Grand Theft Auto V and Hoods In Training
The headlines have been everywhere this week. Grand Theft Auto V is out and, to listen to social media, everyone is super-excited. Well, not everyone, but it sold $800 million dollars worth the very first day! And it has over 4.3 million fans on Facebook. We were thinking about this today when we read the shocking story of Brian Holloway’s house.
Brian Holloway, the former offensive tackle for the New England Patriots and the Raiders, was at home in Florida when his 19 year old son started seeing tweets from back in New York that showed pictures of kids partying inside the Holloway’s home. He showed his dad and before long, they were scrolling through picture after picture of leering, drunken teens and the destruction of their home. State troopers raided the party, but the estimated three hundred teens in attendance fled before they could be arrested.
A house party. Big deal, right? Yes, in a couple of ways, it is a big deal. First the damage these hoods did was outrageous. They broke windows, knocked holes in the ceiling, left urine-soaked carpet, knocked out the windows and stole their belongings. Then, those suburban, family-raised brats posted pictures all over social media bragging about their depravity.
The Twitter account of one of the teens involved showed this tweet last week, “Can’t wait for gta to come out.” Right about now, some of you are saying, “Hey, wait a minute! It’s just a game. What does that have to do with it?” Hmmm. Really? In case you haven’t heard, the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School and the shooter at the Navy Yard this week were both obsessed players of violent shooter games. They had plenty of simulator time before they stepped on stage for their final crimes. Now, we wouldn’t say video games should be thrown out in general, not even all first person shooters, necessarily, but let’s talk about this particular one – which focuses on play-acting crime. What does the Word of God say in this area?
Fools mock at sin. That’s Proverbs 14:9 and it means that sin isn’t funny and it isn’t something to play with. This particular game, no matter how brilliantly programmed, is made so that players rob banks, steal cars, fornicate with prostitutes, scam people and more.
Saying it’s pretend isn’t enough. The Lord said in Matthew 5, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. … You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” See, what we do in our minds does matter. When we pretend sin, we sin.
The heart is what matters. What would Jesus do? Here’s what He said: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Wow, that list pretty well describes Grand Theft Auto V.
If our children (and we’re hearing of kids 12 and 13 playing this game) grow up spending hours role-playing theft, murder, destruction, even torture (yes, in GTAV you have the opportunity to torture characters by pulling their teeth, waterboarding them and administering electric shocks, believe it or not), why are we surprised when they behave like hoods and criminals to have fun?
Mr. Holloway has the same concerns and he’s turned his search for the young criminals who destroyed his family’s home into a plea for folks to help these kids face up to their crimes and turn their lives around. He calls it “Help Me Save the 300″ and you ought to check out his site.
While you are there, be sure to read through the emails people have sent. We couldn’t believe the parents whose sole concern was to get their children off his list. And that’s our concern about the future of manhood.
Folks, sure, the kids playing this stuff and then becoming real life criminals is a huge problem for our society, but we want to ask, “Where are the fathers and mothers?’ Why don’t they know what their kids are playing? Why aren’t they following them on social media? Why don’t they care?
Maybe you think they do care. Well, their children don’t. One of the 300 said on Twitter, “so glad my parents don’t give a _____ what I do.” We want to make very sure our children are never able to say that…and we hope you will, too.
The future of manhood starts right here, right now, at your house and ours.
Yours in the battle,
Hal & Melanie Young
For solid help on teaching your children discernment, get our book, the Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year, Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys. (Shipping is free!)