As reported by the Chicago Tribune on Monday, 21-year old Lemuel Lucas was remanded in custody with a $750,000 bail limit after his involvement in the death of a four-month old child. Lucas has been formally charged with first degree murder. Sadly, such events are far from unusual – so why are you reading about it here? Sadly, it’s because games were involved, although the extent of their involvement and the subsequent media coverage (at this moment in time) seems limited.
It appears that Lucas became enraged after playing an as-yet unspecified video game, and then proceeded to drop four-moth old Kiyarah Taylor on her head. He then shook her violently, after which she became unresponsive. Lucas further attempted to conceal his actions by placing chewing gum in the child’s mouth to create the impression that Kiyarah had choked to death. She later died as a result of her injuries on July 18th.
As tragic as this event is, it’s perhaps fortunate that the media has chosen to focus their attention on the accused and his lack of responsibility and rational thought, as opposed to extolling the evils of video games as an entertainment medium. At this stage, the possible significance of the decision to not disclose which game sent Lucas into such a rage could either be the result of a shrewd Chicago Police Dept. press officer that knew the game in question wasn’t a major participating factor in Lucas’ actions, or it could just be the result of sloppy reporting – a seemingly inconsequential detail that went ignored in favor of the heinous details of the crime itself.
Whilst I applaud the writer of the original news item for not gathering various assorted pitchforks and blazing torches in yet another video game witch-hunt, it certainly would be interesting to know which game Lucas was playing shortly before the subsequent tragic events transpired. It’s definitely a timely issue, what with Rockstar currently appealing against the BBFC’s decision to ban Manhunt 2 in the United Kingdom for the purpose of avoiding further incidents like this. However, what if Lucas’ rage was the result of a bitter defeat for the Bears in a game of Madden ‘08? Would that then highlight the potentially-murderous influence of major-league sports?
Of course, we all know that somewhere out there, Jack Thompson is having frenzied, thrashing seizure.