Skip to comments.Court Wraps Video Games in First Amendment
Posted on 07/05/2011 1:50:26 PM PDT by Kaslin
The U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong in Brown v. Entertainment Merchant Association. This wasn't a First Amendment case, it was a parents' rights case -- and only Justice Clarence Thomas understood that.
The issue was a California law that would prohibit the $60 billion-a-year video game industry from selling hideously violent games to children without parental consent. Numerous other states and cities had unsuccessfully passed similar laws against selling violent video games to children, and now these games are wrapped nationwide by this recent Supreme Court ruling in the embrace of the Constitution.
The California law did not prohibit the video game industry from producing and selling these realistically violent games, and didn't stop parents from buying or allowing their kids to buy them. The law said that merchants could not bypass parents and sell directly to children without parental approval.
As Justice Thomas explained in his eloquent dissent, it is "absurd" to suggest that the First Amendment's "freedom of speech"' includes a right to speak to minors without going through the minors' parents. His dissent gives us a history lesson showing that the First Amendment was written in a society that assumed parents had absolute authority over the upbringing of their children, "including control over the books that children read."
The Court's majority couldn't see any difference between "The Divine Comedy" (assuming minors are capable of reading classic works of literature), or "Grimms' Fairy Tales," and teaching kids to role-play criminal acts such as torture and murder acted out on the screen in vivid color. Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts pointed out that the court's decision now allows the industry to sell minors "games" that show victims "dismembered, decapitated, disemboweled, set on fire and chopped into little pieces. ... Blood gushes, spatters, and pools."
Justices Alito and Roberts also stated, "There are games in which a player can take on the identity and re-enact the killings carried out by the perpetrators of the murders at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech. ... There is a game in which players engage in 'ethnic cleansing' and can choose to gun down African-Americans, Latinos, or Jews."
There is a big difference between reading the printed page and role-playing criminal acts. Reading a book takes the words only as far as the reader's own imagination.
But video games blur the distinction between fantasy and reality, and train kids to be highly proficient murderers when they do go off the deep end. Brain research indicates that children's and teenagers' brains are still developing and may store violent images as real memories.
Mass murders committed by teenage boys or young adults are often left unexplained by the media. Many of these young killers were addicted to disturbingly violent video games, playing these violent games for hundreds of hours a year.
Virtually every school massacre can be traced to the young killers' addiction to violent video games. The video game industry reaps tens of billions of dollars in revenue and now even surpasses Hollywood in profits, revenues and influence.
It's obvious that this is not what George Washington and James Madison had in mind in guaranteeing free speech to Americans. The court has stretched the First Amendment beyond recognition to infringe on the rights of parents to protect their own children from exploitation.
This decision has left vulnerable the families whose parents lack the time or knowledge or resources to protect their own children from exploitation, and to safeguard them against an industry larger and more influential than Hollywood. This decision encourages a further coarsening and degradation of our culture.
Justice Thomas pointed out that the American people have always been able to pass laws to protect children and respect parental rights. Examples are laws restricting alcohol and pornography to minors.
Supremacist judges who think they can substitute their personal opinions for the Constitution and for duly enacted federal and state laws are a major part of our current culture war. It's overdue for the American people to recognize how the judiciary has grabbed power to decide culture issues that should be decided by the legislatures.
Five federal circuits have handed down decisions that reject parents' rights, upholding the court-created right of public schools to teach children whatever they want. These decisions involve teaching acceptance of homosexual behavior, Islamic ideology and practices, and evolution, and requiring schoolchildren to fill out questionnaires demanding answers to scores of nosy, leading questions about sex, illegal drugs and suicide.
The ball is now back in the court of the American people. They should study the actions of supremacist judges and roll back their mischief by demanding that they rule in favor of the U.S. Constitution as it was written and not as the judges wish it had been written.
Theoretically, two men could get married and never have sex. How would anyone know?
“Apparently you weren’t following the discussion I was having with Mike3689. Video games and movies are quite different, just as video games - and movies as well - are quite different from books.”
Not at all. Show me the functional difference of playing army with a plastic toy gun and on A PS3 in Call of Duty.
In the mind of the child playing, body parts fly and blood flows regardless.
Ever woke up from a nightmare with sweat rolling off you? Your eyes saw nothing (like you would in reading/watching a movie/Book) but your imagination made it so real you were in total fear.
How about Lord of the Rings? It started as books, and they were turned into three of the best movies of all time. The movies were then turned into video games, where the player is able to take part in the epic battles from the books and movies. Is it wrong to want to play these video games? I read the books, I saw the movies, and I’ve played the games. All three are quite violent.
I could have gone back and forth for a few dozen or more posts trying to make the same argument with ILSP and between us came up with 15 printed pages easily. Anyone wanting to read it can, or just skip it entirely.
Theoretically, two men could get married and never have sex. How would anyone know?
I play CoD: Modern Warfare 2 with my little nephew all the time. He loves the Afghanistan maps because he likes to pretend he’s helping out his dad. He also likes “helping” his dad when he plays with toy guns in a way like Norm mentioned. He’s seen footage of where his dad fought, in both Afghanistan and Iraq. How are these things any different?
I don’t.. If we allow the Government to regulate the internet what makes you think they won’t ban sites like this???
My point was that when a child ‘imagines’ he is playing soldier at war, he imagines the bombs, the smoke, the fire, the blood...all of it. Since the imagination is every bit, even more powerful than an actual visual representation of violence, a boy playing army is getting every bit of the mental ‘effect’ and more than a video game/movie or book will give him.
So should we stop boys from playing army/cowboys and indians/cops and robbers too?
That’s what I was getting at. Since generations of boys have played at war games without traumatizing themselves into fits of murder, I fail to see/nor is there a shred of proof to be had that video games, a less mentally impressional form of input than one’s own imagination, will be a problem.
Thank you LeeLou, that’s exactly the kind of thing I’m getting at.
Take it away and all it does is further pussify boys/men.
Dodgeball is to violent to these people and lib moms across America campaign against toy guns for the same reason.
I love a story I read that such a mom brought her kids to play at the home of her brother who wasn’t toy gun averse. Lib mom took the guns away and so the kids then ran around ‘shooting’ with their fingers.
The nanny staters just do not get it and expect the rest of us to go along because THEY want things their way.
Lawyers have repeatedly blamed video games on violent behavior in various court cases. It fails in court every time because there is no scientific evidence to back up the assertion.
“Now, if the government wanted to take taxpayer money and design obscene or violent video games, I would be all for ending that nonsense, but that’s not what we’re dealing with here.”
Yup. As would I.
Strawman? A fact proven time and again for thousands of years is a strawman? No scientific proof is a strawman? Your agenda appears to be unmasked. Or like libs you are going on emotion rather than available evidence.
“No, the harm done by video games doesn’t excuse violent behavior”
Until you show proof of harm, this conversation is pointless.
You made the assertion now back it up.
I like having my nephew over for what I call “Bro Night.” We eat pizza and ice cream and play all kinds of video games, yet he still turning out alright. It really helps him deal with the long periods away from his dad. I don’t need the government telling my nephew what to eat or what to watch or what to play. And, it’s certainly not what his dad is putting his life in danger for.
We are not dealing with violent video games per se. We are dealing with their their sale to minors can be banned. Different argument. There are many things that can’t be sold to minors.
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