Once Again, State Legislators Push For Unconstitutional Video-Game Ban

from the broken-record dept

Time and time again, courts have rules that laws banning the sale of some videogames to minors are unconstitutional, but that hasn't stopped legislators in state after state from trying. This time, it's politicians in Oklahoma, where apparently word of neither the First Amendment, nor recent court decisions against the bans, has yet reached. The bill's author isn't content at ignoring the Constitution or legal precedents, though, he's bought into the questionable research that says video games make kids violent, too. He's blathered about personal responsibility in health care and economic development, but apparently the idea doesn't apply when it comes to parenting.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Juan Jose, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 10:57am

    Well there *is* a solution

    I wonder what would happen if I, or you, o whoever did not follow their job's guidelines. I mean, what would happen if some security person let the thieves in, or if a office secretary insulted all the customers...

    Now i want someone to tell me *why* is that different than trying to make law something that the constitution (as yoy state) tells is a no-no, shouldnt politicians be held responsible for laws they vote?

    I mean if my job where to mantain and update laws, always without leaving the constitution guidelines, and i just did *the absolute negative of that*, shouldnt i be in jail? or fired? I mean, im breaking my jobs promise, im doing exactly what i signed *not* to do when i got the job...

     

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  2.  
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    Scott, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 11:06am

    There is still room for them to do this

    The problem is not the laws they are writing, it is how they are wording them. I gaurantee once they figure it out it will pass. The law only needs to be crafted to state that it bans the sale of "M"(and maybe NR) rated games to minors. There is no ambiguity in a law written this way.

    There are states/cities where it is illegal to sell R rated movies to minors because the industry has stated, voluntarily that it is not suitable for minors. This is the same for video games. They just need to word it so that it is not vague and over broad, read most of the rulings handed down, that is the only reason some of these laws have struck down.

     

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  3.  
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    G thang, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 11:38am

    well...

    as long as they keep this to minors and don't try to ban them outright I don't care. I mean, I wouldn't want my 5year old playing GTA anymore than I want him to watch Casino. kids will always find a way around these laws anyway, it's obviously the parent's responsibility to see what the kids are doing.

     

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  4.  
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    me, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 11:42am

    I agree

    Look I love violent video games and I don't think that there is anything wrong with those. At the same time I am not going to take my 5 year old kid to see "House of 1000 corpses" and I wouldn't want him/her to play the video game (I don't even know if there is one). There are rules for buying sexual/violent movies so why not video games?

     

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  5.  
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    RoyalPeasantry, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 11:49am

    Parents really just need to step forward and be responsible for what they want thier children to experience. So many of them nowdays are content to let the TV babysit them and then get angry at the studios for showing something they didn't want thier children to watch.

    Its the same wit videogames..

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 11:49am

    the last research i read actually said that violent video games make kids less violent

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 11:52am

    Re: well...

    ...it's obviously the parent's responsibility to see what the kids are doing....

    Unfortunately, it's not obvious or else we would not be having this discussion. Very similar to the mythical Common Sense.

     

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  8.  
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    Posterlogo, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 11:52am

    Hold the parents responsible.

    There should be no laws against selling or buying video games. If there is a law, the enforcement of it should target the parents. Not the seller, not the kid. Fine the parent/guardian... If we truly want a compromise that puts the blame where it squarely lies, this is the only way to go.

     

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  9.  
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    Devon, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 11:52am

    Okay, look. I've been playing games for as long as I can remember. I'm not violent. The same can go for almost all of my friends. Some of them don't play video games so that's beside the point.

    I remember the Mortal Kombat issue and it's retarded. I remember the issue when the columbine kids referenced Doom. Just a reference. If they said 'Man, this is going to be something out of The Matrix,' I can guarentee that the movie would've gotten some flak too.

    If anything, the parents should be responsible for what they buy. If the kid's under 18, he/she more than likely didn't get the cash on his/her own. It's the same when parents go to take their kids to go see movies like Hostel or Saw. Then they blame the movie makers saying that it was their fault when the preview EXPLICITLY said that the movie contained insane amounts of gore and disturbing images. Now that's not to say anything about my parents. They've taken me to see many gory films and horror movies. But not ONCE have they blamed the movies and/or video games for anything I've done.

