Police Chief: Most Players Realize GTA IV is Only a Game

April 29, 2008 -
While the make-pretend crime in Grand Theft Auto IV is the subject of an enormous amount criticism from politicians, activists and media pundits, a police chief says it's only a game.

Kansas TV station KSWO-7 includes an interview with Lawton P.D. Chief Ronnie Smith in its coverage of the hoopla surrounding the GTA IV launch. Chief Smith told reporter Elaina Rusk:
Most of the young people who play these games know they're only games, they're smart enough to know they're only games. It's that small percentage that don't realize, or that start thinking the wrong way, and end up getting themselves in trouble by thinking, 'you know, this is cool, I can do this in real life.'

This is all fun and games when you're playing these games, but turn them off and forget about it, and know that that's not real life. Because in real life you don't get up and walk away... In real life it's a totally different ball game.

Comments

this is so great!

I'm the reporter who did this story -- and I'm so stoked to see it passed along! As a reporter, I strive to cover every story from both sides (uncommon, I know!), and luckily I'm in good with our police chief and got him to talk rationally about REAL crime on the streets, and how it's not commonly associated with video games. Of course I had to get the psychologist telling the other side, that it really is a causal link -- but sounds like the you guys got your voices heard, which is exactly why I moved to Oklahoma for this job!  (yeah, the station is in OK, not Kansas, just for the record.)

Thanks for passing the story along, I'm going to share it with the Chief on Monday.

-Elaina Rusk
erusk@kswo.com

Most, not all. That\'s the point, wingnuts. There are at risk kids out here who will kill because of the game. Nobody says \"most\" will. Is McCauley on drugs or is he just an industry whore?

Oh, and on another note, I'd like to thank this man for, I dunno, not calling us brain dead sociopathic druggies.

It's nice to hear someone talk sense about this.

@Jack

thing is Jack that their are at risk people who will kill because they saw someone eating an apple. This happens because they are insane and anything could set them off, video games should not take the blame for horrible tragedies, there is no cookie cutter solution (exept maybe reivigorating the mental health industry)

Games are emulators, why would anyone bother to emulate something they already emuated in a game? People never commit a crime because they had fun with it in a game. They do it for other reasons.

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWhile the make-pretend crime in Grand Theft Auto IV is the subject of an enormous amount criticism from politicians, activists and media pundits, a police chief says it’s only a game. Kansas TV station KSWO-7 includes an interview with Lawton P.D. Chief Ronnie Smith in its coverage of the hoopla surrounding the GTA IV launch. Chief Smith told reporter Elaina Rusk: Most of the young people who play these games know they’re only games, they’re smart enough to know they’re only games. It’s that small percentage that don’t realize, or that start thinking the wrong way, and end up getting themselves in trouble by thinking, ‘you know, this is cool, I can do this in real life.’ This is all fun and games when you’re playing these games, but turn them off and forget about it, and know that that’s not real life. Because in real life you don’t get up and walk away… […] [...]

Yeah totally, it's like implying that I'm eating mushrooms now because I played too much Mario games as a kid...

Also, can 1gamezone.com seriously stop whatever it is they're doing? I'm not going to click on a link that copy/pastes what I already read...

>:(

Well, I have to say, it does seem like the mentality of "Gamez iz for teh kiddyz" is fading in the wake of GTA IV.

Not as fast as one would hope, but if stories like this keep popping up in major news places, we'll soon be as accepted as comic books.

Even the police chief believes there is nothing wrong with playing violent games.

Take that Jack Thompson.

We just need more people like this to stand up and tell the truth.

P.D. Chief Ronnie Smith of Lawton, KS, population 92,757:

SSSSAAAAALLLLUUUUTTTTEEEE!

....

What?

So I'm a Hee Haw fan. Shut up! He deserved it! :)

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Glad to see that someone has some sense about this, but of course, I'm sure Jack will say that this police chief is in on the conspiracy.

Whoa,an authority figure making sense!?
What the f*ck?!If only more level headed people like him would get air time,this country,nay the WORLD,would be a much better place.

A young man kills his father and step mom.
Forget that his father sexually molested him.
Forget that his step mom psychologically abused him (or was it physically?)
What was the reason that he killed them?

A VIOLENT VIDEO GAME!

IDIOTS! F'ING IDIOTS!

This happened some time ago.

The police chief is in on the conspiracy?
So, how long until Jackie boy sues him?

How much longer until Jack's bar card is
worth less than toilet paper and he's on
late night TV, selling books, which blow the
doors wide open about the conspiracy against
him, the corruption in the media, the Florida
Bar Department, etc? It'll be just like that
other yahoo selling books on late night
TV: Kevin Trudeau.
Is it me, or is there a facial resemblance
between Jack and Kevin?

Because in real life you don’t get up and walk away… In real life it’s a totally different ball game.


In real life, you can't jump off a skyscraper (w/o a parachute) and survive (See GTA III and Vice City)

----
Papa Midnight

Papa Midnight,
I dunno. I read this story a month or so ago about a skyscraper window washer who fell and dropped many many stories to land on his brother(?) who fell before him and he survived. Lots of broken bones, but he survived.

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

GlassAgate,
The case you were referring to was the Cody Posey case. And there's a lot more to it. Wikipedia has a great deal of info on what happened prior to Cody choosing the path that he did.

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

It's senseless to even argue with it.

This guy obviously is sensible and can think for himself - far from the norm in today's politics.

The people like Jack Thompson - have an axe to grind and no amount of proof - scientific, clinical, or anything else will convince them otherwise.

