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Australia Censorship It's funny.  Laugh. Games

Aussie Attorney General Says Gamers Are Scarier Than Biker Gangs 409

Posted by Soulskill
from the well-perhaps-in-some-senses dept.
Sasayaki writes "South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson claims, in an interview with Good Game, that gamers were more of a threat to his family than biker gangs. This is the man who has been the biggest opponent to Australia receiving an R18+ rating for video games and who has the power to veto any such law introducing it."

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Aussie Attorney General Says Gamers Are Scarier Than Biker Gangs

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  • Bwahahaha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @02:37PM (#31158148) Journal

    Where does Australia find these whack jobs? I mean, either the guy is a paranoid schizophrenic or a mental retard.

  • I'm pretty sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @02:37PM (#31158156) Homepage Journal

    ...it would be opposite if he was proposing a ban on motorcycles.

  • Soo.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @02:42PM (#31158252)

    What he's saying is, every person under 30 who lives in Australia is scarier than Biker Gangs?

    Does he ever leave the house?

  • Re:The guy's right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @02:51PM (#31158386)
    Jesus, who are you, his wife? Hur dur, a random crazy threatened him, but no bikers have... why might that be? Let's see him support legislation outlawing biker gangs, see how many threats he gets.
  • What a tit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Attaturk (695988) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @02:53PM (#31158424) Homepage
    I'm not sure whether my biker self or my gamer self is more offended by this arsehat. I've met and hung out with dozens of "biker gangs" at various rallies - yes including the patch clubs that people refer to here like they're comprised of mindless hooligans - and felt safer in their company than when taking a trip through a town centre on a Friday or Saturday night.

    In short, "biker gang" is not shorthand for dangerous thug. Nor is "gamer" shorthand for brainwashed serial killer. And while we're at it I'm pretty sure that "Australian politician" doesn't mean paranoid, misinformed and dangerously ignorant jerk"... but I could be wrong.

    Just a thought Mr Atkinson but perhaps your ill-considered bigotry is what causes people to take such a dim view of you. A single gamer harrassing you is more likely indicative that you've pissed someone off personally than that all gamers are out to get you and your family. Gah.
  • by megamerican (1073936) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:01PM (#31158534)

    The article states that he indeed, did:

    Mr Atkinson was involved in introducing tough new laws to outlaw bikie gangs in South Australia several years ago.

    At the time he said politicians and public officials had to put themselves "on the line" to take the gangs on.

    How brave of him. Now he has to bravely face some teenager leaving a note at his door that most assuredly called him a "nigger faggot."

  • Re:The guy's right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:02PM (#31158554) Journal

    this guy thinks that gamers are generally more dangerous than bikers in order to discredit him.

    Quote:

    "I feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me and are running a candidate against me"

    He didn't say "from a gamer" he said "from gamers", as in the whole group. As opposed to the outlaw motorcycle gangs, as in their whole group. He feels that gamers are more dangerous than bikers. If he's never received a death threat from anyone but a gamer, then perhaps he's justified in feeling that way, but I'm seriously surprised that this is the first death threat an AG would get.

    I do have to say that the motorcycle gangs have a better long term plan than the gamers do at this point. Someone should start a gamer party and run for election on the grounds that you actually know something about what you're trying to regulate.

  • Re:Bwahahaha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:07PM (#31158642) Journal

    As a politician and (assuming Rudd isn't running everything) a setter of policy, it's his job to look beyond personal anecdotes. If he's making policy based solely on the fact that some nutjob left a note on his door, and he can't get past that, then he has no business being in a position where he does form policy. I'm sorry someone made some sort of a threat, but if he's suffered that significant an emotional scarring from it, perhaps he should recuse himself.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:10PM (#31158698)

    To be fair, the context was that a gamer slipped a threatening note under his door. I think in general, zombies are scarier than my next door neighbor, but if my next door neighbor says he's going to burn down my house, and zombies remain fictional, temporarily my neighbor becomes scarier than zombies.

    It's not a statement that should have been made by a politician in public though, and since he's keeping censorship going, he deserves whatever he gets (quotes taken out of context AND the threats). Furthermore, for him to fairly make the comparison, he needs to try banning motorcycles and then telling us which is scarier. I don't know much about motorcycle gangs, but I think they probably wouldn't have slid a note under his door, I think they would have slid a note on the end of their boot up his ass.

  • by Mysticalfruit (533341) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:16PM (#31158776) Journal
    That a bunch of gamers got together and raised 1.7M dollars for charity last year to give to sick kids in the hospital, including two hospitals in Australia on the east coast...
  • Re:Hells Angels (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ninth Marion (1310141) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:24PM (#31158892)
    I'd be less scared of a biker as Attorney General than a puritan nutjob like Atkinson.

    That originally popped into my head as a joke, but I think it's actually true! See also his recent law banning anonymous speech.
  • Re:The guy's right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:26PM (#31158910) Journal
    He feels that gamers are more dangerous than bikers.

