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Va. Tech: Dr. Phil & Jack Thompson Blame Video Games

Mike Musgrove

That was quick: Seems that video games are already being blamed for the shootings at Virginia Tech.

Yesterday, anti-video game activist Jack Thompson was expressing this opinion before anybody knew who the shooter was. Thompson says that the killer likely trained or rehearsed his actions in games like "Grand Theft Auto" or "Doom."

Last night, Dr. Phil took the same line on CNN's "Larry King Live," as pointed out in the site

"Common sense tells you that if these kids are playing video games, where they're on a mass killing spree in a video game, it's glamorized on the big screen, it's become part of the fiber of our society. You take that and mix it with a psychopath, a sociopath or someone suffering from mental illness and add in a dose of rage, the suggestibility is too high."

The transcript is here.

By Mike Musgrove  |  April 17, 2007; 12:35 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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Both these guys would have more credibility if they had used--oh I don't know--actual facts to support their arguments. Neither can back up their claims and both are trying to score some cheap points to push their own agendas. What's even more laughable is no one knows for sure if the guy was a gamer.

Dr. Phil thinks taking away video games will take care of the problem. But the fact remains, the guy didn't kill because a video game drove him to it--he was mentally ill. Taking away video games wouldn't change that. Leave it to Dr. Phil to reduce complex problems to simple solutions.

Posted by: cab82 | April 17, 2007 1:19 PM

this is bs

Posted by: joe | April 17, 2007 1:21 PM

Jack Thompson is the very very worst kind of ambulance-chasing shyster. When I heard about yesterday I wondered how long it would take him to blame games for it.

Anyone who uses the tragedy of yesterday to further their own political agenda can go directly to hell.

Posted by: Ed | April 17, 2007 1:32 PM

when's the last time someone played Doom? just sounds like a political scapegoat now...

Posted by: archd3 | April 17, 2007 1:42 PM

Thompson is already a joke in the gaming communities, and probably the IT industry as well. I've never gave much thought to Dr Phil, but this will put him in the same light. I just hope people hearing about this fool for the first time because of this incident will do research about him before coming to the conclusion that he knows what he's talking about.

Posted by: Zed | April 17, 2007 1:53 PM

Pure Crap..shees

Posted by: Artboy | April 17, 2007 3:00 PM

Ironically, many people had running bets on how long it would take Jack Thompson to blame the VTech incident on games (about 8 hours). I for one dislike the man, primarily due to the fact that while some of his claims could be considered at least plausible, his personal and political actions as well as his lack of quantifiable proof nullifies any chance of Jack Thompson being taken seriously.

As for Dr. Phil, he at least tries to make a point without publicly flagellating others to boost his own ego. I wouldn't be harsh on him since he does at least solve problems instead of exacerbating them with false and often far fetched claims.

Posted by: ??? | April 17, 2007 3:01 PM

Just another case of people using a public forum to critcize something before they have all of the information. Maybe if the kid had video games as a release or a community of online friends to play games with, he wouldn't have been such a loner and had whatever motives that led to this tragedy.

Posted by: CMc62480 | April 17, 2007 3:02 PM

I'm not shocked at Mr. Thompson's statements. I am surprised, however, that Fox News gave him access to voice his agenda only hours after the shooting occurred, labeling him an "expert in school shootings." I understand that the news channels have to move on up-to-the-minute information during these kinds of events, but the lack of fact-checking by Fox was embarrassing.

Posted by: Nate | April 17, 2007 4:37 PM

you made a choice
not the video game
a video game doesn't tell you to go to school a shoot 40+ people for no reason, YOU made that choice.
Dr. Phil and Mr. Thompson are complete idiots, it's a shame they actually had a reason to live.

Posted by: idiots | April 17, 2007 5:57 PM

It's not video games that make me want to kill people... It's idiots like Jack Thompson that make me want to kill people

Posted by: Ian | April 17, 2007 6:21 PM

If someone were to look at the actual facts - such as the Secret service's report on school shootings ( ) (PDF file)They would find that although shooters often had a facination with violence, video games were far from the most common outlet for that facination. Twice as many shooters read violent books than played video games, more watched movies, and the largest group engaged in creative writing of their violent fantasies.

"Dr." Phil is a quack, and Thompson is simply uncredible.

