Occupy, violent video games didn’t kill couple


Susan Poff and Robert Kamin were murdered in Oakland, California. Police say their adopted teenage son confessed to the crime.

When an Oakland couple, involved in helping low-income communities, were found strangled and stuffed into the back of their PT Cruiser, police didn’t immediately suspect their 15-year-old adopted son.

However, after spending some time at the home, the teen — whose name is not being released — admitted to the officers that he killed Susan Poff and Robert Kamin. There doesn’t seem to be any clear motive in the attack. Can there be, when the child is 15 and has a good relationship with his parents, according to all who knew them?

Still, the press always looks for an explanation. That’s what reporters do. They try to answer: Who? What? Where? When? Why?

That may explain why one reporter tossed this line into a San Francisco Chronicle article Monday:

“The boy’s infatuation with violent video games was starting to give his uncle pause.”

Wait a minute here.

To back up, Poff and Kamin’s co-workers said the couple was recently having some arguments with their son about the amount of time he was spending at the Occupy Oakland encampment. However, those arguments didn’t sound like the fodder for homicide, they said.

So if those disagreements weren’t enough to fuel the killings, violent video games might have been?

According to the boy’s uncle?

Here’s a boy who, by outside appearances, was doing exactly what teens need to do: he was going to school, he was engaging in hobbies (Occupy Oakland, video games, karate — where he’d obtained his black belt), he had attentive parents.

What we don’t know — what nobody is talking about — is the boy’s birth parents, and what legacy of issues he may have, either due to genetics or to early abandonment. It’s true that plenty of kids overcome mental-health issues or psychological trauma, and don’t kill anyone. But for those kids who do kill, these can be primary factors.

We know video games save lives. We know they don’t make kids aggressive.

So why did the reporter mention it?

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4 responses to “Occupy, violent video games didn’t kill couple

  1. The reporter mention it because the uncle SAID it. Reporters don’t make things up: that was a paraphrase from the uncle after an interview.

  2. Reporters don’t make things up? Really? The naivety of that remark is amusing.

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