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School Violence Case Blamed on Minecraft

Nine year old boy in Florida is caught bringing weapons to school. The boy's father blames his behavior on Minecraft.

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I don't know if Jack Thompson is dancing in glee at another strike against the video game's fast-beating heart, or if he's sitting in a corner weeping at what kind of shenanigans his attempts at alienating the public from the violence in video games has led to. 

Earlier this Wednesday, a nine-year-old boy in Orlando, Florida brought "an unloaded handgun, a magazine with six bullets inside, a steak knife and a small-handled sledge hammer" to his elementary school in Hunter's Creek, according to WFTV-TV in Orlando. 

Officials at the Endeavor Elementary School on Balcombe Road said that the boy told three of his friends before school that he had the weapons, and they immediately reported the information to the school resource officer who found him, isolated him, and searched him. 

According to the boy's father, he was playing a character he learned from the video game (wait for it), Minecraft.

Minecraft.

The boy's father went on to explain:

"They use hammers to dig and knives and guns to protect themselves from zombies."

The boy was so tiny that his detention uniform engulfed him, and he could barely see the judge over the podium on Friday. Nevertheless, this did not stop the judge from ordering the child to home confinement, and ordering his parents to keep any and all weapons away from him. 

The boy is charged with possession of a firearm on school grounds, possession of a concealed weapon, and possession of a firearm by a minor. 

No injuries were reported in the incident and the father insists his son was just acting out the game. Furthermore, he believes the gun could never have been fired because while the gun was stored in a drawer, the firing pin had been removed.

You're kidding me, right?

This is Minecraft we're talking about, right? Minecraft? The game they've let grade one students play because it is so good for conceptive learning?

I'm calling bullshit on this one.

If he started punching trees at school? Maybe I could see the influence. Hissing at people and pretending to implode in the school cafeteria? Creepy, but not beyond the scope of an (evidently disturbed) child's imagination. Started building some really epic (and angular) sand castles? Yeah, I'd get it.

But guns?

Since when does Minecraft have guns?

Bow and arrows, yeah. Swords, sure. Maybe even that pickaxe if you're in a tight spot. But no guns, not as far as I know. That'd be too easy. I don't need guns to kill zombies. I just need to force them to falling lemming-like from the sky or to punch them satisfyingly to death. Maybe even use a sword if I felt the need to be big and manly (my Minecraft skin is Aeris from Final Fantasy VII, a total he-man's man). As is understood by anyone who tries out this deceptively simple time-waster, creativity is the name of the game when it comes to Minecraft

It's a shame the boy's father failed to see that. And that he obviously has not actually played or seen much of Minecraft at all.

It's a copycat accusation.

And a bad one too.

This is just one more drop in the bucket of the latest wave of real-life violence being blamed on video games which has sprung up recently following the burgeoning success of super-violent GTAV. And it's even more ridiculous than any of the GTA V stories. We gamers didn't need to have to deal this going on our rep, nor do we deserve it.

The boy's father is just looking for a scapegoat. Maybe the Xbox just looked like the easiest target. However, that doesn't change the fact that bad parenting is bad parenting. Don't try and excuse it as anything but.

Originally Published Sep. 29th 2013

Featured Columnist

Avid PC gamer and long-time console lover. I enjoy sneaking, stealing everything not nailed down, and shooting zombies in the face. I'm also a cat.

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Comments
  • 1
    Keith_9944 1 year ago
    its pickaxes 2 mine and swords 2 fight zombies, skeletons, spiders, and more
  • 1
    Cerbereth 1 year ago
    The video game industry needs a lobbyist. Hollywood and the music industry don't get saddled with these bizarre accusations anymore, because they own a large chunk of capital hill. Maybe it is time for game companies to follow suit.
  • 1
    joey_1296 1 year ago
    thers tinngs called mods ya there not new you can get guns with a mod that makes minecraft look like the walking dead
  • 1
    joshisgems 1 year ago
    I grew up in a household with guns--handguns, rifles and shotguns. All of us knew where the guns were kept and were taught gun safety early on (well before age 9). We would never have dreamed of taking guns, knives or hammers to school (appropriate parental discipline if we had). I would love to know what kind of social activities this child engages in, besides playing minecraft. Sounds like this child needs more parental involvement in his life.
  • 2
    Tantric989 1 year ago
    What bothers me is how pervasive today's culture is where we can blame everything but ourselves for our problems. Bad parents? Unthinkable! It's the vidya games and rap musiq and sax on TV that polluted my children, when in all actuality violence, crime, and teen pregnancy are all on the decline.

    What is on the rise is blamestorming, where people sit around and try to blame something, usually something that can't defend itself (Minecraft as an entity, in this case) for life's problems without ever pausing to reflect and look at maybe... just maybe, I shouldn't have had a loaded gun in an unlocked drawer accessible to a person half the age to legally purchase one. For a 9 year old, that's an entire second lifetime away.

    Ultimately, fantasy or realistic violence has been an entertainment medium that's existed for thousands of years, from the Illiad and the Oddessy to the Brothers Grimm. I challenge you to read the latter, you'll find that Disney has certainly downplayed the original stories quite a bit. Even then, one of my favorite Disney movies, Aristocats, involves a scene where the butler puts sleeping pills in the kittens food, drugs them, puts them in a burlap bag and tosses them over a bridge into the river. What matters is that parents need to sit down with small children and ensure they understand the difference between right and wrong when confronted with scenes like this.

