British seaman Ryan Donovan was recently sentenced to 25 years in jail for a shooting rampage on a submarine. Some say “Grand Theft Auto” is to blame.
Grand Theft Auto has been blamed for a lot of things. In fact, the series has been called the most controversial game franchise of all time by Guinness World Records. Some have claimed the game inspired multiple murder sprees, though none of those claims have held up in court. Most recently, GTA was blamed for inspiring the UK riots — as though there weren’t more legitimate forces at work.
Ryan Donovan, a 23-year-old seaman from Kent, was recently denied transfer from a submarine docked at Southampton to another he preferred. His response was to bring a gun on board last April, attacking several fellow workers and killing an officer, Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36. Donovan admitted to the crime and has been put behind bars for 25 years.
End of story, right?
Not so fast. It turns out that Donovan, a year earlier, told a co-worker, “I am going to kill somebody.” But that’s not all. He also discussed “trying to ‘create a massacre in the control’ … The pair had discussed the computer game Grand Theft Auto, in which players took part in a “kill frenzy”. This, somehow, translates into GTA inspiring the shooting.
How many times do we jokingly tell co-workers “I’m going to kill someone” in a fit of frustration? And how often have GTA players talked about the game with co-workers? I get that the Daily Mail is not the most ethical or objective newspaper in the UK, and the things they say are taken with a very large lump of salt. It doesn’t even sound like the game played a major role in the court case. Still, sensationalism plays well. It gets people talking. And it gets people thinking about what it might mean the next time someone talks about this game — or something violent within it they enjoy. Are they the next killer? Should you report them to the police?
It certainly can’t hurt, right?