Illinois Judge Follows Michigan Judge: No Gov't Ban On Video Games Allowed

from the try,-try-again.. dept

Just as the US Senate has been discussing a federal law banning the sale of “violent” video games to minors, yet another state law has been stopped by a judge. This time, it’s in Illinois, where the judge points out that the state came “nowhere near” showing how such a law did not violate the Constitution. This comes just weeks after a similar law was struck down in Michigan and well after other identical laws have been tossed out in other states. Somehow, though, you get the feeling this isn’t over just yet.

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Comments on “Illinois Judge Follows Michigan Judge: No Gov't Ban On Video Games Allowed”

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Bubba Nicholson (profile) says:

Playing games does not cause crime...

A paternal pheromone deficiency causes criminal appetites it appears to me. Humanity has had criminality since Cain slew Able due to differential parental solicitude of offspring. Video games, and television viewing for that matter, have arrived only recently. The judges are wise to find the bans unconstitutional, given the legislative flawed premise.

Jeremy says:

No Subject Given

I think it would OK to have people show an ID to purchase adult material games. My kid is only 5 now but I am already worries about her watching or even coming close to that type of content. It won’t be a problem if the parents that are complaining about this stuff would actually pay a little attention to their kids, and control their kids themself, and not expect the government to protect them.

JasonQ Again : - I says:

Re: No Subject Given

Jeremy said-
“It won’t be a problem if the parents that are complaining about this stuff would actually pay a little attention to their kids, and control their kids themself, and not expect the government to protect them.”

I agree wholeheartedly, it’s the same with TV, movies and music. These hysterical parents have no clue they are admitting that they are sucky parents with no control over their children and are lacking the bravery and common sense it takes to raise a child. Apparently we are all supposed to settle for endless disney offal for eternity to protect the kids- I’m sorry but i’d rather get a kitchen table castration then be forced to listen American Idol contestants for the rest of my life because you cannot, will not, do not parent properly. And no, my tax dollars should not be used to pay the government to babysit your ignorant, amoral,
spoiled and undisciplined kids- your prepubescant daughters dress like hookers and your sons idolize gangsters because YOU failed as a parent to control the content that enters their infinitely impressionable minds, not the government, not Eminem and not Rock Star video games..Pull your head out yer anus ya yuppie scum and pay attention to your kid!

DG says:

Re: Re: WOW

WOW, JasonQ you sound very angry. Do you really believe that Parents can “CONTROL” their children. No matter what type of parent you are, if your child deciedes to rebel they will. What people fail to understand is that children are little version of us. They want the freedom to choose just as we do. Instead of trying to “CONTROL” them lets guide them into making right decisions when faced with choices. Video games, movies, and music can influence a child but there is no need to set a ban on them. Most children in low social economic status homes see and hear far worse things in real life then they would in a movie. Also, if they are looking to put a ban on anything the media is one of the biggest items that would need to be look at first.

RWA says:

Re: Re: Re: WOW

The important thing in ‘control’ is in the years before 5. Instill in your children a respect for your authority as a parent by that age, and the guidance you are talking about is much easier. Then gradually, the ‘control’ is eased off until in the teen years, it really IS just guidance, because your kids have already formed their moral system based upon your guidance and control in the early years.
By the time your kids are teens, its too late. You can’t really ‘control’ them any longer, cause you can’t be with them 24 hours a day like when they’re under 5.

RWA says:

Re: Re: Re: WOW

The important thing in ‘control’ is in the years before 5. Instill in your children a respect for your authority as a parent by that age, and the guidance you are talking about is much easier. then gradually, the ‘control’ is eased off until in the teen years, it really IS just guidance, because your kids have already formed their moral system based upon your guidance and control in the early years.

By the time your kids are teens, its too late. You can’t really ‘control’ them any longer, cause you can’t be with them 24 hours a day like when they’re under 5.

JasonQ says:

Re: Re: Re:2 WOW

And BTW how anyone with an awareness of the world around them cannot be angry especially in America is beyond me. If you arent angry you aren paying attention or you have become numb to the decline of our civilization. And i have known many a teenager to have a parent take the time to lock them in their room and escort them to school and control their life and make sure they didn’t do drugs. You may find that offensive but it is an act of love most parents are unwilling or incapable of expressing and yet they’ll work overtime till their heart explodes for that new car. And don’t give me the their poor excuse, plenty a generation in the past was far poorer than this one and not wallowing in ignorance.