    And on a point that JUST hit me right now, the kids are still going to play the game. It's like porn. Minors aren't supposed to have it, but they get their hands on it one way or another. Just like cigarettes and drugs.

    For me, video games are like therapy. It let's me sit down, calm down, and relax for a while. Wether it be Leveling up in Final Fantasy, or popping some heads in Counter Strike, I almost always feel better after playing a good game.

    There's my little rant that I promised myself I'd write if I heard another story on legislating video games.

     

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  10.  
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    No Suprise, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 11:59am

    These mightier then though, will never quit. They think by going after what they view as an easy target they elevate themselves.

     

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  11.  
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    PsuedoDragon (profile), Apr 26th, 2006 @ 12:03pm

    Re: There is still room for them to do this

    but i still have a problem in this, in that this game banning whirlwind thing is NOT the states job, but it IS MY job as a PARENT. So i say stay out of my hair and let me do MY job as a PARENT, not the job of some bogus piece of legislation.

     

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  12.  
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    cookiemonster, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 12:08pm

    unconstitutional or not, it has been proven by researchers time and again, and in several different countries, that violent video games make young minds especially to make them have a greater tendency to get involved with violence. Maybe a new amendment needs to be set up to make it constitutional to set up such laws.

    As one comment earlier mentioned, parents are primarily responsible. But the government must also take steps towards showing that such a practice as selling violent video games to kids is unacceptable. Society needs to set a standard as to what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Parents today are often required to leave their children alone as both parents are normally forced to work to afford to pay expenses. There are a lot of issues that come together to cause problems with kids....this law is a drop in the bucket of the solutions needed

     

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  13.  
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    Alex, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 12:23pm

    My car was broken into and vandalized, my neighbor blamed video games. I laughed in his face. :-)

     

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  14.  
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    Scott, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: There is still room for them to do this

    So porn mags should once again be available everywhere, it used to be available on magazine racks with things like Time and PC Gamer?

    I am a parent as well, but what I do not want is my child to be able to get a hold of this stuff behind my back. It may and will happen, I realize this, but it should not be easy. Big business is just that, a business, money rules.

     

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  15.  
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    Matthew, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 12:59pm

    Re:

    unconstitutional or not, it has been proven by researchers time and again, and in several different countries, that violent video games make young minds especially to make them have a greater tendency to get involved with violence


    You've got to be kidding me. You should really read the other posts before posting. So, just to be fair, I'll refrain from flaming and give you a chance. Post a link or a reference to even ONE difinitive, unbiased study that shows that video games make children violent, and I won't point out what a moron you are.

    You know, I grew up on farms and the like, and we didn't have video games, nor were we allowed to watch PG-13 or R rated movies. You know what we did? We went out to the shop, cut and painted wooden guns, and ran around pretending to shoot each other. Now I paintball. Does that make me more violent? I actually shoot people. Meet me on the street, though, and I'm one of the calmest people you'll ever see. You couldn't make me lose my temper if you tried, because I have a positive way to relieve feelings of agression.

     

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  16.  
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    Levon, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 1:17pm

    It's all about money

    The problem is that the ESRP is part of the game industry. and now the government realized that there is a lot of money to be maid so they want a way in to get some of the profit from the game industry. It's only about that. The US Government trying (as usual) to own a share of every profitable job in the market. I've been to Best Buys and EBgames where actually the sales person asked for id from the kid who was trying to buy the game... People are getting into R rated movies all the time why doesn't the govermnet control that, and if you want to stop violance and sexuality in the states close MTV.
    Japan , China , and Korea play video games 1000 times more than America, why isn't game rating a big deal there???
    We're a closed minded society and we refuse any kind of technological advancement till the whole world has accepted it 1st.

     

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  17.  
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    Rumor, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 1:26pm

    What about a whole generation that grew up on Merry Melodies? I don't see them running around dropping anvils on peoples heads.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 1:33pm

    Re:

    Please state one definitive study that showed that violent video games encourage this violent behavior.

     

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  19.  
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    Rumor, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re:

    Pay for the researcher and I'll show you "research" pointing to this.

