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United States Government The Courts Entertainment Games News

Most Laws Attempting Limits of Violent Videogames Fail 365

circletimessquare writes "Good news for common sense: the New York Times examines the track record of state laws attempting to put additional limits on violent videogames, and finds that the courts have struck almost all of them down as unconstitutional. Especially notable is this gem of a quote, from Judge Richard A. Posner: 'Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low ... It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware. To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it.'"
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Most Laws Attempting Limits of Violent Videogames Fail

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  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @04:50PM (#20310363) Homepage Journal
    Looks like Judge Posner is thinking of the children.
    • by nelsonal ( 549144 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @04:56PM (#20310451) Journal
      Judge Posner is probably one of the best legal minds of the age, it's sad that he wasn't one of the nominees to the Supreme Court.
      • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:04PM (#20310579) Homepage Journal

        Judge Posner is probably one of the best legal minds of the age, it's sad that he wasn't one of the nominees to the Supreme Court.
        And don't you ever think that there might be a correlation between those two facts...
      • No joke, I really wish I could give that guy a hug. Just a simple, ecstatic, no-sexual-intent bear hug. America needs more like him - he seems like the rare justice who might even make sense of the new-fangled internet tube thing.

        Though, since he's a justice and it is politics, I guess I'd settle for buying him a beer. Or two beers. Really nice beers, too, maybe one of those eastern European deals with the chocolate and nutmeg in it. Whatever tickled his fancy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by magarity ( 164372 )
        Judge Posner is probably one of the best legal minds of the age, it's sad that he wasn't one of the nominees to the Supreme Court.

        I have to disagree because the proper end to this sentence is:
        To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images is a decision best left up to parents, not the government.

        Note that the good judge has gone on about his opinion of to what children should be exposed to and not to whose rights are what. It's this ki
    • Tough Love (Score:5, Funny)

      by conspirator57 ( 1123519 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @04:56PM (#20310453)
      ... "And while you're at it, spank your children and stop reading them politically correct fairy tales. Yes the gingerbread house is made from bad little boys and girls."

      http://www.amazon.com/Politically-Correct-Bedtime- Stories-Modern/dp/002542730X [amazon.com]

    • by Mikkeles ( 698461 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:14PM (#20310741)
      "'Sex has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low ... It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware. To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to sexual descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it.'"

      So why the hypocrisy with respect to pornography and other sexual or erotic descriptions.

      • by justin12345 ( 846440 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:23PM (#20310857)
        Because this guy wasn't on the Supreme Court that ruled the obscenity wasn't protected by the First Amendment.
      • Because the hypocrites are still in the majority.

      • by Tarlus ( 1000874 )

        'Sex has always been and remains a central interest of humankind... It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware.'
        Fairy tales of the Penthouse Forum?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        So why the hypocrisy with respect to pornography and other sexual or erotic descriptions.

        Religious institutions. You're much less likely to get excommunicated from your church for beating your wife vs. cheating on her. I never understood the logic myself. Why are we so much more lenient in censoring violence--an act that inflicts pain and can end human lives vs. sex--acts that bring pleasure and can create human life?

        • and spread disease and destroy families if not taken in moderation.

          violence (physical and otherwise) is an inescapable fact of human existence, as is sex. But I think it's a lot easier for a child to understand the basics of the role violence has in our society, versus a child understanding the more complex role of sex in our society. baby steps please.

          I do hope that by the time a kid is 12 or so she/he has a healthy understanding of both violence and sex, and hopefully not by personal experience. Violence
    • "Should the government be keeping me from showing my son how to direct brave goblin suicide bombers against their elven oppressors?"

      -Hans Reiser, respected linux kernel hacker

      • Isn't Hans going to stand trial for murder or something? Because then that quote is even funnier.
    • Not to bludgeded the issue with a wet noodle but both sides have it WRONG.

      The judge is right violence is part of man and children and culture.

      The legislatures are right that society has a responsibility to protect it's children
      from what is likely harmful to them at given stages of development.

