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  Last year, Seth Mazzaglia was convicted of the rape and murder of UNH student Lizzie Marriott. But after the conviction he sought to avoid being present for the sentencing hearing. He ultimately withdrew that request, but family members of the victim were surprised and angered. They had to face the prospect that they may not have their one chance throughout the proceedings to speak directly to the killer.

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Grand Theft Auto V, was released last week to rave reviews and record sales. The video game sold over 13 million copies in the first 24 hours and is projected to gross well over a billion dollars. Rockstar’s satirical crime series has regularly topped video game charts, but it’s just as often been presented as “exhibit a” in the debate over violent video games and whether they have a real-life influence on players. Grand Theft Auto III, the first mainstream success in the series, was at the center of one such debate in the early 2000’s, but a decade later the franchise is more popular than ever.

Joining us to talk a little bit about the history of how Grand Theft Auto became a household name and its legacy on the video game industry at large is Dr. Jeremy Saucier, the assistant director of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games. Also with us is Jamin Warren, founder of video-game arts and culture company, Killscreen.

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Violent video games - do they create real-world violence? It's a question studied for years, and renewed in light of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Meanwhile, some in Congress are calling for an investigation into the effects of these games on children. As part of a three-day series looking at the conversation post-Newtown, we're examining the debate over video game violence.


A rash of kidnappings in Lebanon over the weekend, coupled with deadly cross-border attacks by the Syrian army, are all worrying signs that Syria's troubles are continuing to spill over into its smaller and weaker neighbor.

In the most recent incidents, a Sunni sheik known to support the Syrian uprising was abducted. In retaliation, several Alawites aligned with the Syrian government were taken. Days before that, the Syrian army shot several people on Lebanese territory.

A new study out of UCLA suggests that when people wield a gun, they don't just feel bigger and stronger — it makes others think they are bigger and stronger.

Photo by Zol87, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Retaliatory killings, gang wars and a high murder rate are not Chicago’s problem alone. But it’s there that CeaseFire, a public health model based on science and street corner intervention, tracks volatile situations and cools them down.

Photo by knomad, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

A year ago this week, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot while meeting constituents outside an Arizona supermarket. Six others were killed and thirteen injured when Jared Loughner unloaded thirty-two rounds of bullets from a Glock handgun into the crowd. A year later, on January 8th, Gabby Giffords led the pledge of allegiance at a candlelight vigil in Tucson.  Reporter and author Tom Zoellner is a fifth-generation Arizona native. He considers the baffling “Tuscon tragedy” to be more than a random act by a mentally ill aggressor.

<a href="">Clover_1</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

When we look at the nightly news or study history we might easily come to this conclusion. We have armies and police forces, lawyers and judges, in order to protect us from each other. Is all of this violence a result of something inherent in human nature or the human condition? Or is violence exacerbated by society, for example through violent entertainment or by encouraging competition in all aspects of life? Is it possible to imagine a world without violence? But, is violence always a bad thing?