Posted on February 16, 2008,

Jack Thompson's Letter To NIU President

jack_thompson_attorney.jpg

Jack Thompson posted the following letter he sent to the NIU President on our site earlier today. I have to wonder if the president of Northern Illinois University has more to worry about right now than video game related debates. On the long list of things that probably caused this shooting, I doubt gaming is even on it. Jack claims to have experience dealing with school shootings in the past. Unfortunately, I have first hand experience with school shootings and I can say that video games were the last thing on my mind at the time. Here’s the letter:

John B. Thompson, Attorney at Law
1172 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 111
Coral Gables, Florida 33146

February 16, 2008

John G. Peters, President
Northern Illinois University
1425 W. Lincoln Hwy.
DeKalb, IL 60115-2825 Via Fax to 815-753-8686

Re: Part of the Explanation for this Awful Disaster

Dear President Peters:

First of all, my condolences for this terrible loss. I have had the disturbing privilege of representing a number of families devastated by these types of incidents. I represented all six parents of the three girls killed by a 14-year-old video gamer in the Paducah, Kentucky, school massacre. I currently represent the families of three policemen in Alabama who were slain by a teen who trained to kill them on the cop-killing simulation video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. This case was featured on 60 Minutes. See

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/04/60minutes/main678261.shtml.

The day after the NIU tragedy this week, I was on the Fox News Channel predicting that the killer on your campus would be someone who was immersed in violent video games, as this is a common thread in almost all of these incidents. I mentioned in the interview the mass murder simulation game, Counter-Strike. It was the game of choice by the killers in the two worst school shootings in history—Virginia Tech and Erfurt, Germany.

Sure enough, the New York Post reports today the accuracy of that prediction. I attach herewith the Post article.

Governor Blagojevich was on Fox hours later echoing my specific concern about the linkage between violent video games and school killings.

I have addressed roughly 200 college campuses about this problem. I am more than willing to come to your campus, free of charge of course, to explain to the students and faculty and surrounding community why these games, played by students, pose a public safety hazard. Brain scan science recently coming out of Harvard explains it well. There are multiple reasons why these evil events happen. Immersion of young males in murder simulation as a form of entertainment is one of the more powerful reasons.

Blessings,

Jack Thompson

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37 Comments on Jack Thompson's Letter To NIU President

Heru-Ur

On February 16, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Damn and i thought he got disbarred. What ever happened to that case trying to revoke his license in Florida anyway?

rgomezer

On February 16, 2008 at 7:07 pm

Wow, just wow. This letter isn’t even to relevant to the actual situation.
The shooter never even played violent video games, he just never took his meds which later made him snap and go on a rampage.

Zeta

On February 16, 2008 at 7:10 pm

We conveniently have Jack Thompson’s address now. How about we all send him a letter telling him how we feel about him and his idiocies?

RedShirt

On February 16, 2008 at 7:36 pm

I wonder how all modern school shootings can be attributed to Video games,Take a look at the Dunblane massacre in 1996. Man walks into a school and kills 17, 16 of them children around the age of 6.

No video games involved, No murder simulators, The recent one of the Amish school, again no video games. SO does that mean anybody born after the year 1985, any violence in later life is purely due to video games. Anybody older and they are clean?

I would like to hear his opinion on this matter.

William

On February 16, 2008 at 7:49 pm

@RedShirt: well.. mass killings are nothing new in this world. Hitler killed millions and he didn’t play video games and he burned so many books that I doubt literature caused him to do it.

Mass shootings on the smaller scale like school shootings are nothing new as well. I also think people fail to look at the real statistics. Murder rates and violent crime are on the way down in the United States. Things were much worse in the 1970s than they are now. I also think we can thank the media for sensationalizing these tragic shootings.

I also think people like JT and others try to make all these school shootings similar, but each are unique cases with unique circumstances. To come out and try to blame a single topic is just retarded and small-minded. The VT massacre for example was a very unique shooting. It was strange in the fact that the shooter killed two individuals, left the area for an extended period of time and returned to kill 30 more. Nothing like that has ever happened in the history of shootings. You simply cannot compare one case to another, because they are all different. The one thing I am sure of is that none of these cases were caused by gaming or any form of media. Most of these killers have deep seeded issues, mental illness and other problems that attribute to the things they did. Even if we were to compile a list of every single thing that “might” have affected these people, gaming would be way down the list at the bottom.

