Dear Mr. Byron
J. Michael Neal
The other day I
read an article (the full article is archived in their pay
service, but you can see where it’s going in the preview…) by one
Christopher Byron. It was incredibly insightful. I felt so moved by
it I decided to send him a letter. The following is what appeared in
Thank you Mr.
I am a 21-year old
boy who needs to be protected from himself, and more importantly,
from horrible, terrible influences like Grand Theft Auto. I'm
100% with you - this game and all of its ilk should be outlawed.
Banned. Forbidden. Why, I might run across it and confuse reality
and fiction, like all us children do, and go on some sort of
kill-crazy rampage. Look how hyper-realistic the fingerless, blocky,
primary colored characters are; it's nearly impossible to tell them
apart from actual people!
This sort of
blurring of the lines of reality is frightening to me. I saw
Lawnmower Man. And Tron. And Wargames. I know what
this kind of stuff can lead to. If Take-Two had their way they’d
spend over a billion dollars to develop the world’s most realistic
war simulator, distribute it freely to teenagers over the internet,
and monitor their personal information and battlefield performance
while teaching them to handle real-world weaponry in the hopes that
a few would get so into it they’d want to join their every growing
“army” of American youths. That’s how sick they are!
And about this sort of game, in which you are free to do anything
you want, being “10,000 times worse” than anything a pedophile might
do to a young boy – totally on the nose. I’ve had dozens, if not
hundreds, of pedophiles do all manner of sick, twisted thing to me
throughout my childhood, and none came close what Take-Two has done
by releasing this game. I mean, being sodomized with 9 irons is one
thing, but a game in which you are free to just run around
willy-nilly and kill people? What kind of society are we to allow
such a thing? It’s not like you are free to do “whatever you want”
in real life, why on earth would anyone think it’s ok to give people
complete and utter freedom over their actions in a virtual world?
It’s pure madness I tell you, madness. And to think, police officers
actually waste time arresting real murders, thieves, and drug
dealers when they should be arresting the people responsible for
them – Take-Two Interactive. It’s not like any of those things
existed BEFORE Grand Theft Auto came and put all those
filthy little ideas in people’s minds.
Take-Two is a menace. Saying what they’ve created is “a whole lot
worse” than any damage the tobacco industry has ever caused was
putting it mildly. The hundreds of millions of people buried because
of complications derived form tobacco products is nothing,
NOTHING compared to the ones of people killed because of
Grand Theft Auto. Yet everyone persecutes “Big Tobacco” like
they ever harmed anyone while Take-Two is still allowed to operate?
Speaking of “hypocrisy”, you sure pointed out a good one in it being
considered “ok” to allow someone “mature” like that Beltway Sniper
to “play Grand Theft Auto before going on his killing spree”
but not ok for a teenager to do the same thing. I mean come on! Ok
for the government to train him as sniper and send him to kill
hundreds of actual people – yes. Ok to allow him to come back from
said war and play a game in which he can kill hundreds of imaginary
people – absurd to even ask! It’s so easy to see how a violent game
can turn a God-fearing war hero into a crazed killing machine. Of
course he never played the game at any time in his life so it’s
really not an issue, but your point remains the same – no matter
what the age, a game like Grand Theft Auto can turn fuel
homicidal flames until they spread like a wildfire. I only hope the
State doles out some justice to that Sniper and gives him the death
penalty. That’ll teach him that violence isn’t a solution!
also sends the wrong message to children. It’s a game that allows
you to kill hundreds of innocent people; only political leaders and
CEOs are allowed to do that! A game that tells you it’s ok to pick
up a gun from the body of a dead police officer; everyone knows the
only place you are allowed to pick a gun up from is a licensed
dealer, like your friendly neighborhood store like Wal-Mart! A game
that says it’s ok to have sex with women for money; it’s only ok to
do that sort of stuff in the state of Nevada. And drug use? Not
unless it comes in a bottle labeled Pfizer or Budweiser, thank you
very much. There’s a word for this, it’s called misinformation, and
only in the interest of national security or for companies that have
been around for decades like Philip Morris, excuse me, Altria can
that privilege be exorcised.
So thank you Mr. Byron. Too many people are afraid to stand up and
tell adults what they should or should not be allowed to watch,
read, listen to, or play for entertainment, what with that pesky old
1st Amendment getting in the way. Anything that goes on
behind closed doors between two contenting adults is ok, as long as
they aren’t playing Grand Theft Auto III, am I right Mr.
Oh, and in case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic...