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Censorship United States Entertainment Games

DC Could Ban 'Mature' Video Game Sales to Minors 578

Posted by timothy
from the they-might-make-mayors-smoke-crack dept.
DeathPooky writes "As a part of an effort to continue a reduction in crime in the nation's former murder capital, DC leaders are trying to pass a law banning the sale of mature video games to minors - along with harsh penalties to enforce the law. According to the article, 'A store that violates the law could lose its business license and face a fine of as much as $10,000.' This law mimics other such bans proposed in Virginia and Maryland. I can already feel the chilling effects from here."
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DC Could Ban 'Mature' Video Game Sales to Minors

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  • by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:22AM (#11581529)
    The Internet is a medium of anonymity. There's no easy way to prevent the sale of mature video games to minors without a huge invasion of privacy, another obstacle.

    And who is defining what is mature content?
  • Like porn. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MarkRose (820682) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:25AM (#11581544) Homepage
    And how is this different, than say, banning the sale of pornography to minors? Why is sex, a pleasant thing, shunned in favour of violence? I'd say it's a measure of a sick society. This is a logical move, though I think it would make more sense to lower the porn buying age.
  • Re:Like porn. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by jim_v2000 (818799) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:28AM (#11581556)
    Sex, a pleasant thing, yes. But porn cheapens what sex is, and degrades women and men alike. Another measure of a sick society. I'd see it banned, rather than lowering the age to buy it.
  • by CGP314 (672613) <CGPNO@SPAMColinGregoryPalmer.net> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:29AM (#11581559) Homepage
    for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy pornography, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy cigarettes, for the same reason we don't allow kids to buy alcohol, we shouldn't allow them to go to stores and buy video games

    Yes we really should apply the same rules to a (fun) poison and a carcinogen that we do to porn and videogames.


    -Colin [colingregorypalmer.net]
  • by jrockway (229604) * <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:30AM (#11581564) Homepage Journal
    If it's illegal to buy it, I guess we'll have to just download the games for free.

    If that's what they want, then fine. No qualms here.
  • Re:Like porn. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cliffski (65094) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:33AM (#11581574) Homepage
    I agree this makes sense. If you make a game like GTA 3 where as the protaginist you are killing people and dealing with prostitutes, you shouldnt be suprised when peopl try and stop 8 yo kids playing it.
    If you don't want people to restrict your game to over 18s, try toning down the over-the-top violence and sexuality, although that requires some decent game design which is where most big develoeprs fail.
  • Downloading (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mboverload (657893) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:36AM (#11581589) Journal
    Do they think this means ANYTHING? My younger friends just DOWNLOAD the games their mom wont let them play, or I burn a copy for them. I am more than happy to free them from the ignorance of their parents.

    This is all a political stunt with no thought behind it.

  • It's about parents (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jim_v2000 (818799) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:39AM (#11581599)
    I can already feel the chilling effects from here.

    What chilling effects? That kids won't be able to buy video games that have too much violence in them? I don't see any issue with this. We should be heralding this as good. The worst thing that will happen is that a kid who wants a game is going to have to run it past mom and dad first. If they don't think he should have it, then so be it. That's what parenting is all about. This is a GOOD thing.

    Which, also is why there are age limits on other things, for the most part. Parents are supposed to decide what is ok for their kids. If they don't want you to have alcohol, you can't get around them and go get it yourself. I think this is good.
  • by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:42AM (#11581607)
    How exactly do they check to see the age of someone buying off the Internet? And before someone says something like, "How do you expect a kid to buy it off the Net without a credit card?", there are gift cards that are easy to get.
  • Use your head (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DLR (18892) <dlrosenthal@gmail . c om> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:46AM (#11581624) Journal
    Since porn and video games can adversly affect young and impressionable minds, yes. Much like innappropriate use of alcohol can make the body ill, innappropriate use of porn/violent videos/games can make the mind ill. Applying those rules in certain situations is a good thing.

    And why do people not see that by restricting the sale to minors returns control to the parents, who's job it is to determine which values they want to pass on to their kids anyway? If the parent wants li'l Johny to have GTA3 then they can go buy it for him. But last time I checked children's "rights" where pretty much restricted anyway (with a few exceptions). That's why these things are rated "Adult" or "Mature", because they are NOT appropriate for minors.

  • Re:Downloading (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:00AM (#11581662)
    I bet you buy cigarettes and alcohol for minors, too. Irresponsible jerk.
  • by nahdude812 (88157) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:07AM (#11581689) Homepage
    I don't mean this as a troll (really), but I never understood the fuss over preventing sales of violent video games to minors.

    All it does is provide a tool to parents enabling them to throttle the sort of world their child is exposed to. Whether or not you agree that a parent should do this, it's not your decision on the matter. It's the right of that parent to control what their kid has access to.