I believe that mental illness is probably the greatest factor followed by social and family situations, followed by economic issues.

William

On February 16, 2008 at 8:00 pm

@RedShirt:

And as far as how they train, I assume it’s all different. I know that in the Virginia Tech case, Cho only played Sonic the Hedgehog on occasion. They do know precisely how he trained himself to shoot and kill. He purchased a case of rubber ducks (like the ones you use in the bath tub) and headed out deep into the woods with the ducks and plenty of ammunition. He then trained running around and shooting the ducks. He also trained shooting at a local gun range. Video games had nothing to do with his training period.

William

On February 16, 2008 at 8:01 pm

does that mean we should ban rubber ducks? lol

Ifartedonyourpillow

On February 16, 2008 at 8:23 pm

old wacko jacko at it again

Jason

On February 16, 2008 at 10:22 pm

Looks like Jack “ass” Thompson is up to his usual bag of tricks. I think this is just another publicity stunt for him. This guy feeds on this crap and I think he almost enjoys it when something like this happens. The individual involved in this shooting obviously needed mental help. People need to be held accountable for their actions at face value. When I get stressed out, I turn to video games for relief not a gun!

Learn to deal people! It’s life!

http://thegamejunction.blogspot.com

Shodan561

On February 16, 2008 at 10:23 pm

ok he just said: im sorry for the deaths, but anyways video games are bad…

thats like me saying, to a blind guy. yea im sorry you are blind, but anyways they view is beautifully stunning out here

kribby

On February 16, 2008 at 11:18 pm

I’m confused now…

is his first name John or Jack?

DoubleB

On February 16, 2008 at 11:27 pm

I wonder what it would be like if he did go to the school to give a speech about violent video games to the students…and how badly some of them would tear into him over it.

Will

On February 17, 2008 at 2:07 am

Yeah, I would personally love to have that asshat come to my school; we practically have an anti-JT club. (Basically, whenever he denounces a game, we schedule marathons of it!) But seriously, how could he even DARE to say something like that. It is so obvious that he doesn’t give a what happened there, he only wants to spread his defamatory bull all over this case! And as far as “murder simulators” go, I’d like to see anybody in real-life who has a HUD displaying their current vitals, ammo etc in their faces… Yeah… That’s what I thought.

Will

On February 17, 2008 at 2:09 am

Oh and I also agree with Zeta: we now very conveniently have the address to which we can send our *ahem* rectifications to JT’s antics.

Heru-Ur

On February 17, 2008 at 5:14 am

check this out…

**FAKE NEWS REPORT!**

This just in, Jack Thompson has been killed in a large explosion at his home. Sources tell us that the explosion was the result of a pissed off gamer with a shoulder fired RPG bought from a military surplus auction… The gamer is reported to have said shortly after, “r0fl pwnt j00 1n teh f4c3!”

**FAKE NEWS REPORT!**

Ahh the irony of it… :mrgreen:

Y2K (AKA Milenium bug)

On February 17, 2008 at 8:07 am

It just sounds like he’s trying to drum up business
You can just imagine him coming up with some sort of ad campaign next

“Was your child killed by an angry young gunman? Then call me, Jack ‘Ass’ Thompson! Using my patented (patent pending) brand of bulls##t and fake evidence, i’ll blame it on everyones favorite nemesis…VIDEO GAMES!

You will recieve all 1% of any compensation made, terms and conditions apply.”

Richard

On February 17, 2008 at 8:30 am

Getting back the subject of NIU, what really frustrates me is how he refers to these shooters as “types”. From what I’ve seen on the news, the NIU shooter was a model student. I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen video games brought up the investigation at all. But Mr. Thompson seems to want to view these shooters as “types” . . . like they are all the same . . . and that is NOT going to save lives. It’s just going to alienate people – in this case, gamers – and point speculation away from all kinds of hard evidence.

