An 8-year-old boy who remains unidentified fatally shot his 90-year-old caregiver in the town of Slaughter, Louisiana Thursday. The victim, Marie Smothers, was pronounced dead when police investigated the scene at the mobile home park where they lived. The boy himself claimed that the shot was unintentional, but police reports have stated that he had full intent on shooting the woman. Family members cannot think of a real reason as to why he would do such a thing.
“By accounts of relatives of the victim, as well as friends of the family, the victim and the juvenile had a normal, loving, relationship and even shared the same bedroom,” — East Feliciana Parish Sheriff Department
The victim was stated to have been shot in the head while she was watching television. Reports state that it was committed at 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 22. The weapon has been confirmed to be Smothers’s. The boy himself will not be charged for murder due to a Louisiana law that states anyone under the age of ten is exempt from criminal responsibility.
The story itself spread throughout multiple media outlets because evidence emerged that the boy played Grand Theft Auto IV minutes before the shooting. The game, rated M for mature, is intended for adults. Many news sources have used this story to further the debate as to whether or not video games promote violence. While the investigation is ongoing, there has been no real evidence to conclude that the shooting came as a result of the game. Child psychologist Kristopher Kaliebe stated that it’s most likely the case.
From a behavior therapy perspective, I would say that’s practicing. So if you have a video game where someone shoots at a target, that’s sort of practicing shooting at a target. When you have a video game that is shooting at a human being, that is practicing shooting at a human being. — Kristopher Kaliebe
The rating system for video games has been implemented since the early nineties, with letters clearly stated on the box the audiences for which the games are intended. Some researchers try to link video games with youth violence, while others show that there is no conclusive link between the two. According to the Huffington Post:
In April, a study published in the journal Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice claimed to show a link between violent video games and youth violence. That same month, however, an associate professor at Villanova University wrote that research had not found a “clear link between playing violent video games and real world violence.”
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