    If a parent wants their kid to have access to that stuff, they just need to be present when the sale happens.

    This isn't the government saying what a kid can or can't do, it's only the government helping parents have better control over what their kids can and can't do. It's fundamentally like parental controls on your TV. You want your kid watching the PlayBoy channel, don't lock it. You want your kid playing San Andreas, buy it for him/her.

    Enter typical diatribe about "but Billy will just go to Jimmy's house to play it" or "but Susie will just get Janie (/Janie's parents) to buy it for her." Guess what, Billy and Susie aren't allowed over to Jimmy and Janie's house once I (overprotective parent) find out about it.

    Another diatribe I hear on this matter is, "It's fantasy, kids are capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality." First, not all kids are capable of making this distinction. Frankly, not all adults are capable of making this distinction. If my kid can't, I don't want him or her having access to this stuff. Second, even if my kid is capable of making this distinction, it still presents certain things as acceptable, things like beating hookers, shooting random people on the street, or even just stealing cars. Ok, so as a rational adult you can recognize that these are things which are not valid courses of action. You have a fundamental upbringing that tells you as much though.

    Every time the subject of morality comes up on Slashdot (typically someone imposing their morality on someone else), people come out of the woodwork declaring that morality is all just relative. It's environmental. There's no absolute goods, no absolute bads. Please understand what the inevitable conclusion from this is: a child's environment shapes what that child's perception of acceptable behavior is.

    Video games like San Andreas glorify a lifestyle that's not one I want my kids growing up believing is an acceptable life path. Whether or not you believe it, psychologists (folks with degrees on this stuff) understand that a growing child is impressionable. Things that are presented as acceptable to them are accepted as acceptable or perhaps even appropriate to them.

    Maybe some kids would still turn into serial killers when they grow up, even having grown up in a totally sterile environment. Maybe some kids can consume all of the corruption society can throw at them, and still turn into a nun/priest when they grow up. These children are the exception. I, as a parent, have the right to observe my child's reactions to his or her environment, and tailor the environment my child is exposed to in order that he or she grows up to be a productive member of society, and not the kind of kid who smokes / does drugs / carjacks people. This only enables me to do that to a higher degree. I'm not telling you how to raise your child, buy your child all the corruption you can if that's the decision you make, just let me have control over what sort of corruption my kid gets.

    In the end, the only people here who lose any freedom are the under-18 crowd whose parents don't want them having access to this sort of content. This isn't like alcohol where it's illegal to give it to a minor even after purchase, it's just illegal to sell it to a minor.

    This doesn't block anyone's right to free speech. It just filters people's (lack of a) right to direct their free speech at minors through those minors' parents.
  • by night_flyer (453866) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:10AM (#11581706) Homepage
    sorry, no chilling effect to be seen, there is a rating system for a reason.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:12AM (#11581709)
    >If they don't want you to have alcohol, you can't get around them and go get it yourself.

    You forget, we live in NannyLand now - even if a parent didn't MIND their child having a glass of wine with a meal, that would leave them open to prosecution by the state. The state has become the parent.

    And this isn't even to mention that the "child" in question could be 20 years old.
  • Re:Like porn. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:24AM (#11581747)
    Oh, get over it. Cheap sex can be fun. Degrading sex can be fun--men and women take turns at degrading each other. Sex is dirty, messy, sticky, and complicated, not the kind of sanctified, sterile experience you want to make it. As long as everything is consensual, let people have their fun in whatever cheap, degrading way they most enjoy.

    What should be "banned" is people like you who want to tell everybody else how to behave.
  • Re:Like porn. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lachlan76 (770870) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @07:42AM (#11581802)
    But porn cheapens what sex is, and degrades women and men alike. Another measure of a sick society

    That's right...because any natural instinct *HAS* to be evil!

    You've just bought the religious FUD...think we should now ban sex before marriage?

    I don't care if people want to make material which degrades men and women...it's their choice, which I respect...and download videos of.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @08:14AM (#11581900)
    The fact it's 90%+ Democrat.
  • by Jim_Callahan (831353) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @08:20AM (#11581919)
    Parents already have an excellent control over what games their child plays. they own the house. And everything the child posesses. And the computer. If a parent needs a state (or federal, or municipal) law to do their job in the realm of their own home, then they have achieved an unprecedented level of incompetence and should be isolated and studied by the CDC. And then shot, just in case they're contagious.
  • by mordors9 (665662) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @08:21AM (#11581924)
    The real reason it is unenforcable is that the average 12 year old makes mommy buy it at the store for him anyway. She has no clue, "its just a game for heaven's sake."
  • by BakaHoushi (786009) <Goss@Sean.gmail@com> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @08:22AM (#11581925) Homepage
    Hear, hear.