     

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  20.  
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    Searcher, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 2:29pm

    Re: There is still room for them to do this

     

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  21.  
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    Searcher619, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 2:39pm

    Re: There is still room for them to do this

    "The law only needs to be crafted to state that it bans the sale of "M"(and maybe NR) rated games to minors. There is no ambiguity in a law written this way. "

    Get real. Like a law is gonna stop kids fo getting the games they wanna play. The laws against copying movies and music hasn't stopped them. It's the definition of insanity. Kids download and share games just like they download and share everything else they aren't supposed to. It's already illegal to sell porn to kids yet kids still gettheir hands on the stuff. I mean come on now... Why do we have the rating system? To give the PARENTS the tools they need to do their job. It all boils down to these spineless polititians unwilling to tell their ignorant and lazy constituents that these laws will never pass and that they should shut the hell up and start doing their jobs as parents. The more I see this stuff the more I think you should be found mentally fit to be a parent before being allowed to have a kid. They should be going after the bad parents not the entertainment industry. Give me a freaking break.

     

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  22.  
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    Searcher619, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 2:42pm

    Oh here's a bit more info for those that believe this stuff makes kids more violent. LOL:

    http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html

     

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  23.  
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    DaylightLifter, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 2:50pm

    Banning video games

    This is just goofy. The games come with a rating. I have seen many stores ask for ID on M rated games when selling them. Really the only way a kid can get his/her hands on one is to have an adult buy one for them.

    So it doesnt matter what law you pass. If they parent hands the thing to the kid then what good is it. You see what I am saying. Its up to the parent to regulate what happens in the home.

    Sam

     

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  24.  
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    Zazie, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 3:24pm

    It isn't any different, it's the same ole sh**, it

    So here we are again, dicussing the consitutionality of another piece of video game legislation. I don't know about the rest of you, but I think we've all lost our minds.

    Up here in New York, most reputable stores are careful to ID buyers of games with M ratings. I remember when GTA San Andreas came out, I had to show them my ID. I'm 21 now, but the point of it is that as good as our intentions are, it's like keeping the forbidden fruit from Eve. I remember as soon as I walked out of the store, two kids, who were no more than 14, asked me if I would buy the game for them. I told them to get lost, because I got better things to do than play dealer for some little punks.

    It's been said a thousand times before, and I'll say it again, PARENTS, GET A HOLD OF YOUR KIDS, because no legislation in the world will be as effective as the ass-whooping you can give them!

    -thank you

     

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  25.  
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    Professor Braino, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 4:10pm

    Matthew on cookiemonster

    There is a story about killer chimps in Sierra Leone.
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/bizarre/3821344.html
    These chimps saw the movie Madagascar
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0351283/
    The police hunting them played Donkey Kong.
    http://donkey-kong.freeonlinegames.com/
    The chimps killed a taxi driver (who saw Taxi Driver)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075314/
    and now the police are trying to hunt down the chimps before Jodie Foster gets hurt.
    THERE is your proof of the link between media and violence, Mr. Smartie Pants.
    Congress needs to ban everything everywhere NOW while they still have the chance.

     

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  26.  
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    foofdawg, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 4:36pm

    .02

    I dont see the problem with a law that makes the content in a videogame liable to the same standards as video content is when shown/bought/sold in public commercial places.

     

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  27.  
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    The rules don't apply to me, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 5:57pm

    Re: Well there *is* a solution

    You're forgetting one thing: They're politicians. You can't fire one of them! They're superior beings! Constitution? Pfh! Never heard of it! Court decisions? Ha! The only thing that they can decide on is what's for lunch! And even that takes them a week!!

    At this point, I would like to point out that this is not the view of me, any of my affiliates or my subsidiaries. This is just me pointing out how stupid politicians can be at times.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 6:01pm

    Re:

    >the last research i read actually said that violent
    >video games make kids less violent

    I actually support that. I mean, think. If kids can let out their rage in a videogame enviorment, then they won't have to do it in the real world! Doesn't that make sense? And I am not joking about this either. This is really the way I see it, because I do the exact thing I am describing. When I get pissed, I play a shooter, and feel better!!! Try it!!

