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Senator Feinstein: We Need Video Game Control 424

ducomputergeek writes "Since the assault weapons ban seems to have died in Congress, it looks like Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) now turning her attention to video games...again. '"If Sandy Hook doesn't [make game publishers change] then maybe we have to proceed, but that is in the future," said Feinstein. She went on to claim that video games play "a very negative role for young people, and the industry ought to take note of that."' Yet, as the article points out, since the introduction of games like DOOM, the crime rate in the U.S. has gone down. Dramatically. Correlation != causation, and all that jazz, but there are a lot of violent video games these days and yet crime has continued to go down."
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Senator Feinstein: We Need Video Game Control

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  • by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @04:38PM (#43372493)

    Fact is that video games have made us safer. Population has increased yet the number of psychos per 100 people has decreased. Homicide rates have decreased. The murder rate in the prohibition era (1920s) was 4 times higher than today's rate.

  • I'm surprised... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @04:41PM (#43372523) Homepage Journal

    What's really newsworthy about this? The NRA and Feinstein agreeing on something...

    I'm checking the temperature in Hell right now, expecting record lows... /NRA member, wrote to complain to them after their little news release.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @04:46PM (#43372621)

    Funny - "Fact Is Video Games Made Us Safer - And Screw Any Other Factors". Same sort of reasoning that Feinstein is using.

    To Summarize "How About I Just Say Something and It's True?". Since measuring what actually causes crime and then doing something about that is hard. And measuring what caused a decrease in crime is also not very popular.

    I think it comes from living in a society where there are thousands of people...people we call lawmakers....who wouldn't have a damn thing to do if they didn't invent something wrong. And hell, if you can't imagine something is wrong, give money and guns to the drug cartels until something IS wrong.

  • I have an idea (Score:5, Informative)

    by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @04:46PM (#43372623)

    I have an idea, why doesn't the United States do what they did with movies and put ratings on every video game, and then refuse to sell ones aimed at adults to children?

    Oh wait, they already did that [].

  • I just don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

    by prelelat ( 201821 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @04:54PM (#43372731)

    This isn't some confused 14 year old who went out and started shooting the place up it was a 20 year old. A 20 year old that should have had 20 years to learn that life isn't a video game. Learn that you don't go killing people just for shits, because you're pissed off, or what ever. Myself, and I dare say millions of people in world have played violent video games since the day they were able to sit at a computer(now a console I suppose) and to this day we have maybe a handful of incidents that cry out tragedy. That's some fucked up math. You want to point a finger at guns, sure they were probably used in 90% of these attacks(I recall one where some asshole blew up a school decades ago with TNT). Guns are not the problem here either, it's not the media glorifying it* though I dare say that has more of an affect on children than video games.

    The problem is mental illness. This guy was sick, that's all there is to it. How else do you explain the millions of people that play video games and nothing happens. How else do you explain people that have gone through so much tragedy seen so much worse from such horrible backgrounds not going out and killing a swath of children with semi-automatic guns. He was sick, and no one gives a fuck about it. No one wants to explore a health care system that would try and reach people like this early. They don't want to try and help the people like Adam Lanza because he wasn't at fault, it was the guns, the video games heaven forbid they found milk in his fridge and blamed the milk man.

    *The media does more to glorify killing than any video game, they play on repeat hours and hours of footage of what happened they immortalize the killers. Some guy who said to himself all his life "no one knows who I am no one understands me" all of the sudden realize "If I shoot up a school people will look at me and know my name, they will know who I am and spend years trying to figure me out" Shits fucked up.

  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @04:57PM (#43372783) Homepage Journal

    Let's get some control on Congress and the Corporations -- like that will ever happen. If I recall -- Feinstein was among the members of Congress found to be actively engaged in INSIDER TRADING by dealing in information given to her by Industry Lobbyists in exchange for "favors" and GIVEN A PASS! These members of Congress had claimed that they didn't know that Insider Trading was bad and inappropriate -- no charges or even fines will ever be levied against the Members of Congress or the Lobbyists who supplied the information by the SEC or DoJ.

    In the last 30 years Congress has redefined "The People" as the Corporate Entities and the .5%. They see their job as handing as much power and control over the Subjects of the US to them as possible. Controlling Freedom of Expresion and curtailing the Constitutional Rights of the Subjects is needed to achieve that end.

  • Out with the old. (Score:4, Informative)

    by HeckRuler ( 1369601 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @04:57PM (#43372787)

    Dear Senator Feinstein,

    The demographic you're trying to fear-monger votes out of is dying off and an ever-increasing percentage of voters think this makes you look like an unelectable fool.

    A democrat under 30.

