Will Arnold Schwarzenegger Also Ban Kids From Riding Terminator 2 Theme Park Ride?

from the curious-minds-want-to-know dept

There was a fair bit of irony in the fact that violent action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger was the governor of California who signed into law yet another attempt at banning kids from buying violent video games. By the time the Governator got around to signing such a bill into law, at least ten states had already had similar laws thrown out as unconstitutional. Yet, in a state that is seriously bankrupt, Arnold kept spending taxpayer money on this issue. It was thrown out of the district court, and again thrown out of an appeals court. Earlier this year, however, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal on the California law. This probably is not a good thing — seeing as the lower courts had been unanimous in tossing similar laws, so there’s no clear “circuit conflict” for the Supreme Court to clear up. Still, it’s difficult to see how this is not a First Amendment violation.

In preparing an amicus brief for the Supreme Court, Adam Thierer points out that it seems odd that Schwarzenegger is trying to ban kids from buying violent video games, but seems to have no problem whatsoever with kids riding violent theme park rides, including one based on his own movie, Terminator 2. As Thierer notes, the T2 ride is a hell of a lot more violent and intense than any video game:

But here’s the thing about that Terminator 2 attraction at Universal Studios: it was a surprisingly intense and seriously violent experience. The show features cinematic action combined with real-life actors who run throughout the arena firing shotguns at cybernetic robots that come out of the walls or floors. During some segments of the show, water sprays the audience, smoke fills the chamber, and the seats and floors vibrate violently as battles take place on stage and on-screen. The actor hosting the show is also choked to death by a cyborg!

But, he notes, children are admitted to the ride without any kind of restriction. He points out that his kids loved this ride (and don’t appear to have gone on to become violent murderous thugs). But the key point is where does the government stop putting restrictions on such things. The evidence that violent video games do any harm to kids is pretty seriously lacking — and if the government is just banning things it finds violent, then you’re going to have to include a lot more than video games. Theme park rides. Cartoons. Comic books. What else?

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Comments on “Will Arnold Schwarzenegger Also Ban Kids From Riding Terminator 2 Theme Park Ride?”

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: I am a mass murderer...

I’m even worse! Not only am I an avid gamer and dabbled in role playing games, but I’m also a massive horror movie fan! Add to that my liking of some heavy metal music and the occasional horror comic, that means I’ve been exposed to every popular media scapegoat since the 1970s! That’s why I’m currently in prison for mass murder…

…oh wait, I’m not 😛

chris (profile) says:

Re: I am a mass murderer...

I have killed hundreds (in Warcraft, L4D2, Portal, etc.)

heh, newb 🙂 i can kill more than 200 in a single l4d2 campaign. i have killed thousands in l4d2 alone.

if you add in the rest of the valve properties, the grand theft auto franchise, and the littany of RPGs, MMOs, and FPSs i have played all the way back to doom3d and final fantasy… i would say i have probably killed hundreds of thousands of humans alone. if you add in monsters, aliens, zombies, and demons, i have probably killed millions of creatures since i picked up my first atari joystick.

Rooker (user link) says:

I am so sick of this hypocritical bullshit. We’ve been playing video games for over thirty years and it is obvious that it has not led to increased violence in the real world.

One of the top reasons I voted against Clinton in the ’08 primaries was because of her fearmongering on this when she was a senator. I’m sick of it. The gaming industry needs to start hitting back against this defamation and hypocrisy.

Brian says:

Can we ban kids from everything related to soccer and basketball? The riot at the Staples Center this year was fun. You don’t know human bonding until you’ve torched a car with other random fans.

Seriously, though. Wasn’t this BS over and done with after GTA came out? And South Park? And [name your favorite angry band]?

Assuming something like this did get by the Supreme Court, what the hell even constitutes violence? Donkey Kong was a mean bastard with those barrels; I killed thousands as Link; and Mario committed goomba genocide. Do fictional characters have to be “human-like” for us to consider violence “violence”?

This is why I play video games, read and listen to music. Humanity is full of fucking retards (no offense to actual retards who can’t help it). I’d rather live in a fictional world or create my own world than be witness to the real thing.

The way I see it, art is the only form of perfection humanity has attained. It should not be limited, whether constitutionally protected or not. (Luckily, it is.)

Brian says:

Re: Re:

Re: Newsweek Article

I think there are some things you’re not considering.

First, the article spends less than one sentence conjecturing that lots of time spent in front of the television or playing video games could be a contributor to the problem of lessening CQ scores. It follows up with the other suggested causes, but not with that one. It also didn’t mention a source for the aforementioned conjecture. That said, I agree that spending too much time with those things can retard healthy psychological development. I think rather that parents and educational services (like those described in the article) should spend more time providing alternatives for kids.

Second, and more importantly — video games are evolving into a much more creative and interactive animal. They are no longer linear or as rigid as they used to be. Based on the criterion discussed in the article, the “new” world of gaming quite fits what the psychologists in the article consider creatively encouraging.

Also, the article makes no claim about violence nor its relevance to video games or to anything else.

eclecticdave (profile) says:

Fairy Tales

Snow White – poisoning, murder, incitement to murder by an authority figure, violence caused by extreme jealousy.

Sleeping Beauty – attempted murder, violent sword fighting resulting in the death of a protagonist.

Hansel and Gretel – Child neglect and abandonment, Advocates excessive violence (murder by burning alive) for alleged defensive purposes.

The Tinder Box – Outright murder without obvious motive, Kidnap, Acts of treason and usurping the throne.

The Ugly Duckling – Childhood abandonment, bullying.

Rapunzel – Stealing, Kidnap, Maiming.

Need I go on? Clearly if you’re going to start banning materials unsuitable for minors, you should start with these shameful texts. I suggest building great piles of them and setting them on fire 😉

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You make an excellent point. The term ‘violent’ is entirely subjective and can clearly be applied differently by different people.

I think the ride is violent. I don’t think it is the government’s business to prevent me or my kid from riding or seeing it.

Too many people want to substitute the government for their own parenting. If you don’t like the violent video games, why not tell your kids they cannot have them? I think any parent that is unwilling (nobody is unable) to review the entertainment materials they purchase for their child – or otherwise allow their child to use, is simply doing a poor job parenting.

Rathius (profile) says:

Not the same at all..

These two violent things can’t really be compared. While I’m completely against the ban of violent video games and the like… this article is trying to compare different concepts.

In the video game, you are the character, you are making the decisions and controlling the outcome of each event. You are taking on the role of the character and the challenges that are being faced.

In a theme park ride, you’re a passive bystander for the most part. Sure there may be some interaction on a few rides, but the content is very static. It’s practically like watching the movie. You are hearing and watching the story unfold. Not taking on the role and making the decisions.

See what I’m saying here? There’s a huge difference between watching and doing.

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