    I'll admit. When I play Grand Theft Auto (3, VC, SA, all of them apply), there are a lot of jokes I find a little tasteless at times. But it was the developers decision to put them in there. Sure, I don't like all of the jokes, but somebody does. It was Rockstar's idea to put them in and that's their choice. They felt it improved the GTA experience.

    But then I ask myself a question. Who decided that at 18, you're magically mature enough to play these games, anyway? I know 14 year olds who are mature enough to play any violent game, yet I also know 20-something year old immature idiots who shouldn't be trusted with anything more dangerous than a piece of string. The ability to decipher the difference between fantasy and reality is something that can't be checked on a card or with age. But to punish the vast majority because of the pre-existing idiocy of the few is wrong. (It's in my own opinion that anyone who would emulate an act of violence in a video game would just have easily been affected by a movie, magazine, or, hell, the evening news these days)

    Besides, it's not like there isn't a million easy ways to get around any such legislation. Like say, an uninformed parent buying the game for you. (And here's a bit of a paradox: A parent who would actually go so far to check what his or her kid is playing is more likely to be a more involved parent and would probably have a better grip on reality anyway. Though that may be a bit too much of a generalization.)

  • by EpsCylonB (307640) <{eps} {at} {epscylonb.com}> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @08:34AM (#11581972) Homepage

    Which, also is why there are age limits on other things, for the most part. Parents are supposed to decide what is ok for their kids. If they don't want you to have alcohol, you can't get around them and go get it yourself. I think this is good.


    If an age restriction is needed to make child and parent communicate then the kid has bigger problems than being corrupted by violent video games.
  • by digitalcowboy (142658) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @08:58AM (#11582069)
    ... how about banning the sale of guns to idiots/psychopaths/anyone? I'm sure there's a more tangible correlation between guns + murder than computer games and murder.

    Dammit, I have mod points, but I can't let this slide..

    How much of an increase in violent crime do you need to see in the UK or Australia before it dawns on you that:

    A) Banning guns is a very, very bad idea

    and

    B) It's impossible

    And you don't want to ban guns. You want to hire people with guns to do it for you.

    Ironic, no?
  • Re:Downloading (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GospelHead821 (466923) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:00AM (#11582082)
    There seems to be two prevailing attitudes here and they work at odds to one another. The first is that parents are responsible for overseeing the behaviour of their children. If parents doesn't want their children playing violent video games or smoking cigarettes, it is the parents' responsibility to prevent them from doing so. That is a perfectly fair attititude, in my opinion. If parenting were that good, we wouldn't need movies or video games to be rated.

    On the other hand, I see the persistent argument that comparing violent video games to alcohol and tobacco isn't right because alcohol and tobacco are clearly harmful. How, then, can anybody insist that the parents have as much authority as they supposedly should? When kids can operate below the radar to acquire video games of which their parents would disapprove (or cigarettes, or beer), parental authority is undermined. Certainly, parents shouldn't have to be fascists -- and yet, if there are people who will shrug and say, "Eh, I don't care what your parents think. Here's a copy of Grand Theft Auto," what recourse is there?

    Just because you hold the opinion that video games aren't that bad, it isn't right for you to make that decision in lieu of a child's parents. The argument, posted by the [great?] grandparent of this thread, was that he wanted to free children from the ignorance of their parents. Why shouldn't that same attitude be used for alcohol and tobacco? I'm sure there's somebody out there who holds the opinion that since they're clearly not as harmful as cocaine or LSD, there's nothing wrong with them being legal for everybody -- let kids have them -- free them from the ignorance of their parents.

    We can't simultaneously support the legitimate authority of parents and at the same time circumvent that authority.
  • by HeavyK (822279) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @09:07AM (#11582124)
    "Following this logic, why are kids allowed to buy anything by themselves?"

    This is true.
    The fact is the government's not a babysister. They're not there to keep YOUR kids from materials YOU find offensive and unsuitable for them.

    Should religious parents expect the government to restrict their kid's access to Harry Potter books, Heavy Metal music and Dungeons & Dragons? Should Atheist parents expect the government to restrict their kid's access to the Bible and other religious materials? Should health nut parents expect the government to restrict their kid's access to junk food like soda pop, potato chips and chocolate bars? If not then why should the government restrict access to kids in regards to violent video games because of parents who object to their violent content?
  • by digitalcowboy (142658) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:06AM (#11582403)
    I'm almost done with this here because it's clearly off-topic. However, the links you provided prove my point, not yours.