    What we have today is not a culture that is making children dangerous by emulating what they see in games, it's a parental responsibility deficit, i.e. people who think it's both appropriate and acceptable to blame the bad things their children do on everything but themselves.
    Last edited 1 year ago
  • 57
    Stephanie Tang 1 year ago
    Featured Columnist
    That was like an article all on its own. I am humbled, good sir.
  • 2
    awesomepacman212 1 year ago
    how you dare say that, they said that you should expand the fantazy
  • 57
    Stephanie Tang 1 year ago
    Featured Columnist
    That's actually something in line with what I was wondering... that is, I'd really like to hear more from the kid as to what he was thinking. What was he going to do with those weapons? Smash some rocks? Lie in wait in case one of his classmates comes up undead?
  • 2
    Zietlogik 1 year ago
    I know a few people that have guns in their home for the aforementioned protection, but they also do not leave their guns in easily accessible locations, unlocked, and loaded...

    this is a major issue with the parenting abilities at work here rather than the quick excuses they use to try and cover their own assets.
  • 57
    Stephanie Tang 1 year ago
    Featured Columnist
    I know people who do, but never around small children. :(
  • 1
    Lactating Lemurs 1 year ago
    I almost pissed myself of laughter. I thought this was a joke.This kid either has something wrong in the head, or his dad's just a bad dad (which is true regardless). Besides,what kind of dad lets their kid have access to a gun in the house and then blames it on a video game? Something's obviously not right here.
  • 57
    Stephanie Tang 1 year ago
    Featured Columnist
    I definitely snickered a little at your username. :P But yeah, I wonder if his excuses actually worked to redirect his community's disapproval. I suspect that was the point of bringing it up, whether or not we on the internet think otherwise.
  • 30
    Steve Lawton 1 year ago
    Columnist
    Blaming Video Games for violence doesn't make any sense. If a child has thoughts of bringing guns to school or violence in general then he had those thought to begin with. The parents should've realized their child's mental health and done something about it.

    There no logical leap you can make to say gaming made someone do anything. That's like saying The Bible made me want to bring about the Rapture. No it didn't, I'm insane. That's why I want something fictional to happen in the real world.
  • 57
    Stephanie Tang 1 year ago
    Featured Columnist
    I understand that it can be difficult to understand the state of mind that your child is in. Particularly as they get older, they stop talking about the bad stuff happening to them if they're troubled, and just bottle it in.

    So I understand if they missed something, I don't automatically think that they're terrible parents because of it. But I do think that if they leave weapons around the house (especially a gun, I'm sure a hammer and a steak knife can be missed easily, and at 9 years old, that's a little old to be checking your child's bag every morning), but owning a gun demands more responsibility than I believe this father is taking.

    His carelessness, excuse-making and deliberate attempts to reassign blame and attention is what makes him a pathetic excuse for a parent.
  • 1
    Daz Lee 1 year ago
    this is as stupid as the Alleged explicit sex scenes from mass effect 1 that a certain journalist tried to sensationalize, when in fact they were tastefully and sensitively handled. What we have here is Joe mcstupid leaving guns around where a kid could reach em, then realizing they had gone missing and then blaming it on the first game he could remember his child playing on after connect a series of stupid dots together. I'm an avid gamer and ive gamed all my life and am pretty sure ive never tried to kill anybody or shoot up schools. Its about time idiots who look for the first available thing to blame and immediately attribute it to the problems in their parenting skills or use it to as a scapegoat for killers with twisted desires to shut the hell up and realize that its not so black and white as "they play violent games,now theyre violent people". sorry for the rant, but this always pisses me off:)
  • 57
    Stephanie Tang 1 year ago
    Featured Columnist
    Sex and violence are two of the major button-pusher topics that get people mad and sell papers, I think. I am glad that the law didn't care about his stupid excuses and put it on the parents to keep weapons out of that child's hands, but at the same time... they didn't dismiss his stupid talk as deliberately side-stepping the major issue (that is, his piss-poor parenting), and I think it should have been.
  • 12
    EdibleKnife 1 year ago
    Correspondent
    Riiiiight....This dad is just passing the blame; trying to get the spotlight away from the fact that he had a gun in a drawer, firing pin removed or no. I'd say some mods can add guns to Minecraft but I'm pretty sure the 360 version doesn't have 'em. This whole thing is dumb.
  • 57
    Stephanie Tang 1 year ago
    Featured Columnist
    Pretty much. The media grabs onto anything remotely juicy when it comes to relating violence and video games, but this one just doesn't have any meat to it and it bothers me all to hell to see such an obvious sidestep tactic being taken seriously.
  • 18
    Chai Chien Liang 1 year ago
    Contributor
    How do parents leave these weapons around freely for their little kids to access whenever they choose beggars belief...
  • 57
    Rothalack 1 year ago
    Staff Editor
    That's exactly what I was thinking.

    Let's see... What is going through this dads head.

    "I have a nine year old son, right? So I'd say the best thing I could possibly do is have easily accessed guns around. Not only that, when my gun isn't sitting out where I obviously left it, why in the world would I think to figure out where it went. A missing gun, ha, what could possibly go wrong."

    This just... makes me livid. I have no problem with people having guns. What I have a problem with is people with a lack of a brain, having guns. I'm 23 years old and I can't even get to my dad's guns. Like seriously people, why the **** do you think you can blame video games when your dumbass has your gun sitting out in the open for your kid to take to school.
  • 42
    Amazon Eliza Steel 1 year ago
    Contributor
    It's called PARENTING! Don't sit your child in front a video box for hours on end and then blame the box.
  • 57
    Stephanie Tang 1 year ago
    Featured Columnist
    That's people, blaming everything else.