Two sides of blame

Created on Thursday, February 22, 2007.
Filed under , .

CNN is running a two-year–old story about teenagers beating and killing a homeless man in Milwaukee. I’m reporting on this, though, because one of the boys involved (Andrew Ihrcke, according to Police) commented that stoning, beating and cutting the homeless man reminded him of playing a violent video game.

Of course, the media loves gaming controversy, which is why this is resurfacing. Late 2006 was the time to hate gaming, after all. The gaming community jumped on the story with the usual ‘blame the parents, not the games’ argument, which is fair enough — if you don’t know the parents.

A woman identifying herself as Ihrcke’s ‘stepmother’ emailed Penny Arcade after they made a post blaming his parents for not realising that their son was coo-coo nuts:

“The boy’s father and I have been together for almost seven years, and I had what I guess could be called a "stepmother” relationship with the kid. To say that living with this kid was hell would be a complete understatement… He was constantly in trouble in school, with the cops, with us, with his mother, and with anyone else who was an authority figure. Not a week went by that the school or the cops wouldn’t call us for something. His attitude was basically “fuck you, I don’t have to listen to you” said with a shrug.

We tried absolutely everything we could think of to get him to behave like a normal human being… we tried groundings, negative reinforcement / punishment, positive reinforcement, counseling… Then, things took an even worse turn when he decided that whenever he didn’t get his way, or we did something he didn’t like, he told his counselors and teachers that we were abusing him. (Never happened.)

One particular night (cops involved, as always) he decided that he didn’t have to listen to anything we said, and that he wasn’t coming home. He went to live with his mother, where things got worse by the day. He stole everything out of her home and sold it. He invited gang-bangers and drug dealers to her home, and she feared for her safety constantly. She called the cops numerous times because she feared for her safety, but again, the boy said that she abused him, and the cops always took his side. [To appreciate the absurdity of this, by 14 Ihrcke was 6'3" and 100 kilos. His mother is 5'3", 58 kilos.] He planted a loaded gun in her room, called the cops and told them that it belonged to the mother’s boyfriend. The boyfriend actually ended up serving time because of this fucking bastard kid.“

Anonymous Penny Arcade reader

So neither video games nor parental neglect are to blame. What arguments will we use now? And who will we blame?

That's all there is, there isn't any more.
© Desi Quintans, 2002 – 2018.