RyanB says:

Re: Re: Re:3 WOW

I agree. I play San Andreas, ive played Vice City since it came out, GTA3 since it came out, and a horde of other violent video games. But, you dont see me runnning around the streets of my city killing pedestrians and raising Cane do you? The parents are responsible for instilling, in the early years, a sense of authority, justice, fair play, and other morals for the child to obey in thier later years. My parents taught me what was right and what was wrong. You cant ban the media from producing video games like San Andreas. The rating system is there for a reason. If you dont want your 5 year old playing the games, monitor what he does play, and act accordingly.IT is because of ignorant parents that we are in the state of society that we are.

JasonQ says:


As usual the retailers shortsighted and greedy as they are refuse to enforce the ratings code and so now, yet again, the government has to step in and play big brother. If the industry cannot police itself then what else can the state do to enforce the community standard but to step in? I really don’t give a crap if some kid can’t play San Andreas and kill cops and little old ladies, and considering children are second class citizens their rights under the constitution are limited and eventually a prosecutor that doesn’t have his head up his arse will remind a judge of this. All that being said I am glad there are judges, midwest judges none the less, defending our constitution.. and tob e quite honest- the senate will get my copy of San Andreas when they pull it from my cold, dead hands.

Stoned4Life (user link) says:

No Subject Given

If the kid has the money, and he knows what he’s buying, who is to say he can’t buy it besides the parent? (obviously excluding pornography) The whole focus of the argument for limiting the sale of these products is the psychological impact the experience of playing these games will have on the “users” psyche. This type of evaluation can only be made BY a certified psychologist, and even then, cannot be generalized over a population. You cannot say how a violent video game will effect one person, and expect the same type of effect on another. It’s not going to happen. That’s why the responsibility is in the parent to decide what is suitable for their child.

Unfortunately, we’re running into a parental generation that grew up being tossed in front of the TV and letting commercial programming be the babysitter. Well, that mentality has carried over, only, the progamming has changed and the FCC hasn’t.

Sam says:

Re: No Subject Given

Hey Stoned4Life (the name might say it all, but…),
I’m curious why it is that you feel perfectly alright with some 10 year old buying anything he wants with his milk money (including hard, interactive violence), but DRAW THE LINE at pornography (“obviously”). What is it about the naked human form that is so much more offensive than the stuff found in the GTA series (which extols murder, mayhem, wanton destruction of personal and public property, drug use, drug sale, PROSTITUTION–don’t worry, they keep their clothes on)? Clearly you are either:
a) a right-wing Christian crusader, writing this with bible in hand
b) too stoned most of the time to follow your own logic through to conclusion
c) both

As for me, I think that sure, parents should be encouraged to pay attention to the recommended age guidlines already (at least in Canada) on the video game title they buy for their kids; further, they should actually PLAY the games with their kids. There is no better way to understand what a game is about than to play it yourself for 5 minutes. As for the government restricting the sale, I think that you’ll find that most people view government involvement in the way they raise their kids to be infringing on one of their most basic rights. And yes, obviously some kids would be better off raised by the state (lousy parents abound), but this fact is counterbalanced by the incredible state abuse possible (think 1984) if we gave them power over raising our kids. More than that, we would all suffer, because the homogeny that would inevitably result if you follow the slippery slope down to more and more state contol over child-rearing practices would cripple innovation. Imagine committees set up to determine the best method of teaching a child to walk while keeping his/her self esteem the highest while the attempt it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Bubba say wha?

I choose not to share my personal opinion on this matter because I don’t like flame wars…

but actually I was most intrigued with Bubba’s statement, which in no way shape or form, resembled a coherent thought or for that matter even a proper sentence.

Bubba – seriously. No offense whoever you are, but if you want to use more sophisticated sounding language, then please learn to do so responsibly, and correctly.

CK says:

try and control teens???

i love the idea that a teenager can be controlled, but i am thinking of an ideal situation where that can be possible. I teach ninety 11 year olds, and ( i am guessing) half of the parents are home when the kids get done with school. American politics and economics have created a society in which even two parent families need to work 40 hour work weeks each just to make ends meet. The government should take responsibility and help out parents wherever they can. And I don’t think anyone wants to pay more taxes for enforcing this kind of stuff, thats why we don’t! The amount that something like this effects your tax dollars is such a minimal degree, and I think this argument is stupid. and to the person that wrote that really sophisticated sentence, i want the 4 minutes it took me to read it back… feel free to dumb your words up for us common folk when you verbally flatulate on or impartial lexiconical handicpedness.

