...Stupid, disturbed, on a thrill seek, who knows. What we do know is that an 18 year old kid decided that he loved his Grand Theft Auto IV (one of the most popular selling game title in the world) so much he wanted to recreate a scene from it.
So he acquired a weapon (I can't find if it's a gun or a knife) and decided to rob a taxi driver. But the robbery went wrong, or was orchestrated to go wrong, and the cabbie died. Then the 18 year old kid decided to toss the body in the back seat and stole the taxi. He got caught because he was steering the car backwards through a street.
Thailand has banned the game now, originally because of this and now they're claiming that it's too violent. The boy is clearly disturbed, and under arrest and potentially facing the death penalty as a result (or life imprisonment). Anyone selling the game either in a physical location or online could face a fine and prison time (3-5 years). Too harsh? Perhaps, but remember Singapore uses caning as a legitimate sentence.
I agree with the sentence for the boy, but I'm not sure banning the game is the right thing to do. I don't know that it's going to matter, especially if people already have the game. And there's going to be a raging black market for it now because to some there's nothing more satisfying than circumventing the law to get something you're not supposed to have.
What matters in the nail in the coffin this might give the franchise. Or at least the foothold to such for those who think this game shouldn't exist in the first place. There are already so many groups out there who are against the violent video games and music that we have today. It started up again in the 80s with Tipper Gore and her co-creation of the PMRC back in the mid-80s. Of course, that group changed their tone and said they were about getting more information out there and not about censorship. Of course, when you're facing down a lot of rather large men who don't have problems putting on mascara and spending more time on their hair than you do all for the sake of a rock image, it's easy to back down.
Anyway, I can just see it coming now. We already have warning labels on games and ratings. I think that's wonderful, because I can get a general idea of what's in it (ooo, realistic violence and gore, sorry DH you're not getting that one for your birthday) while browsing the shelves. But what worries me is this - you're going to have the groups rearing their heads again who are going to start whining and fighting that there is too much violence in our society and that it's affecting the kids.
So is watching the news and the body count that they keep mentioning that's climbing with that war that seems like it will never end. My daughters already ask if they're going to have to go to war. Only if you really want to go is my standard response and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they don't decide to draft women before they turn 18. But that's not the point. The anti-violent video games moms are going to come out of the woodwork and point to anything that children have done in the last year that's hit the press and blame it on things like Grand Theft Auto. I may not like the game, but I know people who do. I've played the demo and I think it would be fun just to drive around and crash the cars, forget robbing and killing people. But I could do that in Gran Turismo as well, with better cars to play with. A good explosion-y crash is good for the soul sometimes, and that's why I like movies where everything goes boom.
But some people don't. And it makes my mind wander and my brain curious. I wonder if there's ever been a study done on the people who are against such violence in music and video games to see what kinds of things their children are into. How many kids of crusaders for this cause are pregnant in their teens, or doing drugs, or other things that they rail against? And how many of them *don't* have children and just want something to wench about?
I'm not saying that they're all wrong, but some of them are probably misguided, especially when they get really loud and vocal and start protesting outside local game shops. And there are good responsible parents who teach their kids right from wrong and don't have issues with them seeing a violent movie, listening to rap music or watching international news stories about what's going on elsewhere.
If this is the first you're hearing about the issue in Thailand, I'm sorry to be the one to inform you. But I'll bet this isn't the last we hear about it, not by a long shot.