Now We've Heard It All: Minecraft Blamed in School Violence Case

Illustration for article titled Now We've Heard It All: Minecraft Blamed in School Violence Case

A nine-year-old Orlando, Fla. boy—"so tiny ... he could barely see the judge over the podium"—was sentenced to home confinement by a state judge after he brought "multiple weapons to school." The video game being blamed? Minecraft. Mine-bleeping-craft.

Advertisement

The unnamed student had "an unloaded handgun, a magazine with six bullets inside, a steak knife and a small-handled sledge hammer," reports WFTV-TV of Orlando. The firearm came from his father's home.

"The boy's father said he was playing a character he learned from the video game Minecraft," WFTV reports.

"They use hammers to dig and knives and guns to protect themselves from zombies," he said, according to the station.

WFTV reported that his father said "he was just acting out the game" and that the gun could never be fired, because it's firing pin had been removed. Still, the kid knew where to find it, and knew where to find the ammo, which ain't good.

But while Minecraft is not exactly a nonviolent game, in no way does it rise to the level of violence in typical scapegoats like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. Minecraft is rated E10+ by the ESRB. Hearing that game—which is being taught in first grade, for God's sake—linked to a garden variety guns-n-schools freakout story is just nauseating.

Advertisement

Boy who brought weapons to school sentenced to home confinement [WFTV-TV h/t Franklin A.]

To contact the author of this post, write to owen@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @owengood.

DISCUSSION

The Censor

Sort of the curious thing here, the weapon's firing pin had been removed, thus making it impossible to fire. Question/absurd hypothetical: would anyone (parents or not) allow their child to handle—even play—with a firearm that can no longer act out its utility? If a gun is inert to its faculty is it still a gun or can it then be a toy? If you would what would be your reasoning? If you wouldn't, why not? Considering your answers to those questions, would you allow your child to play video games with "realistic" portrayals of violence and weaponry? What distinguishes these situations? Where is the boundary for "play"?