No, GTA 5 Doesn’t Breed Terrorists…

*Sigh* Here we go again…

 

The GTA series has always had a tough run with the media. It has often been the subject of much controversy whenever a new release occurred because political extremists always found something to bitch about. Hell, even one of the slogans that appears on the Rockstar website says “Uniting Conservatives and Liberals in hatred since 1998”.

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GTA is often brought up whenever the obligatory, annual, baseless non-study about “how video games corrupt the minds of children, cause everyone who plays them to turn into murderous psychopaths and will ultimately cause the violent and painful collapse of society” turns up.

You know, the exact same thing that was said about film and television back when games weren’t around yet. Funnily enough, society is still around (and whatever issues it has aren’t caused by interactive entertainment…), but the “studies” keep getting published by the same outlets.

An ill-fated and practically illegal docudrama was even made about a most famous case of GTA controversy. When politician and lawyer Jack Thompson tried to get the series banned on grounds of it being a direct cause of various cases of homicide – and failed -, he swiftly became the most hated individual among the gaming community.

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The controversies came and went. Violence, crime, theft, prostitution – all of these garnered their share of negative media attention. GTA San Andreas made the rounds for the Hot Coffee code, GTA V for the strippers and the torture scene, Vice City for the drugs, etc, etc.

These bouts of publicity obviously helped Rockstar more than it hurt. The only people who believed this sort of thing were the kind that didn’t play games anyway, so they didn’t lose any customers. But the news sites took care of advertising the games for them plenty.

The lists seem never ending, with several sites still haphazardly bringing it up. A news outlet which shall not be named, but is generally considered the laughing stock of international journalism, recently posted an article allegedly covering the recent server maintenance, and couldn’t help but insert a large, colored box at the end about that baseless study about GTA and violence.

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So you can imagine how much it helps the situation when the lawyer of a known mass murdering terrorist publicly insults said terrorist by linking him with the game.

He is the perfect example of the GTA generation who thinks he lives in a video game

Now, in a world where journalism isn’t a seething cesspool, that simple throwaway comment would be just that and nothing more. Merely a jab at the simpleton the lawyer is (by his own admission, unwittingly) representing.

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But journalism is a seething cesspool. Countless news outlets, instead of focusing on the issue at hand – you know, something as “small” as the trial of the last surviving perpetrator of the Paris attacks – decided to spin this into an anti-video game rally.

Paris terrorist is a moron who did it because of Grand Theft Auto: lawyers

That’s an actual headline. Someone actually thought publishing that would be a good idea. Yes, congratulations, the member of a known terrorist cell killed over a hundred innocent people because of GTA. Please, do blame a piece of electronic interactive entertainment for the most devastating act of terrorism in Europe in the past decade.

A bit of context: Salah Abdeslam, a French citizen of Moroccan descent is the last survivor of a team of terrorists who coordinated a simultaneous attack on several key locations in northern Paris last November. He was also linked with a shootout in a Belgian apartment.

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Like the others involved in the attack, he was supposed to detonate a suicide bomb vest strapped to his body, but backed out in the last minute. He was on the run for four months before caught. He was first held in Belgium, with his transfer to the French authorities underway. Currently he has both a Belgian and French lawyer, both of whom have received threats for representing him.

Both of them have also publicly ridiculed the caught terrorist. His intellect has been likened to that of an empty ashtray and is referred to as the “little moron from Molenbeek” – rather fitting.

Sven Mary, Abdeslam’s Belgian lawyer coined the comment about him being part of the “GTA Generation” (do people actually say that? Isn’t it “Generation Y”?).  The man probably had no idea that the careless parallel will spark yet another media witch-hunt.

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Seriously, journalism, this isn’t okay. You can’t just take an international tragedy and twist it to match your own short-sighted and deranged political views. This blatant exploitation is the absolute lowest you can stoop and is about disrespectful as you can get.

What do you make of this rather saddening display of disregard for the facts and the twisting of words just to get another excuse to rile on GTA yet again?


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