Josef Motley

On February 17, 2008 at 9:04 am

you’ve got to love the thompsonite’s frankly blinkered views. we loved them so much we used him talking about gta as a ‘muder & carjacking simulator’ (anyone who was trained to steal cars with gta might have a few troubles with things like locks & hotwiring which are mystierously remiss from supposed ‘simulator’) as the intro to our song, ‘the NES tune’ …. kind of harking back to simpler days when no-one could blame a collection of brightly coloured pixels jumping on another collection of similarly adorned pixels could never be blamed for the darker excesses of human nature… shameless self promotion i know, but check it on our site if you’re interested….

Pariah

On February 17, 2008 at 9:23 am

Oh dear… his résumé is less than impressive, surely it’s a bad idea for him to cite further horrific incidents which he has leeched on to for his own publicity. A dazzling prediction that the person involved came in to contact with video games before, astounding, a regular Sherlock of our time and all done before giving his condolences, he’s quick off the mark at least. Does he actually plan to go around campus’ telling gamers that they are sick, deranged psychopaths and those who don’t game at all that if they go near games they’ll become one too, I doubt he’ll get a good reception. I suppose it’s nice to see that gamers have become their own separate social order though at least, even if we are a bunch of inhuman murderers.

erathoniel

On February 17, 2008 at 10:30 am

One thing about playing video games is that you don’t usually build up the proper physique for aiming and shooting guns. The knockback, if trained with (most) video games alone, would knock a gun out of a shooter’s hand.

weclock

On February 17, 2008 at 11:15 am

Why the hell isn’t Valve doing anything?

Redefusable Baffle

On February 17, 2008 at 1:12 pm

You can partially train with these sims, yes, however.
This acetnine fool is exacerbating a negative stereotype, and implying that it’s “un-conducive to society” when in all reality, millions of gamers, sit and play their games, only to keep playing them… AND NOT GO ON KILLING SPREES IRL… Many gamers are less unstable because of having a game to play. Your a first class egotist Jack Thompson.

Problem isn’t videogames, it’s motives of a fraction of people play videogames,
Where there are corroborative facts, there’s often evidence of links, but not as a guarantee.

We need to start a global survey asking the hundreds of millions of game players, why they play games, then we as the gaming public, should point at which ones have been likely to go this course.

People can use counter-strike to know how to tactically slaughter people, or grand theft auto for some ingenuitive way to steal a real life cop car, or a flight simulator to hijack a plane and crash it into a building.

BUT… The real underlying problem isn’t a videogame.. it’s the preference of how the user uses it.. Be realistic, you don’t sue Colt for gang violence with .45 handguns, or Boeing for 9/11, games don’t deserve the fallout, problems set people off to the point of going crazy, games sometimes just give the wrong individual with the wrong mindset the wrong idea at the wrong time, a movie could have just as easily done it to the individual.

BearDogg-X

On February 17, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Here’s a quote that best describes Jack Thompson, Faux News, and the rest of the mainstream media, from a deleted scene from the school shooting episode of the TV show One Tree Hill(called “With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept”), by Brooke Davis(played by Sophia Bush) after a news reporter asked her how she was feeling while the standoff was still going on:

“You should be ashamed of yourself. There are kids inside our school fearing for their lives right now, terrified that someone’s going to put a gun in their face and pull the trigger, and you want to know how I’m feeling?! Our pain is not a commodity for you, it’s not a newsbite to boost your ratings, because tomorrow, or the next day, or the next week when we go back to school, changed forever by a day that will never leave us, where are you going to be? At the next tragedy, thrusting your microphone in the face of the next fractured person, asking them how they feel? Lady, that is not journalism. You are not contributing anything to society. You’re buzzards circling the carnage, but you prey on the living. That is how I’m feeling, but something tells me that you’re not going to hear that.”

And Jack Thompson, you can go to hell. Grow up and get a life.

weclock

On February 17, 2008 at 4:29 pm

I’m going to beat my drum again, why is Valve putting up with this? why don’t they issue a statement?

E. Gordon Howe

On February 17, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Just finished playing a hour or so of the “murder simulator” Half Life 2. Made me want to go out and shoot some invading aliens (the “head-eating” and “chest bursting” kind). Then I read JT’s letter and if that’s not enough to make you want to start taking out a Florida lawyer (and I’m not talking date here), I don’t know what is.

This guy’s so full of it, I can’t believe it’s not leaking out of his ears.