      The problem the judge has is that there is nothing wrong with protecting children from almost all violent imagery up till the age of 18.

      The problem the legislatures have is that it is a PARENTS responsibility to _SPEND
  • by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @04:51PM (#20310377)
    ..... Is gonna be really pissed about this. Now we'll have a new round of him going apeshit over violence in video games. Sigh.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward


      "Judge Posner can't take your call, Mr. Thompson. He's playing the leaked copy of Manhunt 2."

    • by eggoeater ( 704775 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:16PM (#20310785) Journal
      ...and the Judge used one of my favorite words, Quixotic [wikipedia.org],
      which is a flat-out perfect description of Jack Thompson:

      ....a person or an act that is caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals. It also serves to describe an idealism without regard to practicality.


    • Someone needs to release a super violent video game called: "No! I'm Jack Thompson and I'm an ass!"

      Then, I want to sit in the court room and try not to laugh each time he, or anyone else says the title....
  • Yet they keep trying (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nebaz ( 453974 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @04:51PM (#20310381)
    These laws are continually struck down, one by one, yet the state legislatures still propose them. (Helped sometimes by some overzealous individual advocates). Do the state legislatures not look at court rulings? or do they not care? In my dream world, there would be penalties for passing unconstitutional laws. Sadly, the people who make the laws have that power.
    • by Fx.Dr ( 915071 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @04:55PM (#20310441)
      It's not as though The Powers That Be don't know and don't care - they most certainly know, but that's not the point. It helps them establish a track record of "thinking of the children", which makes it all the easier to posture on their soapboxes come election time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by servognome ( 738846 )

      Do the state legislatures not look at court rulings?
      They are probably more interested in looking at the poll numbers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by glop ( 181086 )
      Actually, there is a penalty. The people who proposed the law look like fools. The titles in the newspapers are generally not kind when a law is struck down.

      Also, the balance of power between the legislators and the judges requires that there is no penalty. The congressmen represent us : they discuss the issue, do their best to make up their mind and vote. They should not be punished for being wrong. No more than you and I should be punished for voting for the 'wrong' candidate on election day.
      • by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:18PM (#20310795)
        Actually, there is a penalty. The people who proposed the law look like fools

        Penalty???

        You are kidding.

        People don't want non-foolish politicians or lawmakers; they want people in power that they can feel superior to. How do you think George W Bush got in power in the first place?

        People don't want to feel inferior! So they vote for the idiots!

        Duh!
    • It's about scoring political points. Whether these laws are tossed out in the courts or not is irrelevant. What counts is that the legislators look like they're getting tough on something, and since its taxpayer's money, what the hell! When the law gets tossed out, blame it on activist judges, and all the noodle-heads will bob their heads in unison.
    • the price of freedom is that it must always be guarded. it is not true that you will fight some decisive battle, win some decisive argument, or enact some decisive law (as you suggest above: "In my dream world, there would be penalties for passing unconstitutional laws") and then presto changeo, forever more you are free without ever having to think of any threats to it

      no. all around you, every day, is someone, somwhere, in some form or another, thinking it is a good idea to limit your freedoms. in fact, the worst sort of enemy are those who do this, thinking they are actually helping you (as many of the well-meaning but deluded legislators intend)

      so when a little ray of light, like this story of universal failure on the front of limiting violent videogames breaks, then you should celebrate. don't be despondent

      you'll need to celebrate. because tomorrow is another day, and tomorrow, some well-meaning but stupid legislator will cry "think of the children!" yet again. and again. and again

      and you must go to battle yet again to protect your freedom. it's never easy. it's never over

      and that's another important point: the people who pass these laws are not the minions of emperor palpatine, establishing the beachhead for the rise of fascism across the globe. they are in fact mostly well-meaning people, but are just deluded on the facts. you have to know your enemy to defeat him, and to give in to paranoid fantasies about evil operators of the illuminati finessing and manipulating the system in service of some dark agenda: no, you've been watching to many bad hollywood movies. don't attribute to evil that which is obviously the work of stupidity. and even worse, WELL MEANING stupidity. their heart is in the right place, but their mind is it. when we cry "won't somebody think of the children!" it's a simpson's punchline, and we all laugh. but for some people, "won't somebody think of the children!" is an earnest heartfelt honest to goodness cry of desperation and call to arms to fight to protect children