Scott says:

Re: try and control teens???

Last I checked we are talking about video games, these are small systems. I leave for work in the morning, I take the system, lock it in a cabinet, and my child can not get to it until I get home. Let us assume that we think the child is getting into the cabinet(my son has gotten around some of the basic stuff I have tried), I will move it to a more secure location or setup a way to determine if the cabinet has been entered, then dole out the punishment if it has. Funny I see “I” in here quite a bit, no where do I see “government”.

Jocko says:

Re: Re: try and control teens???

Another parent responds who controls the content his child absorbs instead of whining about the government not doing itm, bravo. Seems to me, especially after reading all these comments, that common sense dictates that you control your children when you can and instill your children with an inner value system so that when they do go into their teens they have the inner recources to deal with adult content. Seems to me all these kids who run out and copycat crimes they see in media would have done so with or without the media, as Stephen King once famously said when his books were supposedly killing people – “They would have committed that crime had they read my book or not, they just did it more creatively having done so” (paraphrase) . They have no moral compass, the one that tells me when I am playing San Andreas that it is a fantasy not to be repeated in reality. Interestingly, many believe the things we do in our dreams that we wake up ashamed or confused about we did in our dreams solely because it was a safe environment to do such a thing. Personaly, on a similar note, I feel pretty damn vented of my daily work induced rage after going on a murder spree in a safe, non-consequential fantasy world that i can turn off and forget about. I’m sorry the country is so messed up that it’s children are so stupid that they cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality anymore. I am not giving up my constitutional rights so you can ignore your children and concentrate on work more and I’m not gonna settle for ancient Disney cartoons, they are all sexist tripe anyway.

CK says:

Re: It a Parent thing

i said help… they should help. not be held acountable. the government should help. one more time. the government should help parents. pop quiz: should the government help or make things more difficult? of course parents are accountable. and it is my business what other kids are playing. when little kids come into my classroom and start calling the girls in the class hookers, it effects all the kids in the class. “no one elses business.” step away from your bubble. it is your business and mine.
have you ever had a car highjacked from you by a 14 year old at gun point… only to see him run away because he couldn’t drive a manual transmisson?
p.s. video games such as Grand Theft Auto are directly related for this name calling stuff, as for that beautiful march afternoon when i thought i would die, you can assume whatever you want. (am i being dramatic… yes. but it is relevant)

JasonQ says:

Re: Re: It a Parent thing

You are right, lets ban all violent media because it forces fools to commit violence against others. Let’s start with the Bible and all the other holy books. Hopefully we can erase books and hell, literacy for that matter. Get rid of all the music and video games, and then it will be like in the safe, secure dark ages of europe where no one was ever robbed or violently attacked and murdered or even back a hundred years into the past when things were so safe in American cities…yeah right…who did people blame for societies ills when there wasn’t violent mass media, when there wasn’t an Eminem or GTA game? They blamed the people who committed the crimes that’s who. Sorry to hear you were victimized, but who would you have blamed had you been ambushed by bandits in a time with no violent mass media?

RHJesusFreak40 says:

Re: Re: Re: It a Parent thing

When will parents and the media finally be brave enough to blame people who have no part in their child’s upbringing for their own failiurs. Oh yeah. Now.
It isn’t the video games fault as much as it is the parents and the children themselves. The violence is caused by a psycological problem.
I feel it is the parents responsibility to see what the kids are playing. I mean, GTA is rated M! 17+! The parents bought it for their 10 year olds, and then are blaming the makers for creating it, dispite the fact that they bought a game that was clearly labeled inaproprite for children themselves! Read the label, parents!!!

Ben McNelly (user link) says:

oh ya lets blame the parents?? ok, fair enough....

I see this allot. People say, hey we want to live in a world with adult content, and we know that kids shouldn’t have access to it, but we think PARENTS should just CONTROL their kids and MONITOR them.

