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The Bill to Prohibit the Sale of "Violent" Games to Minors is About More Than Videogames..

By bigbigbison in Op-Ed
Sat May 11, 2002 at 04:14:19 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

On May 2, Congressman Joe Baca (D-California) introduced H.R. 4645, The Protect Children from Video Game Sex and Violence Act of 2002. The bill would penalize those who sell or rent "violent" video games to a minor. Some of their reasons for proposing this are the video games aren't free speech ruling, the Germany shooting even though that man was 19 and thus this proposal would do nothing to prevent him from buy these "violent" games and Germany already has a law like this, and a report that "found" that "violent" videogames cause violence, despite the fact that there other reports claiming that there is no link.


The language Baca used in the press release is pure moral panic. "I'm a parent and grandparent, and I've had enough of the violence we're experiencing among our youth," Baca said. "We saw it at Columbine High School, and we saw it last week in Germany." "Do you really want your kids assuming the role of a mass murderer or car jacker while you are away at work?" And referencing the St. Louis decision he says, "The courts have finally decided what every parent already knows - that video games containing ultra violent depictions of murder, rape, and assault have no place in the hands of our children."

The ignorance evident in the St. Louis decision as been discussed elsewhere. However, the ignorance of this proposed law bears discussion. Whether or not children should be allowed access to these games is not the issue I wish to discuss. The issues are whether or not the government should be the one to decide this debate and what is considered "violent" and why.

To the best of my knowledge (and I would be thrilled if anyone can prove me wrong) there is no federal law enforcing movie ratings. The movie ratings board is a self-imposed regulatory body. It is the movie theaters and video renters/sellers who decide who can see a "violent" film and who cannot, not the federal government. If this is true, the videogame industry already has ratings. The industry simply needs to enforce them. Why should the film industry be allowed to self-regulate and the videogame industry should not?

By outlawing the sales of "violent" videogames to minors, the government will nullify these ratings. What is "violent" and who gets to decide? Is Madden 2002 violent? How do we know if they consider that violent or not? According to the proposed law it might be considered violent under the "aggravated assault or battery" limitation. This law opens up the floodgates and makes it very hard for a game development company to make sure that they do not make a game that is considered "too violent." With the industry regulated ratings board there is prior knowledge. The makers and retailers find out that the game is "violent" before it goes to the store, and therefore know what they are getting themselves into. With a law, the makers, and perhaps more importantly, the retailers will not know if a game is "too violent" until they get busted by some undercover police officer with nothing better to do.

This issue of violence gets to a deeper issue. In all likelihood, Madden 2002 would not be considered "too violent." Why? Because it is "just football." In American society (and probably in much of western society as well, although I am no expert on international culture), sports are naturalized. We consider them harmless. Even more than that, we encourage children to participate in them saying that they will be moral builders and the like. However, let us stop a moment and think about what actually happens during a contact, "masculine" sport like football (both kinds), basketball or hockey. How do players hype themselves up for the game, how to they refer to their opponents? "Let's kill 'em! Let's rip their heads off! Let's destroy them!"

So here we have an activity that involves actual real violence, hitting one another and face to face trash talking and yet we do not seem concerned that this will lead to other acts of violence? But we have these mediated, virtual enactments and we are concerned? Real violence does not cause more violence, but virtual violence does? The worst injury I have ever heard of at a LAN party is carpal tunnel! How often do fights break out at LAN parties? How often do they break out at sporting events? Remind me again which one of these causes violence?

This is not to suggest that I think we should outlaw sports. Not at all. It is to show a point. Sports are considered part of our society. They have been since ancient times. So the thought that these may cause violence does not even occur to most people. However, these damn kids and their videogames. Now that is another story. Videogames are a new medium and they are a new entrant into our culture. Hence the moral panic surrounding them. Remember what rap was supposed to do to our kids? Remember what heavy metal was supposed to do? Remember rock and roll? There have been moral panics about technology dating all the way back to the popularization of the printing press. What is going on here is nothing different and as such we should try to see through the moralistic, "what about the children!?!" hype and see that the real issues here are not "should children be prevented from buying violent videogames?" but "Do we need a law to prevent children from buy violent videogames?" "Who decides what 'violent' is?" and "Why is that considered violent when there are so many other things in society that aren't?"

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Related Links
o Congressma n Joe Baca (D-California)
o The Protect Children from Video Game Sex and Violence Act of 2002
o St. Louis decision
o discussed
o elsewhere
o Also by bigbigbison


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The Bill to Prohibit the Sale of "Violent" Games to Minors is About More Than Videogames.. | 214 comments (196 topical, 18 editorial, 0 hidden)
One thing that might be pointed out: (4.75 / 8) (#3)
by leviramsey on Fri May 10, 2002 at 07:19:50 PM EST

Many of the players in the NFL (especially defensive linemen and linebackers) have criminal records, including violent crime. Ray Lewis comes to mind as the most obvious example.

For those who don't know North American football, the job description of a linebacker or defensive lineman is to tackle and tackle hard. A few years ago, a D-Line coach for the Detroit Lions was fined by the league for offering $10,000 bonuses to his charges for hits which knocked the opposing quarterback out of the game. Players in these positions are strongly encouraged, by coaches, fans, and other players, to be extremely aggressive onfield. It is quite reasonable, I think, to expect that many players in these positions, having been "bred" for aggression, have difficulty turning it off outside of the game.



Slander (2.00 / 4) (#41)
by medham on Sat May 11, 2002 at 09:07:42 PM EST

Less than 1/10th of 1/1000th percent of current NFL players have any type of criminal records, and that's if we include past lives.

Stop spreading your FUD.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Cite? (5.00 / 6) (#49)
by Majromax on Sun May 12, 2002 at 12:02:53 AM EST

Less than 1/10th of 1/1000th percent of current NFL players have any type of criminal records, and that's if we include past lives.

Er... cite?

A quick google search seems to turn up 32 American National Football League teams. Assuming even 200 players per team, that's on the order of 6,000 players. At a rate of 1/10'th of 1/1000'th of one percent, that's one in 1000*10*100 = 1 million.

Since you say "less than," you cannot round this up to one player -- therefore, by your argument, no NFL player has a current or former criminal history.

I don't follow football, but this evidence appears to be patently absurd. Now, any real statistics on the relative criminal rates of NFL players (or professional sports players altogether) to the general population would be quite welcome.

[ Parent ]

Here is something sligtly more solid. (4.75 / 4) (#63)
by bgalehouse on Sun May 12, 2002 at 03:11:14 AM EST

From NFL Commisioner Taliabue:
We track 3,000 to 4,000 players every year in terms of criminal misconduct" and in the 2000 season there were 26 investigations and 11 convictions with most, except for Carruth, being minor offenses.
From the same article:
The league's image has been smudged by the murder trial of ex-Panther Rae Carruth and sexual assault trial of ex-Packer Mark Chmura.
This seems to suggest that there is on the order of one serious crime per year. Assume so. Next assume that the chances of each current player getting into trouble has been about constant over at least the past 4 years. Then there should be at least 4 people who have had trouble on the NFL today. I suppose that probably is a fraction of a percent, but not a really small fraction of a percent.

Lots of things could skew these numbers. If the NFL is less likely to hire somebody with a record, then the number of players with records will be lower. If NFL players are much less likely to be convicted, then not having a conviction doesn't imply so strongly that they are innocent. Extending this, if the people on the NFL are much less likely to be charged while in the NFL, (say, because they are more careful or have better lawyers after starting in the NFL) then the number with past problems could be quite a bit higher.

[ Parent ]

What do you mean? (3.50 / 4) (#73)
by streetlawyer on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:40:28 PM EST

Lots of things could skew these numbers. If the NFL is less likely to hire somebody with a record, then the number of players with records will be lower.

In what way is this "skewing" the numbers?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Skewing (5.00 / 2) (#87)
by Majromax on Sun May 12, 2002 at 06:38:05 PM EST

Lots of things could skew these numbers. If the NFL is less likely to hire somebody with a record, then the number of players with records will be lower.
In what way is this "skewing" the numbers?

This isn't strictly 'skewing' the numbers as such, as the rate of prosecutions is factual, and can only be skewed by an invalid sample, which we presume to not be the case.

What might be skewed, however, is the rate of criminal behavior among NFL players -- the only way we have to measure this is the arrest/prosecution/conviction data, and if that is unnaturally depressed due to some quality of being an NFL player [wealth, legal advice], then the correlation of the arrest data to the criminal behavior inquiry is questionable.

[ Parent ]

obligatory quote (3.00 / 1) (#125)
by Shren on Mon May 13, 2002 at 09:07:39 AM EST

I resent that!

It's not slander. Slander is spoken. In print it's libel.

[ Parent ]

Ultra Violent? (5.00 / 3) (#12)
by Kasreyn on Fri May 10, 2002 at 09:10:47 PM EST

How ironic for a staunch Pillar of Society to use a phrase straight from "A Clockwork Orange", one of the most violent and shocking books ever written (after the Bible, that is).
<br><br><br>
-Kasreyn
<br><br>
P.S.  Agreed on the "just football" double standard.  If they're going to make the marine throw water balloons in DOOM III, they should make all NFL players wear pink leotards and tutus along with it.  They both make about as much sense.<br><br>

"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Football vs. GTA (none / 0) (#24)
by Demiurge on Sat May 11, 2002 at 03:15:21 AM EST

In a football video game, heavily padded men bump into each other, sometimes falling down and getting back up.

In GTA, I can pull an innocent motorist out of their car, shoot them to death, then drive down the sidewalk, killing pedestrians by crushing them beneath the wheels of my stolen vehicle.

You don't like the idea of anti-violent video games legislation? Fine. But don't try to pretend for one moment that there are plenty of horrifyingly violent video games out there.

[ Parent ]
Football (4.33 / 3) (#27)
by Matrix on Sat May 11, 2002 at 10:36:36 AM EST

Bumping into each other? Interesting description. I seem to recall that pro American Football has a high rate of death and serious injury. Broken necks, broken backs, cracked and crushed skulls... This is to say nothing of rugby or Real Football.

As for the argument that games generate sociopaths, maybe you should look at some of these football players. Open racists, convicted rapists, histories of violent crime, alcohol or drug abuse, drunk driving... The list goes on and on. Meanwhile, most people who play violent games tend to (in my experience) be relatively stable and law-abiding. Based on the observational evidence, I'd say that football causes more sociopathic behavior than violent games. (Though this is not a valid assumption)

Also note that GTA is an extreme example. The company that designed it (owned, as many now are, by a media giant of some sort) was seeking shock at the violence and sex. They weren't trying to make a game, they were trying to make a controversy.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Most injuries in the NFL... (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by leviramsey on Sat May 11, 2002 at 03:22:17 PM EST

...tend to be of the broken limb variety. Major back/head injury is rare, but does happen. Concussions are fairly common, especially among quarterbacks (Steve Young had at least 5 in a span of ten years, for example).



[ Parent ]
Real life football... (2.00 / 3) (#39)
by gnovos on Sat May 11, 2002 at 08:29:40 PM EST

Well, not American football, but in Europen football you can watch dozens of people die grizly deaths IN REAL LIFE after a particular team wins or loses.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Really? (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by AmberEyes on Sat May 11, 2002 at 09:24:32 PM EST

That blood must make a huge mess, dripping out of the ventilation holes in your monitor (or, if you meant GTA3, your TV).

See, I, on the other hand, think it's interesting because whether you're playing a game where you're crushing people under a car, or picking daisies in a field, it's a game. Football is real.

If we're concerned about real violence, shouldn't we ban banning things that have a background in real violence? It seems that this would logically say we should ban football before GTA.

But then again, GTA has never been a national pastime, has it? I suppose this just goes to show how easily a scared public can turn an oblivious and blind eye towards things that give them comfort, regardless of it's values that may actually be part of the problem, and attack the outside and unfamiliar thing that they don't understand.

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
Thank God For Democrats From California (3.18 / 11) (#13)
by thelizman on Fri May 10, 2002 at 09:13:50 PM EST

...they'll always be there to tell us how to live, how to raise our children, what kind of firearms (if any) we can own, and what kind of cars we should drive. That frees me from the responsibility of raising my kids, shooting game, tuning up my engine, and what foods to cram down my throat.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
I happen to be a democrat (I guess)from California (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by rasactive on Sat May 11, 2002 at 07:10:19 PM EST

and I happen to resent this comment. Now I'm not sure what makes a democrat, but I believe fairly high tax rates are OK (as long as they're being put towards something useful), public education, and that abortion is not murder. I don't give a fuck, however, about what games you play, what food you eat, how you raise your kids (because if they're fucked, they're probably that way from the start), or how you tune up your engine (as long as it doesn't shorten MY life span). Unfortunately, our political system is so screwed, I have to choose between an asshole with business motives (George W. Bush) and an asshole with tyrannyous [censorship] motives (Joseph Leibermann). So bite it. Hard.

[ Parent ]
Why is the PERSON Democrat and not the VOTE? (5.00 / 2) (#44)
by gidds on Sat May 11, 2002 at 09:43:28 PM EST

Okay, I'm a Brit with very poor knowledge of US politics; I hope I'm right in assuming that most of the views you gave would be more typical of Republican ideals than Democrat ones?

If so, then why do you consider yourself to be a Democrat?  If you'd said that you voted Democrat, I'd have understood.  After all, that's what you've done: you've taken (I guess) a rational decision based on optimising the utility of the various outcomes.  Fine.  But if you disagree with their policies, why do you align yourself with them?  I'm not getting at you personally, either: why does anyone choose to identify themselves so inseparably with a political party?

We have exactly the same problem over here too; the "I'm a Labour voter coz my father was, and his father before him..." mentality.  Of course, this applies to all the major parties, and I've never understood it.  It gives the impression that people are sheep, that they'll vote the same way regardless of what they know about their party or what they see it do...  Please, someone tell me I'm not the only one to find this incredibly depressing...

Andy/
[ Parent ]

I try not to affiliate myself with one party... (4.00 / 2) (#46)
by rasactive on Sat May 11, 2002 at 10:05:45 PM EST

but I find that in more cases than not, I agree with Democrats. Here in the US, it doesn't really matter who you vote for anymore. People on each side (except independents, who will never win) are being bribed by the same people that will force them to act like puppets as soon as they get into office. Yes, it is depressing.

Also, I should note that I agree with a lot of the ideals of the Democratic party, but not with the actual candidates. I associate the ideals I expressed with the Democratic party even though those ideas do lean towards the right, and the Republican party is technically right-wing. We have our polotical philosophy so screwed up here that all we argue about now is taxes,education, and abortion.

I don't think we will ever really have voter representation until we have voters voting on issues, not voting for people to vote on issues.

[ Parent ]
what kind of democrat are you? (4.66 / 3) (#61)
by spider jeruselem on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:43:30 AM EST

This is a problem of definitions.  You're what I like to call an "old school" democrat.  Big on personal freedoms, and big on basically socialist economics.

All politics comes down to economics and personal freedom.  The big problem these days is that both big parties have decided that personal freedoms can be stomped all over.

This is what the original post referred to by "California Democrats", those who weren't content to restrict economics, but to intervene in personal freedoms too, which basically eliminates any agreement I had with that party.  The "new" democrats will charge you with hate speech crimes, enact quotas and affirmative action, and crap on your personal freedoms.  They also enact the dubious economics/freedoms crossovers like taxing the crap out of things they deem "bad" for you, and using your tax money to run ad campaigns discouraging behavior they disagree with.

Before someone hops down my throat, I'm not claiming republicans are any better, I think both parties are horrible on freedom.

------------
The man who hungers for truth should expect no mercy and give none.
[ Parent ]

California Democrats are some of the worst (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by Delirium on Sun May 12, 2002 at 05:02:17 AM EST

Not you specifically of course, but the term "California Democrat" brings to mind people like Senator Diane Feinstein, who are far more interested in censorship than just about anything else.

[ Parent ]
The big question (2.20 / 5) (#15)
by cameldrv on Fri May 10, 2002 at 09:51:26 PM EST

Suppose there were scientific proof that violent video games caused violent real life behavior.  I realise that there is not such proof, but I think that there is a bit of disingenuous argument going on here.  You believe in free speech so you argue that violent video games and hence violence is the price you have to pay for freedom.  Fine, but make that your argument.

What? (none / 0) (#17)
by carbon on Fri May 10, 2002 at 11:26:12 PM EST

You just made a hypothetical, then asked him to base his argument on that. I'm not understanding what the basis of your reasoning is...


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
read the opinion (4.66 / 9) (#16)
by SocratesGhost on Fri May 10, 2002 at 10:20:48 PM EST

you can find it here.

You know the phrase, "justice is blind"? That was the case here. The defense did a piss-poor job and as a result, the prosecution dictated the terms that generated the outcome.

I don't think that you can tell me that Resident Evil, Doom, Mortal Kombat, and Fear Effect have anything that approaches free speech protection. I've played all these games, and I couldn't find anything. I doubt that any judge, with a more specialized definition, would find these to be speech either. And that's the problem.

He cites a 1982 case (America's Best Family Showplace Court vs City of NY Dep't of Buildings) that stated "in no sense can it be said that video games are meant to inform. Rather a video game, like a pinball game, a game of chess, or a game of baseball, is pure entertainment with no informational element." And they were right. Remember that the year was 1982. I remember the games of that era. It wasn't long after Pong and my neighbor had just gotten an Atari and then I got Intellivision. I don't recall anything there that could be construed as free speech. Pitfall? Tron? Please. The court probably couldn't find free speech in Dig-Dug either. Gaming had not yet matured.