     

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  29.  
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    a dude, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Hold the parents responsible.

    Dude, that's really dumb. I think that it should be up to the parents to decide, so to enforce this, do the same thing they do with R movies: make sure a parent/guardian over 18 is with them when they buy the game. This will prevent M games from being "smuggled" into the household, thereby giving parents the control they deserve.

     

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  30.  
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    A parent like you, Apr 26th, 2006 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re: There is still room for them to do this

    You do your job as a parent, but some don't, so that's why the states are trying to do this.

     

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  31.  
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    Mike Mixer, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 12:11am

    violent games

    I wonder what the politicians will ever do about the real cause of child violence. The real reason many kids are violent is that they experience violence in the home on a regular basis. We would really cut down on all of this child violence if we had real help in curbing domestic violence. I don't even think that one could debate the correlation that exists with kids that regularly get hit by a family member then going into society and committing violent acts against others. Blaming games is easier than spending money on protecting kids from domestic abuse so we get more bullshit to muddy the water.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 7:31am

    Video Games in Antiquity

    > unconstitutional or not, it has been proven by researchers time and again, and in several different countries, that violent video games make young minds especially to make them have a greater tendency to get involved with violence

    Yes, video games are the reason why the medieval ages where so much more violent than modern times. Too many vassals blowing up aliens.

    Seriously, these legislators should be held in contempt of court for consantly trying to undermine the constitution and court rulings. Give each of them 6 months in jail. That'll teach them what causes violence.

     

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  33.  
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    Scott, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: There is still room for them to do this

    So let me get this right....

    Best Buy should be able to anything they want to anyone they want?

    Again I am going to go back to the porn analogy, why put it behind a counter? Porn is nothing more than displaying the human body(in many cases) isn't it? What it more natural video games about car jacking or naked people?

    Herein lies the difference, if I want my child to have a game, I, me, myself, not he can buy the game. There is no censorship issue here, craploads of things are off limits to minors, because people have accepted minors should not have the ability to access them.

     

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  34.  
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    Shaun, Apr 30th, 2006 @ 7:17pm

    In Australia we have just had the 10 year aniversary of the Port Arthur massacure, where a lot of people were shot dead. Did we blame video games? No. We blamed the person who did it and the fact that he had easy access to guns. The result of this was that the murderer was thrown in jail and there were restrictions on access to guns put in place. Now I am not sure on this but I believe that your constitution may mean that this isn't possible (something about a right to own a gun?) and if this is the case then the constitution needs to be changed and the amount of guns restricted to those who need them (farmers, gun club members and law enforcement officials)

    You think that it might be a little bit more dificult to shoot someone if you couldn't get a gun?

    Also I believe that I saw someware that the Beuro of statistics listed 27 risk factors in youth violence above the use of video games such as domestic violence ..... even being male rated as a higher risk factor than playing video games. So if the politicions want to be more effective in decreasing youth violence then they should ban all males before they ban video games :)

     

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  35.  
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    OLd GeeZer, May 3rd, 2006 @ 4:25am

    Back in the day

    Well in my dad my mother would tell me to go play outside... i mean come on there are plenty of things to do then play videogames, thats why the youth of america is so pale they get no damn sunlight other then walking in and out of the car rushing back from EB games and starting another addiction...

     

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  36.  
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    Ninty15, Jun 8th, 2006 @ 2:35pm

    What about positive games?

    This law doesn't apply to stuff like the Super Mario Bros. does it? Because That's basically all I play.

     

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  37.  
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    jesusfreak196, Oct 20th, 2007 @ 9:43am

    watch ur kids

    I don't like violent videogames but i'm not against them. Parents need to monitor their children. Have them play outside, don't buy videogames for them if you don't want them playing them, get them into activities that they enjoy, give them books. but why ban games if you can monitor them yourself. why have the video game business monitor YOUR children. they have ratings on them. look at the ratings and decide if its all right. M and R rated video games and movies should NOT be bought or sold for those under the age of 16 or 18.

    Just plain and simple, you be the parent and not the video game business

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 6:21am

    what?!??!??!?!?!

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2008 @ 6:22am

    what?!??!??!?!?!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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