    Nicole Dufresne would probably still be alive if she had been armed and knew how to defend herself. The story you linked is completely devoid of details, so I can't say that with certainty. What I did get from the story was that gun laws clearly don't work. It was "illegal" for her under-age assassin to have a gun.

    Guns are used more often in this country to prevent death than to cause it.

    Good intentions != good results. You can double the equation when you interject feckless government.

    In addition, you linked to a page that shows that the U.S. is 24th on the list of countries, by murder rate. What the page doesn't show, and you can't address, is what guns have to do with that.

    Don't sweat it. If I happen upon you being mugged at gun point on the street, you can rest assured that I'll be armed and take the violent bastard down to save your silly ass.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:21AM (#11582475)
    Look, I work in mental health with children, and I can tell you, its not the kids buying the games, its the parents. You have no idea how many parents buy GTA and the like for their kids. Then the parents ask me questions such as "is this game OK for my kid?" and "does this CD have foul language on it?".
    What's wrong with kids these days, whats wrong with the games, the music, society ? the answer is one that no politician will give; its the adults. see, adults vote, so lets not put responsibility where it belongs, lets blame "schools", "games", T.V.", "terrorism", "music", but Oh lord, lets not blame the voters.
    Problems with your kid? Hmm...do you: know the name of your kid's teacher? speak to this teacher every 9 weeks or so (at least), do you check your kids homework nightly? do you speak to your kids about drugs and safe sex? do you preview the music you buy for you child? Same with games? do you make an effort to meet your teen's friends or talk you their friends parents? do you ask you kid how their day was and how they are doing? are you your childs friend? (you shouldn't be, they have friends at school, they need YOU as their parent).
    We need fewer laws in our society and more parents to step up to the plate!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:36AM (#11582576)
    Ever heard of the First Amendment? Go read it before you start blabbing like and idiot.
  • wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IshanCaspian (625325) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @11:08AM (#11582782) Homepage
    Another diatribe I hear on this matter is, "It's fantasy, kids are capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality." First, not all kids are capable of making this distinction. Frankly, not all adults are capable of making this distinction. If my kid can't, I don't want him or her having access to this stuff.


    I caused millions of virtual deaths, jumped on countless enemy's heads, and manouvered countless falling blocks into lines before the age of 15. I, like many other rational people, refuse to believe that it was mere luck that I didn't become a mass murderer, jump on anyone's head, or spend my life dropping blocks so that they form straight lines...it was because I knew that that was what I did in games, and those rules did not apply to real life. If someone can't make this distinction, they have a serious mental illness. It's a basic component of not being crazy. You will never, ever see a child react to a death in a game as seriously as they do in real life; you will never see your kid running around eating dots and looking out for ghosts. Your tendency to want to be able to blame games for your potential future failures is not at all substantiated or rational.

    Freedom of expression comes at a very, very high price in this country. The facilitation of your SUBJECTIVE BELIEFS is not worth losing a form of unregulated speech. If your child can get to and from a mall by him/herself, install a game, play it, and plot a spate of copycat crimes all without your noticing, then the problem here is not that the world hasn't been steamrolled into a moral whiteroom, shaped to perfectly fit your subjective beliefs. It's nice that you have certain principles about how your child ought to be raised, but honestly I think I speak for a great number of people when I say I would prefer it if you stopped trying to parent my children as well.

    I'm not telling you how to raise your child, buy your child all the corruption you can if that's the decision you make, just let me have control over what sort of corruption my kid gets.


    That's not the issue. You are promoting government regulation of speech. You have control over what sort of corruption your kid has. Ask what he's doing. Be involved, be aware. If you can't control what kind of video games your child plays without the government's help, then your kids are pretty much screwed. Stop trying to throw away MY freedom of expression in exchange for an opportunity to be less responsible for raising your own children.
  • How silly (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @11:12AM (#11582801)
    "Go to Japan and try to buy a gun"

    Do you have any clue about how large the U.S. is compared with Japan?

    Do you have any clue about how many guns already exist in the U.S.?

    Do you have any clue about how pervasive guns are?

    Step back, deep breath. You're all excited.

    Go to podunk U.S.A. Every man woman and child will have a gun. I had 2 growing up.

    Do you know how many crimes there are with weapons in those parts? Almost none.

    How can that be? Well, perhaps the cities are attract and are a breeding ground for violent people? Maybe the right thing to do is when we get people who commit violent crimes we lock them up and throw away the key? These people are on the verge on being uncivilized. I would sterlize them as well to keep them from breeding, but some stupid bleeding heart will object and claim its racists....which itself racist, because it means these idiots think only certain protected groups commit crimes.

    Anyway, another deep breathe, because you're all hurt and angry now.

    The U.S. is currently pushing violent criminals, and the result is that our violent crime rates are going down.

