Jack Thompson and the Jacob Robida murders

The incident

Jacob Robida was allegedly a neo-nazi who was also fan of the band Insane Clown Posse. On February 2, 2006, he entered a bar in New Bedford, Massachusetts and attacked patrons with a hatchet and a 9mm pistol. After being tackled by patrons and disarmed of the former weapon, he fled with his girlfriend to Arkansas, where he killed a police officer. He was later stopped by police, and during the ensuing gun battle, shot his girlfriend before turning the pistol on himself. He later died in the hospital.

Lang blames video games

At first the Mayor of New Bedford, Scott Lang, attributed the attack to video games:

"This was a hate crime... the actions of a single deranged individual act as a wake up call to our community and once again the nation... This cycle of violence must stop. The guns have to come off the streets. The violent video games have to be taken out of our homes." cite web|url=http://www.ci.new-bedford.ma.us/Statement_2_4_2006.htm |title=Mayor Lang's Statement Regarding the Events on February 4, 2006 |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessyear= |author= |last= Lang |first= Scott |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2006-02-04 |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher= |pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate=]

Believing the mayor was jumping to conclusions, gamers and members of GamePolitics wrote to Mayor Lang, citing that nobody had even mentioned video games as connection to the mass murders, nor did Robida even once mention games on his MySpace weblog. In reply to Andrew Eisen, a member of GamePolitics.com who had written to the mayor over his comments, Mr Lang wrote:

"When you get a chance please explain to me the social benefits behind police and military video games for the future of our children.
While I am not familiar with these videos I have seen enough to know they can provide no healthy education for our children. Lastly, there is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Robida played these video games on a regular basis as he was completely obsessed with weapons, violence and destruction. See his my space website for more details. I sincerely appreciate your comments."cite web |url=http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/201054.html |title=New Bedford Mayor e-mails GP Reader on Robida Game Connection |accessdate= |last=McCauley |first=Dennis |authorlink=Dennis McCauley |coauthors=Andrew Eisen |date=2006-02-07 |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher=GamePolitics.com |pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]

However, examination of Robida's MySpace website (archived on GamePolitics [http://www.gamepolitics.com/images/robida.pdf] (PDF)) showed a passion for neo-nazism and the rap group Insane Clown Posse, known for its violent and dark lyrics. One song in particular mentions attacking people with a hatchet, similar to Robida's crime.

Thompson comments

On February 7, 2006, Jack Thompson commented on the incident, describing the bar attack as a "killing scenario" from "Postal²" and the killing of Officer Sell a "suicide by cop homicide" inspired by "Grand Theft Auto". [http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/199361.html?thread=12858305#t12858305] [http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/199361.html?thread=12930241#t12930241] "Postal²" does not require the player to go into the bar at all (additionally, there was no edged weapon available in the game during Robida's lifetime), and GTA does not have a "suicide by cop" scenario. In fact, dying in GTA is heavily penalized. Police later dismissed the "suicide by cop" theory when it was discovered that Robida had fatally shot himself. cite web|url=http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=124997 |title=Bristol DA says Robida shot self |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessyear= |author= |last= Ballou |first= Brian |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2006-02-08 |year= |month= |format= |work=Boston Herald |publisher= |pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate=]

Thompson claimed to have spoken to a New Bedford detective [http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/202166.html?thread=13242294#t13242294] , who "repeatedly" said that Robida's friends had said "he played the "Grand Theft Auto" games." No further details have emerged, but the following day the Bristol County District Attorney rejected the video game link after examining all the evidence collected from Robida's apartment and car.

"My look at the search warrant [for Robida's home] was that the investigators turned up no video games. From the information we have here, there is no proof video games were involved." [http://www.baxterbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060208/NEWS01/602080339/1002]

tatement by Insane Clown Posse

On February 7 2006, Insane Clown Posse released a statement on the Robida attacks. Alex Abbiss, the band's manager, extended condolences and prayers to the families of the victims. "This guy had problems," said Abbiss, and "anyone going into a bar swinging an axe and shooting a gun ... would clearly have to be insane and out of their mind to do this." He went on, "it's quite obvious that this guy had no clue what being a Juggalo is all about. If anyone knows anything at all about [Insane Clown Posse] , then you know that they have never, ever been down or will be down with any racist or bigotry bullshit." Abbiss claimed the band was being scapegoated by the media.

