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This Just In: Judge Calls Halo "Delusional Environment"

Normally I avoid even commenting on the intersections between violent real-world crime and fantasy videogame violence. There's really little point. There's not much more than can be said on the matter than what is already out there. However, the remarks of Judge James Burge following his conviction of Daniel Petric are simply so ridiculous that I can't let them pass. From story coverage at, of all places, a PS3 website:

The boy was finally convicted of the crime earlier today, but Judge James Burge wasn't happy with the sentencing. He told the press that he blamed the video game developers more than Daniel for the crime committed. Burge accused Halo 3 developer Bungie of creating a "delusional environment" where the normal rules of reality didn't apply. " you can shoot these aliens, and they're there again the next day. You have to shoot them again, and I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea, at the time he hatched this plot, that if he killed his parents they would be dead forever," Burge explained.

It's really hard to take that seriously. It's also really hard to swallow the idea that this is a person who is a judge-- who is in a position of education and authority. That's frightening. What is surprising is that despite blaming the videogame more than the perpetrator, he still found the latter guilty, which I suppose is also encouraging.However, let's play reductio ad absurdum a bit with this. It won't be hard; there's not to much reducting to do before things get pretty damn absurdum.  Click here for the complete text.