And that's the problem with this case. It's not that the judge has a problem with games, but he wasn't shown the right games. The only evidence presented before him were not games like Final Fantasy, or Baldur's Gate. No, they were essentially arcade-style games. How could he have ruled otherwise?

One might say that he could have used common sense, but that's assuming facts not in evidence. This guy is wholly ignorant of video gaming, getting the name of two of the games wrong (he cites that one game was "Residents of the Evil Creek" instead of "Resident Evil"). So, he really is blind to everything that is going on in gaming. In other words, he is the perfect jurist, able to decide the case based on the merits before him.

The defense failed horribly. They should have shown him games with real speech elements and all of this would have been avoided.


-Soc
I drank what?


Made to inform. . . . (4.50 / 6) (#19)
by IHCOYC on Sat May 11, 2002 at 12:27:28 AM EST

As an exercise for the student, please identify the ways the following pieces of American literature are "made to inform:"
Howl by Allan Ginsberg
The Tell-tale Heart by Edgar Poe
Hiawatha by Henry W. Longfellow
Celephais by H. P. Lovecraft
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
Santa Steps Out by Robert Devereaux
In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerny
For extra credit, discuss how you used the information contained in any of these books you happened to have read, in, for example, career advancement, personal finance, or auto or home repair.

If containing "information" is an important criterion for First Amendment protection, there are dozens of works that arguably fail; if they inform, they do so only obliquely, and not as their first objective. I think they ought to be protected nonetheless.

This message has been placed here IN MEMORIAM by the Tijuana Bible Society.
[ Parent ]

to reply (5.00 / 3) (#29)
by SocratesGhost on Sat May 11, 2002 at 01:42:49 PM EST

IANAL, but I do have degree in philosophy with numerous classes in the philosophy of law (I was heading for law school and figured that philosophy was basically 4 years preparatory work for the LSAT), so take this for what it's worth:

Generally, the jurisprudence behind the free speech provision is that in order for society to function (and a democracy to function, at that), that any language, speech, words or symbolic representation that conveys information or ideas should be protected, even if it may be false so long as it remains in the area of its medium and does not incite to violent action.

In any of those books you provided, I can observe someone's perspective of a man or woman, about life, about society, and about what is proper for a person to live. Tell-Tale Heart is somewhat moralizing. The Wizard of Oz was a parable about the farmers(scarecrow), railroads(tin man) and other aspects of the society of its day. I could probably go through all of those works and dissect them without any problem. That's really not that hard.

So, back to Pong. That is nothing more than tennis so it can't be considered speech under Free Speech jurisprudence. Quake is vacant of any informative content, and the same goes for all of those other games. The storylines, such as they are, are nothing more than wallpaper to the action. I can put a bumper sticker on my car, does that mean that my car qualifies as speech? No. That would be absurd.

But this judge didn't even see any games where the story was the game. Where was "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream"? Dammit, where was "Full Throttle"? Either one of these would have clearly shown that there are classes of games that should be protected. After establishing these games we could go to the more challenging case of "Medal of Honor: Allied Assault", and had the judge partake in the storming of the beaches of Normandy. If we protect "Saving Private Ryan", then MoH is protected, too. But the defense never presented this.

If the judge was presented only with books of crossword puzzles and "Where's Waldo" (and if he contained the same lack of information about books as he does of video games), I'm certain he would have said books aren't speech, too.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Where's the line? (4.66 / 3) (#66)
by Bnonn on Sun May 12, 2002 at 07:08:10 AM EST

If you say MoH:AA is protected speech, does that mean CounterStrike is as well? And then, if CounterStrike is, is Tribes 2? And if Tribes is, why isn't Quake?

I am not entirely sure over the issue myself, but I think it's important to point out that there is a point where classifying something as "speech" becomes rather hazy and subjective. Despite the fact that the storylines for games like Quake are, as you say, wallpaper to the action, they are still storylines that have been deliberated and written--and sometimes a lot of effort goes into the writing, even if the story itself is formulaic or cliched.

I guess it's rather like saying that once you're 18 you can legally drink (in .nz anyway), but if you're 17 and 364 days you can't. It comes down to a structured law...which is fair enough, except that I agree video games shouldn't be legislated.

Lovely. Moral panic.

[ Parent ]

somewhat (none / 0) (#143)
by SocratesGhost on Mon May 13, 2002 at 01:47:37 PM EST

I think my point is it is possible for video gaming to be an expressive act. To say that it is not speech is to say that Medal of Honor is not an attempt to express the invasion of Normandy. It is, and is therefore expressive and informative and worthy of protection. The medium itself is capable of informative expression.

Now, just because it is expression does not mean that it is all protected. Child pornography can be outlawed, as well as speech that is libelous. As a result, games that are harmful should also be held accountable. I think I'd rather place the burden of justification on the government to prove that a specific game is not worthy of protection than to give them an easy ride of it, though. I am intrigued in the same way by Rubic's Cube and Tetris as I am in instrumental music, so I think that there's something to be said for granting games first amenmdment protection.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Free expression is a good in itself (5.00 / 1) (#98)
by IHCOYC on Sun May 12, 2002 at 11:16:32 PM EST

Generally, the jurisprudence behind the free speech provision is that in order for society to function (and a democracy to function, at that), that any language, speech, words or symbolic representation that conveys information or ideas should be protected. . .
That certainly is one often-heard explanation. I think it is a far too limited one.

At its most reductionistic, this ends up saying that free speech is first and foremost about politics. In fact, most political speech is self-serving sloganeering; like advertising, without the wit or the production values. Government is ultimately about trash collection. If it's done right, it's (almost) invisible. It certainly should not occupy the centre of human concerns.

The basic idea I see behind First Amendment values is that government is too parochial and too clumsy to function as a literary critic, or to make policy judgments based on those sorts of judgments. Self-expression is a good in itself; it is a good whether it improves the way society functions, or indeed even if it hinders society.

Whatever its other flaws, this way of looking at the First Amendment spares judges from the task of trying to become video game critics. Its purpose is not to further some social goal of spreading information; it is to remove certain kinds of decisions from the competence and authority of society itself.

This message has been placed here IN MEMORIAM by the Tijuana Bible Society.
[ Parent ]

that depends (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by SocratesGhost on Mon May 13, 2002 at 12:39:07 PM EST

when you say that this definition is first and foremost about politics, i agree, but perhaps not in your way of conveying politics. Politics is the process of organizing people, but in a larger sense, its also about how we live with one another even in a day to day manner. In this sense, when you say that speech is about politics, this would encompass things such as family, life, sex, art, how-to manuals, and everything about what we do in life. The sphere where candidates jockey for votes is but one small part of the whole political package.

Even if we were to limit it to the overtly political speech, it becomes difficult to restrain the number of subjects and medium under that umbrella. Picasso's Guernica is a masterpiece as well as Rodin's Fallen Caryatid; while one is overtly political, the second is not. Yet, perhaps Rodin's piece is about feminism, for example, and if so then it sneaks in under political speech. The thing is, you never know when a work will speak about a political subject and so that works should be protected. A How-To Manual about disseminates information that may say nothing about any "high" ideas, but it does have valuable information working on a subject; the government may/may not address that subject, but regardless, the subject is in the domain of the body politic and so the manual has a place. Ergo, it receives protection in that way.

In this regard, there is nothing limiting about this free speech definition. It is first and foremost about political speech, and its of the most important kind: the kind you and I speak like here on K5 or what we say to our kids as we tuck them in to sleep. More importantly, this is also how the court has traditionally interpreted First Amendment freedom.

It's not that the government is parochial, and it is not the case that speech (if speech and self-expression can be used synonymously) is a good in itself. Speech is not. It has a very utilitarian function, as evidenced by our modern jurisprudence being based off of the writings of J.S. Mills, a devout utilitarian. To say something is a good in and of itself is to say that we need it regardless of all other reasons, and nothing except life itself can be said to have that quality(and there are days when I question the validity of that). If you are going to give carte blanche to something, you'd have to convince me that it needs to be, and in doing so you give it a reason that I recognize as worthwhile. However, then, I would give it carte blanche up to and only to the point in which it is capable of living up to that worthwhile goal. I can't accept that it's a good in and of itself and that all speech is always a good.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Politics and utilitarianism (5.00 / 1) (#150)
by IHCOYC on Mon May 13, 2002 at 04:36:12 PM EST

Politics is the process of organizing people, but in a larger sense, its also about how we live with one another even in a day to day manner. In this sense, when you say that speech is about politics, this would encompass things such as family, life, sex, art, how-to manuals, and everything about what we do in life.
In a nutshell, this is exactly what is wrong with the modern State. It is also the problem with politics as she is spoke in the United States. Anything that can be made out to be unpopular can be made the subject of this week's moral panic. There is nothing so trivial or so personal that it cannot be used as a subject for the congressional Jerry Springer show. Including, it seems, video games.

Government is indeed parochial and bumbling. In an egalitarian democratic polity, witches must be periodically labelled and burnt alive in public ceremonies; the eternal peasant is always among us, and demands no less. Politics and the media, nominal adversaries, are in fact collaborators in this perpetual motion game. There's always some Moral Outrage that demands condemnation from the floor of Congress. There's always another witch to be burnt. It is a lot more interesting to wonder if our neighbours might be witches than it is to figure out how to make Social Security work.

In a democratic environment such as this, what is most needed is a declaration that some areas are off limits, that there are things into which the witch-finders cannot pry. The principle of free speech is one of those limits. Utilitarian arguments seem at best inconclusive, if only because the witch finders will always be able to claim that they're out to protect their darling children's virginal minds from the vile taint of devilish sorcery. Their cause is mighty important, the people are all for it, and scoffers are in league with the devil. A utilitarian principle seems helpless before this line of thinking.

No, there have to be at least a few things that are off-limits to politics. Freedom comes when the things that are off-limits are expanded. This is why freedom of speech is per se a positive good.

This message has been placed here IN MEMORIAM by the Tijuana Bible Society.
[ Parent ]

interesting (none / 0) (#155)
by SocratesGhost on Mon May 13, 2002 at 05:33:45 PM EST

you and I could have quite a discussion about this! I gather from some of your other posts that you're no where near the Tijuana in you sig (I am), otherwise, I'd suggest a beer. These are exactly the types of conversations I love.

There's two problems here: 1-the merits & limits of free speech; 2-qualifying video games as speech. As of yet, the latter is being debated, and I think they'll have a moderately tough time of it. It isn't speech in the traditional sense, nor is it expressive. But I think there is something instructional about these things, just as we find in toys and games like Rubic's Cube, Dominoes, Tic Tac Toe, Chess, et al. Instrumental music is protected under the first amendment, too, and although that is a creative work, I have a difficult time seeing the inspired quality of its expressiveness any differently than the inspired quality imparted by a brilliant game of Civilization 3. It has that je ne sais qua that just speaks to my bones, if you know what I'm saying. Further, that the military uses computer simulations in their training practices, this supports the validity of gaming as being capable of overt instructive expressiveness.

From that perspective, I agree that the utilitarian definition does not always seem sufficient to cover all the areas relevant or important or special to being alive. I think we abuse the definition a little for it to work in protecting music, but we can argue the same thing for gaming, which is what will hopefully get this decision overturned.

However, I don't fully understand your complaint. Are you proposing no legal restriction on any expression at all? Burning crosses are acceptable on the clansman's property even if he's the neighbor to a black man? Racial epithets used to incite a person to violence is free from legal culpability? If Congress can make no law, do Universities and businesses have better wisdom than the government in abridging its use in their enviroments? How about protecting secret documents; can we prohibit a person from speaking about these? Counter instances are numerous to come by and I think you would be in the minority position to say that all expression is always good and never to be abridged.

What you propose is the world run as the internet runs, where anyone can say anything. An intriguing idea, except that people are relatively anonymous on the internet, and the social consequence is minimal. In the non-virtual world, speech can have an effect that just cannot happen on the internet. It would be the height of over-optimism to think that the same rules that govern (or don't govern) on the internet can be applied to flesh and blood life.

I feel secure that the courts know better than to try to uphold foolish laws that ban speech. In my studies of Supreme Court opinions, I feel satisfied that they know what they are doing. By the time the Supreme Court has finished with it, free speech has generally been upheld satisfactorily in my opinion. It's possible that we've accidentally had the right justices, but I think it's easier to keep our several old wise men on a single page than it is to convince the entire nation. For that reason, I think free expression is more important to remember in the private arena than it is in the public arena anymore. The courts already know it's important. More witch hunts happen in the media than ever occur in the courts, and the social punishment can carry as much weight as a sentence. Pee Wee Herman will never have a children's show again. Politically Incorrect is getting a new host because of Bill Mahrer's comments following September 11. Social death can be just as harsh as a prison term.

And, hey, if you're ever in San Diego, let me know.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Expression in video games (4.00 / 1) (#186)
by IHCOYC on Tue May 14, 2002 at 12:14:41 PM EST

There's two problems here: 1-the merits & limits of free speech; 2-qualifying video games as speech. As of yet, the latter is being debated, and I think they'll have a moderately tough time of it. It isn't speech in the traditional sense, nor is it expressive.
In fact, the video games that usually become targets for the censors' wrath are the most expressive of the lot. A game where you dodge police in rampaging automobiles and run over pedestrians for points; or a first person shooter set in a high school with student and faculty targets --- these are the sort of games that seem to generate the most fuss. There's certainly a lot of authorial self-expression here, and even "political" content, if that's important. The games become targets for censorship because it's perceived that they do have a message, and the message is thought objectionable.

Utilitarianism is flawed as a grounds for justifying freedom of speech for a number of reasons. The causes the censors wish to advance are always mighty important, at least in their own minds. You end up haggling with activists and other fanatics about whether the great cause is all that important, and whether it's truly advanced by the proposed régime of censorship. The right outcome is not guaranteed by this process.

More importantly, utilitarianism does not get government out of the business of judging the effectiveness and intent of speech, or the usefulness of the message conveyed. The skills needed to get elected or appointed don't have much in common with the qualities most valuable to someone in this role --- like a literary education, a taste for irony, catholic reading tastes, and a sense of humour. In fact, I suspect the qualities valuable to the critic are things the Sovereign People just can't relate to. So government officials do poorly at this job, even if you accept that it's part of government's legitimate business.

This message has been placed here IN MEMORIAM by the Tijuana Bible Society.
[ Parent ]

The Wiz (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by Graymalkin on Sun May 12, 2002 at 12:57:38 AM EST

The Wizard of Oz was a metaphor about America's adoption of silver as a monetary standard. At the time Congress was in a todo about making silver a standard because the dollar was worth more and more since more people were making big bucks but the nation's gold reserves remained fairly constant. In the book Dorothy's slippers are silver and her trip down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City signifies the trip of the bill to Congress. The wicked witch of the West represented the banks in the West who were rolling like fat cats in the gold being mined out of California. The scarecrow represented mid western farmers while the tin man stood in for factories and railroads. The lion if you're curious was meant to represent the President at the time (I really wish I could remember who that was). The witch of the East represented East coast banks being being crushed by the "silver standard".

The meanings behind the Wiz were not oblique at the time it was written, they've just been lost over time because of the popularization of the story from the movie. Actually I don't think any of those works' meanings are quite so oblique as you suggest. While they aren't going to assist in home repair or personal finance reading them definitely conveys a meaning. Did I miss your intention by pointing those particular works out?

[ Parent ]

Oh, I get it. (none / 0) (#107)
by tekue on Mon May 13, 2002 at 05:28:17 AM EST

So according to your law, money is protected free speech because it contains the information about people asking this god person to bless their country, as well as some important data about being a "hundred dollars" worth, yet games are not. This is obvious to me now, thank you.

You know, for a free country, you have more restrictive laws one could responsibly shake a stick at — but I'm probably just some unamerican-euro-trash-liberal-junkie speaking speaking out of envy. My children (if I had any) would be able to play (God forbid!) any games I would agree for them to play, but your brave and moral leaders made it so you don't have to choose.

The US model of freedom is turning a bit into "freedom not to think". Way to go guys, keep working on it.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

Pardon? (4.33 / 6) (#31)
by rakslice on Sat May 11, 2002 at 04:40:07 PM EST

"I don't think that you can tell me that Resident Evil, Doom, Mortal Kombat, and Fear Effect have anything that approaches free speech protection. "

That doesn't make any sense! What about the in-game art, the storyline, the music, etc? It's hard to even pretend that the court decision involved a fair analysis of these games, no matter how litte value that analysis has (due to coverage of only 4 games). As far as I can see, the judge stuck his head in the sand to benefit the government's case. Plain and simple.

[ Parent ]

all wallpaper (none / 0) (#142)
by SocratesGhost on Mon May 13, 2002 at 01:17:11 PM EST

if i put a bumper sticker on my car, should that save it from being junked? That's essentially what the judge is saying, and I can see his point. The game is to shoot zombies in Resident Evil. The artwork could be (and has been) posted to websites independent of the game. You can listen to the music while not playing the game. Essentially, the game is one component, and the music, graphics, story, etc. are other components that make up the title "Resident Evil". As such, the game (of shooting zombies) is not speech; the music, art, and everything else is.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Control your destiny, or someone else will (none / 0) (#214)
by rakslice on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 04:51:34 AM EST

"if i put a bumper sticker on my car, should that save it from being junked?"