Posted by: James | April 17, 2007 11:42 PM

I've played videogames, violent, cute, gory, educative and all sorts of them for about 14 years and I really don't feel like to go shooting to people around me.
Using videogames as scapegoats and blame on them all the evil in our societies is just a filthy way to gain popularity and public connotation. I believe Thompson and other the like should apologize to the relatives of the victims for such blatant use of the deaths to frivolous goals.

Posted by: Gerardo Perez | April 18, 2007 1:43 PM

yeah this is bs. doctors are supposed to be the learned ones who back-up claims with facts, not like some hysterical parents looking for something to blame.

violent games act as a release to stop this kind of thing from happening anyway. ive been playing these things for 14 years of my 18 year life and i literally wouldnt hurt a fly. not even a mosquito.

stop trying to blame the most obvious thing and start addressing something else such as...

oh yeah! the way a mentally ill sociopath can legally buy a gun! give that a try.


Posted by: auto | April 19, 2007 4:41 AM

So, now it comes out that Mr. Cho actually did not play any video games at all. I'm waiting to see the retractions from Fox, Larry King, etc. I also expect the Tooth Fairy to deliver the transcripts to my pillow.

One of those facts that the fear-mongers don't want to face: In the past 20 years -- during the biggest growth of video games -- violent crime has gone down. It's at the lowest level it has been in decades. If correlation implies causation, as Jack Thompson constantly tells us, then the best thing the government could do to reduce violent crime is distribute free copies of Counterstrike and GTA3.

Posted by: Wanderer | April 19, 2007 1:56 PM

I played Super Mario Extensively in my youth, and have never had the urge to thorw fireballs or jump on peoples heads. It is truly a shame when people in positions of influence choose to further their political agenda without fact and possibly damaging the investigation into the truth of the matter. I will say, that Dr Phil does not specifically blame Videogames, but mentions them (IMHO) as more of an example of media entertainment in general, he also goes to point that this 'coupled' with severe mental problems may be the cause, not specifically videogames. JT however...

Posted by: Burtt | April 20, 2007 8:15 AM

hmmm, with or without the facts of this case.

The idea that rehearsing behavior violent behavior can desensitize a person sounds at least plausible.

The fact that other people don't show the same symptoms has more to do with the fact that they aren't sociopathic, or psychopathic. I would tend to agree that disturbed individuals probably shouldn't be playing graphically violent video games, or over exposing themselves to potentially suggestive materials. Just as I don't think a pedofile should be looking at child porn. Looking at the porn hardly stems the fixation, it is just another element in the whole problem. The snap back reaction people here need to be a bit more honest / realistic with themselves.

I love rainbow six, Gears of war, halo 2, COD 3 etc. but, I'm willing to concede that such violence can be alluring.

Posted by: greg | April 23, 2007 6:04 PM

Dr. Phil's statement is a definate no brainer. He says common sense tells us that violent video games in the hands of the mentally ill can cause catastrophy. Well, duh! A puppy in the hands of a mentally ill person can cause catastrophy. Insert whatever you like before "mentally ill" and it will probably end in catastrophy if they are not treated. What caused murders before video games? Hitler must have played a bunch of Command and Conquer? Perhaps Alexander the Great played a lot of Doom to be such a killer. I tend to be one to go to the root of the problem. That's just me.

Posted by: John | April 25, 2007 4:11 PM

On top of that you have the staunch Christian Thompson talking about video games causing violence and undermining families. What a coincidence! I can remember some of the crusades. Kill the infidels is what they said. Kill in the name of Jesus was Pope Urbans cry. Go kill the infidels and you will go to heaven is more Pope Urban. He would argue fiercely and with no awareness that his argument would be the same argument as to why video games arent a problem.

Posted by: John | April 25, 2007 4:18 PM

I got my first system in 1986. The first generation Nintendo. I was addicted to Legend of Zelda and Mario Brothers. I had no desire to shoot silver arrows at large orc-like warlords or jump on peoples heads. I played Doom while I was in the "influential" part of my life. Get this, Dr. Phil or Jack Thompson, it's a sci-fi game! Kids are going to have to go a long way in order to shoot zombies and demons on Mars. NEVER once, after I played this game, I thought to myself "I wanna kill something in real life."

I admit, games are a release for me. I could be doing something else to keep my mind active, but games relieve tension, anxiety and such (Personally).

Posted by: Brandon | April 27, 2007 4:09 PM

Dr. Phil mentioned that Jack Thompson used his words out of contents. The doc said that it's not the violent games, it's the violent person.

Posted by: Someone | May 9, 2007 6:47 AM

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