WaPo reports that there have been numerous crimes by people trying to escape the Matrix:

The cases in which “The Matrix” has emerged as a central theme span the country. Even last fall’s sniper shootings in the Washington region have overtones from the popular science-fiction film, which posits that computers have taken over the world.

“Free yourself of the matrix,” sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo, 18, wrote in his jail cell. “You are a slave to the matrix ‘control.’ ”

Just this week, in Ohio, a woman who told police that she lived in The Matrix and that “they commit a lot of crimes in The Matrix” was found not guilty by reason of insanity to charges of killing her landlord.

And in San Francisco, a man who believes he was sucked into The Matrix also was found not guilty by reason of insanity on charges that he killed his landlord.

Warner Bros. Pictures, which released the sequel to “The Matrix” this week, said there is no connection between the movie and the killings. In a statement, the studio expressed condolences to the victims of violent crimes. “However,” the statement said, “any attempt to link these crimes with a motion picture or any other art form is disturbing and irresponsible.”

But many lawyers are continuing to search for any links between art and actuality to defend their clients.

Bizarre. Now, granted, this has to be an infinitescimile fraction of all those committing crimes and, presumably, many of these people would have found another movie to blame their crimes on. But it always befuddles me when people can’t separate a movie from reality.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. This is not unusual in any way. The manifestation of paranoid symptoms always exists in the current social and technological context. In the past it’s been FBI phone taps and TV radiated commands. In the more distant past I’m sure it had something to do with Connestoga wagons and telegraphy.

  2. MommaBear says:

    It has more to do with the last 40 years of having common sense eliminated from the up-bringing of children. We are reaping the results of that failure to raise children who can think logically. The dumbing-down of America proceeds at a quickening pace down an evermore slippery slope!

  3. jen says:

    MB has it right. No critical thinking skills here.

  4. 42nd SSD says:

    Schizophrenic delusions such as “the Matrix” have been common for centuries. People suffering from these sorts of problems are desperately seeking any sort of external mechanism that would explain their symptoms. They completely lack the ability to understand that their symptoms (voices, beliefs, whatever) are being internally generated, and it’s often amazing to see how complete these delusions can become. These people aren’t stupid, they just have a rather specific brain disorder.

    Common examples include cuckoo clocks, the telegraph, phonographs, radio, elves/sprites/fairies, telephones, aliens, animals, etc. You name it, somebody’s sincerely believed they were under the influence of it at one time or another.

  5. David Moore says:

    I think people are just using the matrix as a scape goat they wernt infulenced by it.i love the matrix and what it stands for but i would never kill any1.these murders make me sick when i heard bout them.if the matrix was real would warner brothers make a film of it?i think not!

  6. David Moore says:

    Iv just read other peoples comments.these murders are not justified at all. a 5 year old child would not jump out in front of a bus because he/she seen it in a cartoon and the cartoon character got up after being knock down.i think the murders r very childish.the shouldnt ave got insanity to.please if any argues with me email me id like to hear other peoples view on this.

  7. David Moore says:

    my email adres is dr**********@ya***.com