Mother Blames Yu-Gi-Oh for Son's Suicide


Time for a throwback to days of yore, when Dungeons & Dragons books, filled with demonic imagery, bare breasts and scary-sounding spells like "Tasha's Hideous Laughter", were accused of inciting teens to suicide. A mother has blamed the CCG Yu-Gi-Oh for her son's death.

The basics: Lorenzo Diaz, an 11-year-old who liked to play Yu-Gi-Oh, became upset when his dog tore up some trash. Apparently despondent that he had to clean up the garbage, Lorenzo told his brother that if he rolled a 6 on his Yu-Gi-Oh dice, he would kill himself.

Lorenzo rolled a 6.

Some time later, he was found hanging from a chain link fence, a blue dog leash wrapped around his neck. An apparent suicide. The boy's mother is adamant about the game playing a role in her son's death.

"It's like Dungeons and Dragons where a young kid gets so involved in a game it totally takes over their mind," Rosita Jackson said. "I believe that's what happened to my son. This game took over his mind."

I really don't know what to say about this. Wow. Just wow. Some people...

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(sigh) As usual, the blame is placed on the child and/or game and never the parent.

And, naturally, you won't hear about this in the news anywhere else. It's the same double-standard that marks MtG "evil" but Pokemon is ok.

But that's just my $0.02 worth.

Nothing like an idiotic scapegoat to make you want throw-up spontaneously. A shame to see card-games blamed for death. What's next, "death by horror movie" on an autopsy report?

Sadly yours,

Actually, I seem to remember something like that when SCREAM was first released.

Ah, here we go:

"Barry Loukaitis, 14, who killed a teacher and two classmates in 1996, loved the film Natural Born Killers, and identified with the kid "Jeremy" (in Pearl Jam's rock video), who went to school to kill others and then himself. Other kids have identified role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons or Vampire: The Masquerade as giving them the feeling they could act out on aggressive impulses. Two boys who killed the mother of one of them by stabbing her 45 times admitted that they'd been inspired by the teenage slasher movie, Scream. One of them told a friend that the slayings in the film were "cool," and that "it was the perfect way to kill someone.""

Soon, no form of entertainment will be safe. Toddlers will be prevented from watching any tv for fear of "death by Barney"... although, if it's Barney-related, that might be justified?

Seriously, though, we unfortunately live in a society where many parents want children, but don't want the responsibility of watching and raising them, so the tv (or video games, or card games, etc) becomes the child's baby-sitter, as long as the kid is quiet and not bothering mommy or daddy.

It's a shame to have some parent blame the product for something like this, when there are thousands (if not millions) who enjoy playing the game, watching the movie, or whatever who have not killed themselves or someone else.

I know, I know... preaching to the choir here; I'm trying not to rant. =)

But that's just my $0.02 worth.

I think the question to come around to, here, is what can be done about it?

Several things.

First of all, good upstanding citizens that we are, we should be "out" about playing roleplaying games. When a story like this comes out, I want my non-gamer friends, family, and coworkers to think of me, and think of me as a counterexample to this.

It sounds to me that it is not the game that killed the boy, but rather the d6. No one seems to be talking about it.

Clearly, we must do away with all d6s. So, everyone, I call you to throw out your Yatzees, your Risks, your Clues, and break open those little bubbles on the Trouble and Double Trouble boards!

Candyland you can keep. And the Game of Life

well, we'd REALLY be in trouble if he had used a d20 to decide on the suicide...

Actually, I would have preferred a d20. Greater chance this wouldn't have happened.

I'm sure there must have been more going on in his life than a stupid suicide game. Perhaps he felt a lot of pressure from his parents or something, and the dog/garbage incident was the straw that broke the camel's back...

I guess I just don't see how they think the yu-gi-oh game caused the kid's death. It had nothing to do with yu-gi-oh. He just happened to use the dice from a yu-gi-oh set. He could have used anything that generates a random number. Burn the random number generators!!!

Destroy all coinage!

No, wait. Give all coinage to ME, and I will bravely destroy it!

This is pathetic. Don't you all see what is happening here. Obviously the mother recieved a huge settlement from the DLMLDF (Dog Leash Manufacturers Legal Defense Fund) to ensure that no one realizes the potential deadliness of their product. A product which is designed for the primary use of oppressing canine-americans and their kind world over. Also, the boy was hanging from a chain link fence, another tool for restricting liberty.

If the boy had died from bleeding due to paper cuts recieved from cards, or been crushed by a die, or electricuted by pikichu (yes, I know there is a difference between pokemon and yu-gi-oh) I could see this sort of reaction.

That kid might have lived if he had truly believed in the Heart of the Cards.

And I can't resist the urge to mention that at least we're not using a D4.

Actually, having watched a friend deal with teen suicide, the mother is looking for anything to shift responsibility -- whether she had any role in the death or not. The guilt involved is so tremendous that attempting to deal with it rationally is not something most people are equipped to do. So they will find anything in the vicinity to blame. Understandable, but annoying.

The correct response is to look at the underlying household and school environment to see what kind of pressure would cause a kid to go to that extreme. No single item or event is going to be the cause, though almost anything could be the trigger.

Reminds of a DM who always had special things happen when he rolled a 00 on d100...and rolled more often (unconsciously) when he got excited. When you're looking for a particular result it's not too hard to find them.

Yeah, interesting that no one cared to mention anything about the kid's non-friend peers and their opinions of him (at least I think so; when I tried to double-check, the printer-friendly version had apparently been changed to forge registration as well). For example, the kid was hugely overweight -- the article lists him at 110 pounds, which is something like 30 pounds over the average for his age group. I'd imagine this didn't at all help his self-esteem and I'll bet you anything his general social status was horrible.

