Click to viewThree teens were arrested Thursday in connection with the firebombing of three cars with Molotov cocktails, devices one of the suspects said he learned to make by playing Grand Theft Auto.
The 15-year-old and two 16-year-olds face 57 felony counts of first- and second degree arson, first- and second-degree criminal damage to property and possession of explosive devices.
While the Milton (Georgia) police chief was quick to blame violent video games for the spree, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution made sure to balance to the story by interviewing someone who actually knew what they were talking about.
Lawrence Kutner, co-director of the Center for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, disputed the police chief's claim that the firebombings were "another strong example of the serious ramifications that can come from letting impressionable teens play violent video games like this one."
"If you look at the whole population, youth violent crime has gone down dramatically since the 1990s while playing computer games has gone up exponentially," Kutner said.
"It may be that a kid attracted to criminal behavior is also attracted to violent games," he said. "You can't make the simple statement that if you expose a kid to violent games, then he'll become violent" in life.
While Kutner makes a good point, any even better one to make is that GTA never actually teaches you how to make Molotov cocktails. Use them? Perhaps. Make them? No way.