Who's On First?
Creation Date Sunday, 03 July 2011. Hits 1640
This week, the Supreme Court decided that a California law restricting the sale of violent video games to minors is a violation of the Constitution. Retailers will no longer be able to restrict the sale of violent games to customers based on their age. While this issue is not a particularly important one to me, I realize that some people have produced data that seems to suggest that it is possible that entertainment forms that include violence can lead to acting out violently in "real life". However, I discount these studies because they never address the offsetting issue of people who use these violent games as a from of venting or stress relief that may help keep them from acting out violently in other situations.
What I did, however, find to be interesting about the case is how the Supreme Court came to their decision. I quote.
"Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas -- and even social messages -- through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player's interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection."
Now I am not saying that video game sales are a first amendment issue, nor am I saying that they are not. Obviously, there were no Play Station or X box consoles around when the Constitution was written. The founders could not have foreseen the days when kids would sit around playing Madden Football or Grand Theft Auto. Therefore, it is entirely reasonable for people to attempt to read into the principals established in the Constitution, and apply them to this situation. If the Supreme Court decides that the founders were attempting to protect your right to direct animated people to kill animated zombies, than that is good enough for me.
What I do find to be a bit disingenuous is the civil rights groups that bring these law suits. It amazes me when a person can find video games in the First Amendment but they cannot find guns in the Second. I frankly don't find it yo be reasonable or logical that when the founders declared that the government should not infringe upon my right to speak my opinions they were thinking about my right to own a disc containing animated characters that carry guns, but when they declared that I had the right to keep and bear arms, they were not meaning to imply that I had the right to own an actual gun. Perhaps if they were alive today, they would change the "well regulated militia" line to "heavily moderated gamer forum". I just highly doubt that this is the case.
Being a Conservative, I understand that it is the job of the parent, not the Government, to decide what their children can or cannot play. I know it sounds entirely reasonable when one thinks of President Obama or Speaker Boehner telling children which games are appropriate for them, but in reality enforcement works on a much different level. At the end of the day, we are depending on the techie nerd who thought it would be really cool to work at Game Stop to be the sole arbiter of what games our kids will or will not play. I'm just saying that may not be the best idea we have ever come up with. When people believe that someone else is monitoring a situation for them, they are less likely to spend a lot of time monitoring themselves.
When I was a kid, I was raised by parents who strictly monitored the ways I entertained myself. They didn't drop me off at the mall with $20 and hope for the best, they checked out the books and games I was using and if they didn't approve, it was out. If parents are involved in these decisions with their children, than they don't need the government stepping in to help out. If they are not willing to put forth the time and effort to do this themselves, than they have no reasonable right to expect someone else to do this for them. While it may or may not make the world a better place when children have unfettered access to the latest hit video titles, it does make my day a little better when the Courts break out the old ruler and smack the knuckles of the Government. Tone it down a notch, big brother. We can handle this one on our own.