The Constitution Still Doesn't Let States Stop Kids From Buying Video Games

from the for-those-who-weren't-paying-attention-the-first-dozen-times dept

Again? State after state after state has passed laws that ban the sale of certain video games to children, and time after time after time those laws are struck down as unconstitutional. Not a single one has passed muster, and yet court time and taxpayer money is wasted over and over again on these same issues, with at least 10 states having gone through the same process with the same results. States cannot ban the sale of video games to children. It's a violation of the First Amendment. This does not mean that stores themselves can't make such a policy, just as movie theaters have voluntarily (not based on a law) agreed not to let kids see movies of certain ratings. But to pass a law is unconstitutional. A lower court in Minnesota made that clear in 2006 -- but it didn't stop the politicians from appealing... and losing. Yes, a federal appeals court has agreed with the lower court that banning the sale of video games is not constitutional. While the lower court had noted:
"There is a paucity of evidence linking the availability of video games with any harm to Minnesota's children at all.... It is impossible to determine from the data presented whether violent video games cause violence, or whether violent individuals are attracted to violent video games."
The appeals court was a little less direct:
"Whatever our intuitive (dare we say commonsense) feelings regarding the effect of violent video games, precedent requires undeniable proof that such violence causes psychological dysfunction...."
Despite claims to the contrary by some activists, there still is no evidence linking violent video games to violent behavior. In fact, as has been pointed out repeatedly, violent crime has continued to drop as violent video games have become more and more popular. At most, studies have shown that violent video games make people emotional, but that doesn't lead to increased violent activity outside of the game itself. Of course, that won't stop grandstand politicians from pushing for such violent video game bans, despite the knowledge that they're clearly wasting taxpayer money every time they do so.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    lol, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 7:26pm

    lol

    They just can't understand its when you have idiots buying their children guns at age 6 and not teaching them responsibility and anger control that those are the ones most likely to grow up later in life and commit violent crimes because the connection of shooting at people = bad. However instead of listening to the facts and encouraging parents to raise their children properly or trying to do something about some of these bad environments that children have to grow up in they want to take the easy way out and blame whatever is easiest to blame and in this case technology.

     

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  2.  
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    Hoeppner, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 7:30pm

    Thank god people don't study the document. they might attempt for the "It's the states right to enforce morality on it's citizens".

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 7:33pm

    This is why I don't Vote Hillary Clinton

    Actually it was just the beginning of my dislike for her. She blatantly ignored the findings of the Department of Justice and tried to push for a violent video game ban.

    As usual, the problem in America can be traced back to Responsibility and the lack thereof.

     

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  4.  
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    Hoeppner, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 7:33pm

    PS: just because it's messed up, doesn't mean that it wouldn't work.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Jake, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 7:54pm

    Don't Know About You, But...

    Every time I feel like committing acts of senseless violence, I use video games instead of doing it for real. It can be surprisingly cathartic, actually.
    [Full disclosure: I always regarded this as a very poor substitute for going down the hall and stabbing all my dorm-mates in the eye with a pencil for blasting out mediocre hip-hop until well into the early hours of the morning, but seriously, no jury in the land...]

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    David, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 8:18pm

    Duh

    Guns don't kill people any more than pencils cause misspelling.

    Duh.

    Disarming LAW ABIDING citizens, just makes it easier for criminals and nut cases to do what ever they want.

    Duh.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Griper, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 8:24pm

    You have it all wrong

    Of course the politicians are pushing these bills. They have to keep the lobbyists and their buddies on the gravy train. The only ones making out on the deals are lawyers trying to push these useless and wasteful cases.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 8:27pm

    i wonder

    if during the crusades if anyone said religion was causing violent tendencies in people.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Wolf, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 8:55pm

    Griper>> What about those lobbyists you mentioned.... methinks they're getting paid well...

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    FUG Buster, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 12:13am

    porn for Kids yeah!!