    So I think you're being whiny. There is no problem here. And when a problem crops us, we throw its sorry ass in jail and throw away the key.

    Problem solved. Move along, idiot.
  • by CristalShandaLear (762536) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @11:48AM (#11583074) Homepage Journal
    ...from simply buying their kids the games.

    Unfortunately for all these watchdog groups, every parent gets to decide when and how much to warp their kids' little minds.

    My kid turned eleven last year. She's been playing Bugs Bunny, Harry Potter and kid-specific crap for four years. She wanted something more challenging and maybe just a bit more grown up. We pulled Resident Evil and Oddworld from our old collection and they seem to suit her just fine.

    I'm sure some parents would object but they don't get to decide what's best for my kid. Likewise, I may not approve of Cletus buying Grand Theft Auto for his five year old, but it's his business not mine. Until his kid kills my kid with his car imitating the game.

    Then I kill Cletus for not monitoring his kid and and I go to jail and later it gets turned into a "Law and Order" episode which me and my new lesbian lover watch together.

    Let the circle be unbroken...
  • Re:wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nahdude812 (88157) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @12:25PM (#11583370) Homepage
    I think I speak for a great number of people when I say I would prefer it if you stopped trying to parent my children as well.

    I'm not trying to parent your kids. You can feel free to purchase any sort of video game you want for them.

    You are promoting government regulation of speech. ... Stop trying to throw away MY freedom of expression ...

    The government already controls speech to a significant extent. You can't drop the F-bomb on TV or radio. Janet Jackson can't show her breast on TV. You can't market cigarettes and alcohol to minors.

    Either you believe that society should be fully unfettered, and at no point should the government step in and tell you what you can say, and who you can say it to, or you recognize that just like you have a right to free speech, others have a right to not have to be exposed to your free speech.

    This latter thing is really what it's about: giving people the right to control what they or their children are exposed to.

    This has nothing to do with subjective beliefs, it has everything to do with globally recognized belief systems. A game where part of the objective is to perform actions that would be illegal outside the game, and includes violence against other human beings (or even animals) is decidedly different from a game where a yellow pie eats white dots and blue & red ghosts.

    You're free to express yourself to the fullest extent you wish, so long as your expression doesn't impair my right to raise my child the way I see fit.
  • by Animaether (411575) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @12:27PM (#11583387) Journal
    Oh man.. there's got to be some sick f*ck out there who :
    Wishes they were a murderer.
    Wishes they had a gun.
    Wishes they had a printer so they could print your post out.
    Wishes they could afford to take a trip to wherever you're at right now.

    Know why ?
    So they could shoot 'your silly ass from' the street through the window and through your head whilst you watch some show on T.V. And then They'd stick the print-out of your comment to your chest, just for a hint of irony.

    Yeah, you go and have a gun and know how to defend yourself - it's still not going to stop a bullet.

    Now let's see them try that with :
    - a knife ( throw it, doesn't go through glass well. Stab ? They'll have to get close enough )
    - a baseball bat ( ditto )
    - my fists ( glass would probably cut them and they'd bleed to death *smirk*, ditto on the other )

    You see - your entire point of view rests on the idea that you can shoot the other person before they can shoot you. I don't know the odds; I certainly don't know how much of a marksman you are, or how good your reflexes are. But I do know you first need to know you -are- going to be shot at, and detecting that, in and of itself, is the toughie.
    Sure, you could just pull your gun and blast somebody's brains out (though if you're a good marksman, you'll aim for their leg, right? no need to outright kill if you can just immobilize) as soon as you feel remotely threatened. And in the U.S. you can probably get away with it. In most other countries you'll probably have used excessive force.
    And that still leaves the gunman that you can't even see.

    Put differently... given the choice of somebody having a gun, a knife, a bat, or only their fists - which would you rather have them wielding in a situation where they intend to kill you ?

    Also, I'd like to see you corroborate the statement that guns more often prevent death than cause it, in the U.S.
    That is to say.. some statistic where it shows that if a gun wasn't used to deter a particular crime, somebody WOULD have been killed.
    Not 'may have been' or 'remotely, possibly, I dunno, I suppose it's possible'.
    Otherwise we'd only have to go by the word of many people who, if for no other reason than legal and court reasons, claim "I believe he was going to kill me/him/her/them.", even if this can't be proven in any way.

