Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dear Gabe

Gabe at Penny Arcade made a news post on Monday about the killing of Rex Baum, a 43-year old homeless man who was murdered by three teenagers.

For sport, seemingly.

This happened in 2004, but there was an article over at the CNN website yesterday that revisited the tragedy, and mentioned as part of the article that one of the kids involved "told police that killing 'the bum' reminded him of playing a violent video game, a police report shows."

That's the money shot: reminded him of playing a violent video game. Ironically, publicity whore Jack Thompson almost singlehandedly created the phenomena of a murderer using video games as an excuse. He's made it respectable. He has to, because it's his meal ticket.

So this was story was going to play out in predictable ways: Thompson shouting like an idiot, news channels breathlessly quoting "scientific studies" that have been refuted, politicians creating a new slew of unconstitutional laws.

This time, though, something else happened.

Gabe's post wondered (generally) why we wouldn't logically conclude that it was the parents, not video games, that were at fault.

An entirely reasonable assumption, I would add.

Life, though, is not so reasonable, and incredibly, the stepmother of one of the murderers sent Gabe a long, sad, and poignant letter. She isn't, by law, the stepmother, but she's been involved with the father for about seven years, so in essence she was placed in that role.

It's a remarkable letter, and if you're a parent (or maybe even if you're not), your stomach will fall as you read her story. Read it here.

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