OK, valid point, I agree…. Parenting is a good thing, and yes it does protect your children, but common, we live in a REAL world here. Even if 50% of the population monitored the sites their kids went on, and closely legislated the movies, music and video games they watched… They are still going to get exposed to it by the other 50% at school! The problem is not CONTROLLING kids its controlling an amoral legion of industries that refuses to stop invading children’s minds with smut and purposely marketing adult content to them! Now I am all for free speech, and the government not having an iron fist on “content” but a little common sense and moral reasoning by these industries would go along way…
And the truth is parents are still to technology illiterate to monitor these things, and enjoy pornography and violence too much themselves to be good role models.
Yet I have a problem putting all the blame and responsibility on them. FACT is, that the internet is this new generations home. Everything from chat to myspace is growing by leaps and bounds and video games movies and music are an industry that is always growing… But don’t expect kids to have all wise parents and good monitoring solutions in place in their lives. As a community, rather a Nation, our mores and values have been corrupted too far for too long. YES Parents are responsible, but as decent humans we have a responsibility as well.
Don’t be herded into the popular notion that we should just expect children to turn a “blind eye” to this crap.
I agree that if a minor wants a certain type of content they are going to find it. If you want to get online and find porn, its not hard and it never will be. If you want to watch violence and sex, and your under age its allot easier that sneaking into the movies was in our generation. If you want the latest “M” game, your parents will buy it for you for Xmas, because honestly they don’t know any better… What needs to change is, what society deems “popular” and markets to this age group, not .xxx and banning video games.

– Ben

??? says:

Re: oh ya lets blame the parents?? ok, fair enough

When I first started reading this thread I thought that the complaint was that the state was overstepping its bounds by outlawing POSSESION of these games by minors. After reading it thru it became clear that what is being commented on is the failed attempt by the state to ban minors from PURCHASING these games. I’m not sure why I seem to be alone in thinking this is reasonable. As one poster pointed out, kids can’t walk into a store and buy porn why shouldn’t the same rules apply here? Even if you doubt the effect any of this material could have on a young mind. I remember that my parents were ridiculously strict with my siblings and me growing up. I swear I didn’t start to grow up until I was out of their home But as afraid of my parents as I was I STILL did things that they’d told me not to. It is foolish to think that a parent can CONTROL a child when that child is outside of the parent?s visual range. Kids will try things they have been advised not to. They learn better from their own mistakes than from ours as parents – it has always been this way. Because of this the ratings on the games (and movies and music) should be enforced at the retail level. If a parent wants his kid to have that material then he can buy it for him, regardless of whether or not I think that kid should have the material is irrelevant. The rules should be in place to protect parents who don’ want their kids to have this material. Think of it this way: Which is more fair? for me to have to worry that my kid can just walk into a store and pick up such a game that I don’t want him to have or that you should have to actually buy such a game for your kid that you DO want to have it? As a parent I realize that there is no possible way to keep my kid away from all material I feel he should be kept away from. The simple fact is that his friends, peers and people on the street will expose him to these things anyway. That’s where good parenting comes in. I don’t take the absurd approach that this means that no one should be allowed to have material I don’t want my kid to have though. I just feel that there should be reasonable guidelines. I’ll give a real world example. I live in VA which is staunchly conservative, solidly in the Bible belt and almost violently pro gun lobby. Recently there was a story in the local newspaper about a man who legally brought a gun to a school board meeting. The law is that guns are not permitted in schools or in places in which school board meeting are regularly held. This particular meeting was held in an unfamiliar place for some reason so this man who wears his gun on his hip EVERYWHERE including the supermarket and mowing his front lawn called the sheriffs dept to find out if he could bring his gun with him. The sheriff responded that there was no law against it but had a deputy present at the meeting when it came around. This guy attends the meeting, gets up and speaks his mind with his semi auto handgun fully visible to everyone in attendance and then sits back down. After the meeting those in attendance were livid. No one could understand why this guy was allowed to bring his gun to this place. The guy?s lawyer made a statement something to the effect of “this guy’s not one of those gun toting maniacs so why are you worried?” He apparently doesn’t realize that a suspected wacko doesn’t become a certified wacko until he does something like shoot up a school board meeting. No one knows this guy why should they trust that he wouldn’t do something crazy? Why his right to bear arms trump other people should?s right to feel safe in that meeting? The city now has to make a law that specifically states no guns in school board meetings period. Shouldn’t we as citizens regulate ourselves a bit more even when it infringes on our rights just a little in order to get along in society? It wouldn’t have hurt this man to be without his gun at a school board meeting. If he felt unsafe he could have asked that the police or sheriffs have someone present to make him feel safer. This idiot is one of those people whose refusal to be reasonable affects us all. Like the NRA who fights for gun rights just for the sake of fighting for them. Gun show exception to background checks, even felons can legally buy gun kits thru the mail, fully auto weapons ARE still legal, and 1 gun purchase per month law rejected…the list goes on and on.