    No. That generalization of his quote is incorrect. You are correct in gernealizing from "a gamer" to "gamers" -- but you are incorrect in generalizing from his family being at risk to other families, or individuals, or all of society being at risk.

    Considering that he claims a credible threat was made against him by gamers, and none by bikers, you can see his rationale for believe that *his specific family* is more threatened by gamers.

    That does not mean that you can generalize his beliefs to include *gamers in general* are more dangerous than *bikers in general* regardless of the subject of the risk assessment.

  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:26PM (#31158912) Homepage Journal
    Interesting to note, that he basses his views of the groups as a whole on the behavior of individuals.

    Were he to say, "I am more worried about black people* than Mexicans because a black person slipped a note under my door." he would get eaten alive by the public outcry. Apparently, it's ok to generalize based on traits that are chosen rather than inherited...
  • by hypergreatthing (254983) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:41PM (#31159104)

    well.... a corpse can't give consent.

  • Re:ok... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mathonwy (160184) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:41PM (#31159110)

    "He was later forced to apologise. The animal was not a cat, the incident happened at another location and bikies weren't involved."

    Wait, what?!

    "Oops, my bad, it was a cow, not a cat. And it wasn't at my house, it was at the local Burger King. And I guess it was just a family of 4, not bikers. But it looked so delicious that I was understandably confused!"

  • Re:Bwahahaha! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by godless dave (844089) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @03:48PM (#31159206)
    Because he's a public office holder. To the modern press, any elected official is automatically credible, even if he or she has been caught lying in the past. This is known as "balanced journalism". And no, it doesn't make any sense.
  • Re:Bwahahaha! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shagg (99693) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @04:25PM (#31159642)

    I mean, either the guy is a paranoid schizophrenic or a mental retard.

    Why not both?

  • by element-o.p. (939033) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @04:34PM (#31159754) Homepage
    This begs the question, and I'm sincerely curious about the answer. In practical terms and under Australian law, what is the difference between a group of friends riding motorcycles together and a biker gang? He couldn't seriously have outlawed group rides, could he? Or is it only a gang if everyone (majority, perhaps?) are wearing black leather and riding Harleys?
  • by ozbird (127571) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @04:54PM (#31160044)

    To be fair, the context was that a gamer slipped a threatening note under his door.

    A gamer allegedly slipped a threatening note under his door.

  • by Millennium (2451) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:13PM (#31160330) Homepage

    So basically, this guy is to Australia what Jack Thompson would be to the US if he ever got into a position of power. Guys like him would probably faint at the words I typically use to talk and think about them, not because of any actual obscenities, but because phrases like "enemies of freedom" would remind him too much of the way them thar turrists talk about the West.

    That said, I can't help but wonder if maybe JonKatz was onto something. Not even 15 years ago, gamers and geeks of all kinds tended to be seen as mostly harmless: bumbling and socially-inept, but generally well-meaning (albeit odd). We were condescended to, and even bullied from time to time, but we were more or less given the benefit of the doubt.

    That's changed, and it hasn't been for the better. The condescension and bullying haven't really gone anywhere, but now there's a palpable sense of fear mixed into it. We're seen as ticking time bombs, holding on by a thread that a pin drop in the wrong direction could snap. Some see us as pre-murderers, others as pre-rapists, yet others as pre-saboteurs, but the common thread is clear: we are sleeping monsters to be tiptoed around.

    The stereotype is of course false, or at least it's no more true than it's ever been for any group of people. But like the old stereotype, the new one wasn't born in a vacuum. Gaming and geekdom have always had a few Creepy People doing Creepy Things, but it's only recently that they've risen to the forefront. That's our image problem, and it would do us as a group a lot of good to think about why it happened and how to reverse it, before people like Thompson and Atkinson manage to do it for us.

  • by Shatteredstar (1722136) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @05:54PM (#31160828)

    I think we need to see the actual 'note' for evidence. After all the drama surrounding the issue we have a very very high chance of this all being a stunt.

    Gamers as a whole are unlikely to approach someone's home and leave a PHYSICAL note. Most gamers have enough concept and paranoia of the real world law (just see what happens if one of their buddies mentions they got a 'cease and desist' type notice for pirating a game or movie) that they generally do not like doing things that might bring the real world authorities into play.

    Not to mention also a threatening note is easily a candidate for investigation/arrest material even simple fingerprinting is possible to apprehend a suspect for threats.

    If it was a gamer doing this we would be more likely to see something about a threatening email or website, NOT a physical letter under his door.
    Considering a large majority of /. are gamers, would you write a threatening letter to someone in a position of power and leave it at their door?

    The other fishy thing here is no vandalism, if someone was UPSET or bothered enough to actually travel to his home and leave a threatening letter then I don't see why vandalism was not an issue here. Someone young enough to do something as silly/stupid as leaving the note would certainly not be smart enough to avoid the temptation of vandalism at the same time.