      from what? well i'm not going to argue their stupidity here. that's not my point here. my point here is to simply demonstrate to you that the fight is not easy, and it's not a fight against evil. it's a fight against stupidity. and the fight never ends, and the fight is never easy

      know the REAL nature of your enemy, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. it's the price you pay for your freedom: constant vigilance. the fight is never easy, the fight is never over
      • and that's another important point: the people who pass these laws are not the minions of emperor palpatine, establishing the beachhead for the rise of fascism across the globe. they are in fact mostly well-meaning people, but are just deluded on the facts. you have to know your enemy to defeat him, and to give in to paranoid fantasies about evil operators of the illuminati finessing and manipulating the system in service of some dark agenda: no, you've been watching to many bad hollywood movies. don't attr

        • "those people" are not a vast secret evil conspiracy

          "those people" are mostly isolated stupid fools

          sure, it's not as sexy as the plotlines of most hollywood movies, but my understanding as opposed to your understanding has the useful side benefit of being reality

          and if you are going to beat your enemy, you have to know the true nature of your enemy

          you don't
          • I think one only has to look at Jack Thompson to see how lunatics can have a substantial effect on public policy. I don't trust people who align themselves with a man who ought to be in the funny farm, and I don't have to invoke conspiracy theories to realize that there is more than just coincidence to similar individuals in different jurisdictions wilfully violating the Constitution, wilfully wasting taxpayer resources, and wilfully reframing the whole debate as a crusaders for their children as opposed t
    • These laws are continually struck down, one by one, yet the state legislatures still propose them. ... Do the state legislatures not look at court rulings? or do they not care?

      It's worse than that. In Posner's words they're deliberately ATTEMPTING to "deform" the children and "leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it."

      It's part of the "culture war". A conscious (if misguided) attempt by the "progressives" to raise non-violent children by insulating them from knowledge of violence and too
  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @04:52PM (#20310401)
    Now just to confirm that it's no more harmful for a teenager to see a nude human body or have a glass of red wine with parents at dinner time.
    • by Alaren ( 682568 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:06PM (#20310621)

      Actually, with the possible exception of the part about fairy tales, substitute "sex" for "violence" in the Posner quote and it would still be pretty accurate... and many of those fairy tales arguably have sexual undertones, so maybe it's a perfect fit.

      The truth is, "childhood" as we know it--especially childhood that lasts until the age of 18 or 21--is a relatively modern invention. It has its advantages, economically and academically and in other ways, but frankly we spend a lot of time protecting an "innocence" that only exists in the minds of naive parents across the first world. I am the father of three children the protection I owe them is to protect them from people who would hurt them or take advantage of them, and from the consequences of their own ignorance--not to protect them from their own curiosity, except where that curiosity poses a danger they do not yet understand or are not yet able to handle on their own. And I don't need a liberal or conservative nanny state [kennethpike.com] interfering with that.

      • many of those fairy tales arguably have sexual undertones

        No 'arguably' about it. Certainly in older versions, the witch only caught on to what Rapunzel had been up to once the naive young girl asked something along the lines of 'why don't my clothes fit right any more?' Oops.

    • by GeckoX ( 259575 )
      Or worse, what about hear words!!!

      Censorship priorities are in this order (in North America anyways):
      1) Nudity
      2) Language
      3) Violence

      That's right, it's worse for a kid to see a breast, than it is to hear the word fuck, than it is to see a violent murder. Ratings systems allow children access to #3 much sooner than #2, and then finally #1 once you're an adult.

      Scary system where we'd rather our children see murders than hear words or see other people as they are born.

      But this is the choir here, I do realize th
      • by iamacat ( 583406 )
        That's right, it's worse for a kid to see a breast, than it is to hear the word fuck, than it is to see a violent murder.

