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Old February 12th, 2015 #1
drinking tea
Bev's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: England
Posts: 38,247
Default Influence of the media on people who have committed crimes or been otherwise influenced

One of the attractions of The Matrix, the film whose sequel, The Matrix Reloaded, opens in Britain next week, was its blending of fantasy and reality. A series of murders in the United States suggests some people have been unable to distinguish between the two.

Josh Cooke, a 19-year-old in Oakton, Virginia, owned a trenchcoat like the one worn by Neo, the character played by Keanu Reeves in the movie, and kept a poster of his hero on his bedroom wall. Then he bought a gun similar to the one used by Neo to fight evil.

In February, he shot his father and mother in the basement of their home and then called the police. His lawyers say he believed that he was living inside the Matrix.

The theme of the films is that computers have taken over the earth, although some humans exist in a computer-simulated world, battling to save humanity. "He's just obsessed with it," Cooke's defence attorney, Rachel Fierro, told the Washington Post.

The local prosecutor, Robert Horan, said: "I don't think the movie causes violence. Millions and millions of people have seen it and not killed anybody." Cooke will now be examined by a psychiatrist.

The Matrix seems to have spawned other imitators. Last week in Ohio, a woman was found not guilty of killing the professor whose house she rented, on the grounds of insanity. Tonda Lynn Ansley, 37, said she had had dreams which turned out not to be dreams. The local prosecutor said that, "in her warped perception", the film played a part in the killing.

In San Francisco in 2000, Vadim Mieseges, 27, killed his landlady, Ella Wong, and pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity. The police who interviewed him said he had made "reference to being sucked into the Matrix".

The young man accused of taking part in last year's sniper attacks in the Washington area has also cited the film.

"Free yourself of the Matrix," wrote Lee Boyd Malvo, 18, one of the two defendants, in his jail cell.
from 2003
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A 17-year-old murder suspect has told authorities he identified with Showtime serial killer "Dexter," according to ABC News.

Indiana youth Anthony Conley, who is charged with the murder of his 10-year-old brother, Conner, reportedly told authorities the TV show inspired him.
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No identification or personal effects were found on the body parts, but two pieces of paper were found nearby with the same message in Roman capital letters: "WATASHI WA KIRA DESS." (Le Soir posted a police file photograph of the notes.) This is an apparent misspelling of the Japanese phrase "Watashi wa Kira desu," or "I am Kira (Killer)," an alias in Tsugumi Ooba and Takeshi Obata's Death Note suspense manga series.
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A BOY aged 13 and a martial arts fanatic were locked up for life yesterday for the slaughter of a neighbour after they watched a gory Kill Bill movie.
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Twilight,” the teen vampire flick that has generated quite a huge following since release, was undeniably also a major hit at the box-office. With two more sequels in the making, the impact of this particular film is beyond any doubt – in fact, it could be more than anyone ever expected. Police arrested a 13-year-old boy at a Des Moines school who bit 11 of his mates and then blamed his weird behavior on the popular film.

According to the DesMoinesRegister, the attacks occurred over a relatively long period of time, between February 10 and March 13. Ironically enough, only the boy’s last victim filed a complaint with the police, which, in turn, led to other victims of the wannabe vampire to take a step forward with their story. When contacted for comment, the boy’s father reportedly said that he meant no harm but got a bit too carried away with what he had seen in “Twilight.”

“According to the [police] report, the boy bit a 13-year-old female student on the right hand at a track meet on March 13. McCombs [Middle School] Vice Principal Connie Sloan investigated the incident and found that the boy had bitten 10 other students. When police contacted the boy’s father, he said that his son didn’t mean to hurt anyone and that he was biting other students because of the movie ‘Twilight.’ The boy was given a delayed referral to juvenile court on an assault charge.” the aforementioned publication informs.

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Following taken from: ht tp://lis

The Town
The most prolific of the copycat criminals were a group of men in New York City, who committed a staggering 62 robberies involving $217,000 in stolen cash from various Brooklyn- and Queens-area businesses. The men used techniques portrayed in the film to pull off the scheme, such as cutting the power supply to the target so that employees couldn’t contact help, wearing miners’ headlamps to see in the dark, and applying a liberal dose of bleach to the scene to destroy DNA evidence. They must have been pretty surprised that all that work didn’t stop them from getting caught, and admitted to police that they were inspired by the film.

Two other crimes, one in Nebraska and one in Illinois, involved robbers donning disguises seen in the film—a group of men in skull-like masks and, hilariously, a woman in a nun costume, respectively.
Project X


An epidemic of kids copying the movie is raging as hard as the party they seek to emulate. These aren’t normal teen parties—they often involve thousands of kids, who intend specifically to reenact the movie’s portrayal of drugs and violence. Incidents have been reported in places as diverse as Texas, Utah, and Florida, usually taking place in illegally entered abandoned buildings. Property damage has ensued in abundance, along with other catastrophes that would obviously be expected from such out-of-control gatherings but that no one seemed to consider. Several children have been wounded, sometimes fatally, by gunfire, and many more have been charged with possession of drugs and alcohol and tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of vandalism. One incident in Texas ended with police rescuing a drunk, naked girl being transported by a car full of boys. The problem has gotten so bad that Warner Brothers issued a statement along the lines of “Guys. It’s a movie. Knock it off.”

It was also, according to an American judge, a “very good source to learn how to kill someone,” and it did indeed inspire a series of copycat murders. The most notorious was that of Belgian teen Alisson Cambier.