Yazzer

On February 17, 2008 at 6:03 pm

It’s people who kill people. Not guns. Video games just numb the mind to reality. Toss in a little ADHD drugs and it’s a bad combination. It’s too much TV and video games that cause ADHD. :twisted:

Hambones

On February 17, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Apparently playing this video game is something these attackers
had in common. Perhaps there are other in common issues that are
equally important that should be considered. For example, have they
all recently been consuming donuts, or potato chips, or water? Do
they all own a pair of flip flops?

Gerald

On February 17, 2008 at 6:46 pm

What a joke. According to Jack Thompson’s logic, because I play Tekken and Street Fighter, I’m going to start picking fights with random strangers, and also be able to pull of amazing feats of martial arts mastery. Just because I play what he’d probably call “a violent assault simulation.” This guy needs to be disbarred.

Ross Mills

On February 17, 2008 at 8:04 pm

My letter to the NIU president. I would recommend that others do similar, and KEEP IT CLEAN AND RESPECTFUL!:

Greetings,

First of all let you assure you that you have my sincere condolences regarding recent events. I am sure that I need not go into detail aside to say that my heart goes out to you.

I have been informed by an online news site [1] that an attorney by the name of Jack Thompson has recently contacted you in the wake of the terrible tragedy that has befallen your University.

I apologise for having to do this, but I feel that it is for the best that I warn you of this attorney’s infamous demeanour when it comes to such horrible events.

I would urge you not to allow this lawyer to take any action on behalf of yourself, your university, or your staff. He has, on multiple previous occasions, used a number of sources of public uncertainty (such as rap music, or video games) in order to promote what can only be described as a “state of fear” among viewers of news sources. Rather than investigating any and all matters carefully, he instead uses such aspects of public entertainment as scapegoats in order to promote his own fame.

In addition to this, he has very often become extremely rude, bordering on excessively so, when communicating with members of the public who may question or criticise his methods, stating such things as:

“oh, go buy a suicide game and get real good at it, won’t you?” [2]

“Get a name and a life”
“HOnestly, are all of you gamers on drugs, or what?” [3]

There are more than the above, however they can be found online with very little effort. I would recommend that you simply Google, or Wikipedia, Jack Thompson, the attorney.

Finally, this man has also had disbarment proceedings recently filed against him by the Florida Bar Association on the grounds that “separate grievances filed by people claiming that Thompson made defamatory, false statements and attempted to humiliate, embarrass, harass or intimidate them”. [4]

I understand that any decision made will be up to you, however, I would ask that you also put out an official public statement regarding your confirmation or denial of whether or not you wish to work with this man, as he has made it quite clear, publicly, that he intends to work with you.

Thank you for your time. If your have further questions, I would be very willing to answer them.

Sincerely,
Ross Mills

[1] http://news.filefront.com/jack-thompsons-letter-to-niu-president/
[2] http://www.jackthompson.org/thompsons_emails/index.htm
[3] http://www.vgcats.com/
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Thompson_(attorney)#The_Florida_Bar

mindy

On February 17, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Uh yea, please come to NIU so I can laugh at you. I’m pretty sure us NIU students and faculty members have more important things to worry about right now than blaming all of this on video games… like counter strike. HEY WUT IF HE PLAYED WoW??? maybe he wanted to arcane shot some foolz :(

he was prolly cal-o anyway and got rick rolledddddd 24/7 BRO

(k so i posted this before but it was in the wrong one my bad lol :x )

DrMad

On February 18, 2008 at 6:24 am

Since when is it “NASS NURDER” to shoot people carrying assault rifles ready to shoot you? Greedy AMBULANCE CHASERS are always looking for a deep pocket to reach into. I’d like Jack to, free of charge, come to my home and tell me what video games were played in the ethnic cleansings in Bosnia and Somalia and other third world countries where one side killed another mercilessly. Fact is: a killer will kill on his/her own free will. I’ve played “MASS MURDER” games since they were conceived, and I have yet to “MASS MURDER” (OR SINGLE MURDER) anyone. Find another pocket to dig into Mr. Thompson.

BATZARRO

On February 18, 2008 at 10:44 am

I got a letter fer ya, allright!

