NOT a video game murder…

It’s not hard to believe that video games cause violence when you read headlines like these:
Video game slayings trial gets underway
Witness won’t testify at Xbox murder trial

Both of these stories relate to the same murder trial taking place in Florida. Three men are accused of killing six of their friends. In the initial story the motive, defined by the prosecution, is stated in the first paragraph as being “…over an Xbox”. Two paragraphs down we’re granted an additional detail related to motive:

Authorities said Victorino became angry when 22-year-old Erin Belanger took his Xbox video game system and some clothing from her grandparents’ vacant home where he had been squatting, prosecutors said.

So, we have one of the victims taking an Xbox and clothes from a group of people who were squatting at her grandparents vacant home. Murder follows. More to the story than just an Xbox. Too bad we didn’t know that the clothes in question were from Abercrombie and Fitch, or this could have been the “A&F slayings”.

It wasn’t until I found the follow-up article to this story a few days ago that I decided I needed to say something about this particular bit of headline spin. The update adds even more detail to the story (emphasis mine):

Another witness, Brandon Graham, 19, testified he was with Cannon and the three defendants when Victorino outlined a plot to kill everyone at the rental home shared by Erin Belanger and several housemates.

Most of the victims, ages 17-34, worked together at a Burger King. Graham said Victorino had wanted to imitate a scene from the movie “Wonderland” where people are beaten to death with pipes.

If you were writing this story would it still be the “Xbox murder trial”? This sounds a lot more like “Wonderland 2”.

I understand that the prosecution in this case wants to define a clear motive and stick with it: “A took X from B, B then killed A.” I can understand that this trial is “about” a stolen Xbox, but then, why not make it more clear to the reader that this is the case. Look at these two headlines again:

Video game slayings trial gets underway.
Witness won’t testify at Xbox murder trial.

If you are just skimming through the headlines, and you’ve heard in the past that video games might be inspiring real-world violence, then these headlines will connect certain mental dots. “Video games might cause violence…” – and now here’s an “Xbox murder trial” and some “video game slayings”. 1+1 = video games cause murder.

Why is it that the headlines to these articles place such heavy emphasis on “video games” when there is no real connection to video games in the trial? Why label this the “Xbox murder trial” in the same breath as you reveal a substantial link between the killer’s inspirations and a previous mass murder?

I attempted to contact the reporter who wrote both of these articles, but never got a response. Perhaps, for the media, like politicians, “video game violence” is too easy button to press. Too bad neither group seems so contentious when it comes to real-world violence.

6 responses to “NOT a video game murder…”

  1. It’s simple. Murder no longer sells, murder related to videogames does sell. It’s a hot item.
    Would you have read those articles if it didn’t contain “murder” and “video game” in the headline? Probably not. So there’s the newspaper’s gain.
    It’s just like the “shaved\wet pussy” images you can find on the internet.

  2. That’s really confusing and it sounds like they argued and got into a fracas over a ‘stolen’ item that just happened to be an XBox.

    Shouldn’t Burger King be under some scrutiny here as a hot bed of malcontents?

    *shurgs* what do we expect though?The news is no longer the news but thinly veiled propaganda that serves the purposes of controlling interests; – Hilary Clinton will be the first Woman President and she’ll do it on the back of media violence targeted as a clear ‘threat’ to religious middle America.

    All we can do is post comments based on what they don’t say and reading between the lines… just as effective ‘news’ imho.

  3. I recently took a class with Bill Kunz: Assistant Professor – Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences; UW Tacoma. You may recognize his name. He worked for Ted Turner as Producer of the Goodwill Games.

    Bill thinks that the media has essentially devolved into a ‘survivor’ mentality.

    Shock and Awe keywords like “video game” are always going to be used, regardless of how illogically and out of context, because it will cause the sheeople to read the paper or listen through the commercial break. Any opportunity to hang a riske or scary tagline over a story will be leapt upon.

    It was my austere self who pointed out in class that Journalism has no math requirement. News Media people graduate with no firm education in math, physics, or the sciences in general. Most of them have never even so much as failed a botany class.

    Without any grasp of logic, it’s no surprise that these spokespeople for the conglomerate megacorporations readily adhere to the most rediculous concepts. They don’t care a whit about sense. They care about ratings.


  4. Videogames are just the current inanimate object being demonized. I’m sure many will recall that firearms were the target during the 90’s. The fact that during any given year, they’re used 4 times more frequently (by civilians alone) in the U.S. to protect those merely going about their business than they are to jack cars, drive-by’s, rob stores, commit murders etc. was overlooked by a troubling majority of sheeple during that period. Of course one actually had to put some effort into finding these figures as no mainstream media source had much interest in presenting the relevant facts and statistics compiled from local and federal law enforcement agencies over the years.
    There will always be politicians and members of the media (and braindead celebrities) with axes to grind and agendas to push. Easy objects to blame for societal problems that are not easy, or even possible, to rectify.

  5. I heard this on the radio today and thought I would look further into it. The radio announcer said, “Three men charged in the X-Box murder may be getting the death penalty…” She went on and said that they murdered people in similarity to an X-Box video game. I shook, my head because idiots like this do not help the gaming world at all. But now that I look at the real story, which I have read from multiple sources, I find that its actually the media that is giving video games the bad name this time. Most of the headlines either contain something to do with “X-Box” or “video game”. I am quite disappointed to find that the “video game” involvement in this murder is quite minor and should not be advertised as it is. If I were Microsoft, I would be doing something about this.

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