It’s been quite some time since a video game was publicly blamed for the real-world crimes of an individual but that hasn’t stopped Grand Theft Auto (GTA) from remaining the go-to scapegoat. Rockstar’s morally questionable series has been on the receiving end of many accusations, with the latest coming from a motorist caught speeding who swears that GTA had brainwashed him.
28-year-old William Whitmore engaged police in high-speed chase around Coventry, England after being caught by law enforcement making a bad turn with a broken tail light in the early hours of the morning.
Once signaled to pull over, Whitmore put his foot down, reaching as high as 55mph in a 30mph zone around public areas such as pubs, taxis and pedestrians that inevitably had to dive out of the way until he hit a dead end. This prompted Whitmore to jump out and attempt an escape before being caught and arrested.
The Coventry Telegraph reports that Whitmore proceeded to blame Grand Theft Auto, claiming it ‘hypnotised’ him. Lawyer Andrew Wallace defends Whitmore by stating that he “is somebody who is an unusual person to be in this position. He has never been in trouble before” and that “he is someone who can easily panic. He is easily stunned, like a rabbit caught in the headlights. He is someone who would be very vulnerable in a custodial setting.”
Whitmore’s crime took place in July 2016, but has only just come to a head with the perpetrator receiving a 12-month suspension on his driving license, four months in prison with an extra 12 months suspended, with a rehabilitation activity and a fine of £600.
KitGuru Says: The debate that video games, or any media can cause harmful behaviour is one that is guaranteed to go on for a lifetime, if not longer. No matter what side you lie on, it’s difficult to believe that a fully grown adult would be so impressionable as to have their behaviour radically changed by external influence unless there is an underlying problem to begin with. Do you think it was Grand Theft Auto’s fault? Would you blame any of your bad behaviour on the video games you play?