Great example. [translation: nasty dissection ahead]

I can't pass up a juicy metaphor (as if my arguments weren't tenuous enough already...)

Now, the US government and state governments aren't in the business of ordering private citizens to junk their cars.  But, in some cases, they may refuse to let them be driven on public roads.  Suppose that Joe owns a big 'ol heap of rust, has had one too many close calls in it, and is so ordered. One day, Joe gets an idea; he goes out to the front yard, affixes his shiny new "Control your destiny, or someone else will" bumper sticker to the back of his car, and takes his it down off the blocks for a victory lap around Bigsville.

Now, after the friendly neighborhood sherrif finishes telling the story of how they tracked Joe down by following the trail of broken bailing wire ties to his house, Joe explains to the judge that he was simply exercising his right to free expression by publicly displaying his new bumper sticker, and that he didn't know the car would stall out in middle of the railroad tracks, honest!

The railroad company lawyer, being a kindly type and not wanting Joe to be at a loss for an opportunity to display his bumper sticker, points out that the Bigsville community could draw every bit as much wholesome enjoyment from Joe's new bumper sticker if it was hanging on the front door of Joe's home.  But, the judge dismisses this reasoning.  Although the railroad is quite right to complain about Joe's rust bucket being out and about, he says, the state only refused to license joe's car because they have a compelling interest in ensuring public safety.  They don't have anything against his bumper sticker.  Whether or not Joe has an alternate location to display his bumper sticker really isn't important to the case.  Even if Joe had decided that, after his car's newest bailing wire part reattachments, it was so solid that it merited a public demonstration at high speed down main street (one that couldn't be replicated properly on the front lawn of his house), the state's interest in public safety would still be enough to outweigh his right to such a perform demonstration.

Well, the judge has poor Joe's driver's licence taken away, and forces him to pay the legal costs; now he couldn't afford to buy another car even if he was allowed to drive one.  But at least his bumper sticker is embedded firmly in the level crossing, for future generations to marvel at.

Ok, well, that was fun.  So, what am I getting at here?

It sounds, in part, like you're saying that prohibition of violent games doesn't violate the First Amendment because various pieces of the content involved can be expressed in other ways.

But the case history doesn't give this argument much weight.  Either their reasons for making an exception to constitutional guarantees are compelling or they aren't; but they don't need to be any less compelling just because the game developers could express their ideas some other way.

Of course, it could be that you're not trying to say that; maybe you're just saying that certain "parts" of the game aren't part of the game at all, in the same way we wouldn't assume that an entire car is part of the expression intended by a bumper sticker (except, perhaps, if it says "My other car is a Porsche".) =)

"As such, the game (of shooting zombies) is not speech;"

Even if it was likely constitutional to prohibit only "parts" of the game, when you get right down to it, there would have to be some non-speech "core" of the game to ban.  But what part of the game is it that isn't speech?  Virtually everything to do with the shooting of zombies is speech:  zombie visuals, 3d models, synchronization of sound effects with triggered events, even zombie movement patterns and AI behaviour.  To the extent that the player shoots zombies because it is suggested in the game, the zombie shooting is part of the storyline, and thus appears to be expression on the part of the game designers.  And, to the extent that the player shoots zombies because they decide to do so on their own, their choices can't be part of the non-speech "core" we're looking for, because they're supplied by the player, and aren't part of the game at all.

What does that leave?

It sounds to me like the lawmakers _really_ _want_ to say that they have a compelling interest in the distribution of video games to minors, or at least they think that many people believe there is such a compelling interest and will go along with the legislation because of that.  But they can't actually _say_ that, because they only really have a suspicion that there is such an interest, and they don't have an evidenciary leg to stand on when it comes right down to it.  So, they're fiddling around, trying to find new angles to use to get their legislation through constitutionality tests.

Of course, that's just my $0.02, and I could be wrong.

-aT

[ Parent ]

Doom as free speech (4.60 / 5) (#32)
by bigbigbison on Sat May 11, 2002 at 05:26:01 PM EST

In a story I posted over at joystick101.org, I argued that Doom can be seen as a metaphor for life in the corporate world. So I would tend to think that there are messages protrayed in games like Doom.

Judge Limbaugh said that videogames have more in common with board games and sports than any movie and I agree. However, I think that it seems obvious that a board game such as Life As a Black Man has ideas that should be protected under free speech. So in my opinion, he is wrong on several counts.

[ Parent ]

Speech? (2.66 / 3) (#36)
by delmoi on Sat May 11, 2002 at 06:50:09 PM EST

Other then child pronography, all speech is protected. Are you saying that there is child pornography in DOOM?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Speech (3.33 / 3) (#59)
by DarkZero on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:25:48 AM EST

Doom has no statement or narrative. It's just a game, with rules and objectives, just like baseball or chess. Games, in the strict sense, are not speech. Many video games, however, aren't games in the strict sense. But Doom isn't one of them.

[ Parent ]
Please don't vote that up. (5.00 / 2) (#76)
by DarkZero on Sun May 12, 2002 at 03:17:14 PM EST

I read the other replies after I wrote that. What I wrote was total crap. The music, art, sound, and possibly the design of the game all count as speech individually, so the game should count as speech as a work.

[ Parent ]
Doom iis not a game (2.00 / 4) (#84)
by medham on Sun May 12, 2002 at 05:46:35 PM EST

Like baseball or chess. Both of these require skill, the former especially. The latter is more of a brute computational thing, which is why a computer beating a man is about as impressive as a crane lifting more than Tony Robbins.

Doom is an obsession, a way to filter out the real world and substitute one filled with ravenous demons and infinite ammo. You get to start over when you die. Try that after throwing a TV out of your Hilton window.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Just curious (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by Bnonn on Sun May 12, 2002 at 07:13:00 AM EST

I'm not suggesting you're wrong; I know nothing of US law. I'm just wondering if you could point me to a source that backs up your statement. Ta;

[ Parent ]
references (none / 0) (#138)
by SocratesGhost on Mon May 13, 2002 at 01:03:22 PM EST

I linked directly to the opinion so you can read it there (where he cites the 1982 case)

As for backing up jurisprudence behind free speech, this could get long, but I'd strongly refer you to John Stuart Mills' work "On Liberty", 1859, and there are many decisions which plainly echo his notion of the search for truth in the marketplace of ideas. Ideas must be free in order to be "shopped around" to verify their veracity.

Blackstone's "Commentaries on the Law of England", 1769, is also important, since many of the US Founding Fathers were heavily influenced by his notions regarding a free press(i.e. freedom from prior restraints).

Alexander Mieklejohn, "Free Speech and its Relation to Self-Government", 1948, put forth the idea that government at heart is about self-governance. Just as our ability to understand affairs of state is limited by what we read, so to are we limited in the affairs of life.

There's also a great US legal reference: "Constitutional Law" edited by Stone, Seidman, Sunstein and Tushnet, published by Little, Brown & Company. I refer to it a lot on actual cases, but they cover the entire history of expression in all of its incarnations: dangerous ideas, provocation, confidentiality, etc. A great read about US Law, although not exactly bedtime material. It looks like a book from a shelf in a law office.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
ack! (none / 0) (#141)
by SocratesGhost on Mon May 13, 2002 at 01:09:57 PM EST

I was reading backwards through the thread and I thought this was a question to my argument. Nevermind.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
What constitutes speech... (none / 0) (#158)
by rantweasel on Mon May 13, 2002 at 07:09:40 PM EST

I've just been reading the 1st Amendment book in the May It Please the Court series (I highly recommend any of the books in the series), and as it pointed out there, ballet performances count as speech.  Some  justices have even considered exotic dancing to be speech (see Barnes v Glen Theatre, Inc).  Just because the message is purely emotive doesn't mean that the message isn't speech.

mathias

[ Parent ]

would be interesting (4.33 / 3) (#18)
by Mr. Piccolo on Fri May 10, 2002 at 11:40:06 PM EST

to see the criminal records of rugby or Australian-rules football players.

The BBC would like to apologise for the following comment.


Or ... (none / 0) (#38)
by vambo rool on Sat May 11, 2002 at 07:55:42 PM EST

...parents of youth hockey plaers.

[ Parent ]
Big Honking Deal (5.00 / 4) (#33)
by enry on Sat May 11, 2002 at 05:26:12 PM EST

[posted as editorial, now regular comment]

The MPAA came up with the rating system and enforcement because the govt was going to mandate it. It's a pretty common tactic, and a good one too when you think about it.

Govt should only step in when private industry fails to protect its customers. In the case of the meat packing industry (see "The Jungle"), the govt had to step in and legislate how many rat turds can be in sausage, etc. In the case of the MPAA, the govt threatened legislation, and the MPAA responded by creating their own rating system that the govt okayed by pulling the legislation. Hence the real reason why Senator Disney brought the SSSCA - the thought of tech industries being legislated by congress should have shocked them enough to start talking to the entertainment industry. But Sen. Disney forgot about the consumers, who yelled a lot.

Rating System (2.00 / 3) (#57)
by DarkZero on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:22:54 AM EST

The video game industry has had a rating system for almost a decade. Maybe you should find out about what you're talking about before you speak.

[ Parent ]
No squat, sherlock (none / 0) (#68)
by enry on Sun May 12, 2002 at 10:39:46 AM EST

Yep, it's there.  But unlike the MPAA rating system, the video game industry doesn't enforce its ratings.  If a 15-yr old goes to a R-movie, the theater will not sell him a ticket.  But if he wants to get an "M" rated game, he is allowed (by the store) to purchase it.  Right now, neither is enforced by rule of law.

Thus the reason for the legislation.  The VG industry will say "well....we can go back to the retailers and be sure they enforce the rating system and make sure that kids can't buy violent (mature) video games".  The legislation dies somewhere, and everyone is happy.  Except the kids that want to buy  Domination Spank Police.

[ Parent ]

Of course there is a link between tv and violence (2.33 / 9) (#34)
by Phillip Asheo on Sat May 11, 2002 at 06:25:29 PM EST

If advertisers did not believe TV influences us why would they pay billions every year for airtime ?

If TV does not influence us, how come the porno movie industry in the USA is bigger than the mainstream movie industry. Are you trying to tell me that people don't masturbate to these images ?

Its clear to anyone with an ounce of intelligence. Adverts make people buy things. Porno movies make people masturbate and violent movies make people violent.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long

Right (5.00 / 1) (#45)
by carbon on Sat May 11, 2002 at 09:47:27 PM EST

For one thing, that's not quite valid logic. If watching something happen on the tube makes me do what I'm watching, then porno movies should make me want to have sex with beautiful women, and I'm fairly sure that biologically, as a species we haven't depended on TV for that. Porno movies are popular not because porno causes people to want to watch sex, but because people already want to watch sex as a result of having gone through puberty, and porno just applies to that market.

Plus, there's the matter of advertiser intention. Sure, ads can make people (though certainly not everyone) buy things, but the goal of people making violent video games isn't to make people become violent, it's to entertain people so that they go and buy more video games later.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
let's invent facts! (3.00 / 2) (#54)
by j1mmy on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:18:21 AM EST

If TV does not influence us, how come the porno movie industry in the USA is bigger than the mainstream movie industry.

Proof?

[ Parent ]

alternate take (4.66 / 3) (#60)
by spider jeruselem on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:33:00 AM EST

Adverts make people buy things. Porno movies make people masturbate and violent movies make people violent.

Advertisements make people aware of things, and then they choose whether or not to buy them. People that want soap are more likely to buy a brand whose name they are familiar with.

Porn doesn't "make" people masturbate any more than a car "makes" someone move quickly along a highway. It's a masturbation tool that is provided to people who already want to masturbate.

And likewise, violent movies/games provide entertainment, just like professional sports, gladiator arenas, and novels by Clive Cussler. If anything, they're a relief valve for a society, allowing people to experience violence without enacting it. Like advertisements and porn, you notice a pattern, because if someone is criminally violent, he will probably ALSO enjoy violent movies/games. You simply have the causality reversed.

------------
The man who hungers for truth should expect no mercy and give none.
[ Parent ]

hun? (2.66 / 3) (#74)
by marc987 on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:53:50 PM EST

"Advertisements make people aware of things, and then they choose whether or not to buy them. "

Violent games make people more aware of violence as a means of conflict resolution?

"Porn doesn't "make" people masturbate any more than a car "makes" someone move quickly along a highway. It's a masturbation tool that is provided to people who already want to masturbate."

Once you get a porn video are you more/the same/less likely to masturbate than if you never got the porn video?

Owning a car doesn't make you more likely to drive a car?

"And likewise, violent movies/games provide entertainment, just like professional sports, gladiator arenas, and novels by Clive Cussler. If anything, they're a relief valve for a society, allowing people to experience violence without enacting it."

Will virtual child pornorgraphie(please excuse my spelling) benefit society in the same way?

"Like advertisements and porn, you notice a pattern, because if someone is criminally violent, he will probably ALSO enjoy violent movies/games. You simply have the causality reversed."

I don't think things are so simple(causality is an abstraction), but i do think the more you expose a human to violent behavior(physical, verbal or virtual) the more probable he may exibit violent behavior.

I disagree with the bill, i feel it's based on the theory that repression and blame are major tools for reducing violent behaviour on our planet.

[ Parent ]

Your innuendos (4.66 / 3) (#77)
by Mysidia on Sun May 12, 2002 at 03:26:39 PM EST

"Advertisements make people aware of things, and then they choose whether or not to buy them. "

Violent games make people more aware of violence as a means of conflict resolution?

Your implication is bogus. People are already aware of violence as a means of conflict resolution it is the natural form of conflict resolution, the one animals use. Even fairly young kids can get pretty physically violent in a conflict, and that's happened since long before violent television programming was around.

A violent world makes people more aware of violence too.

"Porn doesn't "make" people masturbate any more than a car "makes" someone move quickly along a highway. It's a masturbation tool that is provided to people who already want to masturbate."

Once you get a porn video are you more/the same/less likely to masturbate than if you never got the porn video?

Maybe. Porn is not violence. What would make you more likely to get a porn video?

Owning a car doesn't make you more likely to drive a car?

Maybe not. There are ways to drive a car other than owning it, maybe you lease or drive someone else's. But you own a car in order to drive it. You don't drive a car in order to own it as you imply.

Will virtual child pornorgraphie(please excuse my spelling) benefit society in the same way?

What does this have to do with anything? Not everything that exists within society is for the benefit of the society; many of the things that exist within society are for the benefit of its individuals. Society has its needs and desires, and people have their needs/desires too.

I don't think things are so simple(causality is an abstraction), but i do think the more you expose a human to violent behavior(physical, verbal or virtual) the more probable he may exibit violent behavior.

Causality is a tool that can be used in the abstract, but that does not cause it to be abstract. Causality is very real.

The fact that A causes B and you observe A when you also observe B does not mean that B causes A.

So the fact that you observe two things together often does not tell you which causes the other or to what [if any degree] each one you observe can cause the other.



[ Parent ]
Animal farm (3.00 / 1) (#80)
by mami on Sun May 12, 2002 at 04:14:37 PM EST

Your implication is bogus. People are already aware of violence as a means of conflict resolution it is the natural form of conflict resolution, the one animals use. Even fairly "young kids can get pretty physically violent in a conflict

Some people prefer "Animal Farm" to Civil Societies, but not all...

Causality is very real.

Yeah, that's why it's so hard to prove it... all this complexity blurs the mind for the obvious simple things in life.

[ Parent ]

Yeah (none / 0) (#86)
by marc987 on Sun May 12, 2002 at 06:21:41 PM EST

To start quoting your reactions to my mostly rhetorical comments in reaction to the previous poster's comments to the original post just hurts too much.

That said, there are many definitions of abstration that i feel apply to my comment: "causality is an abstraction"

For example:
--Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. The act of separating, or withdrawing
2. (Metaph.) The act process of leaving out of consideration one or more properties of a complex object so as to attend to others
--WordNet (r) 1.7 :
1: a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
5: preoccupation with something to the exclusion of all else
6: a general concept formed by extracting common features from specific examples
--Free On-line Dictionary of Computing
1. Generalisation; ignoring or hiding details to capture some kind of commonality between different instances.
2. Parameterisation, making something a function of something else

I believe causality, like blame, is a useful tool. But when applied to a complex system like virtual reality and violent behaviour it can become a rhetorical blindfold to the far reaching causes and real solutions to the reduction of human violence.

As humans we know that the more you expose a human to violent behavior(physical, verbal or virtual) the more probable he may exibit violent behavior in conflict resolution.

[ Parent ]

clarification (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by spider jeruselem on Sun May 12, 2002 at 05:57:22 PM EST

>Violent games make people more aware of violence as a means of conflict resolution?

No, my point was to illustrate that advertisement and video games were very separate things, and that it was incorrect to point at advertising affecting people as a reason to believe that video games create violence.

>Once you get a porn video are you more/the same/less likely to masturbate than if you never got the porn video?

Right, this was yet again to illustrate the difference.  If you have a video game, you're much more likely to play that video game than if you DON'T own the video game, but it says nothing about your probability of committing violence.

>Will virtual child pornorgraphie(please excuse my spelling) benefit society in the same way?

Honestly, it might.  The reasons I have for supporting people's right to make virtual child pornography are actually entirely founded in freedom of speech arguments, but I think that if some sicko can masturbate to a picture of a fake kid, he'd be less likely to molest a real one.  Again, it's a relief valve.