Amazing that articles like this frequently try to blame games for deaths, but never bother to think about outside social pressures on gamers (frequently social outcasts or at the very least on the fringes, as I'm sure most of us can attest). Apparently the magic solution is for us to cease our socially-inacceptable pursuits, not for our society to attempt tolerance.

It's funny, but in one of the first newspaper articles published about the suicide of Bink Pulling (if you don't know the name, type Pat Pulling into a search engine and read Stackpole's essay. It's fascinating history), the author wrote a balanced article, mentioning a number of Bink's problems, as well as mentioning his RPing. Later, the article was used as "evidence" that D&D caused him to commit suicide. People will reach a very long way to find a scapegoat.

look if the kid killed himself he already had problems before. When someone is suicidal it doesn't matter what is the last straw the person had to have been thinking about it a lot ealier. It's porbbaly the mothers own fault that her child wanted to die or shes just messed up that she didnt see it sooner. Now she blames the game for her sons death.

Yeah, you know that and I know that.

The question is, what next?

Like I said. We need to be "out of the closet" about being gamers, and we need to be respectable people.

Vaxalon, I'm a religious nut job, and an upstanding citizen. Persecution, and its mechanics are quite simple from my experience(having received it from both religious fok, and others):

Upstandingness won't stop it. If people want to blame you, then being nice won't fix a bloody thing. I do suppose that being proof that role-playing games are no more likely to induce suicide than football might help our chances, provided it is done en masse.

I think I just proved myself wrong. Oh well, ignore my first statement, it's worthless in court anyway.

Kindly yours,

Yet again, where the parent blames the world for her problems rather than accepting the blame that her son was doing something she didn't like. Its sad when things like this happen... I fully believe that parents should take more of a responsibility into teaching their children to discern fantasy and reality. Sad, sad, sad. The tiniest violin plays for you.

I find it sad. Everyone must place a blame for something they do not fully understand.

As in other words, even if it was or was not the mothers fault in his death. People need to stop trying to point fingers and try to blame everything else.

What would have happened if it was just a random pair of dice? Candy land dice? I find it illogical to blame the card game. It's just bloody dice.

I blame the fence.


Ugh...another one of these, and this one's pretty sick IMO. Look, I know the case, I've seen it before, it's child abuse. Same thing almost caused a friend of mine (and the ex-artist of the Emlia project...damn we need a new artist) to almost commit suicide (possibly multiple times, not sure). She's doing better and worse, as it goes along, but ugh. I HATE parents who dominate their children like that. Somebody should lock up the kid's parents for good.

While reading the short piece of the suicide article something caught my attention. The kid was worried that he'd have to clean up the trash that his dog tore up. Something tells me this kid wasn't just lazy, I think he was terrified of his mother freaking out over the mess. His mother blamed Yu-Gi-Oh! for his suicide, she'd probably blame HIM for tearing up the trash. I bet this kid was blamed for an awful lot of things that went wrong in the house. I can just imagine it...

"Mommy and daddy are fighting because you are a bad boy!"

"Mommy is angry because you made her fat and turned her hair grey!"

"Who left toilet seat up? Lorenzo!"

"Who didn't close the refridgerator door?! LORENZO!!!"


I bet this kid hated life for a lot of reasons.

Here's how a good parent handles a child developing an unhealthy obsession with a game. I played Car Wars in my early years of high school, starting when I was about 14. By the time I was 16 and ready to get my driver's license my mom overheard me and my friends talking about getting our own cars and how fun it would be to use Laser Tag sensors and pistols to recreate an "autoduel". She put the Kaibosh on that little gem FAST. Once I realized just how insane that idea was I started coming back to reality. It wasn't a long trip back but it was a real wake up.

First let me state that it is trully sad that the young man committed suicide. There was something definitely not right in his life if he was willing to do the deed. His mother was probably a large factor, as Pavo mentioned. He was overweight - as Shaitana mentioned, which is always a difficult burden to bear when you're young. The game itself was probably the one happy thing he had in his life.
That being stated, pointing the finger at the game is done simply in ignorance of the game itself. I have found the surest way to hush detractors of roleplaying games and CCG's is to simply ask "Well how do you know this? Have you played it?" Most people making such illicit claims will say no. Any reasonable person who is shown either a CCG or and RPG and taught to play it, would not be likely to blame the game for something tragic like this. My parents tolerated roleplaying games while I was growing up. I had aunts and uncles, however, who looked on them very disaprovingly. My folks knew nearly nothing about the games, but when ever they were asked about them by my aunts and uncles and told of the "evil" the games had in them, they scoffed. Why? Because they had seen me and my nephews and friends playing the games, they realized there was nothing "evil" involved with them.
If this mother had taken the time to learn the game, she wouldn't be likely to blame it for her sons death. In fact, if she had taken the time to learn it, he may still be with her, as it would have been an activity they could have both shared. Sadly from reading what I have about the young persons suicide, she doesn't seem like the sort of individual who would take the time to do that.


"It's the same double-standard that marks MtG "evil" but Pokemon is ok."

Actually, some people think Pokemon is evil, too. Pikachu's ears are really devil horns, you see, and Abra, Kadabra and Alakazam clearly represent the occult. I kid you not, there are people who belive this.

i understand that it is not right to blame others or other things for situations. but , if you blieve in God and the devil, you will know there is more to it. not every story is aways published or reported. for that reason you dont always hears of other situations. i have just heard of an other little boy who was found dead. he hung himself and he was found with the yugioh cards in a circle. i personally knew this child and he was very happy and his parents were the best.

this is crazy i been playing yugioh for 4 years but i think it makes you laze because i used to be skinny t hen i got fat and was afraid to go outside for some reason.

you can't blame yu gi oh it's the mothers way of shifting the blame and if you play games you will know that. he did not do it because of a game and if he did he iz stuped