G.T.A., for those of you unaware, is an acronym for Grand Theft Auto. After reading the title of this post, you may be a little confused because in the real world, Grand Theft is the name for the penalty associated with the theft of property valued over $1,000. Grand Theft Auto then naturally means the theft of a vehicle and is usually a felony charge. You may be confused as to why committing a felony would be in any way beneficial to anyone. But that’s not the point of this post. I am not suggesting that stealing a car valued over $1,000 dollars could save your child… Maybe it could, but I’ll save that discussion for my future murder mystery novel.
The Grand Theft Auto I am referring to is the video game. Not the first two, because they had terrible graphics and the camera angle was from the perspective of The Great Leonopteryx (the big-ass flying bird monster from James Cameron’s Avatar), but the rest of them.
The third installment in the Grand Theft Auto series was of the most controversial video game releases since Duke Nukem. The game begins with a mute protagonist who had recently escaped from prison, and upon his freedom starts doing odd jobs around Liberty City (a fictional doppelganger of NYC). These odd jobs start out as driving scantily clad women to their minimum wage jobs, but eventually escalate into shooting it out with The National Guard in the streets of Manhattan… as odd jobs so often do.
From GTA3, to GTA Vice City, to GTA San Andreas, to GTA4 and finally to GTA5, the games have received a significant amount of disparagement from the concerned mothers of America. They say that the game encourages violent, misogynistic, racist, discriminatory, and otherwise frowned-upon behavior, but I whole-heartedly disagree.
All the game does is put the player into a virtual world where they can do pretty much whatever they want. Sure, you could pick up female escorts and then proceed to murder them in cold blood, and you are welcome to rob banks and kill all the witnesses with a grenade launcher, heck, you may even be tempted to boost a few cars or water-board a guy or two, but the point is that no one is forcing you.
Apparently all these concerned mothers forgot about the other options and life choices available to Grand Theft Auto players. You could use your playing time to make your character become a dedicated dog-owner. You can feed your dog and clean up after it and even walk it. For players like this, GTA5 is nothing more than a giga-pet with really really good graphics. I see nothing wrong with that. You can day trade in oil futures. An extremely lucrative activity to engage in. You can go on virtual shopping sprees. You can ride roller coasters, and play golf and drive jet-skis. You can even run around saving damsels in distress like some kind of vigilante… no one ever accused batman of corrupting their son.
All I have to say to the people who blame Grand Theft Auto (the game) for their child being an awful little miscreant is this: The game did not corrupt your child, your child is just an asshole. If he thinks that driving like a maniac and stabbing old ladies in the game is the type of behavior that can one day translate into real life marketable job-skills, he is probably already doomed. Being able to separate a video game from reality should not be a challenge, and if it is, then maybe the kid has other issues.
Here’s how I see it: Grand Theft Auto could save your child.
As I said before, the game features the option to murder, steal, take the lord’s name in vein… whatever you wanna do, its your game. I see this as a safe outlet for us to blow off some steam. We’ve all been cut off by some jerk in a hummer, and some of us (myself included) may fantasize about jumping out of the car and cold-cocking the guy right in the moneymaker. Wouldn’t it be better if instead of assaulting a hummer-driver in the middle of the street, getting some undesired attention from the authorities, stealing an Apache Helicopter, and then going on a violent terroristic rampage through Los Angeles in real life, we could just curse under our breath, go home and fire up the PS3? I sure think so.
Maybe there would be less bullying, less hazing, and less school shootings. I myself can’t sleep until I have brushed my teeth, said my prayers, and murdered at least a few hundred pedestrians. Imagine if I had to perform my night-time ritual in the real world! Maybe Grand Theft Auto is just what America needs. Maybe instead of letting criminally insane high school freshman talk things out with their guidance councilors until they end up on the home page of CNN.com, we should just let them play a video game. I say instead of blaming the creators of Grand Theft Auto for our problems, we say, “Thank you, Rockstar Games. Thank you for making America a safer place.”