Nightwng2000

On February 18, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Considering his brand new threat of “do as I demand or else”, I’d say he must not have liked the response he got back.

Unless he truly is stupid enough to try to kiss arse and threaten to sue at the same time.

http://gamepolitics.com/2008/02/18/jack-thompson-seeking-killers-video-game-history-threatens-niu-with-lawsuit/

Ohgoditscommingoutofhismouth

On February 19, 2008 at 10:38 am

Damn and i thought he got disbarred. What ever happened to that case trying to revoke his license in Florida anyway?”

Spring 08 is when they decide.(not soon enough apparently)

Konstadinos Alexakis

On February 20, 2008 at 7:59 am

Greetings everyone.

I am writting to address Mr.Tompson’s foul statements done for the world of games, gamers and developers of em.
First of all let me express my sencere condolences to the community of NIU, teachers and students alike, for the terrible tragedy that occured. The loss of a human life, irrelevant to its origins, is always something to sad about.
Diving into the subject, let me state the following about myself.
I am a 30 year old person from Greece. I teach western european martial arts to kids and grown men of all ages (and physique) and I play ALOT of video games. I think I do that since I was like… 14? Dunno… it was at that time that I played Leasure Suit Larry. :smile:
The games that I play vary from strategy, to MMOs by mostly, FPS.
You name it. I have played em all.
I find the recent TF2 quite to my liking. Kudos to Valve.
BUT!
*looks around*
Where is it? Oh where is that crazy mania that will envelope me and send me into a blind rage of killing anything that moves?
Oh where is the black rage that will send me forward to make widows out of women and make mothers cry for their babies?
Ye Gods!
Its nowhere!
Wait…
Maybe its not supposed to be there! Maybe because its not existant!

Lets get a little real Mr. Tompson. The letter of the *fake* Samuel L. Jackson might be abit slanderous for its part but it pretty much hits the nail.
Games dont kill people.
Guns dont kill people… but they sure do help! You cannot possibly expect people to fall for the dish you are serving. You accusations are so vague and ill based that it really strikes me as odd as to why would anyone would host your person on a TV show. Dont TV journalists do their job? Oh riiiiight.. dont let me get started on them.
Anyhow.
Mr. Tompson and so many other that want to blame everything on gamers:
1) Find something CREATIVE to do in your free time? Thanks!
2) Do your damn research before start pointing you fingers at anyone? Thanks again!
3) For the love of all that is holy, do NOT, repeat DO NOT pray on the sorrow of the people that have lost someone to cash in. That should be a crime, in my opinion.
4) Just for a change. Play a damn game yourself. And see if you want to start shooting people.
5) Look at the person that commits the crime FIRST and then look the gamer in him.

Kind Regards
-KA

Brian

On February 21, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Ok one other thing to look at… Steve Kazmierczak was in the army for 6 months before he received a psychological discharge. So maybe he learned how to operate weapons/effectively kill in the army basic training?? Nooooo it had to have been Counter Strike.

Ix

On February 22, 2008 at 2:26 pm

As someone who has been in the service and played counterstrike, I have to say it takes a special type of crazy to think that counterstrike can train you at all to use a gun.

However, by sometime around week 3 in basic training you’re already shooting at human shaped targets on the gun ranges. Already getting used to the idea of firing a real weapon at a possibly human target, something no game can do because a virtual weapon will never get a person ready for firing a real one.

By Jack Thompson’s reasoning, I can become a modern day ninja freely running across water and running up walls while fighting heavily armed and armored cyborgs just by playing Ninja Gaiden (at least that one guy on the blimp). I can become perfectly comfortable as an assassin if a freak accident sends me back in time to the crusades since I’ve played through assassins creed. I should also be able to use virtually every weapon ever made and many that haven’t been made yet simply because they’ve been in a game I’ve played. Should I test to find out if I learned how to respawn from playing video games?

No. Because unlike Jack, I’m neither stupid nor insane and I know that there is no was a video game can prepare a body to do any of that. Nothing ticks me off like people who thrive on the suffering of others, and I feel there is little that better shows someone is really an inhuman monster than this preying that JT and his kind do.

Apologies to any who find the respawn statement offensive in light of recent events, it is not meant to offend, only illustrate how wrong JT is.