Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Boy shoots parents, Master Chief is blamed

Daniel Petric’s parents wouldn’t let him buy Halo 3. When he bought it anyway, they took it away and hid it with the handgun. If they hid it with the whiskey, they might still be alive – Petric used the handgun to shoot his parents in the head, killing his mother and wounding his father.

The defense is prepping an insanity plea, claiming that “videogame addiction” drove him insane and led to the Oct. 21 shooting in Elyria, Ohio. According to Petric’s attorneys, the addiction formed when Petric spent an immense amount of time housebound under medical orders following a skiing accident.

It seems like video games are being tied to the whipping post once more. “Video game addiction” is not included in the DSM-IV, or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. Despite rehab centers dedicated to its curing, it’s just an impulse control disorder, like compulsive gambling.

A boy shooting his parents over a game is insane, but it’s not the game’s fault. Shilling the blame on some neo-psyched, pop-cultured and possibly nonexistent disease not only trivializes the crime, but also unfairly demonizes video games.

Columbine was almost ten years ago. Shouldn’t we know better?