Jamie's Blog

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Student arrested for creating a CounterStrike map of his school

A student in a Houston area High school was arrested after school officials discovered that he had made a CounterStrike map of his school for him and his friends to play on. The student had no history of violence, and had not threatened any students or teachers. Nevertheless, he was arrested and sent to an "Alternative Education Center." Alternative Education Centers are high security schools for violent and abusive students, or for repeat drug offenders. School officials were quoted as saying the situation was a "terrorist threat."
CounterStrike is a popular team shooter game, that allows users to create maps of their own. Commonly players will create maps of their neighborhoods, local workplaces, and schools. Playing on a map that fits a local setting, that you know well, can make the game a lot more fun.
How many of you have fantasized about playing paintball or laser tag in your local mall or school? I know I have. CounterStrike with it's map creation tools allows you to do just that. When I was in college, several of my friends made CounterStrike or Quake(a similar game) maps of various school buildings. Some of them were a lot of fun to play on.
What this kid did wasn't against the law. He didn't threaten anyone. He didn't do anything wrong. All he did was enjoy playing a perfectly legal and very popular game. Not a crime! Once again, the people in power are scared and are overreacting. Just like they did with the student who wrote the essay that "disturbed" a teacher.

What bothers me the most about these stories, is not that people are checking up on suspicious behaviour. Or that people are worried about it and more cautious. The problem is that in both of these cases, the students did not break any laws. They were both punished because something they did made people think they might break laws in the future. Is it really okay to punish people for things they didn't do, but might do?

Check out the story here: Teen punished over violent video game
And here: Fort Bend school trustees put off video game appeal

[Edit] Some pictures of the map have surfaced. Check them out at Joystiq: Images of the Clements High student's "terroristic" maps

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