------------
The man who hungers for truth should expect no mercy and give none.
[ Parent ]

RE (none / 0) (#90)
by marc987 on Sun May 12, 2002 at 07:52:11 PM EST

I just read the whole thread and yes the original poster is "jumping to conclusions" and my post was, well, mostly cynical.

The more you expose a human to violent behavior(physical, verbal or virtual) the more probable he may exibit violent behavior.

[ Parent ]

That's pretty unsupported (none / 0) (#101)
by carbon on Mon May 13, 2002 at 01:30:01 AM EST

The more you expose a human to violent behavior(physical, verbal or virtual) the more probable he may exibit violent behavior.

Give me some evidence! I hear this statement repeated endlessly, but I have yet to hear any solid justification behind it. I play video games all the time, but I'm a pacificst; I've never gotten into a serious fight of any kind, and I'm about as anti-military as you get.

I'm capable of internally distinguishing between violence in the form of depictions for the purpose of dramatization and art (for example, Shakespeare, or Final Fantasy) and in the form of real suffering and death, and futhermore, of understanding that if something works in a video game, it won't work everywhere. I'm not an idiot, and I'm not undergoing a process of brainwashing, any more then anyone who watches light saber fighting in Star Wars, or a boxing match, or even a game of chess!


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
pyschiatry, psychology, sociology... (none / 0) (#129)
by marc987 on Mon May 13, 2002 at 12:08:10 PM EST

The more you expose a human to swearing the more likely he is to swear. This does not imply that any particular person will react violently because he plays violent video games. Education and exposure start at birth. The more violent stimulie in the envirement the more likely violent behaviour will occur and the more pacifist stimulie in the envierment the more likely pacifist behaviour will occur. Youre pacifist subroutines outweight youre level of exposure to violence. Most adults can control their behaviour, by acting and behaving as a pacifist you encourage pacifist behaviour in others and vice versa.

There is no A causes B: play games-->assault friends

(I oppose the bill)

[ Parent ]

you underestimate people (none / 0) (#166)
by spider jeruselem on Mon May 13, 2002 at 11:36:26 PM EST

I don't buy that line of thought, because I think of people as reasonable beings.  I'm not of the school of thought that looks down on the mass of humanity as unthinking savages.

You are the one who controls your behavior.  I read books with violence, theft, and corruption.  I see killing in the news, I watch violence in movies, I play video games where innocents are tortured, and death is commonplace.

This gives me no excuse not to act responsibly.  If I act violently, this is because I choose to, and it's not any more probable if I see 100 more violent movies.  It's still a choice, and pointing to violence in media of any kind as a reason that violence exists is simply extending the culture of victimhood that I despise.

People killed, raped, murdered and stole before movies, books, and video games, and they'll continue to do so no matter what our media evolves into.  People will always scream that it's media's fault, and they'll always be wrong.

------------
The man who hungers for truth should expect no mercy and give none.
[ Parent ]

Line of though? behavioral science? (none / 0) (#197)
by marc987 on Wed May 15, 2002 at 10:14:46 AM EST

I don't define humans as "unthinking savages" .

I oppose the bill because it assumes that repressive behaviour reduces violence.

I believe that to reduce violence, as a society and as individuals, we must reduce teaching violence in all its forms.



[ Parent ]

Owning a car. (4.50 / 2) (#118)
by tekue on Mon May 13, 2002 at 07:02:53 AM EST

Owning a car doesn't make you more likely to drive a car?
Well, owning a dick makes me more likely to rape somebody, but I try not to.

Seriously, stupid question not argument make. Owning a tool makes you more likely to do the job, but we're talking about whether you want a tool because you need a job done, or you want a job done because you have a tool.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

Hrm. (3.25 / 4) (#35)
by delmoi on Sat May 11, 2002 at 06:47:13 PM EST

and a report that "found" that "violent" videogames cause violence, despite the fact that there other reports claiming that there is no link.

Why did you put quotation marks around 'found' and 'violent' as if they were somehow invalid uses of the words?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
"violent" (5.00 / 3) (#40)
by gnovos on Sat May 11, 2002 at 08:53:36 PM EST

Probably because the game itself is not violent, it doesn't go around attacking things... it may contain content that can be thought of as violent, but the game itself is just sitting there on a CD not messing with anybody.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Games can be violent. (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sat May 11, 2002 at 11:33:45 PM EST

I once heard the story of a guy whose finger was still in the hole in the center of a game CD-ROM, and he accidentaly hit the CD-ROM tray and caused it to close.

He finger got a nasty cut.

The game was called "Blood."

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

To reiterate... (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by gnovos on Sun May 12, 2002 at 03:58:47 AM EST

All your anecdote has poited out was that CDs and CD-players are violent, which has long been known to be true.  The games themselves, however, are but passive riders on these cruel creatures, and are not violent.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
Quotations (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by AmberEyes on Sat May 11, 2002 at 09:15:11 PM EST

Probably because a lot of times these "reports" (and I use that to indicate that they are less reports than they are fear-mongering propaganda to push an agenda) often "find" (through the use of bad polling practices, generalized assumptions, or post hoc fallacies) that "violent" games (violence being of course, totally subjective to the viewer, much like pornography) tend to cause violence.

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
correlations do not prove anything (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by annenk38 on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:04:55 AM EST

I have to agree with the poster's skepticism regarding that report. Any study that draws conclusions from correlation alone is laughable. Correlations are symmetric, and as such, do not demonstrate a cause-effect relationship. Any hypothesis thrown in has to be validated by observing a statistically significant number of test subjects over a number of years. Since the video games are a fairly recent phenomenon, it is safe to dismiss any such report outright.

And if my left hand causes me to stumble as well -- what do I cut it off with? -- Harry, Prince of Wales (The Blackadder)
[ Parent ]
Bias (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by DarkZero on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:20:03 AM EST

The only reports I've seen that have found a link between video games and violence are usually funded by groups with an agenda and are the only reports to find such a conclusion among the dozen or so larger reports that disagree.

"Found" is probably in quotes because the phrase "a report found..." usually implies use of a serious, objective scientific method in the data gathering process, which probably isn't the case here. "Violent" is probably in quotes because it's a very subjective term and really means nothing without a specific definition from the people running the study.

[ Parent ]

Standard Rating System (4.00 / 1) (#48)
by dirvish on Sat May 11, 2002 at 11:55:03 PM EST

Has the rating system for games become standardized? Until there are laws concerning a rating system it doesn't seem fair to penalize anyone for renting to minors.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
Rating System (5.00 / 2) (#53)
by DarkZero on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:16:13 AM EST

There's a rating system, called the ESRB (I believe it's "Entertainment Software Ratings Board", off the top of my head). However, it is woefully inadequate and seems to be growing more and more ridiculous by the day. It gives out its highest ratings for violence and sex based on individual seconds of violence within games, despite the fact that the other fifteen plus hours of a game could be nothing more than pacifistic puzzle solving and such.

Case in point: Devil May Cry, an action game that features little blood and no violence against humans, but has a single, brief scene of gore, has the same rating as "Silent Hill 2", a blood-soaked horror game filled with charred corpses, extreme violence against normal human beings, and a violent, on screen sex/rape scene between three demons.

[ Parent ]

You want violence? I got your violence right here (4.25 / 8) (#51)
by Graymalkin on Sun May 12, 2002 at 01:27:15 AM EST

We know these bills are retarded, it is fairly obvious to anyone who has at least seen a clue stick. They exist so a representitive can go back to his or her constituants and say "look at what I did, I'm all for insert concern or cause here so vote for me again." Under rigorous examination the bill will be thrown out of a legistlative body pretty quickly. If it isn't the Supreme Court will bitchslap it back to loserville. However, it is patently absurd to suggest that some games are NOT violent and to question someone's definition of violence.

GTA3, Quake, Doom, Wolfenstein, Mortal Kombat, these are violent video games. If you suggest otherwise you need to be smacked upside the head. However do they make people violent? There's arguments supporting any answer but I will go out on a limb and say no. They are video games, despite how real some blind short bus rider thinks they look they can easily be identified as video games. To play I have to put a disc in a console or turn my computer on. They don't have some hyper-realistic VR headset and bodysuit, I play them on a TV screen or a computer monitor. If you can't see that these games are not reality there are deeper issues involved than just being exposed to violence.

The Columbine kids were fucked up, Doom didn't fuck them up. They were already fucked up. Their parents were also jackasses who didn't give a shit about them and didn't pay them enough attention when they really needed it. They are just used as a scare mongering tactic by legistlators to personalize the issue. "Do you want that happening to YOUR child?" Then there are always the dumbfuck statistics which are ridiculous to begin with. The people who are suggesting these laws were the kids listening to rock music in the 50's and 60's with their parents thinking it would turn them into hoodlums. It's sad the irony doesn't strike them. If video games weren't around there would undoubtably be another scapegoat. For a while it was rock music then movies then rock music and now video games since they have lots of money to get from frivolous lawsuits now. Shit like this always follows the money and always will. When those of you bitching about this are 40 (who obviously are under 40) and some kid goes on a rampage at his school or spacedome or whatever you'll find something convenient to blame it on. If you don't someone else will and you'll agree to it.

You make youre own point (4.50 / 4) (#71)
by marc987 on Sun May 12, 2002 at 01:55:17 PM EST

"and some kid goes on a rampage at his school or spacedome or whatever you'll find something convenient to blame it on."

"The Columbine kids were fucked up, Doom didn't fuck them up.They were already fucked up. Their parents were also jackasses who didn't give a shit about them and didn't pay them enough attention when they really needed it"

[ Parent ]

Not really following the money... (4.50 / 2) (#88)
by Eater on Sun May 12, 2002 at 07:22:47 PM EST

If they were following the money, they would still be picking on the entertainment industry or the music industry. I think the reason they're going for video games is that the video game industry is not very powerful but is a big enough target to aim at.

[ Parent ]
Video Games (4.00 / 2) (#99)
by Graymalkin on Sun May 12, 2002 at 11:26:25 PM EST

The vide ogame industry is worth billions of dollars. They collectively worth about ten billion dollars there is a huge cash cow there. Coupled with the fact they aren't nearly as mature as other entertainment industries which have been around for more than fifty years they make a great whipping boy. People are going after the money, in case you've been living under a rock you're whole life the movie and music industry comes under attack almost perennially from various lawsuits of all forms. While you're correct in saying they are an easy target suggesting that people aren't following the money or the video game industry has little in the way of clout is misleading. They've got clout in spades, it is just too young of an industry for judges and lawyers to really understand it. To say someone over 50 has never seen a movie or listened to music is preposterous but to say they haven't played a Nintendo or Atari wouldn't be so far fetched.

[ Parent ]
Did anyone see his name (4.00 / 5) (#56)
by rszasz on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:22:37 AM EST

Isn't it a bit late for an April fools joke Mr. Baka (name intentionaly mispelled)

WARNING: (2.00 / 1) (#93)
by afree87 on Sun May 12, 2002 at 08:29:04 PM EST

If people don't get your joke, they are going to vote it DOWN. Gomen.
--
Ha... yeah.
[ Parent ]
Wrong (none / 0) (#103)
by DoomGerbil on Mon May 13, 2002 at 02:37:56 AM EST

This guy is my congressman. I'm writing him now. He's a big idiot, judging by his past actions/speeches.

[ Parent ]
kinda strange who ends up being more violent (4.00 / 7) (#58)
by Mclaren on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:24:28 AM EST

it's funny, the football players are the assholes, not the kids who sit home playing Counter-Strike all night. not to generalize here, but the one's who play football seem to be the one's who terrorize retarded kids, and also the kids who end up going on a shooting rampage. maybe if these assholes could grow up, then we might see an end to this.

Maturity (5.00 / 5) (#82)
by Korimyr the Rat on Sun May 12, 2002 at 04:44:15 PM EST

They'd grow up a lot faster if the school system would stop sucking up to them for their athletic prowess. If they got punished for the things they do...

 There was a guy I knew like that back in high school. I was in a class with him that was taught by the football coach-- but, the coach knew the guy was a jackass. He didn't make him stop picking on other people, but he kept his distance when I'd tear into him.

 I'd like to think that my mockery made him grow up, but in all likelihood, it was just fun and morally satisfying for me. At the very least, I think some of the kids he picked on realized he wasn't so big and bad.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

defining the role of your government (4.60 / 5) (#62)
by spider jeruselem on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:52:36 AM EST

Simply put, this is none of the government's business.

Regulations like this belong in the private industry.  A market, left to its own devices, solves these problems.  

Parents complain about violence in games, video game companies respond with a rating system.  At that point, it becomes the responsibility of every parent to decide based on the rating and their own personal viewing of the game if this is appropriate for their child.  End of story.

You only get the full beneficial effects of a democracy with free market capitalism when you decentralize the power, and babysit your own kids.  The government should not exist to babysit us.

If your child plays violent games that you disagree with, that's your fault as a parent for not a) observing and acting upon what your child purchases, and b) speaking with your child about what you feel is acceptable material for him/her to be playing, and why.  All of these problems can be solved at the source, instead of choking an industry.

------------
The man who hungers for truth should expect no mercy and give none.

You know what a market does? (1.75 / 8) (#94)
by medham on Sun May 12, 2002 at 09:50:07 PM EST

Builds fragmentation grenades in the colorful plastic of children's toys.

Stalinist.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Binaryalchemy: idiot coward (1.60 / 5) (#96)
by medham on Sun May 12, 2002 at 10:36:28 PM EST

I venture that you have the intellect of a vole, and that if you indulged just once in an attempt to argue with what you rate, you'd be sent scurrying in your little earthmounds quicker than the piercing cry would reach Antonia's ears.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Losing our freedom (1.80 / 5) (#69)
by xtremex on Sun May 12, 2002 at 12:36:53 PM EST

This is the first step to an eventual oligarchy...
Go to http://www.crimeagainstamerica.com

Re: Losing our freedom (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by AnalogBoy on Sun May 12, 2002 at 01:22:21 PM EST

I'd be willing to venture we've already lost far more than the founding fathers ever thought possible in their nation.

You'll know it's gotten worse when we have to tell our children that 1984 is a work of fiction, not history, and you didn't notice the transition.
--
Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
[ Parent ]

I fail to see the problem. (2.50 / 2) (#72)
by /dev/trash on Sun May 12, 2002 at 02:27:18 PM EST

So a minor won't be able to buy a game. Most kids I know will just get an older friend or their own parents to buy it.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
The Problem (3.00 / 2) (#75)
by DarkZero on Sun May 12, 2002 at 03:12:42 PM EST

"A minor won't be able to buy the game" is what these laws SAY they are doing. But really, they're lying. These legislators have included options in these laws for people buying the game to be carded and for arcades to build special closed off areas for violent games, but they fully knew that they were bullshit when they included them. The effect of this law, especially if it becomes a federal one, is that major video store rental and sales chains will stop stocking M-rated games to prevent a public backlash against their stores for "selling violent, illegal games". This will shrink the sales potential for M-rated games down to specialty stores like Electronics Boutique, which would be such a small amount of sales potential that it would create a chilling effect in the game industry. No one would make any more M-rated games out of the very justified fear that they wouldn't sell.

Also, the arcade industry doesn't have the money to wall off special sections of their arcades. The games wouldn't make any money in there, anyway. So the only solution is to throw out all of their violent games (at least 60% of their stock in most cases, but probably more), most of which probably won't have paid back on their investment by the time that they throw them out. This would effectively kill off the arcade industry in the United States.

So really, while this games LOOKS like it's just making it a little bit more difficult for minors to buy violent games, it's actually banning violent games by bankrupting their creators and then killing off the arcade industry as a bonus for the anti-video-game legislators.

[ Parent ]

Not really (1.50 / 2) (#81)
by greg pass on Sun May 12, 2002 at 04:19:40 PM EST

The effect of this law, especially if it becomes a federal one, is that major video store rental and sales chains will stop stocking M-rated games to prevent a public backlash against their stores for "selling violent, illegal games".

Exactly what will the proposed law do to cause such a backlash that not having a law won't do? The law only stops sales to minors, it doesn't dictate what the general public thinks about violent video games. And the term "illegal games" is also misleading, as the law won't illegalize games. You really should get a clue about what you're talking about before you talk about it.


greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass
[ Parent ]
Quotes (none / 0) (#83)
by DarkZero on Sun May 12, 2002 at 04:55:49 PM EST

"Selling violent, illegal games" was in quotes for a reason. It's what corporations are afraid people will say, and in the case of parental groups running propaganda campaigns, it's what they WILL say.

You really should get a clue about the language that you're writing in before you write with it. When someone uses quotes in that context, it means that they're attributing the words to someone other than themselves. In this case, it meant something that someone will probably say in the future. Of course the term "illegal games" is misleading. That was the point. It's the misleading bullshit that places like Blockbuster Video will be afraid that someone will use against them.

And besides, do you really think that places like Blockbuster Video, Hollywood Video, and almost any store that carries video games as a secondary product will keep these games on their shelves after the law says that they'll have to card people before they buy it? When's the last time you picked up a porno (as in a movie with something more graphic than R-rated sex scenes, not those "softcore" movies) in Blockbuster Video, Hollywood Video, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or JC Penney's? Because that's the only other thing that those stores are required by law to card people for, with the exception of rifles in Wal-Mart in only a handful of states.

