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Penn and Teller Take On Violent Videogames

Magician/comedy duo Penn and Teller tackled the topic of videogame violence on a recent episode of their Showtime series "Bullshit!", applying their 30-minute, opinionated format to the popular issue.

The show includes interviews with talking head/former lawyer Jack Thompson, educational psychologist Dr. Jane Healy, constitutional attorney Lawrence Walters, and various other fans and detractors of violent games.

The centerpiece of the program is nine-year-old gamer Harrison Nix. A fan of Call of Duty and Tom Clancy titles, Penn and Teller set up Nix at a shooting range to see whether actual rifle fire appeals to the shooter fan.

As the title of the show implies, "Bullshit!" is considered Not Safe For Work, but we've embedded the Youtubed episode below for your adult viewing pleasure:

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 13, 2009 5:10 PM

    The way they let that kid fire the AR15 looked painful as hell. Why the fuck was the "safety officer" like 20-30 feet back? You'd think they'd make sure it didn't come back and pop him in the face.

    • reply
      July 13, 2009 5:20 PM

      I think its to show he really didn't know whats hes doing although he should be a trained professional by now

      • reply
        July 13, 2009 5:50 PM

        I guess, but the people who produced this segment probably did go a little too far to show how little the kid knew. And I guess that's why Penn apologized.

    • reply
      July 13, 2009 5:27 PM

      I agree. I genuinely felt sorry for the kid. I really expected for it to come back and smack him in the nose. Just glad that for every JT, there's more P&T's out there.

      • reply
        July 13, 2009 5:45 PM

        yes... still disappointing that although JT can no longer practice law (sweet), he makes money by appearing on television shows that make him look like an idiot....

        i mean, what was he really thinking taping an interview for a show called "bullshit"

        "oh, this is the perfect platform to express my views on violent video games and be treated with respect"

        "maybe if i'm lucky, it'll go by quick, they will pay me, and i can go back to watching 'my super sweet sixteen' dvd collection"

    • reply
      July 13, 2009 5:52 PM

      I thought he was going to loose some teeth when he shot that rifle.

    • reply
      July 13, 2009 6:23 PM

      I don't think it hurt him as much as the power of the recoil surprised him, and the noise scared him.

    • bld legacy 10 years
      July 13, 2009 6:55 PM

      I don't think there was a proper way for the kid to handle that rifle. Its about 2/3 the size of him in length.

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        July 14, 2009 3:12 AM

        It does look ridiculous, doesn't it?

        But when you think about many of the mass shootings that have occurred in the last decade, many of them have been with other peoples guns, ie Dad's.

        That 'civilian' assault rifle may be too big for the young man, but its killing power doesn't discriminate.

        Ironically, if that boy hadn't of had a gun thrust in his hands, he would have never found out just horrible the things are - and more importantly, if he was unbalanced and/or agenda/emotion driven, the gun wouldn't have phased him in the slightest.

        Despite P&T undermining their point by swearing and demeaning JT, the fat gun sook, and the Old Lady With a Book, they raise a VERY important point: TRAGEDIES OCCUR WHEN LUNATICS HAVE ACCESS TO GUNS.

    • reply
      July 13, 2009 9:00 PM

      That whole segment was pointless. I mean what if they gave the kid a small calibre pistol and he fired it and enjoyed firing it. Would that prove that Jack is right? The only thing they proved is that games do not come with instructions for holding a real rifle. Plus the usual argument against video games is that they make kids more aggresive, or desensitized to violence, not that they make them proficient with fire arms.

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        July 13, 2009 9:24 PM

        well on the same token, they wanted to prove that a kid who doesn't know how to handle a gun can't aim, and won't be inclined to just unload a lethal weapon on a target. There's also the fact that the target was a man holding a child hostage. For all we know he could've been crying because he shot the kid.

        • reply
          July 14, 2009 6:13 AM

          Actually, that's a very good point raised there.

      • reply
        July 14, 2009 4:40 AM

        TBH a pistol is a hell of a lot harder to shoot than a rifle (he would likely not hit anything...I know when I started I didn't fare so well with pistols even though I was fine with a rifle).

        An AR is not a high caliber rifle by any means...its not a .22, but for a centerfire rfile its relativfely mild (god damned netbook keyboard...typing from a parking lot at burger king on my way to work).

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