    Interesting.. that everyone thinks this is just ok...

    We don't sell porn to kids. but is ok to sell a game that lets them simulate killing a hooker...

    And people think that is the place to take a stand for free speech..

    Sad. very very sad spoiled brat children... on the Internet.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Douglas Gresham, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 12:52am

    Re: Duh

    Easy availability of firearms means people who want to commit firearms-based crimes have an easier time of it, because they can access them and because people like you defend their right to carry them.

    Duh.

    Countries that prohibit personal firearms have significantly lower gun-related crime rates than countries that don't (particularly the United States).

    Duh.

    Dividing the world into "law abiding citizens" and "criminals and nut cases" instead of addressing the underlying issues that cause crime can't ever help said people not become criminals (and don't get me started on your ridiculous bigotry against the mentally ill).

    Duh.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Milskin, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 1:30am

    Parents... again

    Surely the ratings system exists in an attempt to stop violent or inappropriate games being sold to children? Isn't that what it's for? If a parent is buying the game and giving it to their child anyway, or buying it for themselves and leaving it lying around, that's just ANOTHER case of bad parenting.

    I wouldn't want to live in a country where you couldn't buy reasonable adult entertainment, no matter what the form. However, it's the responsibility of adults to ensure these media stay out of the hands of the susceptible.

    Once again, the law is failing to look at the real issue. Education in good parenting needs to be the governmental or state move, not bullsh*t legal battles.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 1:54am

    Re: Re: Duh

    You sure say "duh" a lot. You sound retarded.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 1:58am

    Re: porn for Kids yeah!!

    We don't sell porn to kids. but is ok to sell a game that lets them simulate killing a hooker...

    Of course. Society has made a distinction between sex and violence. Violence is OK for kids but sex isn't.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 2:00am

    The Constitution in Times of War

    It doesn't really matter if it's "constitutional" or not because constitutional rights don't apply in times of war. You do know that the US is at war, don't you?

     

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  16.  
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    Adam Skinner, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 4:41am

    Yet again the Federal government oversteps it's bo

    Regardless of whether there is a detrimental effect for M video games on children, individual states are within their rights to pass such laws. There is nothing in the constitution that prohibits that.

    States have laws regarding cigarettes, amongst a myriad of other things. They could just as well have a law against purple toilet paper. It doesn't matter. They don't need to justify their own laws to the USA, provided that the laws in question don't conflict with their agreement with the USA.

     

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  17.  
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    Alimas, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 5:39am

    When I was real little

    I used to read the old Garfield comic books. Not an uncommon theme was hitting someone with a frying pan as part of a joke. Typically, I found these frying pan violence jokes funny. One day I tried to humor everyone by hitting a peer in the forehead with a good old fashioned iron forged frying pan.
    Needless to say, it did not play out as funny for everyone as I had expected it to. My care taker gave me crap about violence and, yada, yada. But, watching that little girl crying, what really struck me then was how different things were in reality from inside that comic.
    I don't hit people with frying pans anymore, but still enjoy violent interaction via games or playfully with friends.
    I could argue that the simple early violent exposure allowed me the opportunity to learn of my environment and didn't turn me into a violent criminal.

    Our society needs more understanding of the human condition.
    And less of the habit of attempting to narrow human perception/experience.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Alimas, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    Re: Yet again the Federal government oversteps it'

    "provided that the laws in question don't conflict with their agreement with the USA."
    Actually, according to the 1st and 14th amendment of the US constitution, no one was over-stepping anything.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    DanC, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 5:48am

    Re: porn for Kids yeah!!

    Interesting.. that everyone thinks this is just ok...

    Why should the U.S. government be doing a parent's job, exactly? I have yet to hear a convincing argument.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 6:05am

    Easy availability of firearms means people who want to commit firearms-based crimes have an easier time of it, because they can access them and because people like you defend their right to carry them.