[ Parent ]

Yes, quotes (none / 0) (#160)
by greg pass on Mon May 13, 2002 at 07:41:03 PM EST

When I originally said that that term was misleading, I originally didn't mean to imply that it was you that would go around saying that. But after rereading my post, I realize I missaid what I was saying, and the faulty brain cells have been smashed with a Q-Tip. I was just trying to point out that the term is misleading, and since you agree on that, that's all fine and dandy.

"Selling violent, illegal games" was in quotes for a reason. It's what corporations are afraid people will say, and in the case of parental groups running propaganda campaigns, it's what they WILL say.

No, they won't. Unless it's completely illegal, nobody's gonna say it is. Let's look at hunting firearms, porno, and beer. All of these things are illegal for minors to have, right? Now I don't always keep up as much as I should, but I've never heard any "illegal rifle", "illegal porno", or "illegal beer" talk, and I see little reason why the GTAs are going to be any different.

When's the last time you picked up a porno (as in a movie with something more graphic than R-rated sex scenes, not those "softcore" movies) in Blockbuster Video, Hollywood Video, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or JC Penney's?

All of these places don't sell porno because they want that "fun for the whole family" image that chains need to survive, whereas the local Bubba's Videos doesn't give a crap what the public thinks about. The difference between Half-Life and The Hot Life, is that sex is far different from violence. Kids get GI Joes and cap guns and Spiderman comics all the time as kids, whereas the most sexual thing kids ever see is a nippleless, pussyless Barbie. As such, the two are thought as different. That, and the presence of a law never really had any effect on any of this. If Bush drops the ball and they allow kids to buy porn without being carded, I doubt that any of the above chains will immediately stock up on porno, or that they immediately stopped selling porno when the said law was created.
greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass
[ Parent ]

I don't know. (none / 0) (#92)
by /dev/trash on Sun May 12, 2002 at 08:09:11 PM EST

You mention going bankrupt. Sorta like the Adult Film Industry is now bankrupt?

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
Problem not related to the games directly... (4.00 / 1) (#97)
by BushidoCoder on Sun May 12, 2002 at 10:41:16 PM EST

...but is rather indicative of a larger problem involving the technology and the way Capitol Hill is looking at it. In general, the current leaders of America are very slow to embrace the new medias as art, and that troubles me. Concider that within the past five years, the government has tried to censure websites carrying profane messages, refused to accept code as art, and now are labelling video games as "not art" (which begs the question, so eloquently phrased in penny-arcade, "If games can't communicate ideas, then why does he care who buys them?")

I think if the law ever caught up to realizing that the Internet is about ideas, not porn and failed businesses, then perhaps we'd see alot of useful changes in the States. For one, perhaps the government wouldn't be so strongly anti-online content, and stop siding with the MPAA and the RIAA all the time. Perhaps then, when they realize what I imagine every k5er already has, they'll begin to rethink the outdated copyright laws.

Until they begin to think of e-content as real content with the same value as that written in a book, I think we're gonna see alot more silly laws and rulings.

\bc

[ Parent ]

Coyboys and Indians (4.60 / 5) (#78)
by ttfkam on Sun May 12, 2002 at 04:01:24 PM EST

...and how many of our parents and grandparents (and me too -- who am I kidding?) grew up with toy guns which we happily pointed at our friends, fired a cap to simulate weapon discharge, and indignantly declared "I shot you first!"

What about "you be an indian and I'll be a coyboy"?  After all, this is under the assumption that these groups a supposed to try to kill one another; this makes it okay to role play with homocide.

People may try and retort with "The computer games are much more graphic than just pointing a gun."  This ignores a couple of important facts.

The first is that children have extremely vivid imaginations.  Or at least mine was more vivid back then than it is today.

The second is that kids are smart although sometimes foolish.  I knew at six years old that the toy gun wasn't real, that my friend wasn't really going to be hurt, and that no matter how many times we played, we could just hit the reset button (restart the role-play).  Why is it so hard to accept that in much the same way that kids can distinguish between a cap gun during play and a real gun in anger, that kids can distinguish between hitting A and B buttons to make computer graphics interact violently and taking a real gun out in the hopes of commiting murder and scoring a car?

"Kids these days" indeed.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami

Link between TV and Violence (none / 0) (#89)
by Demiurge on Sun May 12, 2002 at 07:42:44 PM EST

There's a documented link in young children between watching large amount of violent TV and displaying more aggressive behavior. I see no reason why computer games would be any different.

[ Parent ]
Reverse (4.00 / 1) (#102)
by carbon on Mon May 13, 2002 at 01:38:18 AM EST

Maybe it's just that aggressive children watch large amounts of violent TV? Show me some documentation involving an actual scientific experiment, i.e. with a control group.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Speaking of studies (4.00 / 1) (#207)
by ttfkam on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:44:37 PM EST

There is a much higher correlation between violent parents and their children.  Kids are more violent because their parents are violent.  When those kids grow up to be violent adults, they have kids.  And the cycle continues.  I think this is far greater a threat than any computer game.

I would also assume that kids who watch more violent television (and more television even when it's not particularly violent) are much more likely to have less adult supervision and interaction than their non-TV-watching counterparts.

The study would only be interesting if all other factors are equal -- or as close to equal that nature allows.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

WTF? (1.00 / 1) (#130)
by Bad Mojo on Mon May 13, 2002 at 12:13:53 PM EST

What the hell is a damned `coyboy'? Is this some reference to a gay man? Or a mispelling of the word coWboy?

-Bad Mojo
"The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!"
B. Watterson's Calvin - "Calvin & Hobbes"

[ Parent ]
Misspelling (4.00 / 1) (#206)
by ttfkam on Sat May 18, 2002 at 05:35:49 PM EST

although that reminds me: the people who worry about kids playing violent computer games also come from generations that played "smear the queer" in school.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
If every two bit moron couldn't get a gun (1.16 / 6) (#79)
by greg pass on Sun May 12, 2002 at 04:03:56 PM EST

In America, every two bit moron can get a gun. Yeah, I've heard the slogan "Guns Don't Kill People, People Kill People", but how many mass murders not involving guns have happened recently? Only ones involving bombs/planes, and not even America allows minors to have access to these, much less finding a minor with the knowledge necessary to operate one of these. So the point is: Minors need guns for mass murders. When was the last time you heard of an axe-murder not from your town? Plus, let's look at other countries than US. Murder rates are far lower in Canada, Britian, Australia, Japan, yadda yadda, whereas the Middle East, where you virtually have to have a gun just to live, the death rate is higher than my high score for Mario. Get rid of guns, get rid of mass murder.
greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass
Australia (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by Lenny on Sun May 12, 2002 at 08:01:05 PM EST

has had a 40-60% increase in violent crime since they passed harsh gun control laws. When you outlaw guns, only outlaws have guns. Some people just don't get it. Why don't you go after fertilizer? Ever heard of McVeigh?


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
someone having a gun wouldn't stop anyone (2.00 / 1) (#95)
by Mclaren on Sun May 12, 2002 at 09:58:11 PM EST

if i'm an "outlaw" and i have a gun, and i want to kill the guy down the street, no matter what type of gun he has, it wouldn't be a problem. having a gun doesn't protect him, seeing as how 99% of the time he won't be anywhere near it. even if he did have it near him, i could just shoot him by suprise. having a gun isn't going to protect him. all a gun does is make people afraid to be on your bad side, but i don't everyone havng a gun would prevent ANYTHING.

[ Parent ]
hmmn... (5.00 / 3) (#105)
by Greyshade on Mon May 13, 2002 at 04:05:27 AM EST

if i'm an "outlaw" and i have a <KNIFE>, and i want to kill the guy down the street, no matter what type of <KNIFE> he has, it wouldn't be a problem. having a <KNIFE> doesn't protect him, seeing as how 99% of the time he won't be anywhere near it. even if he did have it near him, i could just <STAB> him by suprise. having a <KNIFE> isn't going to protect him. all a <KNIFE> make people afraid to be on your bad side, but i don't everyone havng a <KNIFE> would prevent ANYTHING.

feel free to substitute FIST, BOOT, THERMONUCLER DEVICE, LART, CAR, PLANE, POLICE, GOVERMENT, etc.

Perhaps you should lobby to have all of these outlawed as well.

[ Parent ]

Depends on Several Things (none / 0) (#126)
by virg on Mon May 13, 2002 at 10:54:52 AM EST

Well, your argument covers only as very small segment of the whole gun debate, so I'll expand on it so you'll see where it fails (although I don't wish to say you're wrong, because you are correct in your scenario; you're just limiting yourself). First, your model assumes that gun killings are usually assassination-style hits. This isn't the case. Many killings with firearms are of the "escalated argument" type, and I'm much less likely to pull my gun in a barroom debate if I think that my target is going to pull iron and shoot back. Moreover, your scenario assumes that if I walk up to someone and start shooting, nobody else around me has a gun. If that's not the case, I'm very likely to find myself dead when a bystander plugs me. Therefore, I'm again less likely to go for my weapon if I think that I'll end up surrounded by others with guns.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
a (not so) obvious solution (none / 0) (#165)
by TheLogician on Mon May 13, 2002 at 10:41:47 PM EST

Let's break down your logic:
Many killings with firearms are of the "escalated argument" type
I'm much less likely to pull my gun in a barroom debate if I think that my target is going to pull iron and shoot back
First, you suppose many gun killings are of the escalated argument type. Second, you infer that by knowing your opponent has a gun, you would be a deterred to drawing your own. From this I conclude that your position is to demonstrate that by other people having guns, the escalated argument type killings will decrease. For argument's sake, I am even willing to accept this conclusion. Alternatively, consider another solution: to decrease escalated argument killings, why not eliminate guns altogether? Before you take offense to this argument, consider it. If we're arguing with each other, and presumably neither of us wants to commit murder, and our argument escalates, if we don't have a guns, we can't kill each other.....well, at least not easily.
I'm again less likely to go for my weapon if I think that I'll end up surrounded by others with guns
Again, the obvious solution is to eliminate guns from everyone. This has a much better effect on reducing "escalating argument murders" than giving everyone guns does. In conclusion, your position seems to be that giving everyone firearms reduces the chance of murders resulting from escalating arguments

[ Parent ]
Correctness and Realisticality (none / 0) (#189)
by virg on Tue May 14, 2002 at 12:44:29 PM EST

You're correct in your assessment that I feel that widespread armament would reduce the number of escalations in arguments, but you're swinging wide on two points. The first is that I do not (vehemently do not) advocate arming everyone with firearms, because while it would reduce killings from escalated arguments, the commensurate level of killings due to other reasons would most likely rise much more than the reduction. The point was presented merely to show a side of the orignal poster's argument that was neglected; that is, I was playing devil's advocate for the purpose of that one circumstance. Second, your solution to eliminate firearms entirely does not qualify as a solution simply because it's vanishingly unrealistic. Even with the strictest of weapon controls, one cannot reasonably expect to eliminate firearms in their entirety, and with such restrictions in place, the whole argument of, "if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" begins to approach the feasible.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
unrealistic? how? (none / 0) (#212)
by TheLogician on Fri May 31, 2002 at 05:34:42 PM EST

Forgive me, but I'm assuming you live in America. I don't know the culture as well there as I do in my home country of Canada, but from what I heard, most Americans believe they have some right to own a firearm. I don't know a single person who owns a gun. I'm 20 years old, and I've met a lot of people in that time. I walk around day to day with the assumption that no one I see is carrying a gun, as most Canadian would probably assume. This is not a fantasy! Guns should not be legal! They provide society with no inherent benefits that cannot be solved by other means.

[ Parent ]
Concealed carry defense (4.50 / 2) (#135)
by thesync on Mon May 13, 2002 at 12:53:09 PM EST

A friend of mine who lives in the state of Virginia made use of the state's concealed carry permit laws.

He accidently cut off a car while driving home from work.  The gentleman in the cut off car was quite enraged by this, and at the next traffic light, he got out of the car and ran over to my friend's vehicle.  The gentleman began banging the side of my friend's car, screaming wildly, and tried to open the door.

Fearing the man may break his window or cause him some kind of injury, my friend calmly removed his Glock pistol from his holster, and put it up on the dashboard.

The gentleman immediately stepped back and said "it's cool man, it's cool" and went back to his vehicle.

[ Parent ]

let's imagine for a second... (5.00 / 1) (#162)
by TheLogician on Mon May 13, 2002 at 09:12:24 PM EST

Do you not see that by the sheer prescence of this gun, the risk of harm in the incident has increased? The problem with people having guns is they immediately take on the role of a judge. It is in their hands to choose to murder the other person or not. Are you so short-sited? I'm only trying to be confrontational because I want you to reconsider what happens when people are in possession of a device that can kill easily, and often regretfully.

Imagine this scenario: your friend places his gun in plane view on his dash. The driver who left his vehical, obviously already enraged, is not in a particularly good state of mind. Having considered this possibility, he has brought his gun with him to "protect" himself. What happens next? I'll let you imagine whatever ending you like.

Now I agree, it's a pretty weak argument to say imagine this, imagine that...but what do you think the enraged driver will do from now on. He will either:
a)never again leave his car when cut off in traffic, or
b)bring his pistol with him the next time he is so enraged

Now, is my hypothetical situation so unlikely?

[ Parent ]
What Wild West? (none / 0) (#198)
by thesync on Wed May 15, 2002 at 01:25:47 PM EST

The point is, in Virginia, where most law-abiding citizens can obtain a concealed-carry permit, the "Wild West" scenario did not occur.  Nor does it occur with any regularity.  My friend did not get injured, nor did the nut that was banging on his car.

What I _have_ seen, in Washington, DC (a gun banned zone), was a driver that almost ran over a pedestrian but stopped just in time.  The pedestrian was very upset, ran over to the driver's side door and started yelling.  After a while, the pedestrian lost it, hit the driver, and then the pedestrian ran away, leaving the bleeding and dazed driver behind.  That could have been my friend.

Hey, this is just what I see.

[ Parent ]

What if the driver had a gun (none / 0) (#201)
by 0xA on Wed May 15, 2002 at 09:37:54 PM EST

I don't get this, what if the guy hit your friend? Would he shoot him?

I've been hit in the face before, lots (martial arts, rugby, etc). It's not that bad. I'm not going to shoot somebody for it, I proably wouldn't even hit him back. The presence of a gun could diffuse the situation, if the attacker really tried to hurt you it could save you. Does something worse really happen that often? Do people really walk around afraid of that? Is it really so much of a issue that as a society we need to deal with the problems that come from the proliferation of firearms because of it?

I don't worry about stuff like that. I see myself as a "tough guy" I guess, maybe that's why I don't. If anything that would probably make me more likely to get injured in a situation like that. I also don't live in a place that has a problem with violence like parts of the US seem to.

Do you really, I mean really fear being injured in this kind of situation? To me the problems that come from eveyone walking around with a gun over shaddow this concern greatly. You friend sounds like a responsible person, most people I know are not and would get in trouble with a firearm. Myself included.

[ Parent ]

Grandmother injured for life (none / 0) (#209)
by thesync on Tue May 21, 2002 at 04:40:19 AM EST

My grandmother was beaten up by thugs, robbed, and as a result was injured for life. Perhaps you are more tough than her, or me.

[ Parent ]
You missunderstood me (none / 0) (#210)
by 0xA on Wed May 22, 2002 at 04:34:43 AM EST

Sorry to hear that.

I think you missunderstood what I was getting at.  I didn't say that this wouldn't happen to me becuase I'm a tough guy, that is rather absurd.  I said that becuase I think of myself that way prehaps I am less likely to worry about it.

I guess it makes more sense to me that you would be worried about this stuff now.

[ Parent ]

Kudos to your friend (none / 0) (#164)
by inerte on Mon May 13, 2002 at 10:28:57 PM EST

  The other guy, thinking about "How come a simple argument could made a person hold a gun against me?", goes to a shop and easily buys a gun. He waits the necessary period to put his hands on it, I mean, it's not for any emergency, he wants that next time, he has one.

  So, with all fitted at their proper place, next day after owning a shiny new weapon, he accidentaly crosses the same guy again (or anyone with a permitted-by-law gun), and this time, knowing how effective just taking it and pointing to angry people at the street a gun is, he does so.

  Oooops, wild west is back! But I guess that makes a degree of sanity that I can't understand.

--
Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
Plato
[ Parent ]

Babble (none / 0) (#104)
by mirleid on Mon May 13, 2002 at 03:06:42 AM EST

When you outlaw guns, only outlaws have guns.

Where the hell did you hear this? Probably from the rednecks down your local pub (before they feel like going home for a bout of wife-beating), or on your local righ-wing tabloid?
So, let me get this, your solution to any "safety" concerns that you have involve you having the biggest gun can you can buy around you, and shooting anything/anybody that looks remotely threatning? You should feel right at home somewhere in the West Bank...

Where I live, if you carry a gun and are spotted by some policeman, you're going down faster than you can say "stupid move"...But I digress, the topic was Video Games...



Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
It comes from the freedom debate (none / 0) (#106)
by simon farnz on Mon May 13, 2002 at 04:56:59 AM EST

I first heard this in relation to banning handguns, because they were popular with criminals. The point is that making something illegal to stop lawbreakers doing it is not going to help; if you are banning guns to stop outlaws possessing guns, you are making a big mistake.

