The UK seems to have become an international hotbed of gamers going wild on society. Last week a British Navy sailor killed his superior officer, which parts of the tabloid media blamed on Grand Theft Auto. Today, a more concretely video game related tale of real life violence comes to us from The Daily Mail.
Mark Bradford (pictured here), a 46-year old unemployed father of three from Plymouth, Devon, was apparently engaged in some serious Playstation 3 Call of Duty: Black Ops multilplayer with a 13-year old neighbor boy and family acquaintance. Predictably, the boy was pwning the middle-aged man and rubbing it in his face viciously via their chat headsets. Eventually, Bradford lost it. He stomped out of his home and over to the house where the boy was playing and began choking him until the boy's irate mother pulled him off. The choking was bad enough to scratch the boy and redden his neck. Bradford then left the house without saying a word.
He has since confessed to one count of assault and is awaiting sentencing. He reportedly has suffered from mental health issues in the past, and his comments about his actions seem to reflect that: "'I'd been playing the whole day and he was baiting me and baiting me and just would not shut up.'
'He went on and on and I just lost it. I hold my hands up, I lost the plot. In a moment of madness I went round to his house. I didn't know what I was going to do.
'It wasn't malice. I just grabbed him. I've seen him since and apologised. We've played online too. He's actually a decent kid.''
Obviously this man has issues that go beyond video games. It is refreshing that the journalist who broke the story didn't blame video games for the incident, only reported CoD's factual role in it. The same cannot be said for a number of US news outlets that have reprinted the story.
I think the mother involved summed up what happened best: "'It's pathetic that a grown man would attack a defenseless child like this.'
'If you can't handle losing to a child then you shouldn't be playing games.'"