    States that have more relaxed right to carry laws have a lower rate of violent crime than states with more restrictive laws. Washington D.C. banned the possession of handguns and had one of the highest crime rates in the country.

    Perhaps if guns had never been allowed in this country at all, they wouldn't be a problem now. However guns were allowed and now crime is a problem.

    Since by definition, criminals don't follow the law, they're not going to follow any laws that say they can't own or carry guns. Only law abiding people will give up their guns, which leaves them unarmed against possibly armed criminals.

    Schools are supposedly "gun-free" zones. Psychos ignore those rules when they decide to go on a killing spree. Anyone who does obey the rules becomes a sitting duck for said psycho.

    Look up Suzanne Hupp. She lost her parents when a maniac drove through the window of the caferteria where they were having lunch and started shooting people. Suzanne was licensed to carry a gun, but because she was also a law-abiding citizen, her gun was locked in her car, in the parking lot. Strangely the laws did nothing but assure the psycho that the 23 people he killed would be unarmed.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Mar 18th, 2008 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re: Duh

    Countries that prohibit personal firearms have significantly lower gun-related crime rates than countries that don't (particularly the United States).

    They just have more knife related crime. I can bet you that their overall crime rates are the same or higher. Or the crimes are state sanctioned by dictators, so they are not noted as crimes in their records.

    Dividing the world into "law abiding citizens" and "criminals and nut cases" instead of addressing the underlying issues that cause crime can't ever help said people not become criminals (and don't get me started on your ridiculous bigotry against the mentally ill).

    Why are those that run into a mall killing 15 people the true victims according to you liberals? They aren't responsible! It was G.W. Bush's fault!

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    grouchy, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 6:45am

    Ghengis Khan, Hannibul, Alexander etc.
    They must have all played too many video games as children.
    The only sure way to eliminate crime in the world is to eradicate all human life on earth.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    DanC, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 6:51am

    Re: The Constitution in Times of War

    It doesn't really matter if it's "constitutional" or not because constitutional rights don't apply in times of war.

    While historically some constitutional rights have been suspended during times of war, that hardly means that constitutional rights don't apply.

    You do know that the US is at war, don't you?

    If you feel like discarding your rights, that's your business. Being at war does not give the federal government carte blanche to do whatever it likes to its citizens.

    Please pick up a book on the U.S. government and read it so you can make valid points instead of uneducated nonsense.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 7:07am

    Because, like everything else any citizen might attempt, parenting is hard, we're bad at it, and the government knows better.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 7:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Duh

    Well, if nothing else, liberals are taking a "treat the disease not the symptom" approach to crime. And I support that, it's good stuff, except when they also try to treat the symptom by making me more vulnerable to the disease.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: The Constitution in Times of War

    While historically some constitutional rights have been suspended during times of war, that hardly means that constitutional rights don't apply.

    There are some people in Gitmo that would certainly be surprised to hear that.

    Please pick up a book on the U.S. government and read it so you can make valid points instead of uneducated nonsense.

    Are you talking about the fairy-tale "government" books the government uses to indoctrinate school kids? Get real. Pick up a real book on history and do a little reading of your own on things like US "internment" (concentration) camps for people of Japanese descent or the US government's treatment of Native Americans. And then look up news stories on more recent things like Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary rendition, material witness detention and so on from recent years. The list is long. All "unconstitutional". Your naivete, if genuine, is pathetic. Or deceitful if it isn't.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 8:51am

    Re: porn for Kids yeah!!

    We don't sell porn to kids. but is ok to sell a game that lets them simulate killing a hooker...

    Your thinking is mistaken. Kids can not buy or rent rated 'R' movies because it is the stores' policy to not sell that type of material to kids. The government has no laws saying you can be fined for doing it, but society has dictated it.