Of course, if you are banning something because the law abiding should not do it, that's a whole different story.
--
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns
[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#145)
by mirleid on Mon May 13, 2002 at 02:58:03 PM EST

...its not like I go into shock at the thought of holding a gun. Its just that I dont feel that normal, everyday people should have them. Not because that would create the possibility for people to fuck other people's lifes with them (which it would), but because I dont think that personal security issues can be resolved by having everybody carry guns and fend for themselves. There is something called policemen that should worry about everybody else's security, and that's what my tax money buys for me: basic services like sanitary infrastructures, or lawfull and civilized ways of settling disputes.



Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
what if... (none / 0) (#154)
by Lenny on Mon May 13, 2002 at 05:26:51 PM EST

someone were to break into your house? What if they have a weapon? What if they have a firearm? What is the response time in your nieghborhood (for police)? How much damage do you think someone can do to you (if they are armed) before the police arrive?
Police are reactionary. By the time you call them, you are already in danger. If you are unarmed and you are in danger of being harmed by an armed person...hope your response time is instantaneous...cause I'm gonna read about you in the paper. If someone were to break into my home I'm going to live to tell about it, and you'll be reading about the dumbass that tried to harm my family and took a dirt nap instead.


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Move (none / 0) (#128)
by zonekeeper on Mon May 13, 2002 at 11:31:39 AM EST

I'd hate to live where you live then. I'm afraid you can't understand, like so many, that if you make guns illegal, the guy who was going to rob the place at gunpoint is not only going to break the law by robbing the place, he's gonna break the law by having the gun. Now, me, as a law-abiding citizen, is now in the store, unarmed, against someone who is armed. No thanks, I'd like to have a fighting chance instead of being slaughtered like the sheep so many gun-control idiots want us to be.

[ Parent ]
Robbing places at gun-point (none / 0) (#144)
by mirleid on Mon May 13, 2002 at 02:44:38 PM EST

...is not very common where I live. In fact, its bloody damn unusual. Every time something like that happens, its *news*...

Basically, what you are suggesting is that you live someplace where its commonplace for robbers to slaughter everybody in sight...Which is pretty weird to me...but even weirder, supposing the store is not *your* store (and even then, there's something called insurance), is thinking that you can shoot your way out of that situation. I guess that different cultures see things differently.



Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
Wow... (none / 0) (#180)
by zonekeeper on Tue May 14, 2002 at 10:05:02 AM EST

Talk about not getting it...

[ Parent ]
Why dont you... (none / 0) (#183)
by mirleid on Tue May 14, 2002 at 10:44:40 AM EST

go ahead and enlighten me, for I seem to be the one that is out of the loop on this one...

Or maybe...naahhh, people around here can read...



Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
Misconceptions (none / 0) (#181)
by Happy Monkey on Tue May 14, 2002 at 10:09:32 AM EST

Basically, what you are suggesting is that you live someplace where its commonplace for robbers to slaughter everybody in sight...

Basically, what you are suggesting is that you think that every robbery at gunpoint ends in wholesale slaughter... Which suggests you may be taking Hollywood movies seriously... Which is pretty weird to me.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Maybe... (none / 0) (#182)
by mirleid on Tue May 14, 2002 at 10:42:10 AM EST

...you should read the whole posting thread before replying to one of them at random...It wasnt me who suggested that...



Chickens don't give milk
[ Parent ]
where did i hear it? (none / 0) (#136)
by Lenny on Mon May 13, 2002 at 12:57:53 PM EST

from the common sense police! you retard! if you outlaw guns, the law abiding citizens will turn them in. guess what that makes those who don't turn in their guns? outlaws! do you think people who rob banks with guns will turn to knives when guns are ruled illegal by the government? hell no! they are going to love it! why do you think armed robbery has gone up in AU? because citizens that abide by the law cannot defend themselves with guns any more. that means the criminals have unarmed targets!


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
More guns does not = safer (none / 0) (#202)
by jnew on Wed May 15, 2002 at 11:30:40 PM EST

What do you mean "Can't defend themselves anymore?" You Americans seem to think we were all gun toting citizens before this legislation, and now we have had our beloved guns removed by force. Most people were GLAD to see more guns out of society. It was a move which was very popular with the voters and was probably a large factor in the Government getting re-elected at the time. A bit of info for you...(1)we have never had a gun culture like the US so its no great loss to anyone not to have the right to carry a handgun anyway. (2) If you still want weapons, you can get them if you are licenced. Requirements are that you join a shooting club to learn how to use them properly which should be the case anywhere for anyone with a gun. Criminals will always have access to guns, but to think arming everyone and turning already desperate situations like armed robbery into a shootout will help at all is crazy.

[ Parent ]
baaaaaaa (none / 0) (#203)
by Lenny on Fri May 17, 2002 at 12:33:46 PM EST

Criminals will always have access to guns, but to think arming everyone and turning already desperate situations like armed robbery into a shootout will help at all is crazy.

If someone breaks into your home and they have a firearm, the best defense is...to call the police and hope for the best?...to attack him with a knife?...to hide under your bed and hope your family is safe?...
If someone breaks into my home, I am prepared to defend my family with firearms. Guess whose solution has a better survival rate.

I am truly sorry that voters in your country have chosen the path of the sheep with regards to defending themselves.


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Australia (4.00 / 2) (#111)
by streetlawyer on Mon May 13, 2002 at 05:38:25 AM EST

Oddly enough, the Australian Institute of Criminology disagrees with you quite violently on this one. If you are going to defend firearms ownership in America, please do so on consistent libertarian grounds rather than by lying about statistics.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Crime going up in AU (3.00 / 1) (#133)
by thesync on Mon May 13, 2002 at 12:48:07 PM EST

Looks like assault, armed robbery, and theft have all gone up in Australia from 1995-2000.  Homicide has remained about the same.

Moreover, handguns have become a much higher percentage of gun homicides from 1989-2000.  Here is what the AIC says:

"...the use of handguns in homicides in Australia has increased from 13% in 1995/96 to 42% in 1998/99. Positively though, not one handgun used in a homicide between 1997 and 1999 was used by a licensed owner...The problem therefore appears to be handguns that are diverted illegally into the black market for criminal use."

[ Parent ]

I love this (2.50 / 2) (#140)
by streetlawyer on Mon May 13, 2002 at 01:05:01 PM EST

You talk about this as if the fact that there had been a rise in crime in Australian in a period which just about includes the post Port Arthur ban and omits the last two years makes it OK to say that "violent crime rose between 40% and 60% as a result of the gun ban". I'd also note that handgun statistics are unlikely to be helpful, as the Australian gun laws did not just apply to handguns.

I have no axe to grind in this debate; I don't really care whether people in countries other than my own have guns or not. But I do care about people chucking around ludicrous claims and then trying to defend them with half-attached statistics.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

most statistics are half-truths (none / 0) (#163)
by TheLogician on Mon May 13, 2002 at 09:42:08 PM EST

People, stop reading so much into statistics that tell half-truths! Think about what the information is actually telling you:

Looks like assault, armed robbery, and theft have all gone up in Australia from 1995-2000
I would only assume that these crimes would be increasing. Did the population of Australia not increase from 95-00? If they all increased by 1 crime each, but decreased as a percentage of the population, is this information meaningful?

Positively though, not one handgun used in a homicide between 1997 and 1999 was used by a licensed owner
So what? How many homicides occur with registered guns? Is this a trend, or just a statistical anomalie? 1997 to 1999 is only three years. If there are not very many homicides in Australia per year, this statement is not very convincing. How are we to know?

[ Parent ]
ban the guns, it won't make a difference in crime (none / 0) (#193)
by austingeek on Tue May 14, 2002 at 04:47:26 PM EST

    Positively though, not one handgun used in a homicide between 1997 and 1999 was used by a licensed owner
So what? How many homicides occur with registered guns?


No, that's the point. Go ahead and ban the guns. It's not going to change how guns are used in crimes. statistics? ok, here's some (admittidly probably slanted) numbers. and in actual crime statistics (from the ACI) I can show continued growth in crimes per 100000 population, I can't give positive proof that the increase was caused by the gun ban. The numbers do show however that the gun ban did not cause a decrease in crime. That fact is irrefuteable.

[ Parent ]
bad stats (none / 0) (#213)
by TheLogician on Fri May 31, 2002 at 06:14:18 PM EST

You're right, I did miss the point that banning guns does not stop their use in criminal activities. That does not mean however, that won't stop their use in useless gun incidents between normal citizens. That's the whole reason for banning guns, to remove them out of the hands of normal citizens. Criminals will be criminals and will obtain guns legally or illegally.

Thank you for the statistics (I'm not being sarcastic), albeit they had to come from the NRA. However, these are exactly the type of statistics that I'm talking about. They are absolute garbage. Everything is taken out of context!! Let me try an tell you why this kind of "fact reporting" makes me so enraged. I'll start with the "OBSERVABLE FACT AFTER 12 MONTHS OF DATA" section.

1. To look at the effect of banning guns on a society, you cannot have a sample size of 1 year. At least give me that one.

2. "Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2%", "Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6%". Did the population increase by 6.4%? Did the government cut spending in the police force? Did new laws get passed that make it easier to charge someone with assault? These type of questions have to be answered before those statistics have any merit. Correlation does not equal causation.

3. "Australia-wide, armed-robberies are up 44%" This seems unusually high to me. This statistic actually does have some merit and is worth looking into, but still, it cannot be taken at face value.

The list could go on and on, but I won't discount the fact that some of these statistics can probably be attributed directly to the gun control laws. Still, only half-truths can come out of statistics posted by the NRA, specifcally the half of the statistics that make the gun control laws look bad. I mean they mention that "The ban has destroyed Australia's standings in some international sport shooting competitions" in the same report as "In the state of Victoria, homicides-with-firearms are up 300%!" Quick, I had better do something! Forget about the increase in people dying, Australia's falling behind in shooting competitions.

Worst of all is their analysis of the graph. "Notice the steady decrease until the gun ban? Notice the upswing from 1997 on?" Actually, what I noticed more was the upswing in 1995, before the restrictions, but inconveniently this doesn't satisfy their half-truths.

[ Parent ]
40% to 60% is meaningless (none / 0) (#116)
by 0xA on Mon May 13, 2002 at 06:48:54 AM EST

God I hate it when people quote things like that.

40% of what?  are we talking 4/10 or 40/100.  One of them is useless when talking about that kind of measurement.  They are both 40%

[ Parent ]

ok...fine (none / 0) (#134)
by Lenny on Mon May 13, 2002 at 12:48:38 PM EST

violent crime went up! happy? geesh...


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Obligatory joke (none / 0) (#127)
by epepke on Mon May 13, 2002 at 11:09:27 AM EST

Why don't you go after fertilizer?

Professional courtesy?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
duh (none / 0) (#137)
by Lenny on Mon May 13, 2002 at 12:59:44 PM EST

fertilizer was the primary component in the bomb used by timothy mcveigh.


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Some thoughts (5.00 / 1) (#148)
by chayes on Mon May 13, 2002 at 04:00:16 PM EST

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Alright, let's look at this reasonably, shall we?  First of all, as a token of semblance to the orriginal topic, banning guns will not make anyone a better parent, nor will it stop children from being violent.  There are two things that make children violent, social atomosphere, and genetic predisposition.  If you are genetically prediposed to want to hurt people, until your someone identifies it, your going to be violent, or at least want to be.  If your social situation lends to more violent urges, especially at a young age, you are going to be violent, or at least want to be.  What this leads to is either A.) a youth that acts out at a very young age and gets treated for it (or not), or B.) a repressed youth that acts out at some latter stage in life, eg. highschool shootings.

Now, on the the topic of gun control.  The simple truth of the matter is that people have a right to own firearms, actually they have a natural right to do anything that does not impose force on another indivual against their will.  The ONLY time you have a right to keep people from owning firearms is when you own the property that they are residing on.  Any other time you try to impose your will upon them, eg. through force, you are violating one of the natural rights of concience beings.

Does gun control help?  My answer is no.  I think that the Columbine boys would agree with me on this as well.  To quote one of the Columbine surviors' parents, Rick Castaldo, there were "somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 different laws broken. In Richard's opinion and mine and a number of other people's, a few more laws would not make much difference."  This individual is not an NRA member, or a politician, he doesn't even own a gun, he's just a normal guy who's son was shot 8 times and paralized in the Columbine masacre.

Now, let's not forget the fact that those individuals also used explosives, which are highly illegal in the United States.  Pipe bombs actually, most likely they used gun powder, so I suppose you could say that they would not have been able to make them, had gun powder as well as guns been illegal.  Well, there is one problem with that... GUN POWDER IS NOT THE ONLY EXPLOSIVE AVAILABLE.  Actually, for around the same money, and just slightly more work, the Columbine kids could have used fertilizer and ethanol (methanol, one of those) to make ammonium nitrate pipe bombs.  Commonly available to the public, and much more deadly.  Should we ban fertizler and wood alcohol?  I think not.  

The solution to our problems is not more legislation, it's less.  Force people to parent their children by not attempting to do it for them.  Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.  ;)

Cheers,
Cap
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All your anecdote has poited out was that CDs and CD-players are violent, which has long been known to be true. The games themselves, however, are but passive riders on these cruel creatures, and are not violent. --gnovos
[ Parent ]

Practicality (none / 0) (#174)
by zakalwe on Tue May 14, 2002 at 05:55:51 AM EST


The simple truth of the matter is that people have a right to own firearms, actually they have a natural right to do anything that does not impose force on another indivual against their will.

In an ideal world, where everyone could be trusted, then I'd maybe agree with this.  However in the real world, we have to make practical limits where the cost/benefit ratio of providing a right is too high.  After all, the cost is measured in human lives.

If you treat it as a purely a matter of principle, then there is no reason to stop at guns.  Restricting private ownership/development of nuclear weapons is no less a restriction.  I suspect that far more damage would be done by allowing anyone to set up (for example) "Bin Laden Nuclear Research Ltd."  You can scream about it being an infringement of rights, but society must draw the line at some point if it is to survive.

The next question is of course which point to draw it at.  I'm probably in partial agreement with you here because I'll agree that introducing Gun Control in the US would be idiotic, costing far more than the benefit.  I disagree that this is neccessarily the case in Australia, the UK or other locations.

The only valid reason for gun control is in terms of practicality - namely, to reduce the availability of guns.  In some places this may be possible, especially where there are strong natural borders, an existing low level of guns, neighbouring countrys with controls also, and most importantly, significant approval of the measure (at least 90% of the population).  I think many places do have sufficient practical, life-saving, benefits in introducing Gun controls.

The US, admittedly is not one of them - it has an existing widespread availability of guns, none of the advantages above.  The desire by many to own guns would mean that many would not obey the law.  Their availability would give criminals the eedge over those who obeyed the law.

[ Parent ]

get rid of mass murder (none / 0) (#122)
by Shren on Mon May 13, 2002 at 08:54:32 AM EST

Get rid of guns, get rid of mass murder.

No, get rid of mass murder with guns. Mass murder with explosives or airplanes is still a highly viable alternative for the mass murderer wannabe.

Getting rid of guns just gets rid of guns. I'd ask you to make a sound logical argument against guns, but anti-gun nuts seem to be entirely disinterested in the concept of logic or reason, and, like the press, they focus on sound bytes.

[ Parent ]

Planes and Bombs (none / 0) (#157)
by greg pass on Mon May 13, 2002 at 06:54:50 PM EST

Planes require special information to fly, and it takes a long time to learn such information. Not to mention that they have to be willing to do the attack kamikaze style, and someone who spends months learning to fly isn't going to blow that up in their face due to playing too much violence, but rather for some extremist religious/political cause, a la September 11. Bombs are much the same way, they say the information to build bombs is easily located on the Internet, and it coulde very well be, I wouldn't know, but once again, how many kids are going to play their Quake, say "Hey, I want to do this in real life", try to build a crap bomb made out of a soda can like Bart Simpson did, and then not give up when they realize they don't know how and/or have the materials?

So yeah, it won't be completely eliminated, but the majority of it is gun-based.


greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass
[ Parent ]
more planes and bombs (none / 0) (#175)
by Shren on Tue May 14, 2002 at 07:54:50 AM EST

Planes. Yes, you have to learn to fly. Are we going to start restricting flight knowledge? And I object to the whole kamakaze point - gunmen are generally caught and killed or imprisoned for life. Either way, exploding plane or eternal jailtime, your life is over.

Bombs. Anyone who took chemistry in college (or paid attention in high school) can puzzle out how to make a bomb if they really set thier mind to it.

As for the majority of violent death being gun based... 30,000 people died in the world trade center crash. The anti-gun nuts claim gun violence numbers that high, but only by lumping in deaths by suicide and spinning the numbers in other ways.

We won't even get into lack-of-gun-related-deaths, where people were killed by thier government after thier government disarmed them. The numbers go well into the millions.

You fear a world with an armed populace. I fear a world without one.