    I'm against guns outside of specialist forces. Sure, I know criminals will be able to get their guns illegally. I just take my chances with that.
    I'm also not naive to think that there's any way the U.S. situation can be reversed within a reasonable amount of time. Certainly not with ever-heavier gun classifications having their prohibitions lifted (such as assault rifles. ever wonder why they're not called defense rifles? hmm)
    So I'm pretty neutral as far as the U.S. situation goes, as long as the U.S. situation doesn't spread to other countries at the hand of the likes of the NRA.
  • by Jim Starx (752545) <JStarx AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @12:29PM (#11583405)
    I have taken psychology classes, what you need to take is a class in logic. There is certainly a corelation between sex, dominance and violence against women, but corelation does not mean causation. Furthermore that isn't specific to an early sexual awakening. There's a correlation between dominance and any type of violence, be it against women or whoever.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @12:32PM (#11583434) Homepage Journal

    Bullshit. Go to Japan and try to buy a gun. Seriously.

    I'm confused. Your argument is that if you go to someplace where you don't have connections, and where firearms are illegal, you won't be able to readily get your hands on a gun, and that makes anti-gun laws effective? This is a specious argument at best, and probably simply an unthought one. Or, of course, a troll. That actually seems very likely because usually only the most fervent idiots believe something like "devices whose sole purpose is to kill other human beings". More common is the arrogant belief that children necessarily "do not yet have the mental maturity to properly process" [adult material]. It depends on the children and the material, and no two situations are alike, no matter how dearly you want that to be true so you can apply a simple, narrow world view to all situations.

    The fact is that I can go to Japan and rent an industrial space, put a lathe and a vertical mill in it, buy some steel, and make my own handguns. Making firearms is not really all that difficult, unless you're talking about high-powered, long-range, accurate rifles. Consider the fact that the Colt 1911 was first produced in 1911, and that you have better tools and materials available today, and you may understand what I'm trying to tell you.

    The simple fact is that the more difficult you make it for criminals to get guns, the more those guns will be worth, and the more likely they are to be in the hands only of the most resourceful and/or successful criminals. You cannot eliminate guns! Think about the grease gun, which was an automatic weapon basically made out of a bunch of pipe parts. You simply can't do it. And, barring that, black powder weapons are VERY easy to make, fairly accurate, typically very high caliber so they have a whole lot of stopping power, and you don't even need cartridges, just bullets, powder, and paper. If you think you can't kill someone handily with the Morgan .50 caliber black powder revolver (the first all-steel revolver) you've got another think coming. You barely need machining technology to make those suckers.

    Anyway, back to the issue of mature-rated video games. I am entirely behind not allowing kids to purchase the games. Movie theaters already don't let them in. In my opinion, games should be rated according to entirely objective criteria and their distribution to minors should be controlled. Parents should be involved in the lives of their offspring at least until the point where they are no longer responsible for them. We should provide them with the assistance that they need to be able to do their job, within reason. We wouldn't want to stop kids from being able to purchase sports games because their parents were opposed to football or anything, that's too much - but keeping the sex and violence from them in such a way that their parents can present it to them in a guided way is pretty reasonable. Your belief that themes like sex and violence have no place in the lives of those under the age of 18 is, however, excessively socially retarded - which is exactly what those kids are going to be when they are introduced to them cold and with no parental supervision (to explain the ramifications of such things) at the age of eighteen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 05, 2005 @12:35PM (#11583462)

    Yes, it's the parents' responsibility, but a lot of people seem to use that fact as some sort of rationale for abdicating societal responsibility.

    It's not abdicating societal responsibility; it's placing that responsibility in the right place. Society can punish the child's parents for their failures, and laws to protect children directly are an attempt to remove that responsibility from society. It's our job to hold parents accountable, and when necessary, to step in in their place.

    It is not, for example, legal for 12 year olds to commit murder or even to drive a car simply because it's their parents' responsibility to make sure that they don't.

    Murder is a act that reduces the freedom of others, and hence there is a legitimate need to restrict it. How does buying a video game reduce the freedom of others? This whole idea is an issue for civil court -- show that video games lead to murder and sue the fsck out of whoever made the game. If anyone could actually show that sort of relation this would have happened years ago and no one would make such games because it would be too expensive.

    Finally, if the purpose of the game ban is to stop murder, couldn't I argue that the purpose of the murder ban is to stop murder, and we don't need another? Why do we need two laws to do the same thing; maybe we need to change or replace the first law, but we certainly don't need another if the first one isn't working.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @12:46PM (#11583548) Homepage Journal

    If you agree that tobacco should be banned to us for our own good, why don't you agree that violent games should be banned for everyone else's good?

    I feel that tobacco should not be banned, nor should several other things that are currently illegal, like psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana, the inhalation of nitrous oxide, prostitution, gambling... Probably some others but this is getting long-winded.

    In fact, if anything should be illegal, it's alcohol. Not that I advocate trying that little experiment again, mind you, and I wouldn't try to do it without legalizing marijuana either. The masses need their bread and their circuses, and since bread is beer and circus in one, that's a big hit to society.