    This article is saying the same thing. Rather than waste time a legislation on making the sale "illegal" why not just let society dictate what kinds of games kids can buy or rent (and personally I have never been in a store that doesn't card me when I try to buy a rated 'M' game or guidebook). I do think video games should be rated and the sale of 'M' games be restricted to adults only, but I do NOT think the government needs to go around making morality laws and wasting my tax paying money.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:09am

    Re: porn for Kids yeah!!

    I agree...more porn for kids!

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    DanC, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Re: The Constitution in Times of War

    There are some people in Gitmo that would certainly be surprised to hear that.

    And how many of those people are U.S. citizens? Most, if not all of the prisoners at Guantanamo are supposed to be protected by the Geneva Convention, not the U.S. Constitution.

    The list is long. All "unconstitutional". Your naivete, if genuine, is pathetic. Or deceitful if it isn't.

    However, your statement was that constitutional rights don't matter in times of war. On the contrary, those rights matter more during times of war, because they are prone to governmental abuse. Saying they don't matter is tantamount to approving of that abuse.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Constitution in Times of War

    However, your statement was that constitutional rights don't matter in times of war.

    I'm looking back over my statement and I don't see that anywhere in it. Please stop making stuff up. It really doesn't help your argument any. Now that we know you make stuff up, why should anyone care what you have to say anyway?

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The Constitution in Times of War

    And how many of those people are U.S. citizens? Most, if not all of the prisoners at Guantanamo are supposed to be protected by the Geneva Convention, not the U.S. Constitution.

    Yasser Hamdi was a US citizen held in Gitmo in violation of his constitutional rights.

    Here's another link of interest: Bill Lets U.S. Citizens Be Held as Enemy Combatants.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    DanC, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Constitution in Times of W

    My apologies. You said they don't apply, not that they don't matter. I still disagree, since the Democrats are (at the moment) steadfastly refusing to allow the telecommunications companies off the hook for illegal wiretaps.

    The government can certainly try to restrict Constitutional rights, but it is far from the foregone conclusion it used to be.

    Now that we know you make stuff up, why should anyone care what you have to say anyway?

    I misquoted. I apologized. Get over it, and stop acting like a child. I personally don't care how you evaluate my posts one way or the other.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    DanC, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Constitution in Times of W

    Again, I'm not saying abuses don't happen. I also qualified my statement by saying "most" of the prisoners should be protected by the Geneva Convention instead of the Constitution.

    The bill you linked to is currently before the Supreme Court to decide its constitutionality, and a decision is expected sometime this summer. Our system is far from perfect, but to make a blanket statement that constitutional rights don't apply in times of war is misleading and overbroad.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Constitution in Times

    My apologies. You said they don't apply, not that they don't matter.

    No, I didn't say that either.

    I misquoted. I apologized. Get over it, and stop acting like a child.


    Let's see. An apology combined with another false statement and an insult? Apology not accepted. (And your reputation further stained)

    I personally don't care how you evaluate my posts one way or the other.

    You know, I don't believe that one either. In fact, I find it hard to believe anything you say any more. You don't happen to write those "government" school books or teach the classes do you?

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Constitution in Times

    Again, I'm not saying abuses don't happen.

    And I never said you did.

    I also qualified my statement by saying "most" of the prisoners should be protected by the Geneva Convention instead of the Constitution.

    Actually, you qualified it by saying "most, if not all". But yes, you did include a "weasel clause". Did someone claim otherwise?

    Our system is far from perfect, but to make a blanket statement that constitutional rights don't apply in times of war is misleading and overbroad.

    That wasn't my statement, but now that you mention it, one either has rights or one doesn't. If they are somehow optional then they aren't really rights but revocable privileges.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 6:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re

    I want to join, too.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    DanC, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Constitution in Ti

    because constitutional rights don't apply in times of war.

    Unless you're a completely different AC than the one who started this particular thread (in which case you should sign your statements), that's your statement saying that Constitutional rights don't apply in times of war.

    My response (in reference to constitutional rights):

    My apologies. You said they don't apply, not that they don't matter.