[ Parent ]

not really (none / 0) (#179)
by Happy Monkey on Tue May 14, 2002 at 10:01:10 AM EST

Planes require special information to fly,

But not to crash. If they had a specific target, then maybe, but just the plane full of people would be more than most (all?) gun-related attacks.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
but crashing a plane requires knowledge of flying (none / 0) (#194)
by greg pass on Tue May 14, 2002 at 05:00:04 PM EST

Sure, you can hijack a plane and take it over without needing to know how to start it, but unless the previous pilot was already flying towards your intended target, you're not hitting anything. And while a single plane wreck does more people in than a single gun murdering, there are far more gun kills than plane kills (ignoring Sept 11, which, again, was clearly not video-game related).
greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass
[ Parent ]
i've actually had a run in with a kid with a gun.. (5.00 / 1) (#149)
by Mclaren on Mon May 13, 2002 at 04:35:50 PM EST

i got into an arguement with a kid at school, and to make a long story short, it ended with him punching me the head. it didn't really hurt, and i easily could have beat this kid up, without a problem, but i didn't. Instead i immediately told the Assistant Pricipal, and tried to avoid this kid at all costs. The reason for this was becuase when we were all younger, his older brother had brought a gun to school, and threatened a kid who made fun of the kid who hit me(this was like 6 years earlier). to be perfectly honest, i'm really scared of this kid, not only because he has access to a gun, but because i'm afraid he's unstable enough to use it. and that's the problem, not everyone has the emotional stability to own a gun. there are some really emotional, passionate people out there, who would use a gun to solve a simple problem. most of the people on this board probobly could handle a gun responsibly, but a lot of people can't. and unfortunately, everyone else needs to be protected from people like this

[ Parent ]
Germany (none / 0) (#153)
by glitchvern on Mon May 13, 2002 at 05:07:47 PM EST

In America, every two bit moron can get a gun.

They apparently have the same problem in Germany despite having fairly strong gun control laws.

Programmers are like Mogwai, they hate bright light, direct sunlight is rumoured to kill them.
[ Parent ]
maybe this is the *REAL* problem (3.37 / 8) (#100)
by johnnyfever on Mon May 13, 2002 at 01:09:40 AM EST

"Do you really want your kids assuming the role of a mass murderer or car jacker while you are away at work?"

I think he unwittingly touched on the real problem here. A lot of kids these days are brought up with 2 (or 1) working parents who use the tv and ps2 as a babysitter. They buy their kids whatever they want in a truly pathetic attempt to make up for their inadequate parenting.

Try actually being a responsible PARENT to your child. This is what children need growing up. On top of that, if you are not willing or able to devote the time, love and attention to a child then DON'T HAVE ONE ASSHOLE.

What the hell is wrong with people. Un-*ucking believable.

You're young, aren't you? (3.00 / 4) (#108)
by streetlawyer on Mon May 13, 2002 at 05:31:44 AM EST

I'm guessing that you have never tried to bring up a child while also working for a living, hey? Then you might want to think a bit about what it might be like to walk a mile in those mocassins before you start condemning people in CAPITAL LETTERS. Here's two things you might think about:

1). Back in the old days, parents didn't used to let children watch much TV. It took a lot of persuading to change this situation. Specifically, the TV companies (predecessors to the video game companies) spent a lot of time and effort convincing parents that children's programming would be uplifting and suitable; that they weren't just going to feed a diet of violence and explosions to the kids. So the parents acquiesced. Now, the entertainment industry has pulled a massive bait and switch, and is leaving the parents to cope with the temper tantrums involved in forcing children to go cold turket from something they'd grown to like. Is that really fair?

2). In the real world, your adolescent prattling about "inadequate parenting" is as sexist as hell. You're trying to put across the idea that children are only being properly parented if they have a stay at home parent (read, stay-at-home MOM), and that the world should be designed around that assumption. Here's the news; it's 2002 and the sexism wars are over (your side lost). The choice is potentially between privileged adolescent males like you having to give up their right to watch violent exploitative crap, in order to make it possible for fully 50% of the human race to escape the (almost literal) imprisonment of domesticity.

Happy thinking.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Sexism (5.00 / 1) (#110)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon May 13, 2002 at 05:34:26 AM EST

This is the problem. The simple, commonsense notion that children do, indeed, need at least one stay-at-home parent is labelled as "sexist".

 Children need a parent in the home the majority of the time. If, because of economic and social conditions, we cannot ensure that this occurs within a nuclear family, then the nuclear family system is broken and needs replaced.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

yes, sexism (2.75 / 4) (#112)
by streetlawyer on Mon May 13, 2002 at 05:45:48 AM EST

The simple, commonsense notion that children do, indeed, need at least one stay-at-home parent is labelled as "sexist".

You'll notice that I said "in the real world". In theory, this might be a perfectly innocent gender-neutral position. In practice, in the world as it actually is and with men and women as they actually are, it's about as innocent as Jen-Marie Le Pen's proposal for a wage to be paid to "any non-working parent". In practice, "one stay-at-home parent" means a stay at home mother.

By the way, like so many other "simple, commonsense" ideas, the idea that children can only be brought up properly in a bourgeois household circa 1950 is completely false.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Bourgeosie (3.00 / 2) (#113)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon May 13, 2002 at 06:01:13 AM EST

I never said anything of the sort. I simply said that children need at least one stay-at-home parent-- in order to provide a certain amount of supervision, guidance, and attention to the child.

 Whether this "parent" is a biological parent, adoptive parent, aunt, uncle, or whatever is irrelevant, as long as this adult is a stable, accessible presence in the child's life.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

"Or whatever" (3.33 / 3) (#114)
by streetlawyer on Mon May 13, 2002 at 06:04:58 AM EST

Fair enough. But could "Or whatever" include a registered childminder? An Israeli kibbutz? A commune? I'm just not sure that the evidence actually shows that the conditions for successful child development are so restrictive.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Or Whatever (2.50 / 2) (#115)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon May 13, 2002 at 06:35:24 AM EST

As long as the person provides supervision and guidance, and spends enough time with the child, either as an individual or in a small group (i.e. siblings) that the child can form a strong emotional bond to the person, I'd assume it'd be functional.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]
ahhh I see where you're coming from (4.00 / 2) (#117)
by streetlawyer on Mon May 13, 2002 at 06:54:07 AM EST

Yeh, I wouldn't have much argument with that as a general proposition. But I think it's damaging to refer to this as a "stay at home parent" model, because this brings in all the cultural baggage which caused me to misunderstand you in the first place.

cheers

jsm.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Parents (3.50 / 2) (#119)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon May 13, 2002 at 07:07:33 AM EST

When I think of an adult that lives in a child's home, provides the majority of moral guidance and supervision, and forms a close emotional bond with that child, the word I think of is "parent".

The situation I think is probably ideal with our current social and economic environment would be closer to a small group of adults cooperating in household expenses and childrearing, to allow for greater economic efficiency and redundancy in role models of both genders, incomes, and available "parents". Unfortunately, that also comes with the cultural baggage of communes and free love-- and their associated problems.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

Co-housing, ecovillages, etc. (5.00 / 1) (#168)
by kestrel13 on Tue May 14, 2002 at 01:02:13 AM EST

Ever heard of the cohousing/ecovillage movements? They're based around this idea. In cohousing, a group of families buy up the houses in a neighborhood block, or build their own. Each family has a house, so they have private space, but they buy food in bulk, do a lot of cooking together, share childcare duties, and other things like lawnmowers (why does every house in a neighborhood need a lawnmower?). It started in Denmark a while back and is becoming more and more popular in the United States, and I presume elsewhere.

Ecovillages are the same idea except the families make a commitment to live sustainable lives, such as building ecofriendly housing and being very careful about reusing and recycling.

Cohousing link here:
The Cohousing Network


[ Parent ]

Co-Housing (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by Korimyr the Rat on Tue May 14, 2002 at 01:07:42 AM EST

I'm only vaguely familiar with it. All the projects I've seen have seemed more like seperate family things-- the cohabitation seems like an important part to me.

But, if they're sharing food and tools, and sharing in childraising responsibilities, it sounds fairly close to what I'm espousing.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

not quite... (none / 0) (#199)
by bigbigbison on Wed May 15, 2002 at 02:32:15 PM EST

The idea that a woman needs to stay at home with children is sexist. The idea that someone stay at home is not sexist as it implies that it can be a man or a woman.

[ Parent ]
wha? (1.00 / 3) (#139)
by chopper on Mon May 13, 2002 at 01:03:50 PM EST

You're trying to put across the idea that children are only being properly parented if they have a stay at home parent (read, stay-at-home MOM), and that the world should be designed around that assumption.

this, right after you said:

Then you might want to think a bit about what it might be like to walk a mile in those mocassins before you start condemning people in CAPITAL LETTERS.

capitol letters, eh? nice.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Yikes, did I touch a nerve there or what?! (4.00 / 2) (#151)
by johnnyfever on Mon May 13, 2002 at 04:37:50 PM EST

In reponse to your response. Firstly, you seem to have (incorrectly) decided that I am a chauvinist pimply faced teenager who watches "violent exploitative crap" on the boob tube all day. You couldn't possibly be more wrong there.

My intention was not to provoke childish name calling, but to voice my opinion on the matter at hand. Obviously you do not agree with my opinion, fine, that is to be expected. Why don't we try having a constructive debate about it so that we may come to understand each other's point of view better, rather than making rash assumptions and thumbing our noses at each other.

You are correct, I have never had to raise a child (although I will likely be a father in the next year or so and thus have put a lot of thought and discussion into it), and I'm not saying it's easy, but then it never was easy was it? This attitude is part of the problem. Nobody ever said it would be easy, quite the contrary. Being a parent while earning a living is difficult, that's no excuse to neglect your child and let them be brought up by the American media. Life is difficult, big friggin surprise.

Your point #1 just goes right over my head. In my mind, whether the content on TV is "uplifting and suitable" or not, it still can never replace being brought up by real people who love the child, discipline the child and interact with the child. You seem to be arguing that if TV is good enough, then it's ok to neglect your kids.

#2 - Wow, some repressed feelings there streetlawyer? I don't know how you managed to leap to the conclusion that I am a bigot as well as an adolescent moron. You are absolutely correct, it IS 2002, and the sexual revolution (or as you so quaintly call it the 'sexism wars'), while maybe not over, has made a big difference. That is exactly why the parent who stays home does not have to be mom. I work with someone who is currently taking paternity leave for 6 months.

Since you seem to have missed my point, let me attempt to clarify what I meant for you. Children can not raise themselves. They need the support and guidance of their parents. Despite the fact that you apparently think that staying at home to raise a child is sexist, I think it's actually a *good* and necessary thing to do, even if TV programming again becomes "uplifting."

fever out.

[ Parent ]

Multiple bullseyes, I think (none / 0) (#171)
by streetlawyer on Tue May 14, 2002 at 02:54:46 AM EST

Firstly, you seem to have (incorrectly) decided that I am a chauvinist pimply faced teenager who watches "violent exploitative crap" on the boob tube all day. You couldn't possibly be more wrong there.

No, I said you were young. It appears I was right.

My intention was not to provoke childish name calling, but to voice my opinion on the matter at hand. Obviously you do not agree with my opinion, fine, that is to be expected. Why don't we try having a constructive debate about it

Scroll back ...

Try actually being a responsible PARENT to your child. This is what children need growing up. On top of that, if you are not willing or able to devote the time, love and attention to a child then DON'T HAVE ONE ASSHOLE.

What the hell is wrong with people. Un-*ucking believable.

In the circumstances, I think I will treat your offer of a "constructive debate" and your claim not to be involved in "childish name-calling" with more than a pinch of amused scepticism.

although I will likely be a father in the next year or so and thus have put a lot of thought and discussion into it),

I put it to you that you haven't.

In my mind, whether the content on TV is "uplifting and suitable" or not, it still can never replace being brought up by real people who love the child, discipline the child and interact with the child.

Love the gratuitous mention of "discipline" here; leave your personal fetishes at home, thks.

Listen you unholy idiot. It's not a matter of "letting your child be brought up by the media". It's not a matter of abandoning your child to stare at the television twenty hours a day while you go off having fun and smoking crack.

I'm trying to make the simple point that these days, you cannot leave the little dears alone for five minutes and be sure that some benefactor of humanity at MTV won't take the opportunity to tell them that it's cool to set themselves on fire, kung-fu kick policemen or treat women like whores. One has to watch a newborn baby 24 hours a day, but this is not reasonable to expect for an eight-year-old. Older children are expected to look after themselves out of the line of sight of their parents; one even allows them to go out and play in the local park. I'm just suggesting that a world in which my fucking living room is a less safe environment for my children than the street outside, is a stupid world. You don't understand this, because you're busy playing video games and fantasising about living as head of a bourgeois 1950s household "in a few years time"

? I don't know how you managed to leap to the conclusion that I am a bigot as well as an adolescent moron

You supplied me with the material yourself.

That is exactly why the parent who stays home does not have to be mom.

Whoooeeee, check out Mr Enlightened. Someone give him a fucking medal. You might have cared to mention that earlier during your expletive-drenched rant. I work with someone who is currently taking paternity leave for 6 months.

An example of the calibre of clear thinker I'm dealing with, I suppose.

Despite the fact that you apparently think that staying at home to raise a child is sexist, I think it's actually a *good* and necessary thing to do, even if TV programming again becomes "uplifting."

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to give us the benefit of your wisdom on childrearing. Next week, tune in to see streetlawyer argue about oral sex against a man with no mouth and no dick, I suppose.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Thread History (none / 0) (#178)
by Happy Monkey on Tue May 14, 2002 at 09:54:18 AM EST

(invective removed)

johnnyfever: A lot of kids these days are brought up with 2 (or 1) working parents who use the tv and ps2 as a babysitter. ... Try actually being a responsible PARENT to your child. This is what children need growing up.

streetlawyer: [advocating a stay-at-home-parent] is as sexist as hell. You're trying to put across the idea that children are only being properly parented if they have a stay at home parent (read, stay-at-home MOM), ...

johnnyfever: That is exactly why the parent who stays home does not have to be mom.

streetlawyer: You might have cared to mention that earlier...

It looks to me like streetlawyer brought the sexism in with him.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Not to Mention Innuendo (none / 0) (#185)
by Cloaked User on Tue May 14, 2002 at 11:49:47 AM EST

streetlawyer:No, I said you were young. It appears I was right.

streetlawyer:Love the gratuitous mention of "discipline" here; leave your personal fetishes at home, thks.

It amuses me somewhat that in one breath, streetlawyer is implying some sort of superiority over johnnyfever by virtue of age, then in another, makes immature jokes about his use of the word discipline in connection with childrearing.


Cheers,

Tim


--
"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."
[ Parent ]
Innuendo, out the other (3.00 / 2) (#196)
by streetlawyer on Wed May 15, 2002 at 04:40:57 AM EST

childrearing

Please leave your anal pedophile fantasies at home thnks.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Wheeee! (none / 0) (#187)
by johnnyfever on Tue May 14, 2002 at 12:20:38 PM EST

and the fun continues ;)

No, I said you were young. It appears I was right.

Well, I guess that's all relative isn't it. OK, I suppose I shouldn't object to being called young. Guess that would make you old.

In the circumstances, I think I will treat your offer of a "constructive debate" and your claim not to be involved in "childish name-calling" with more than a pinch of amused scepticism.

touche. Can't argue with that one. So I'm a hypocrite. That is by far the nicest thing you have called me to date. I am truly touched :) Does this mean we can be friends?

I put it to you that you haven't

Actually I have, but if there's anything even a little bit useful to be learned from this series of hateful little postings, it's that streetlawyer and johnnyfever have vastly differing opinions on this topic. streetlawyer would set his childern free in the wilderness at birth to fend for themselves, and johnnyfever, apparently, prefers to come home to his barefoot wife and raise his brush cut kids to be backwards sexist pigs. Hey, everyone's entitled to an opinion :)

Love the gratuitous mention of "discipline" here; leave your personal fetishes at home, thks.

Ah, you must be one of those no discipline parents that everyone loves so much. Kids need discipline. Discipline does not mean what you seem to be implying, but then I suppose that's the natural conclusion you would draw since you've decided I'm a redneck 1950's reject, right?

Listen you unholy idiot. It's not a matter of "letting your child be brought up by the media". It's not a matter of abandoning your child to stare at the television twenty hours a day while you go off having fun and smoking crack. I'm trying to make the simple point that these days, you cannot leave the little dears alone for five minutes and be sure that some benefactor of humanity at MTV won't take the opportunity to tell them that it's cool to set themselves on fire, kung-fu kick policemen or treat women like whores. One has to watch a newborn baby 24 hours a day, but this is not reasonable to expect for an eight-year-old. Older children are expected to look after themselves out of the line of sight of their parents; one even allows them to go out and play in the local park. I'm just suggesting that a world in which my fucking living room is a less safe environment for my children than the street outside, is a stupid world. You don't understand this, because you're busy playing video games and fantasising about living as head of a bourgeois 1950s household "in a few years time"

Again with all the name calling. You're going to get high blood pressure if you don't mellow out a bit. Why can't we all just get along. Granted I started off by name calling too, but I'm over it. Really, I'm much better now. I'm a pacifist. Hare hare hare Krishna!!!

You supplied me with the material yourself.

You are sooooo cute when you're being witty :)

Whoooeeee, check out Mr Enlightened. Someone give him a fucking medal. You might have cared to mention that earlier during your expletive-drenched rant.

You are absolutely correct. What was I thinking not meticulously tailoring my posting so as to prevent people from jumping to the wrong conclusion. *sob* I'm so ashamed.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to give us the benefit of your wisdom on childrearing. Next week, tune in to see streetlawyer argue about oral sex against a man with no mouth and no dick, I suppose.

That's what we're all here for. If no one posted their opinions here, there would be nothing to read. Besides, what makes you think anyone wants the benefit of your, clearly much greater wisdom, oh old and wise one?