    Most importantly to your comment, however, the difference between tobacco and violent video games is that it has been fairly well proven that cigarettes not only kill smokers, but also people around them. No one has ever managed to prove that violent video games actually are the cause of violence. There were violent people before video games existed. You can't really blame school violence on video games, even involving handguns and assault weapons, because I certainly had those urges before I ever played a violent video game. Well, anything more violent than jumping on turtles anyway... First person shooters didn't even yet exist and I was a mama's boy who was pretty close to the bottom of the social strata in school (if not actually there) and while I am not enough of a nutjob to have actually taken a gun to school and shot people, if I had had a gun ON me some of those times, it would have been a massacre. When you're a kid, you lack a certain sense of perspective that comes with experience, and it doesn't take a very bad thing to be the worst thing that's ever happened to you.

    In other words, if you want to prevent the violence that supposedly stems from violent video games, you have to fix the ACTUAL problems that really cause the violence. The video game might be a trigger but if the guns are lying around the house then anything could do it, including a big fat hormonal shift. When you are living in hell every day like I was for three years between middle school and my first year of high school, where you aren't ever able to relax and enjoy anything because there's always someone fucking with you, it's very easy to become suicidal, homicidal, whatever. If you're not having any fun, why would you care about anything? It's this dehumanization that causes the desensitization, not semirealistic portrayals of violence on the computer screen.

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @02:10PM (#11584156) Homepage

    Another diatribe I hear on this matter is, "It's fantasy, kids are capable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality." First, not all kids are capable of making this distinction. Frankly, not all adults are capable of making this distinction.

    I guess if the kid is under the age of 6 or 8, retarded, or brain damaged you're right. Otherwise all kids have the ability to distinguish between fantasy or reality.

    Every time the subject of morality comes up on Slashdot (typically someone imposing their morality on someone else), people come out of the woodwork declaring that morality is all just relative.

    Uhh.. maybe because the discussions center around things that ARE relative? No on disagrees that rape and murder are wrong, but many people disagree that pre-marital sex is wrong. Stop trying to hide in a strawman argument.

    Video games like San Andreas glorify a lifestyle that's not one I want my kids growing up believing is an acceptable life path.

    If you really believe that such games make kids believe that it's "an acceptable life path" then don't let your kids play it. Why do you have to enforce your beliefs on everyone else? Not everyone believes kids are just mindless robots that believe whatever they see in a frickin video game.

    Whether or not you believe it, psychologists (folks with degrees on this stuff) understand that a growing child is impressionable.

    Psychology is mostly a lot of hot air that changes based on which way the wind is blowing. Anyway, if the kids are impressionable then it's YOUR JOB to teach them what you want, not the governments job to restrict what some parents don't want other kids to have access too.

    Maybe some kids would still turn into serial killers when they grow up, even having grown up in a totally sterile environment.

    Serial killers? Where did that come from? Has anyone even possibly suggested that video games cause kids to turn into serial killers? Maybe masturbation does too, or whatever else it is that you personally don't like.

    I, as a parent, have the right to observe my child's reactions to his or her environment, and tailor the environment my child is exposed to in order that he or she grows up to be a productive member of society, and not the kind of kid who smokes / does drugs / carjacks people.

    Absolutely. But what you're saying is you want to control what other kids are exposed to to become active members of society.

    This only enables me to do that to a higher degree.

    Uhh.. you can't do that by monitoring what video games your kid has and plays? DO you really need to affect everyone else because you can't seem to control what goes on in your own house?

    I'm not telling you how to raise your child, buy your child all the corruption you can if that's the decision you make, just let me have control over what sort of corruption my kid gets.

    No, but you ARE trying to control what other peoples kids can buy. You can ALREADY control what sorts of "corruption" your kid gets by just looking at what game they're playing, searching their room for said "corruption", or however it is you control your kid. Please explain why the government needs to step in because you have such limited control of what goes on in your own house?

    This doesn't block anyone's right to free speech. It just filters people's (lack of a) right to direct their free speech at minors through those minors' parents.

    It does block kids rights to free speech. That's probbably constitutional as kids have been ruled to not have full access to constitutional protection. That's really beside the point though. The underlying question is why you want to impose your beliefs on everyone else (couched in the argument that you only want to control YOUR kids)?
  • by danila (69889) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @02:25PM (#11584322) Homepage
    When something like this comes up, I rarely hear the most important point. It's as if we already agreed that violent games are bad and are only haggling with the government about how much of our rights they should take away.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that videogames lead to crime. The only "evidence" we have is 3 well-publicised cases - Doom caused Columbine, GTA caused two kids shoot trucks with a rifle and Manhunt caused one guy to kill a friend. Needless to say, all three stories are more or less bogus (95%, 90% and 100% bogus, to be precise).