    I corrected myself. If you aren't the thread's original AC then it isn't my fault you didn't differentiate yourself. Additionally, I considered your response as equally insulting.

    You know, I don't believe that one either. In fact, I find it hard to believe anything you say any more

    Again, I don't care what you believe one way or the other. Believe what you like. I'm not going to bother entering into what appears to be the beginnings of a flame war with an AC.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Cixelsid, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 5:02am

    Re: Duh

    "Guns don't kill people any more than pencils cause misspelling."

    Sure, pencils don't cause misspellings, but family murder-suicides are harder to accomplish with one.

    Duh.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Damien, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 7:50am

    To everyone fighting over the "Times of War" thread... you people do realize that the United States hasn't actually been in a declared war since World War II, right?

    It doesn't matter what rights we may or may not lose "in a time of war" because, as far as the constitution is concerned we aren't in one.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    DanC, Mar 19th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    Re:

    Yep...the Iraq situation is technically a "military engagement" authorized by Congress.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2008 @ 8:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Constitution i

    Unless you're a completely different AC than the one who started this particular thread (in which case you should sign your statements), that's your statement saying that Constitutional rights don't apply in times of war.

    Are you really that stupid? Well then, I hate to tell you this Danny boy, but "Anonymous Coward" is the name the system here automatically puts on every post where the poster doesn't give a name. To assume that they are all the same person is just stupid.

    I corrected myself. If you aren't the thread's original AC then it isn't my fault you didn't differentiate yourself.

    You are entire responsible for your own assumptions and your ignorance is entirely your own fault, no one else's.. It is not my job to educate you.

    Again, I don't care what you believe one way or the other. Believe what you like. I'm not going to bother entering into what appears to be the beginnings of a flame war with an AC.

    You should have never opened your ignorant mouth in the first place.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2008 @ 8:09pm

    Re:

    To everyone fighting over the "Times of War" thread... you people do realize that the United States hasn't actually been in a declared war since World War II, right?

    It doesn't matter what rights we may or may not lose "in a time of war" because, as far as the constitution is concerned we aren't in one.


    So, you're saying that when the President of the United States says the the US is at war, he's lying? And all those brave US military people fighting in Iraq are lying when they say they're at war over there? Wow.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 3:53am

    Sure, pencils don't cause misspellings, but family murder-suicides are harder to accomplish with one.


    Why is it that my father, a man who owned several guns and legally carried one up to the day he died (of a bloodclot) never shot anyone? Why is it that in the three years since his death, I've owned all of his guns, along with at least enough ammo to load each one twice, and never killed anyone?

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 10:14pm

    Re:

    Look up Suzanne Hupp. She lost her parents when a maniac drove through the window of the caferteria where they were having lunch and started shooting people. Suzanne was licensed to carry a gun, but because she was also a law-abiding citizen, her gun was locked in her car, in the parking lot.

    Not quite. At that time in Texas a regular citizen couldn't get a license to carry a gun so Ms. Hupp did not have such a license. The law did however allow citizens to carry handguns in their vehicles when "travelling". This is how Ms. was allowed to have a handgun in her car.

    As a result of what came to be called the Luby's Massacre, the Texas Legislature finally passed a law so that citizens could get concealed carry permits. Signing that bill into law was one of the few good things Bush did while governor of Texas.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 10:17pm

    Re: Re:

    That should have read "This is how Ms. Hupp was allowed to have a handgun in her car."

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 6:48pm

    Re:

    They would have to classify video games as immoral first.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Yeah, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 10:12pm

    Re: porn for Kids yeah!!

    The message we are sending to kids is that selling sex is bad; hence depicting a killing a hooker is morally correct. Get it?

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2009 @ 11:45am

    thats fucked up

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    ur mom, May 31st, 2009 @ 3:50pm

    idk

    guns don't kill people... bullets do

     

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


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