        Shhh... They will hear you and starve my 2 month old while making her listen to eminem.
    • by The Living Fractal ( 162153 ) <banantarr@hotm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:10PM (#20310695) Homepage
      I agree with you. The nude body is not something to be censored. Not even on public television.

      But what about sex? I'm not talking love, I'm talking pure, lustful, sex. What about double, or even triple penetration? What about people having sex with animals? We're all just animals anyway, right? And so what if that woman wants a combined three feet of throbbing man love in her? I mean, she's got that Right, to choose to do that, hasn't she? How about gay sex?

      While I agree that the nude body is nothing to be ashamed of or censor, and I understand that you didn't say you think I should turn to a public channel and be able to see a gang-bang in progress, I think we must draw the line somewhere as a society.

      Is that line drawn at soft-core pornography? Or before? Is it drawn whenever the nudity is involved in a sexual act? What if it is just posing in a sexy way?

      I'm genuinely curious what you think about this.
      • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:21PM (#20310841) Journal
        I'm thinking we should give parents the tools to moderate what their kids see, rather than having a big ol' Nanny State which knows best telling parents what their kids should watch. If all these parents didn't just park Little Johnny in front of the TV or leave him to surf the Net unattended for long stretches of time, then there would be less of a problem.

        And here's another thing to remember, kids have about as much trouble finding porn as they do finding booze; which is to say they don't have much trouble at all. It would be better to expect kids are going to see nasty things, and to give them some bearings early on so that they are prepared. In North America, we're a pack of cowardly prudes, so afraid of talking about sex that the best we can do is to have somebody come into the classroom and answer all the awkward but important questions the kids have. Even there, paranoid uber-Christian types (you know, the ones that want to cover up Justice and Liberty) won't let their kids near that, so their kids are completely ignorant of the nuances of human sexuality.

        I'll tell you what is perverse. It's our stick-in-the-mud, Fundie-paranoia anti-sex culture which makes the more twisted forms of pornography so desirable. By creating this taboo around human sexuality, we have produced a schizophrenic, fetishistic society.
      • Well, consider this - the man-on-man rape scene in Pulp Fiction is OK on public TV (I know, because I've seen it there), because they didn't actually show any nudity. That's the problem with "drawing the line" - the actual line you're looking for is impossible to draw. That's why we have the irrational censorship laws that we have today - we censor the few things we can actually define fairly specifically. OTOH, while Pulp Fiction is perfectly legal to show, you'll probably see in on TBS after 8:00 PM, n

        • I agree. Even with no censorship at all the system would find a natural medium where things such as homosexual rape are simply not desirable enough to warrant the time on the air.

          On the other hand, allowing government to continually tighten the noose around our necks, to allow them to censor more and more, and eventually to allow the extinction of free speech, is the direction we're going, and I can say confidently that this is much worse than a child seeing pornography of ANY kind.
      • by iamacat ( 583406 )
        Hmm, when I was 15 years old I would very much enjoy seeing pure, lustful sex videos - minus animal and gay sex. Perhaps such things should be on public TV, but it shouldn't be illegal for a father to introduce his teenage son to joys of adult life, with content pre-screened first not to gross out this particular teenager or encourage illegal/violent behavior towards women.
      • While I agree that the nude body is nothing to be ashamed of or censor, and I understand that you didn't say you think I should turn to a public channel and be able to see a gang-bang in progress, I think we must draw the line somewhere as a society.

        Why? Drawing a line is such an difficult and imperfect process, how about we just decide that changing the channel to another one is sufficient?

        Just because extreme-porn is there doesn't mean you or anyone else must watch it. After all, its been about a decade since the introduction of the v-chip, it isn't like the tools to avoid extreme-porn are some theoretical voodoo magic, almost ever tv in use today has got the tools built in.

      • by Tom ( 822 )

        I think we must draw the line somewhere as a society.

        Yes, and it's an arbitrary line.

        Why sex? Why not, say, eating? Quite a lot of people have eating habits that are more disgusting than at least most porn.