Letters to court officials

Thompson responded by first calling on the DA to seize any video games at Robida's apartment for they were "critical evidence." [http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/201054.html?thread=13035870#t13035870] . After receiving no reply from the DA's office he followed by a letter to the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Massachusetts [http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/201054.html?thread=13121374#t13121374] demanding that the court force the DA to "do his job and follow the facts and evidence wherever they lead." He has also claimed to have filed for a "Writ of Mandamus" to compel the seizure.

In a followup letter, Thompson announced that the absence of video games at Robida's apartment "has nothing dispositive to say about whether he played games." He also called the DA a "pretty media boy" and demanded that the DA "find the evidence", since he claims "the games have been ditched." [http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/202166.html?thread=13269430#t13269430] Critics point out that Robida didn't bother to clear out his MySpace page, or his room, of Nazi paraphenelia and Insane Clown Posse references, so it seems unlikely that he would attempt to hide any video game equipment.

Demands made to newspaper

Thompson has also demanded the Baxter Bulletin's lawyers contact him. The Arkansas newspaper originally printed the Bristol County District Attorney's quote denying a video game link. Thompson accused the paper of "lying" when they told him they weren't going to cover the video game angle. [http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/202166.html?thread=13372342#t13372342] He also demanded a correction and public apology. cite web|url=http://www.joystiq.com/2006/02/08/no-connection-between-robida-killings-and-video-games/#c1007549 |title=No connection between Robida killings and video games |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessyear= |author= |last=Miller |first=Ross |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2006-02-08 |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher=Joystiq |pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate= (Thompson has posted comments on the article.)]

Other letters & statements

On February 9, 2006, Thompson implied that the police had found a copy of GTA or a PlayStation 2 in Robida's car.cite web|url=http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/202166.html?thread=13502902#t13502902 |title=Cops Say No Video Game Link in Robida Rampage |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessyear= |author= |last= McCauley |first= Dennis |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2006-02-08 |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher=GamePolitics.com |pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate=] However, police only reported finding cash, a stolen shotgun and rifle, and the original handgun. The hatchet had been recovered at the bar. cite web|url=http://www.baxterbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060209/NEWS01/602090350/1002 |title=Investigators: Was Robida headed to supremacists? |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessyear= |author= |last=Kissel |first=Kelly P. |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2006-02-09 |year= |month= |format= |work=The Baxter Bulletin |publisher= |pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate=]

The same day Thompson issued this statement, Gamehelper.com contacted the New Bedford police and District Attorney's office to inquire about the facts Thompson claimed to have received from the police department. Both groups denied providing him with any information about the case.cite web|url=http://newswire.gamehelper.com/common/default.asp?App_Module=NEWS&ID=7930 |title=Jack Thompson/Robida Killing Spree News |accessdate= |accessmonthday= |accessyear= |author= Vansau |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=2006-02-09 |year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher=GameHelper.com |pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate=]

Calls for District Attorney's arrest

On February 12, 2006, Thompson sent a letter to the Baxter County Sheriff, claiming that Bristol County District Attorney Paul Marshall knew about the "specific involvement of the Grand Theft Auto game", and was "covering it up." He called for the sheriff to arrest the DA for "impersonating a law enforcement official." [http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/204440.html?thread=13872280#t13872280] Perhaps the strangest thing about this claim is that the Bristol County District Attorney's name was not Paul Marshall, but Paul Walsh Jr., which Thompson seemed to be aware of earlier in the week when he sent Walsh verbally abusive faxes.

ee also

*Jack Thompson
*Jacob D. Robida


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