She had befriended 24-year-old Thierry Jaradin and was visiting him in his home one day when he propositioned her. After she refused, he excused himself to another room, where he donned the iconic Ghostface costume. He selected two large knives, which he used to stab Cambier 30 times in the manner of the victim in the film’s opening scene. After the deed was done, he made a few phone calls, confessed to the crime, and later admitted to police that he’d planned the incident modeled after the film.
Fight Club

. Fight Club’s world of underground bare-knuckle boxing matches and organized terrorism was terribly attractive, and it was only a matter of time before the fact that it was also terribly illegal was no longer any real concern.

The most serious crime committed was in New York City over Memorial Day weekend in 2009. Homemade bombs were set off in various locations around the city, including a Starbucks in the Upper East Side, apparently modeled after the film’s destruction of businesses they considered symbolic of their oppression.
Money Train

The 1995 heist film included a scene in which a thief called the Torch robs a subway toll booth, then traps the clerk and sprays the booth with gasoline, setting it on fire. In the comedy, the clerk gets away, but the victims of the desperate viewers who took note of the technique weren’t so lucky.

In the first incident, a young man filled the coin chute of the booth with lighter fluid, threatening the clerk with fiery death if he didn’t give him the money. He lit the chute anyway, and the 50-year-old victim suffered burns over 75 percent of his body before he was rescued. He died in the hospital several weeks later. There were an incredible seven incidents over the following three weeks utilizing the same method, spurring an outraged campaign against violence in Hollywood.

A Salt Lake City mother turned in her son and his friend after she overheard them plotting to kidnap, torture, and murder several people. The two boys, aged 14 and 15, had detailed plans to set up games in the Saw style to teach a lesson to people they claim were harming others, including a police officer (the occupation of many Jigsaw targets) and two middle-school girls. The boys even told police they had procured cameras and camcorders to document the murders, as Jigsaw did.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, two teenage girls found themselves in hot water after what they claimed was a prank gone wrong. A 52-year-old woman received a voicemail in the Saw style, stating that a friend had been hidden in her home, and the caller was about to release the toxic gas they had rigged inside. She had to decide whether to save herself or risk saving her friend. When she received the message, it came at the worst possible time—during a funeral procession. The woman was so terrified that she suffered a stroke. She recovered, but the girls were charged with phone harassment.


Surprisingly, he just wanted to be a hero, said the man arrested for arson after watching Backdraft. He admired the firefighters in the movie, and he wanted to be like them, saving people from burning buildings. Unfortunately, he kinda missed the part about setting fires being bad. Since no one was kind enough to set one for him, he took matters into his own hands, lighting a chair in his girlfriend’s family’s apartment while they slept. The saddest part is, he didn’t even get to put the fire out. The family woke as smoke quickly filled the apartment and put out the fire themselves. The hapless boyfriend just got arrested.
Interview With A Vampire

Daniel Sterling and his girlfriend of eight years, Lisa Stellwagen, watched the movie together on November 17, 1994. That night, Lisa woke up at about 3:00 AM to find Daniel staring at her. He told her, “Tonight you’re going to die. I’m going to kill you and drink your blood.” At which point, she apparently rolled over and went back to sleep, possibly murmuring “That’s nice, dear,” because it wasn’t until later that day that Daniel stabbed her seven times and sucked the blood from her wounds. No word on why she didn’t run out of bed screaming immediately, like a normal person probably would have. Daniel was kind enough to make it clear that he didn’t blame the movie, although he admitted it did influence his plan.
First Blood

There were many police reports in the wake of the first film of young men attempting to imitate their hero, John Rambo, primarily in the Canadian wilderness. One man, dressed in army fatigues and a red headband, was shot to death in a standoff with police after killing an officer. Another, an 18-year-old man in the Toronto area, was found lurking in a swampy ravine wearing khakis and face paint and carrying a music stand. Yet another, also dressed in army clothes and a painted face, was pursued for two weeks in the Ontario woods while he launched rocks with a slingshot—just like Rambo . . . except that this guy was launching them at children. The film’s creators disowned any responsibility for the crimes, but while psychologists agreed that the movie wasn’t to blame, it certainly provided an ill-suited role model to these deranged men.
Dark Knight

Everyone knows about the tragedy in Colorado and the orange-haired man who cried “I am the Joker!” before shooting up a movie theater full of Batman fans last year, but he’s not the only Joker-inspired guy who wanted to watch the world burn.

In 2010, a Wisconsin man was sentenced to almost a year in jail after he broke into his cousin’s home and assaulted him while dressed as the Joker. The man had suspected his cousin of sleeping with his ex-girlfriend and attacked the two of them when he found them in bed together. It’s doubtful the Joker would approve, because while that’s a terrible motive, it makes entirely too much sense for an insane character like the Joker. A much more Joker-like incident occurred in 2009, when a teacher fended off an attack from an Indiana high school student. The girl came at the teacher with a razor blade, but not before she excused herself to the bathroom to apply Joker-style makeup and slice her cheeks into his trademark smile.
It's a bit tl;dr as it is so I won't mention any of the thousands of others such as Child's Play and so on. It's amazing how many people have been influenced by watching a film into re-enacting the film almost as though they can't separate fantasy from reality.

Seeing the "Twilight" example reminded me: much less harmful but no less an example of influence - remember the story a couple of years ago about the rash of newborns named after characters in the show?
Above post is my opinion unless it's a quote.


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