  • by soporific16 (1166495) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:38PM (#31161422)
    When one guy can hold an entire country of gamers to ransom, it's not hard to understand the frustrated reactions of those who are effectively politically disenfranchised. Australians have very low levels of political consciousnesses compared to the rest of the world's population and part of this is reflected by the way the system was setup over here. It's not as if the convicts ever had much say in what went on and this top-down and top-heavy system of governance has developed as such, such that we have a nanny-state style of organising society. The wowsers are in control and don't you forget it! Sit down, shut up, or you won't EVER get your R18+ gaming classifications. I think it's fair to say it's never gonna come without a little pressure, but immature notes under the door probably isn't the sort of pressure that will work. Having said that, the dickhead deserves nasty things said to him. Very nasty things. I would say R rated things, but he's probably never heard any :(
  • Re:Bwahahaha! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:48PM (#31161542)

    Fosters is the beer we export not the beer we drink - XXXX, Tooths Tooheys, VB, MB, Swan etc

    One of the things that annoys me as an Expat Aussie is watching this pandering to the religious right that we never had so openly before -

    Was in the past that australian pollies would tell the Rev Fred Nile and his cronies to take a hike - now they are doing the same thing the Republican party does here in the US

    We got the Convicts NOT the Puritans - since when did that change????

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:55PM (#31161618) Journal

    A gamer allegedly slipped a threatening note under his door.

    An alleged gamer allegedly slipped an allegedly threatening note under his door. Personally, I would need more than a politician's word on it.

    -jcr

  • Re:Hells Angels (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gandalf_Greyhame (44144) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @06:55PM (#31161624) Journal

    Yeah, Aussie slang is pretty easy to get the hang of, merely cut the word in half and add "ie" at the end of it. That probably amounts to 95% of Aussie slang

    In the case that a citation is required, is it enough to say that I am Australian

  • Re:The guy's right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lunzo (1065904) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @07:21PM (#31161902)

    I think it's all a load of bullshit.

    1. The contents of the note haven't been made public, so we don't know how threatening it really was. My guess on the contents: "I want my left 4 dead 2 you fucking fucker"
    2. There is no indication that the police have been involved. If Atkinson was actually scared of the supposed death threats you'd think he would have called the cops.
    3. It is currently legal to leave a note under someone's door, even at 2am.
    4. He is more at risk from bikie gangs than gamers. SA has some nasty anti-bikie laws that he introduced recently. These laws are a horrible attack on freedom of association, and in theory could be used to rule other groups illegal in the future.

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @07:24PM (#31161940)

    So, to everyone in Australia, the guy who made that threat is fucking it up for the rest of you.

    I'd argue that it's mostly the target that is fucking it up for everyone else. He was blocking it well before the claimed threat. Banning all adult games for sale to because one gamer threatened you is incredibly bad justification for an incredibly bad move.

  • Re:Bwahahaha! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ashridah (72567) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @07:26PM (#31161960)

    plus fucking 1 on that score. How the hell did we end up with a religious nutjob for a prime minister?

  • Re:Hells Angels (Score:3, Insightful)

    by svunt (916464) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @08:17PM (#31162562) Homepage Journal
    Yep, that's how we do it...ie. Not only is a bottle of beer a 'stubby' but a can is a 'tinnie' - which is also a small metal boat, like a dinghy. The nastier half of us even call Indians 'curries'.
  • by harlequinn (909271) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:07PM (#31163532)

    Michael Atkinson is a Labor Attorney-General.

    The incumbent South Australian Government is Labor.

    Vote for the opposition (Liberal, Independant, etc.) in the impending South Australian State Election on the 20th of March 2010 and the new government will invariably give us a new AG.

    If you are in the Croydon electorate - which is where Michael Atkinson's seat it - then you should rally all your friends and vote for the opposition - then he won't even have a seat, let alone be AG.

    Democracy at work people.

  • by obeythefist (719316) on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @10:56PM (#31163912) Journal

    Gamers as a whole are unlikely to approach someone's home and leave a PHYSICAL note. Most gamers have enough concept and paranoia of the real world law (just see what happens if one of their buddies mentions they got a 'cease and desist' type notice for pirating a game or movie) that they generally do not like doing things that might bring the real world authorities into play.

    Well, there are stupid gamers in this world, just like there are stupid attorneys-general.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Tuesday February 16, 2010 @11:17PM (#31164118) Journal
    "Throw a shrimp on the barbie" was a joke, it's saying "everything is NOT bigger in Texas", eg: Anna Creek cattle station is more than 10X the size of the largest US ranch. Americans failed to get the joke and thought the phrase was part of our lingo.

    BTW, Most Aussies including me enjoyed the first Crocodile Dundee but Hoag's lost his popularity with Aussies when he dumped his wife of 20yrs and ran off with the woman from the movie.

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