# rant off

JasonQ says:

Re: Re: oh ya lets blame the parents?? ok, fair enough

Go ahead and regulate, and regulate and regulate…still doesn’t change the fact that if you don’t know what your kid is doing with fifty dollars when he’s out of the home, and then you still don’t know what he’s doing in his room with his 200 dollar entertainment machine, then you have failed as a parent on so many levels that video games will be the least of your problems. But go ahead and keep blaming the media and depending on the Feds to babysit your kids, because eventually they will and it will be the downfall of us all.

???!?? says:

Re: Re: Re: oh ya lets blame the parents?? ok, fair enough

I’m not sure you understand what I’m trying to say. DO you have kids? I have one who is now 11. He only lives with me a few months of the year, so I never get the chance to fall into the habit of spending less time with him. He’s in the same room with me 95% of the time that he’s not outside with his friends, in the bathroom or sleeping. Still I’d be naive to think that he wouldn’t be able to play such a game if he were able to get his hands on it. When I was his age I got up in the middle of the night to watch scary/sexually oriented movies that my parents didn’t want me to watch. Our cable box didn’t support those channels but back then you could turn the dial just right to get a good enough picture to view. How does a parent stop this short of having the only TV in their bedroom and locking the kids in their rooms at night? “…still doesn’t change the fact that if you don’t know what your kid is doing with fifty dollars when he’s out of the home…” You’re kidding right? Kids need to learn financial responsibility along with everything else. Aside from the fact that kids are expensive This is the biggest reason for kids having part time jobs. I remember my father would take my ENTIRE Wendy’s paycheck and STILL I figured out how to spend some of my money without his knowledge. A parent cannot shadow his child everywhere. At some point a parent has to realize there is a limit to what he can do. AS any parent of preteeens/teens knows there is a very thin line between parental vigilance and child abuse. I’ve often had instances in which I realized the action that I knew would keep my kid safe would also stifle his development. AS a father I have to strike an uneasy balance between the two. I’m not asking the govt to parent my kid, I’m asking for a little help in making sure that game/movie/music that says right on the frigging box that my kid isn’t the intended audience for is reasonably kept away from him. Again, I?m not one of those people who thinks that I should keep everyone away from material I don’t want my kid to have, because this gives him some limited access to it. Maybe you can explain why this is unreasonable.

Jeremy says:

Re: Re: guns

Just a note for ya there mister ???. It is a proven fact that when you illiminate guns from the good citizens, the bad ones break more laws. I don’t remember what state this was in but a sherriff got a city to remove the guns from the law abiding citizens, and the crime rate doubled within a year. Granted though the guy in your statement is a putts/idiot for bring a gun to a teacher meeting, that should have been common cents.

Me says:

The REAL reason behind this Illinois stuff...

The REAL reason IL is going after video games is simple.

The current governor has absolutely no idea how to invigorate the economy in Illinois. Manufacturing is becoming close to non-existant in IL. So, he’s championing a ‘no lose’ cause as a smoke screen. Everyone is considered that teens are violent and out of control. Video games are the evil driving our teens to violence. Only a damned fool (or a judge whose actually read the Constitution of the US) would stand in the way of this legislation.

All the while, everyone bickers about whether video games are all evil or not. And, slowly but surely, jobs in Illinois go to other states or worse, other countries.

How do I know this? Simple. Until this fall, I lived in Illinois, was unemployed for nearly 18 months in my chosen field. I now live in central Iowa where there’s work in my chosen field.

JasonQ says:

Re: 1984

Yeah, You are the second person in this thread to make a 1984 reference. I wonder if people just discount the 1984 reference having heard it so often but NOT having actually read the book. It’s more important now than ever, and all i can think of when people begin begging the state to watch their kids for them is those evil little snitch kids in the book and the Nazi youth for that matter. Get ’em before they are seven and you can completely indoctrinate them. Televisions going both ways? If Orwell had only known about the internet. The war on terror is described by our leaders just as the false war in 1984 is described- it is a war with no foreseeable end with a faceless enemy, how much you want to bet in fifty years when America has been terrorized out of it’s rights and the war is over but they don’t tell us it is..who has benefitted the most from TWOT, the FED that’s who..You enjoying that bit of newspeak? If you don’t have the time to read 1984 the film Brazil touches on many similar ideas. To put you at ease in regards to reading 1984, it is not a “heavy” or “hard” book to read and has a very entertaining story in it’s pages and creates a fascinating future world to experience and is full of all sorts of sex and violence for you Proles to enjoy.

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