    I would be very understanding if DC leaders would show us a study demonstrating that 35% of minors playing video games commit crimes as opposed to 5% of minors who do not play video games. As long as there is no such study, the DC leaders are "mistaken" to limit the sale of video games.

    I would even dare suggest that minors who play video games may be less likely to commit crimes (the correlation may be negative). The "criminal" kids probably have less money to spend on games, consoles, computers and Internet.
  • Not Needed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmarx (528279) <dmarx@hus h m ail.com> on Saturday February 05, 2005 @02:57PM (#11584576) Homepage Journal
    I'm 20. There were never any limits on what games I could play as a kid, and guess how I turned out-I'm on the Dean's List at college with a 3.5 average. These kinds of laws are not needed. What's needed is for parents (not government) to make sure their kids don't cross the line, like mine did.
    I'm glad I'm getting older. Two parents kept me in line. If the government acted as a third, I'd probably be neurotic
  • by cfalcon (779563) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @03:07PM (#11584644)
    If someone where motivated enough to make preparations and fly to another city, they don't need a gun to kill. You can make explosives cheaply and in your bathtub. Assassinations are *extremely rare* in the United States... and most other places, for that matter.

    You have to understand, the average person does not want to hurt you. Your post makes it sound like you don't know that. The result of this fear should not be to attempt to disempower others, however.

    A man motivated enough to kill a person while the other person has no knowledge does not need a gun. He barely even needs imagination or money.

    A burglar who is pondering breaking into a house needs to consider of the owner has a gun. If everyone did, he would need to consider another line of work. Assume our burglar lives in a world where gun control worked, and so neither he nor his victims has weapons. Now assume the opposite, where everyone does. Which burglar would you rather be?

    The defensive use of guns is not at all rare, ineffective, or results in people being shot with their own guns, despite the FUD to the contrary.

    "Put differently... given the choice of somebody having a gun, a knife, a bat, or only their fists - which would you rather have them wielding in a situation where they intend to kill you ?"

    I would rather we both have guns. Most of the people who would be looking to kill me are hella stronger than me. In your world, I am extinct. So are you, probably, unless you spend hours a week on martial arts. Your malefactor undoubtably will, or just generally be a stronger human than you.

    The fact that guns are so final an answer means that society is a lot better at enforcing its collective will. If I want to shoot a man in a world where guns are common, there is a *much higher* chance of me being shot in return, preemptively, or concurrently. This changes my odds dramatically- now I have to be willing to throw my life away. Statistically, such people either suppress their murderous desire or are dealt with by society.
  • by bryanp (160522) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @06:01PM (#11585846)
    Bullshit. Go to Japan and try to buy a gun.

    I lived in Japan for four years. Not only was I offered the chance to buy guns, I could have bought full-auto M-16's which had been stolen from the Air Force base where I lived. Don't kid yourself about crime there. It may not make the news but it's there.

    Seriously. If you think gun control doesn't work, then you just don't have a very well-developed world view. It does work and it has been working in various countries for many years. In fact, I just did a quick Google search on gun murder in Japan and quickly came up with some numbers from 1996: 9,390 gun murders in the US vs. 15 in Japan. Japan's murder rate has not increased appreciably since then - they have around 1,300 total per year (about 1/8 the number of gun murders alone in this country) with a population about half that of the United States.

    *sigh* People love pointing out that Japan has a low crime rate and rather extreme gun control. I might also point out that Switzerland has an extremely low crime rate, yet most citizens have easy access to firearms I wouldn't be able to buy even here in the "gun-friendly" US. Let me tell you a dirty little secret: countries with the low crime rates generally have one thing in common: an extremely homogenous society. The greater the variation of race, religion and other cultural factors within a society the greater the rate of violence within that society. People don't like to think about this because it says some awfully unpleasant things about Humans as a species.

    Handguns should be illegal. M-rated game sales to minors should be illegal. End of story. This is not a question of "my rights online", it's a question of living in a free and safe society that does not endorse the sale of devices whose sole purpose is to kill other human beings or the sale of adult content to children who do not yet have the mental maturity to properly process it.

    Ah. I see. You're a nanny-statist. That pretty much explains your viewpoint. Never mind.
  • by zev1983 (792397) on Saturday February 05, 2005 @10:29PM (#11587398)
    Well put, but the thing that gets me is the penalty for violation. Some shop sells an M-rated game to a minor and get's it's business license revoked. A drug company makes and distributes a drug that it knows kills people and pays a settlement in civil court to the victims families and continues on as usual. If that doesn't strike people as odd then there is something very wrong with society.

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