        Or why is it borderline-acceptable if a man whips out his piece to piss, but not to jerk off?

        We can kiss in public, but not fuck. Some cultures on this earth don't tolerate public kissing.

        Why is the male upper body ok, and the female not? While we're at it, I personally think hairy fat bellies to be a much worse sight than nice breasts.

        Speaking of which, w

      • the discussion about what must happen in the public form ( ie what I might see flipping channels acidentally) or what I might see walking down the street is very different then this judges case. He is talking about something it takes effort to see. More like a book , you must find it , purchase it and decide to play it. Web cesorship is a different issue but the shere technical aspects of the web make it wholy impracticle
    • There's something seriously wrong with America. How is it that Janet Jackson's booby during the super-bowl caught an incredible amount political attention? Why is it that parents are quick to blame video game violence and Marilyn Manson when some troubled kids shoot up a school? It must be the nudity on TV and violence in video games that's causing these kids to do such horrific things! I'm in Germany temporarily right now, and the same violent video games and the same violent movies are here. Oh, and nudit
    • >> or have a glass of red wine with parents at dinner time.

      maybe a nice chianti and some fava beans
  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @04:59PM (#20310503) Homepage
    http://hallert.net/images/crime-victims_games.jpg [hallert.net]

    This is a graph that's been floating around that tracks violent crime rates and maps them against the release dates of various "watershed" violent video games. While correlation does not equal causation, it's certainly intriguing.
    • Very nice graph. My only complaint is that the y-axis goes from 20 - 55 rather than 0-55. It makes it seem like they're trying to manipulate the data.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by winomonkey ( 983062 )
        Wait, people manipulating numbers to make a point? Surely you jest! I mean no offense, but isn't that the primary goal of numbers once taken out of a purely mathematical context? And now for a few gems of statistically-related quotes:

        Torture numbers, and they'll confess to anything. ~Gregg Easterbrook

        Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital. ~Aaron Levenstein

        Statistics can be made to prove anything - even the truth. ~Author Unknown

        He uses
      • I don't trust that graph one jot -- and no-one else on /. should either: Mortal Kombat is older than Doom, and every geek knows it.

        HAL.

    • I note the decline in 'crime victims' on your graph started in 1993... the same year the Brady bill [wikipedia.org] was signed into law...
  • There is the possibility the lawmakers pushing these types of limits might try introducing a constitutional amendment if their desires are continually shot down by the courts.

    • There is the possibility the lawmakers pushing these types of limits might try introducing a constitutional amendment if their desires are continually shot down by the courts.

      Fortunately, the Founding Fathers were smart enough to think ahead to precisely this kind of self-servering demagoguery and put in some rather difficult amendment formulas to stave off most of the frivilous demands for altering the Constitution. If they couldn't get a gay marriage ban amendment through, what makes you think they cou

      • Turn it around, what do you think would cause more uproar overall, A gay marriage ban amendment or a violent video gam amendment?

        The segment of "VIOLENCE BAD: THINK OF THE CHILDREN" plus the segment of "dont really give a shit but sounds like a good idea" would could end up a solid majority, as opposed to the case of "We dont want to be seen as stupid bigots" versus "We are stupid bigots".

        Especially given enough hype.

        Just too bad the the subjects themselves had to go and fuck up the experiment.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I don't think either amendment has much chance of happening, particularly in the political climate today. Remember, those politicians who whore themselves to the likes of Jack Thompson are only interested in the appearances of getting tough on video game violence. They're too lazy and too stupid to ever put together the kind of campaign needed to amend the Constitution. Besides, it's pretty obvious that most of them have never actual read the Constitution, which is why they keep getting their laws tossed
  • Laws don't have to be struck down to fail.

    Laws which ignore the reality that a given banned activity/item/passtime has widespread public popularity always fail.

    What's really scary though is no government since the 30's has had the guts to stand up, admit they were wrong, and repeal such a law.

