As everyone is well aware, Grand Theft Auto 5 released this week. It just so happened to launch around the same time as the Navy Yard shooting. Traditional media outlets such as FOX News sought out to find proof that violent video games, such as the one Rockstar Games just released, had a role in the brutal killings. Naturally, we disagreed.
And as a result, a wild Jack Thompson appeared, posting a lengthy letter he had written to Take-Two. For those unfamiliar, Jack Thompson is an anti-video game-activist best known for his attacks on the Grand Theft Auto franchise. He's also a disbarred attorney who believes "gamers are too brain-impaired" to understand the correlation between violent video games and mass killing sprees.
Shortly after his rant on our site, Thompson took it upon himself to email the author of the article, my brother Lance Liebl, the other side of the argument — that he needs to "wake up."
"Look, Lance," he wrote in an email, "The American Psychological Association has established a causal link between these games and increased aggression. The Dept. of Defense uses them for that purpose.
"Call of Duty also taught him tactics on how to pull this off," he said, referring to the shooter of the Navy Yard, "which he did."
He went on to say, "You have no earthly idea what you are talking about because you make your living pimping for this industry."
In a follow-up email, Lance simply responded that he's "no one's pimp," pointing out to Thompson that he's singling out video games. At this point, I stepped in, telling Lance to offer Thompson a chance to come on our site and explain his stance — a chance to reach gamers directly and see if we can come to an understanding. As I soon learned, there is no reasoning with this man.
Thomspon refused our offer, pointing out that he's been on 60 Minutes twice and the Today Show eight times. "Gamers are too brain-impaired to get it," he told us. We attempted to make our case again, explaining the best way to address gamers would not be to insult them and "call them brain-impaired."
"They should be insulted, just as Jesus insulted the Pharisees. The problem with gamers is that their addiction has made them retarded," he told us. "Have a nice and stupid day."
At this point, the email thread had spanned several hours. Realizing a formal interview was probably out of the question, we simply chose to end the conversation: "Thank you, sir. Enjoy practicing law in Florida."
Apparently that wasn't enough.
"Enjoy killing people," he wrote back. "And you aren't killing virtual people. You are killing real people. You are an apologist for an industry that knowingly trains people how to kill and to want to kill. Blood is on your hands. Losing a law license is a very small price to pay in order to stand against this evil. I would be delighted to lose it again, because assholes like you, who don't care about anything other than their own fun, spit in the face not just of innocent people but in the face of God. You are presently spiritually dead. If you awaken, great. Until then, I have work to do so stop bothering me, you idiot."
For those wondering, he continues to email us and Lance continues to respond. Maybe one day Thompson will actually sit down and talk with us (doubtful), but until then this is the argument gamers must defend against. Unreasonable and illogical, yet we are the ones too brain-impaired to get it.