|From: Joshua Cooke. Sussex I State Prison in Waverly, VA:|
“The Matrix Killer”. That’s what the media decided to call me. It’s a misnomer really, but yet when it comes to the subject of violent media affecting a young person’s mind, I do happen to have a certain perspective on it that others may not. Especially since I would end up shooting my mother and father to death at 19 years of age. (And since I had aspirations of being a school mass shooter). I was severely addicted to violent video games for years as a teen, and also to violent movies like “The Matrix”. There was a time when I would spend 12 hours a day playing violent video games like Grand Theft Auto, Doom, and Resident Evil. I was a young, impressionable, naive kid with undiagnosed mental health problems. I had become a perfect storm of calamity. A pressure cooker waiting to explode. And I did end up doing so. I have always taken responsibility for my actions in killing my mother and father, yet I think I can honestly say that if I hadn’t had the pervasive violent media around me day after day, week and week, I think my chances of ending up here in prison now would have been greatly reduced. I know that not everyone who immerses themselves in violent media commits crimes. We all know this. But there are millions of people all over the world who should never be subjected to such things, because they don’t fully understand the road they are on and its destination. Everyone’s not the same. Some of us have an (unknown) predisposition to become violent after submerging in violent media. Unknown to myself that was the case too. I was the product of two parents who were mentally ill, paranoid schizophrenics. (My biological parents that is). I was adopted at age 6 and did not know anything about the biological determinism I had inherited from the them. My whole life I never knew anything about them, and my adoptive parents would end up on the receiving end of the results of violent media and mental illness.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to do interviews with the media about my case in regards to violent media. And the main underlying message I always have to say is this: To any parents out there. Beware of the hidden dangers that arise through violent media. It is not a joke. If you do not keep a persistent track of what your child is letting in through their eyes and ears, the results can be devastating and truly tragic. This violence affects younger people more than they even realize at the time. I know from personal experience. This is not to say they too will commit murder but at the least it can turn them into violent, aggressive people in general. Prone to fights and discord in the family and in school. You may not even know, but serious mental illness problems can be brewing right this moment in your kids as they absorb the violence (through their eye gate and ear gate) and you don’t even know it. Beware. Keep track of what they’re doing on the internet and with violent media. I say again. Beware. And take heed of this cautionary tale.