    Prohibition failed.
    Drug laws have failed.
    anti-downloading laws have failed.
    speeding and racing laws are and always have been in a continued state of failure.

    Laws prohibiting X age group from obtaining Y product are ret
  • by Mayhem178 ( 920970 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:04PM (#20310595)
    'Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low ... It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware. To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it.

    This has got to be the most insightful and intelligent thing I've ever heard a person of political or judiciary status say.
  • Unconstitutional? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) * on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:07PM (#20310633) Journal
    I'm sorry, but I don't see how these laws are unconstitutional. A child is a parents' responsibility. What games a child plays is up to the parents, period! Because I am a responsible parent, I'm not worried about my child playing violent video games because I know she won't. I won't let her. She is my responsibility. Am I depriving my child of her Constitutional rights? No! I'm being a responsible parent. There is no Constitutional right to bad parenting!

    Unfortunately, not all parents are responsible. Some parents give their child birthday money or allowance or whatever and let them buy whatever they want. This child that plays Postal2 who thinks that whacking people with a shovel is OK, is not going to beat himself up. He's going to go after my child! Now I can't stop this kid from playing Postal2, and I wouldn't if I could, but I would like to at least know that his parents are aware of what he is playing. I like the idea that the parents have to go to the store with their kid and see what game they are purchasing. I would hope that they would ask their kid, "Johnny? Why do I have to show ID for you to have this game?" If the parent still wants to buy it, great! That's their choice. They are mature enough to make it. A 10-yr old child is not!

    Of course, these laws do not prevent any adult from purchasing these games. And when I say violent video games, I'm not talking about Mortal Kombat. I don't care about impossible, cartoon violence. No kid is going to do the Sub-Zero kill move on my daughter! I'm talking about Postal2 and games that are violent for the purpose of being violent. Games where the point is violence over game play.

    • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:15PM (#20310767)

      A child is a parents' responsibility. What games a child plays is up to the parents, period!
      Perhaps that's why it's unconstitutional.
    • by mangu ( 126918 )
      "This child that plays Postal2 who thinks that whacking people with a shovel is OK, ... "


      That child has a severe problem in distinguishing fiction from fact, she should be under the care of a psychologist, perhaps confined to a mental hospital. What if this child reads the Bible and starts thinking it's OK for a teenage girl to become pregnant by her father, as in Genesis 19,33?



  • It's the same old story told again and again. At some point people get old and stuck in their ways. They refuse to waiver in there attempts to hold on to what they think is the way things ought to be. Not much you can do, but fight off the total controlling of our society. Best thing to keep in mind is to keep an opened mind. Someday (perhaps that day has passed for you) you'll get old, but remember the plight of your youth and remember to help, not restrain, our children.
  • It's nice to see that the judicial branch is doing its job of checking and balancing the emotional and short-sited legislative branch.
    Posner is a beacon of reason and pragmatism.

    He even visited Second Life:
    http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2006/11/judge_richard_p.h tml [blogs.com]
  • by dosquatch ( 924618 ) * on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @05:44PM (#20311093) Journal

    To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it.

    Hurrah! I've been saying for years that the obsession with nerf-coating the world was a Bad Thing. The best way for the masses to learn due caution is for a few to serve as a negative example, not to round every corner and pad every edge.

    This is true psychologically, too. Sex and violence is part of the human creature. Pretending it's not "for the children", the children who will eventually inherit this mess, does a disservice to us all for exactly the reason stated - they will be unequipped when it's their turn. Nevermind the bozos making these stupid laws - find me one among them who didn't flip through a playboy and play cops and robbers as a child him/herself. These things are desirable, perhaps even required, for a well-balanced adult to form. We all grew up watching GIJoe shoot at everybody and Sam Malone hit on everything in a skirt. We had monkeybars on asphalt, BB guns, steel sliding boards with exposed bolts and pinch points. We never had those ridiculous bike helmets and elbow pads. There were scuffed elbows and scraped knees, maybe even a broken arm or two, but seriously, how many of the kids you went to school with were maimed or killed on the playground?