And the Lord sayeth, on the (GTA) IVth day, that the sensible people would rise up when asked and start talking like grown-ups instead of childish fear-mongering idiots.
thankyou Lord.. thankyou Lord...

Glad to see someone, hops his OWN personal bandwagon rather than take a jump to the tired old agenda.

Carpooling a bandwagon sounds like fun, but not when it's filled with stupid people. The game-hate band wagon is full and with its heavy load, will break apart any moment now. Looks like Fox News and Jack Thompson forgot to buy extra-strong axles for the treacherous river ahead!

How long till Jack Thompson breaks this guys fax machine?

Nice to see a police chief come out and say it.

Hopefully he'll receive ten less letters, the only one being a certain lawyer "advising" the chief be removed.

Glad to see a police chief who understands people with guns are who he's concerned with not people with games.

...and before I get flamed...

People with guns using them to hurt other people. Not just those who own them.

I think what this shows is that people from broad sectors of society who have experience with violence and criminality are beginning to become frustrated with the attention the likes of Jack Thompson get. The unfortunate result of such attention is that the complex interaction between video games, other media products, audience interpretation, and behavior is obliterated and replaced with a useless dichotomized argument that video games either turn kids into killers or have no effect on the player at all. Both of those conclusions are overly simplistic and quite simply ludicrous.

It's a wonderful thing for a man of his generation to come out saying games aren't what's wrong with society - but I think we've still got a long way to go while this is still happening:

Article - human being makes sense!

*comment thread gives standing ovation*

Definite basket of muffins for this guy!

This guy wins one internet and five cookies. @@@@@

yay sanity and intelligence.

What smells like fail? Ah well, not important... At least now some people are still wising up that games are not the downfall of society.

Ah, finally, a man with his sanity intact and a willingness to not jump on the proverbial bandwagon that is video game bashing.

Good man. Have some delicious and moist cake.

"Most, not all. That\’s the point, wingnuts. There are at risk kids out here who will kill because of the game. Nobody says \”most\” will. Is McCauley on drugs or is he just an industry whore? "

First off... wingnuts? What the crap? You're making up your own infantile insults now? Charming for a 57-year-old.

The point is that barely ANY take GTA games as more than a game. Not just 1%. We're talking a thousandth of that. So we should ban all copies of GTA because of the 0.001% of gamers that MIGHT go postal?

It's not going to happen, sir. Those chances are far too small.

"DavCube", Math Major, and You're Not

@DavCube:

There you go again, using that witchcraft again -- what's it called, LOGIC?

But seriously, if I had a 360 I'd prolly check it out.

"There are at risk kids out here who will kill because of the game."

You're getting too worked up over nothing. Where are your balls? This is the risk we have to take for having violence in our entertainment.

@Jack Thompson
It's funny that you call Dennis an industry whore, yet you defend street whores, especially because sexual prostitution is an abomination onto your lord, Jealous (see Exodus 34:14 for name confirmation)

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

@ Jack Thompson

So... Lemme get this straight...

You'd BAN GTA because it MAY (still unproven) provoke someone to kill another human being and EVEN if you take your current list of "cases" and the purported number of victims it's LESS than the number of people killed per year by lightning.

So if you're after the largest common denominator why aren't you handing out lightning rods? Or was that some sort of voodoo magic that the gay porn was to produce in your court submission?

@Jack Thompson, Attorney

Some people are allergic to peanuts. Do those people try and ban peanuts, or do they just be careful with what they eat?

[...] Police Chief: Most Players Realize GTA IV is Only a Game Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

@ jACK tHOMPSON, fax machine murder...

I thought envy was a capital sin, Jacko. What would say God about that. Don´t worry, Jack, you will always be the biggest whore we had ever know.

By the way, thanks to you, I will buy GTA4 next month. Well done, Jackass...

@Jack Thompson

We've said it before, we say it again you anti American terrorist

There are more things at work with those cases than just video games.

Mental instability
Problems at home
Problems in school
Financial troubles
The place one lives in

Of course a narcissistic, lying, satan worshipping attention whore like yourself can't see past the dollar signs in your eyes to notice that you're taking attention away from what REALLY causes these problems

*stands up and gives standing ovation* FINALY someone who knows what they are talking about, unlink Jack *cough*@ss**chough* Thompson

Jack is obviously not a big fan of steak.

Some movies will push someone over the edge, heck, having to work in the same office for several years has been known to push someone over the edge. You can't regulate something on the basis of how it affects the odd person, else everything would be banned. To quote Frank Zappa, Jack's hero, the colour of somebodies' tie might push someone over the edge.

That's my state! Yeah! *There's no place like home...*

@ Jack "Merciless Fax Murderer" Thompson

Big words for a soon to be disbarred head case. Industry whore? You sound like an angry 6th grader.

Oh my God! A public official that has a freaking clue! How cool is that?

Kansas?!, Middle, Redneck Stat?! Intelligence?! OMG! =}

Bravo to him being intelligent. No more redneck jokes about Kansas, okay?

first off there is no such place as Lawton, Kansas that would be Lawton, Oklahoma at least that could have gotten that right

oh yeah Chief Smith isn't going any where any time soon regardless of what anybody especially Jack tompson says

Finally someone with some sense.

If only more people would rise up against the people like Jack Thompson. We'd end this "games kill people" bullshit.
 
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MattsworknameWilson: how? Im still waiting for my upgrade notice07/29/2015 - 3:44am
Matthew WilsonI updated to a clean instill of windows 10.07/29/2015 - 2:36am
Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
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Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
 

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