes and spilled pill bottles. Little of it looked legal to Mr. Weaselnort’s expert eyes.

He moved onto the next window and carefully peered inside. It was a bedroom, apparently the parents’. In the bedside table, he could see a picture of a woman, looking emaciated and downtrodden with red eyes and thinning hair, in orange prison garbs.

Mr. Weaselnort went to the back of the house and cautiously peered through the sliding glass door. He saw the father, lying on a couch, about a dozen empty beer bottles laying around on the floor amongst other detritus from old food to dirty clothes. Jerry Springer was playing on the TV (“Did this woman’s cousin/husband sleep with her brother’s dog?”).

Mr. Weaselnort moved by and finally arrived at the last window. Peering inside, he found himself gazing into a dark room that seemed to emanate anger from its very walls. Posters of death metal groups, gun magazines, a library filled with books on Satanism and other Dark practices; there was even an “Obama Joker” poster on the wall.

Breathless with anticipation, Mr. Weaselnort scrutinized the room, looking at the TV console. He found a PlayStation 3 console (oh, interesting!), and then peered at the titles discernible in the gloom –

Gran Turismo 5
Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3
Rock Band 3
Soulcalibur IV
Grand Theft Auto IV
Ape Escape

As he looked the titles over, a smile twisted Mr. Weaselnort’s lips as his heart filled with excitement. He had his story.


A few hours later …

Violent videogame found in shooter’s home

A student who went on a deadly rampage through his school today has thrown new fuel onto the raging controversy whether or not violent videogames can cause disturbing or dangerous behaviors in young people. Concerned parents are asking whether games depicting violence ought to be banned. […]