  • Re: Obscene (Score:5, Informative)

    by SpaceManFlip ( 2720507 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @04:59PM (#43372811)
    Obscenity is defined by the "Miller Test"

    If an artwork/material/etc is considered obscene by the moral standards of the general community at large (in the pertinent locale) AND has no redeeming social/educational value, then it is considered obscene and should be banned.

    Any "obscenely" violent vidya game could simply take a page from Playboy's playbook, and insert some kind of PSA like "give the gift of Literacy" somewhere within the work that is prominently visible, and it would fail Part 2 of the Miller Test and therefore be Not Obscene.

  • by D'Arque Bishop ( 84624 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @05:00PM (#43372813) Homepage

    Well, they can at least prevent them from being sold to minors.

    The U.S. Supreme Court would disagree with you. []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @05:00PM (#43372815)
    Should be "What part of the constitution" doesn't she understand? She doesn't understand the 1st or 2nd amendments.
  • by Memophage ( 88273 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @05:06PM (#43372903)

    Mother Jones recently published an article America's Real Criminal Element: Lead [], detailing the correlation between decrease in environmental lead levels (mostly due to unleaded gasoline laws) and the decrease in crime rates (with a 20-year delay). The numbers are impressive, and they've correlated across areas of the country that enacted lead control laws at different times. The research is thorough and they make bold claims: "Gasoline lead may explain as much as 90 percent of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century." I highly recommend giving it a thorough read.

  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @05:37PM (#43373259)

    Sadly the Republican party is no longer the party of small government or fiscal responsibility.

  • Re:I'm surprised... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @06:00PM (#43373471) Homepage Journal

    The NRA is willing to do anything the gun manufacturers want, that is who they really represent.

    As a lifetime NRA member, I disagree with you.

    "Violence Policy Center" is a part of the Brady line of anti-gun organizations, you have to take anything it mentions with a hefty dose of salt.

    For example, your "evidence" involves product liability. I'm actually familiar with this topic. Firearms are different than most consumer products in that, during legal and intended non-defective use, somebody can be killed. Due to this, it can be difficult to create a gun that can't be negligently used to kill somebody. Most guns have fewer than 7 controls*, so they're already very simple.

    The legislation in question doesn't actually indemnify the gun manufacturers if the gun explodes in my hands, for example. What it essentially does is say that if I am SHOT by a gun functioning as designed, that I can't sue the gun companies. There were a number of lawsuits of that nature that bankrupted several gun manufacturers up to that point that spurred the legislation.

    To make a analogy using cars - it would be if people were suing GM and Ford for drunk drivers hitting pedestrians and murderers deliberately running over their victims.

    In at least one case the jury ruled a gun defective because you could not remove a round from the chamber while the safety was on. This is a common feature because one of the ways to make the gun safer while the safety is on is to lock the slide. It makes the safety stronger, more effective. Of course, you can't move a locked slide to remove a round from the chamber, so it's a bit of a trade off. The popular 1911, some of which cost several thousand dollars, features this kind of safety, as does most other high quality semiautomatics. Glocks, the most popular police handgun, don't even have a manual safety switch.

    How was the injury caused? From testimony the victim's babysitter found the gun on top of a book shelf and decided he needed to unload it. The safety was on. He couldn't move the slide. So, in the process of messing with an unfamiliar weapon, he gripped the trigger along with the rest of the grip, holding it tight, while pointing it at his charge, the ultimate victim, when he eventually took off the safety, still pulling the trigger, at which point the gun fired. Is that the manufacturer's fault?

    Why should I, as a gun owner and dare I say, gun enthusiast, object to these cases? Because they were driving gun companies out of business. As somebody who wants to be able to buy more guns in the future, I don't want the companies I'd buy them from forced out of business or even to raise prices in order to stay in business, possibly making me unable to obtain the new firearm of my choice.

    I'll note that I view the problem above as partially a problem of training; I think that there should be a general safety class taught in schools, to include a bit of gun safety along with sex ed, driver's ed, electrical, chemical, physical, safe food handling, first aid, etc...

    *And some of them are only if you count the lever or button you use to disassemble it as a control. Is the hood release knob in a car considered a control?

  • Re:I'm surprised... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:32PM (#43374261) Homepage Journal

    Don't get me wrong, I realize that an awful lot of handguns use a design that works the way you describe, but that doesn't make the design any less brain damaged. A safety should prevent the hammer from striking the bullet. Any other behavior is suboptimal.

    How do you prevent the striker from hitting the bullet? You engage a block in the slide. In order to be sure that said block remains engaged, you have to make sure the slide doesn't move, it's a mechanical connection, after all.

    As a result, about 90% of handguns sold that have a safety, it works in that fashion.

    Follow some basic rules and it wouldn't be an issue-
    Don't handle firearms you aren't familiar with(and you don't have somebody there explaining it to you)
    Don't point the gun at something you're not willing to kill/destroy
    Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire.
    Treat all guns as though they are loaded.

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