    So go, kids, run and play! Climb trees. Jump from the swingsets. Play dodgeball. Play doctor. Explore the world around you, it belongs to you, too, after all.

    Off with their helmets! Lawn darts for everybody! Hip, Hip, Hurrah!

  • Most anti violence laws attempt to legislate the developer or publisher of games. However they are creating a product. The fact that the product is violent is irrelevant, it's not a immediately dangerous product. Almost certainly less harmless than alcohol and tobacco. But the big point is you're trying to suppress the game. That's hardly allowed in America.

    Instead a solid law that someone wants to pass should focus on the retail clerks, but most of the laws being passed around target the producer and
  • new plan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hurfy ( 735314 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @06:09PM (#20311375)
    I wonder if video games based on William Shakespeare's works would be too violent.....Would make a great headline to get an AO rating ;)

    Just have to make sure that Romeo and/or Juliet die before they...well we can't go there can we ;)

    Meanwhile back to adding the Big Bad Wolf mod to my architectural drafting program...at least that one is still safe.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Let's not even talk about Shakespeare, let's talk about a video game based on the Book of Joshua, or how about a great game where you get to kill the adults, children and even the camels and sheep of the Amelekites (1st Samuel 15:3).

      Perhaps we should be banning the Bible from childrens' hands, with its incest, murder, mass-murder and degradation of humans, it's surely every bit as repugnant as some of the video games that are out there.
  • Have you ever read McBeth? Or Hamlet?

    Ok, now, have you understood it? Teh horrorz! Crime, murder, schemes and machinations, teenagers driven to insanity (Hamlet) or to suicide (Romeo and Juliet), and don't get me started on MacBeth and the themes of witchcraft, plotting for a coup d'etat and mass murder!

    Save our children! Ban Shakespeare!
  • by Sierpinski ( 266120 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2007 @09:12AM (#20317219)
    I recently watched 'The Hills Have Eyes', the remake that was realized a few years ago. It was one of the more violent movies that I have seen in the last couple months, and reading this article made me ask myself why should movie studios be able to release a movie depicting a person ripping away flesh from another dead person, and eating it, yet punching a prostitute in the face until she bleeds is a major taboo. I grew up on Friday the 13th movies, tons of zombie movies showing the walking dead devouring the living, sometimes very graphically, but when you throw a little sex (hello, Cinemax is as close to soft-core porn as you can get without pay-per-view) or violence in a game, call the National Guard, our children are at risk! I know there are people who believe that doing something has more of an effect than watching something, and I think to a certain extent that is true, but healthy-minded teenagers (I agree that younger kids shouldn't be exposed to that kind of thing) should have no trouble separating what is real with what is fiction.

    My six-year-old daughter asked me recently about what the police do to bad guys that they catch, and what to the bad guys do to get in trouble. Knowing that it wouldn't show her anything too bad, I turned on 'Cops' and let her watch an episode of that. I told her that it seems that is probably more of what police officers have to deal with, but of course there are days where the bad people are "a lot badder". She seemed to understand, and immediately asked if that's why they carry guns. She then made a comment about some of the games that she has seen me play, and asked me if I have ever shot anyone. I replied no, I've never even pointed a gun at anyone. She replied again with "I've seen you shoot people in the games that you play, but I know that's not real, so its a lot different than doing it for real."

    As bad as it sounds, she even cheered me one while watching me play Resident Evil 4 on my Wii. (Silent kid, I didn't hear her sneak up behind me) and she also was able to discern what is real and what is not.

    People are saying that games with excessive violence shouldn't be able to be sold to minors. As much as I hate censorship and govermental control, I think there is some merit to this. I wouldn't want my daughter when she is 11 or something to be able to go buy some movie like "The Hills Have Eyes" without me knowing, and I'd feel the same way about video games. Until I know for sure that she can handle things, I will continue to prescreen what she watches and what she plays, but as a parent I feel it is MY choice, not the government's.

All this wheeling and dealing around, why, it isn't for money, it's for fun. Money's just the way we keep score. -- Henry Tyroon

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