An In-depth Look To The Actions Of Jack Thompson

Do you know the names of every single person who won the Oscars for the last five years? Or, perhaps you know the the whole cast of ’80s The Dick Van Dyke Show? Maybe you know which music video was first aired on MTV? That’s right, unless you’re one of those monk-looking chumps, err, champs in the forgettable TV show Beat the Geeks, you don’t have any knowledge on most, if not all, the questions I just raised. Well, here’s something I’m pretty sure you’re aware of: Who is the one person that gamers dislike the most?

Ever since the (heroic or idiotic, you be the judge) accusation of Atty. John Bruce “Jack” Thompson that Grand Theft Auto developers, Take Two Interactive and Rockstar Games, are primarily responsible for the murder of three police officers back in 2003, infamy became his middle name. He claimed that 18-year-old Devin Moore emulated the same scenario he is used to experiencing in his allegedly favorite game, GTA. The wrongful death case filed in Alabama is now proceeding to trial, after he successfully argued before the Alabama court that the First Amendment does not protect the sale of adult virtual reality murder simulators to children. As a result, gamers from all over the world retaliated, delivering countless insults in equally countless forums and gimmicks. While we are all feeling quite proud of the things we’ve done to defile this man’s name, we may be surprised to find out that we’re aiding him all along.

More of the article after the jump.

Do you know the names of every single person who won the Oscars for the last five years? Or, perhaps you know the the whole cast of ’80s The Dick Van Dyke Show? Maybe you know which music video was first aired on MTV? That’s right, unless you’re one of those monk-looking chumps, err, champs in the forgettable TV show Beat the Geeks, you don’t have any knowledge on most, if not all, the questions I just raised. Well, here’s something I’m pretty sure you’re aware of: Who is the one person that gamers dislike the most?

Ever since the (heroic or idiotic, you be the judge) accusation of Atty. John Bruce “Jack” Thompson that Grand Theft Auto developers, Take Two Interactive and Rockstar Games, are primarily responsible for the murder of three police officers back in 2003, infamy became his middle name. He claimed that 18-year-old Devin Moore emulated the same scenario he is used to experiencing in his allegedly favorite game, GTA. The wrongful death case filed in Alabama is now proceeding to trial, after he successfully argued before the Alabama court that the First Amendment does not protect the sale of adult virtual reality murder simulators to children. As a result, gamers from all over the world retaliated, delivering countless insults in equally countless forums and gimmicks. While we are all feeling quite proud of the things we’ve done to defile this man’s name, we may be surprised to find out that we’re aiding him all along.

If all our accusations about him only trying gain fame through his on- and off-court efforts are true, then we have just given him the greencard to his own version of American dream (ow, how I cringe with just the thought of that “nightmare”). His recently released book is gaining free advertisements. His career as a lawyer is getting unprecedented boosts, and we all know that lawyers value controversy as much as oxygen. Throughout his life, Thompson has shown how good he is at creating ruckus at anything that will give him credit. First, he launched an issue that Janet Reno is a closeted homosexual. He first met her in November 1975 while applying for a job as an assistant State’s Attorney in Dade County – he was not hired (see the connection?). He also charged her with battery after she “put a hand on his shoulder” and told him, “I’m only interested in virile men. That’s why I’m not attracted to you”. His self-appointed mission against the his self-determined scums of the world took him to launch campaigns against radio stations, rap artists and their music, and recently, violence and pornography on video games. But apparently, the saying that “however wise and cunning a monkey may be, someone wiser and more cunning will definitely come along” proves to be true.

In Jack’s recent publicity stunts, he offered a US$10,000 reward to anyone who would create a video game featuring Osaki Kim (father of a boy killed by a 14-year-old gamer – with a baseball bat). He said that the game should feature the father “beating game company executives to death, removing their heads and urinating on their brain stems” as part of his mission for revenge. What probably surprised him, was after a PC gaming mod community played genie and made his wish a reality. He then backed out saying that the US$10,000-challenge was said in jest and not a legitimate promise.

Penny Arcade, a popular video game-themed online comic strip, added insult to Jack’s injury by sending a check (with the amount of US$10,000) to the game developers with a note saying “For Jack Thompson Because Jack Thompson Won’t” (score one for the gamers!). Naturally, Thompson’s huge ego disallowed him to be outdone as he made claims that “Penny Arcade was criminally harassing” him, even demanding an arrest for “this little extortion factory”.

Once again his ploy backfired as Penny Arcade forum members made letters and faxes recounting the lawyer’s dubious antics thus questioning his ability to practice law. The letters and faxes are said to be already in the hands of the disciplinary committee. This and more contributed more to Jack’s woes as other activists against video game violence started to remove any association with him. The National Institute on Media and the Family even wrote a letter, asking him to remove the link to their organization from his website. Now who’s appearing to be the real scum?

Thompson’s fifteen minutes of “fame” may be taking a turn towards a lifetime of “lame and shame”, still, the man deserves a thorough look. Whatever his motives are, Jack Thompson is a guaranteed mirror of what to do, or perhaps more aptly, what not to do in life. A fellow blogger wrote a very interesting piece about violence on video games and how it affects the real world.

While we may all loathe Thompson and his hairstyle, we can’t all deny the fact that his moves raised the awareness of, not only gamers, but the whole world on what video gaming is all about. Again, it’s a case-to-case basis, but taking from what one of QJ’s anonymous cowards commented, the degree of violence may be a factor, but again the sole foundation of a person lies on how great his family environment is. If a gamer kills a kid and admits that his actions were motivated by a video game he played, the game may be at fault, but only to a ceratin (and very limited) extent. If the way he was brought up by his parents is good enough, there shouldn’t have been any way his gaming has affected the way he thinks/acts/reacts to his environment.  Irresponsible parents, government and society (and lawyers) must never look for an excuse, or worse, look for other factors to blame (in this case, video gaming) for their misgivings. Am I right, or should I just go wipe my own booty too?

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