[ Parent ]

indeed (none / 0) (#188)
by streetlawyer on Tue May 14, 2002 at 12:37:21 PM EST

If no one posted their opinions here, there would be nothing to read

A substantial improvement over the current position.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Working Parents (none / 0) (#109)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon May 13, 2002 at 05:31:53 AM EST

 I won't argue about whether or not single people or two-income couples should have children.

 However, we live in a society that frequently requires at least two incomes to survive on, and one that pressures everyone to concern themselves with their careers-- often at the expense of family.

 Combine this with the ludicrous (but unassailable) notion that children don't need attention, discipline, or guidance, just "love", from whatever family situation they have, and you have a society in which few children have the supervision they need.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

Spending (5.00 / 1) (#120)
by tekue on Mon May 13, 2002 at 08:01:11 AM EST

However, we live in a society that frequently requires at least two incomes to survive on, and one that pressures everyone to concern themselves with their careers-- often at the expense of family
I guess that some (substantial) part of those two incomes goes to things like cable TV, PS (mostly games), computer (and games), in short things that you use not to have to be a parent.

Also, you can substantialy reduce spending if you teach your children that what's important is inside, not outside of a human. But you have to be home to do it.

BTW, I would recommend everyone who didn't yet, to read the unabomber manifesto, which is a bit extreme in the anti-technological part, but overall it gives a good insight into democracy, capitalism and society with those two.
--
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. --Tom Robbins
[ Parent ]

What's Inside (none / 0) (#121)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon May 13, 2002 at 08:03:08 AM EST

 Sure, teach your kids that what's inside is what counts-- but unless they've got something competitive on the outside, they're going to get torn up the second they hit school.

 Not to mention, how much of society is determined on what's outside.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

*agree* (none / 0) (#131)
by BushidoCoder on Mon May 13, 2002 at 12:35:37 PM EST

Dysfunctional children are the result of dysfunctional homes, not violent media.

\bc

[ Parent ]

obligatory joke (none / 0) (#159)
by greg pass on Mon May 13, 2002 at 07:13:51 PM EST

"On top of that, if you are not willing or able to devote the time, love and attention to a child then DON'T HAVE ONE ASSHOLE."

Have two assholes instead.


greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass greg pass
[ Parent ]
Too simple (none / 0) (#161)
by dachshund on Mon May 13, 2002 at 08:43:14 PM EST

I know way too many kids with a stay-at-home parent who love to sit in front of the TV/videogame/whatever. It has nothing to do with how much attention you give them. Crap, it's the ones that get the most attention that wind up being the most spoiled.

[ Parent ]
for the children! (3.50 / 2) (#123)
by Shren on Mon May 13, 2002 at 08:59:41 AM EST

"For the children!" should be an immediate warning to anyone living in the modern era that the speaker is full of shit. It is a pressure tactic probably learned from used car salesman. "This car is safer. Buy it for your children." Anyone who says it's for the children is trying to sell you a bridge - unfortunately the line tends to cause people to pull out thier wallets.

Hysteria and virtual entertainment (2.00 / 1) (#124)
by buglord on Mon May 13, 2002 at 09:03:45 AM EST

In our increasingly virtualised society, it's quite natural that entertainment is also virtualised. When discussing these things, there are three big problems that can be found:
a) Consumers having difficulties keeping the real and the virtual apart
b) Legislation having trouble keeping virtual and real crime apart
c) Nobody knows how virtual behavior influences real behavior

Of course, laws will be passed left and right, trying to curb consumption of, say, virtual violence. But experience gained in the few years with virtual media show that such laws have no effect. We need to work on c) - and gain the concience that there is a big difference between the virtual and the real.

But we also need to be able to accept that there are violent, instable people which will vent their feelings in anything they find - weapons, games, hunting, whatever, and that a percentage of them will be able to kill other people.
Think about how many people get killed because of betting debt - both the money and the game are virtual!


I'm happy so much now I know how to use a gun!
Die Technik bereit und stabil... wir wollen zurück ins Telespiel!
welle:erdball - telespiel

Enforcement (5.00 / 1) (#146)
by Silent Chris on Mon May 13, 2002 at 03:34:49 PM EST

You pointed the major flaw with the retailing industry yourself.  The rating system is fine (in fact, I don't think the movie or TV industry holds a candle to it) - the problem is enforcement.  I habitually see 12-year olds every time I go to EBX go up to the counter and buy games like Grand Theft Auto 3.  The clerk doesn't say a word, and the parents don't even look at the box.  Then they go home, the parents get upset, and out come the legislators.

There are two problems here:

  1. Retailers are supposed to give at least a heads-up to the parents when their child is about to buy a Mature rated game.  They do the same thing at (most) movie theaters, although I do find clerks that tend to slip up there too.
  2. Parents need to fucking take charge.  I'm tired of this bullshit.  GTA3, in big black letters, proclaims everything that anyone could find morally apprehensible about the game on the box.  The rating is obvious.  If parents don't notice it, it's there own damn fault.  Take interest in what your child is doing.


in defense of the average parent... (none / 0) (#152)
by Shren on Mon May 13, 2002 at 05:04:37 PM EST

If parents don't notice it, it's there own damn fault.

When they were growing up, video games were the Pac-Man and the Pole Position in the back corner of the gas station. I'm sure that it wouldn't even occur to them that video games are dangerous. After all, they were told that video games were morally questionable, decided "pac-man isn't morally questionable", lept to "video games arn't morally questionable", and then stored the schema in tape-backup.

Imagine being someone with that point of view walking in on GTA 3. "Mature" starts at PG-13 and goes on up... GTA 3 would be pushing R were it a movie.

[ Parent ]

But! (none / 0) (#167)
by vectro on Mon May 13, 2002 at 11:58:04 PM EST

Perhaps so. But it _does_ say "For Mature Audiences" right on the box. And furthermore, you'd think they'd notice the very first time it's played. Or that they would notice the screenshots on the back of the box. Or that they'd notice contraversy like the issue at hand.

I think you'd have to be pretty far out of it to buy a game like GTA3 for your child, bring it home, and not notice that there is a possibility of it being violent.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

gummy bears that scream when you eat them (none / 0) (#176)
by Shren on Tue May 14, 2002 at 08:15:07 AM EST

What if 5 kids all save thier lunch money for 2 weeks and buy it as a group? The point of the story is that kids can get thier hands on these things without parent intervention, as there's no real enforcement behind that "mature" rating.

I'm not a parent, but I can imagine some area of life that I never thought would be offensive to children suddenly becoming offensive to children, and me being caught completely off guard, like someone inventing a gummy bear formula that screams when you eat it.

"Look daddy! I can bite the bear's leg off! Listen to the gummy bear scream in agony! Isn't that cool?"

Technology suprises us in good ways all the time. Now, consider the bad ways...

[ Parent ]

Oh, Man! (none / 0) (#177)
by Happy Monkey on Tue May 14, 2002 at 09:35:27 AM EST

I want one of those gummy bears!
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
You misread me. (none / 0) (#190)
by vectro on Tue May 14, 2002 at 01:53:43 PM EST

I wasn't suggesting that it's not possible for kids to get access to video games. I was merely responding to your argument that a parent might buy a violent video game, thinking it was innocuous as Pong, and not notice.

With respect to other channels, I would point out that even with this law it will continue to be very possible for kids to obtain violent video games. The warez scene, theft, and of-age passersby are three possibilities that spring to mind. I'm sure more enterprising individuals could be more creative.

A good parent will be close enough to his or her child to know if this sort of thing is happening. A bad parent won't care. This law is unlikely to have any impact whatsoever, other than restricting freedoms unnecessarily.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

ah, I understand now. (none / 0) (#191)
by Shren on Tue May 14, 2002 at 03:18:29 PM EST

I think that ideas that damage the mind (if there are any), which censorship is designed to stop, do so on first exposure. I offer as mild evidence that one can get post-traumatic stress disorder after just one incident of trauma.

You seem to be focused on stopping the viewing of censored materials once it occurs. I think if you are out to censor things from kids, that's pretty useless. If GTA 3 is going to damage thier brain, it'll do it in the first few hours. After that, you might as well let them play - if you take it away, they'll romanticise the game even farther.

[ Parent ]

No, I'm just being practical. (none / 0) (#195)
by vectro on Tue May 14, 2002 at 05:51:28 PM EST

What I'm saying is thus: A parent's purchase of a game for a child is unlikely to be affected by this law. A good parent would take a look at the game, and a bad parent would just purchase the thing without looking. It is unlikely that a good parent would be duped with respect to the nature of the game. This law will not have a substantial impact on alternative ways to obtain games (e.g., friends).

This argument makes no claims about when, if at all, damage is done. I do, however, disagree with your assertion: The argument is that violent games desensitise children to violence, and desensitization is by no means an instantaneous process.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Offensive to children (none / 0) (#211)
by Rande on Thu May 23, 2002 at 06:18:36 AM EST

I'm not a parent, but I can imagine some area of life that I never thought would be offensive to children suddenly becoming offensive to children, and me being caught completely off guard, like someone inventing a gummy bear formula that screams when you eat it.

Generally speaking, the product isn't offensive to children...it's offensive to parents. If it's offensive to children, then they just wouldn't play it.

[ Parent ]

Average parent speaking (none / 0) (#200)
by slippytoad on Wed May 15, 2002 at 04:42:45 PM EST

When they were growing up, video games were the Pac-Man and the Pole Position in the back corner of the gas station. I'm sure that it wouldn't even occur to them that video games are dangerous.

Sorry, the people who are parents today have no excuse not to know what videogames are about. Unless your head has been trapped in a hermetically sealed block since 1990 or so, it's obvious what the culture of videogames is about. It is wilful ignorance, and it is laziness, nothing less.
If I were the al Qaeda people right now I would be planning a lot of attacks in the next few days and weeks -- John "Bring 'em On" McCain
[ Parent ]

Xbox parental controls (for games) (none / 0) (#147)
by Silent Chris on Mon May 13, 2002 at 03:37:52 PM EST

One thing that hasn't been talked to much (but really should be played out more by Microsoft) is the fact that parents can control what games their children play directly through the console.  There are settings for DVD movie ratings (like Playstation) but also games, which is a first for the industry.  For those parents too busy (or in my mind, too idiotque) to pay attention to what their children are viewing, they can just set it and forget it.

Is it perfect?  Hell no.  There's a universal "unlocking" feature (same as most DVD players when you forget the password), and I'm sure someone will figure out a way to hack it otherwise.  But for the "I can't care too much about my children, but I'll complain about them" culture, at least it's a step in the right direction.

Of course, as you have stated... (5.00 / 1) (#156)
by Dallan on Mon May 13, 2002 at 06:23:30 PM EST

...the standard flaws of such a scheme are in full effect. Namely:

a) "Set it and forget it" is a lie. Why? Because unless Joe Average picks a decent password (hint: the dog's name is not a decent password), it will be figured out eventually.

b) There are better-than-even odds that the children will know more about the operation of such a scheme than the adults. And if not, they will learn. After all...

c) Kids are curious. Lock something in a cabinet, and if they can find a way in, they will. I was like that at 8-9, and I'll bet anything you were too.

Our old friend "forbidden fruit" still holds power.

Of course, for the "I can't care too much about my children, but I'll complain about them" crowd, it's exactly what they deserve.

--
Dallan
As far from God as heaven is wide
As far from God as angels can fly.
-Garbage, "As Heaven is Wide"
[ Parent ]

Internet Filters (5.00 / 1) (#172)
by Obvious Pseudonym on Tue May 14, 2002 at 03:33:23 AM EST

b) There are better-than-even odds that the children will know more about the operation of such a scheme than the adults. And if not, they will learn. After all...

c) Kids are curious. Lock something in a cabinet, and if they can find a way in, they will. I was like that at 8-9, and I'll bet anything you were too.

This is exactly my attitude to internet filters. When my kid is old enough to hack through or disable my internet filter, he is old enough to look at porn on the internet. If he can't guess the password or learn to cover his tracks then he doesn't deserve internet porn and will have to hide magazines under the bed like other luddites.

Obvious Pseudonym

I am obviously right, and as you disagree with me, then logically you must be wrong.
[ Parent ]

it's not quite a first... (none / 0) (#170)
by johnnyfever on Tue May 14, 2002 at 01:13:53 AM EST

games like soldier of fortune have had a controlable 'violence level' for a while now...

[ Parent ]
Role? (none / 0) (#173)
by kreyg on Tue May 14, 2002 at 04:58:54 AM EST

Do you really want your kids assuming the role of a mass murderer or car jacker

OK, I just had to get this off my chest:

There is a fundamental difference between "assuming the role" (i.e. actually being a mass murderer) and controlling a fictional character in a made up world. Hellooo, IT'S FAKE! Not real. Made up. Pretend. What, kids aren't allowed to play cops and robbers any more? That's a much more blatant and real way to "assume the role" than playing a video game.

It would seem to me that the people introducing these bills are the ones with the difficulty distinguising fantasy from reality, perhaps it is they we should be protected from, rather than ourselves.

There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind. - Douglas Adams
[Bull]shit Rolls Down Hill (none / 0) (#184)
by thelizman on Tue May 14, 2002 at 11:32:25 AM EST

So today, Reuters is reporting that the attorney for a 13 year old Dallas boy is using the violent video games he played as an excuse for his actions. The boy is accused of shooting his friend twice, once in the chest, the second time in the head at close range.

What is astonishing is that politicians will ignore the real issue: This kid is a delinquent punk. He and his friend SKIPPED school to spend all day playing games - the first sign of a lack of responsibility (when I skipped school, it was to do something a little more meaningful like a road trip or a beach day, not play stupid games on the idiot box). Moreover, the negligence extends to his parents, whereas his mother left a loaded gun within easy access to a minor, and obviously failed to teach this kid proper respect for a firearm.

The police have charged the boy with Juvenile Murder, a charge which carries a maximum 40 year sentence. The parents of the victim filed a civil suit against the boys mother for the above negligence.

Eventually people are going to realize that children are responsible for themselves, but only to the degree that their parents have foresaken their responsibility giving proper discipline and structure to the kid. Meanwhile, I'll stand by the fact that I play games like Rogue Spear and Quake, and I have yet to go on a murderous rampage. Hell, I don't even get into bar room brawls anymore : )
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
mom may have committed a crime as well (none / 0) (#192)
by austingeek on Tue May 14, 2002 at 04:17:45 PM EST

Actually, in Texas, the gun laws are such that mom commited a crime by leaving the gun where the son could get it a http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/newlaw.htm PC §46.13. MAKING A FIREARM ACCESSIBLE TO A CHILD If she fits the stipulations of this part of the law, she committed a Class A misdemeanor.

So regardless of how the neglegence civil suit turns out, she could be charged with a crime as well.

[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#205)
by Ressev on Fri May 17, 2002 at 06:18:39 PM EST

Torts are becoming the all encompasing excuse for personal negligence. Between this and old ladies suing McDonalds over hot (gee, what a surprise!!) coffee they spilled on themselves, I think people have forgotten that personal responsibility takes precedence(sp) over personal gain.
"Even a wise man can learn from a fool."
"There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." - Mark Twain
[ Parent ]
hehe (none / 0) (#204)
by Ressev on Fri May 17, 2002 at 05:46:33 PM EST

You know, PONG is an incredibly violent video game. In fact, it marked the start of video gaming trends towards wanton violence.

Baseball will have to go too since you violently slam the hapless ball against a bat - all those Little Leaguers will probably batter people with bats...

Sorry

If anything, the Federal Government needs to keep its nose out of Domestic Matters. What they really should do is a campaign to educate parents towards the necessity of being with their children and not treat them as symbols of status and personal achievement to be baby sat by video games and TV. While I think violence in Video Games is a problem (it's a problem in the whole entertainment field), the problem is not something that can be legislated into oblivion. Legislation simply means the Government can take "legitimate" action against something. If parents were more involved and people more sensible and rational, we really would not have the level of problems we have.

But then, when did you ever hear of a totally sensible and rational person? Just another reason Government should be kept to the minimum.

As a side question: How many here are Socialists and are complaining about the Governments involvement in this area? Isn't it the Governments duty to micromanage the lives of it's citizens? ;)
"Even a wise man can learn from a fool."
"There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact." - Mark Twain

Parenting is not a government function (none / 0) (#208)
by regexp on Mon May 20, 2002 at 04:25:40 AM EST

I agree.

There is no replacement for a good parent, one who spends time with their children and brings them up the way they feel their children should be brought up.

To the parents who only complain about the many violent games/movies/toys available, I say it's YOUR problem as a parent to teach your child what is right and wrong, and to prevent your child from such exposure if you deem yourself incapable of instiling the right values to your offspring.

My parents never let me play with guns when I was a kid. Where I come from owning a gun is not a right. I personally feel that with so many irresponsible people in the world, somethings I'd rather not have if it means irresponsible can't either. That's just my opinion, but even in a society where owning a gun is a right, denying your child a fascimile of a dangerous weapon until he/she is old enough to understand consequences surely can't be a bad thing.

Same for games if the child can't tell the difference between games and real life, be it violent, or of any other nature.

Our government banned Half-Life for a while because certain mods were considered too "gruesome". Personally I never noticed until the media pointed it out, but the banned was soon reversed when many young adults complained.

Having said all that, I'd like to point out that if I did have the right to own a gun (or any other right, or playing half-life ;) ), I'd never let it be taken from me either.


[ Parent ]

The Bill to Prohibit the Sale of "Violent" Games to Minors is About More Than Videogames.. | 214 comments (196 topical, 18 editorial, 0 hidden)
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