Sen. Charles Grassley: An Unregulated Video Game Market Is A Dangerous Thing

from the first-amendment-even-MORE-threatening,-apparently dept

It looks as if politicians just aren’t going to let video games continue to operate without regulatory oversight. We’ve already seen Rep. Jim Matheson’s bill, which would basically turn a voluntary system (the ESRB) into a mandatory one with fines handed out for violations. It’s a cynically redundant piece of legislation which would score Matheson a cheap political win, if it only had a chance in hell of passing. (The bill is even more redundant than that — Matheson had this same bright idea twice before, in 2006 and 2008.)

Now, at the current Judiciary Committee hearings on “gun violence,” Sen. Charles Grassley has suggested that current rating system just simply isn’t good enough.

“There are too many video games that celebrate the mass killing of innocent people — games that despite attempts at industry self-regulation find their way into the hands of children,” Grassley said at a Judiciary Committee hearing called to examine the causes of gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month.

Really? Everyone’s current scapegoat, Celebrate Mass Killing: Modern Warfare [Current Iteration] and its spinoff, Celebrate Mass Killing: Black Ops, tend to celebrate the killing of people trying to kill you. And only if by “celebrate” you mean, “advance the storyline,” and if by “advance the storyline,” you mean “reach arbitrary hotspot that prevents enemy re-spawning and allows your more capable squadmates to turn a doorknob or something in order to continue celebrating mass killings.”

But more seriously, despite the attempts of the government to regulate tobacco and alcohol sales, these items still find their ways into the hands (and mouths) of underage persons. And despite the government’s best efforts to keep porn out of the eyes and hands of youngsters, many, many teens have seen a thing or two and attempted even more. No system is perfect but I’m willing to put the stats of the purely voluntary ESRB (and the retailers involved) up against the stats of any government regulated, sin-tax-paying item.

As for actual dangerous items currently regulated by federal and state governments, here’s where they line up. Cigarette sales to minors are at 8.5%, falling from 40% in 1997 (2011 statistics). If there’s a national percentage on alcohol sales, it’s very well hidden. Here’s some information from various locales on underage sales compliance rates. Blount County, TN – 9.7%, Escambia County, FL – 5.8%, Fort Wayne, IN – 4.3% (liquor stores)/8.8% (bars and restaurants), Washington, D.C. – 9.5%, Salem, NH – 2.9%, Boulder, CO – 13%. So, overall, roughly in line with cigarette sales, if not possibly lower.

Both percentages are admirably low, but compare those percentages to what the ESRB has achieved without the threat of arrest or loss of a retail license.

According to stats released by the FTC (h/t to commenter DCX2 for tracking this down), underage teenage shoppers were only able to obtain M-rated video games 13% of the time, as compared to 38% for R-rated DVDs, 33% for R-rated movie tickets and 64% for music with a Parental Advisory sticker.

Grassley seems to feel that putting the government in charge of enforcement would keep fewer M-rated games from “finding their way into the hands of children.” Perhaps he should first take a look at how effective existing regulation is at keeping cigarettes and alcohol out of minors’ hands. According to the CDC, 39% of high school students had consumed alcohol in the last 30 days. Not only that, but underage consumption (people aged 12-20) represents 11% of the total amount of alcohol consumed yearly in the US. As for cigarettes, the number is only 19.5% of high school students.

So, even a well-regulated market fails to prevent these items from being used/consumed by minors. Regulating the video game market will result in much of the same. Deciding it’s now a crime to sell a minor an M-rated video game won’t prevent a family member or friend from purchasing the latest “celebration of mass killing” for someone under the age of 18. Most people are going to feel that handing off Call of Duty to a 15-year-old weighs easier on their conscience than handing them a six-pack of beer, a pack of smokes or a gun.

But here’s the key issue: the government can safely regulate tobacco and alcohol sales without fear of trampling on the First Amendment. Not so with games, although Grassley seems willing to put on his boots and start trampling.

Grassley pointed to evidence that a mass killer in Norway had played the popular “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” game and had referred to the game as part of his “training simulation.”

“Where is the artistic value in shooting innocent civilians?” Grassley asked.

Oh, I see. We’ll know what art is when Grassley points it out. Once again, Call of Duty is labeled an “innocent civilian shooter,” somehow missing the point of the game completely. Sure, one could argue that Grand Theft Auto is an “innocent civilian shooter,” but just because you can do it, doesn’t make it the overall point of the game. You don’t advance the story by shooting innocent people. It’s always an option, but it’s never required. (Personal note: I’m fairly sure I’ve run over way more civilians than I’ve actually shot, but I rarely get the urge to drive up and down the sidewalk at 60 mph when I’m behind the wheel…)

Once you have a politician asking for regulation and questioning artistic value in the same breath, you’ve got a problem on your hands. The Supreme Court has already determined that government regulation of video game content is a violation of the First Amendment, but recent events have seemingly made it “OK” to push this dubious agenda again. The president has authorized a study into violent media (including video games), but it looks as if these legislators don’t have any interest in collection actual evidence before making their move.

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Comments on “Sen. Charles Grassley: An Unregulated Video Game Market Is A Dangerous Thing”

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Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

They say if you repeat the same lie enough times, people will begin to believe it. I really don’t know where this “government regulators forced all the banks to give out bad loans” nonsense got started, but it really couldn’t be further from the truth: the subprime debacle was a direct result of deregulation!

Bear in mind that bank bailouts and a “too big to fail” rationale are nothing new. We saw a very similar situation in response to the S&L crisis of the late 1980s. And when the banks realized that they could pull stupid crap like that with impunity, they started pushing for something new.

Federal regulations required that certain common-sense principles be followed when making loans on houses. For example, someone needed to be able to prove that they could actually afford the loan. The banks didn’t like that much, because any loan they can’t make is a loan they can’t charge interest on. So they started pressuring Congress to repeal these requirements, cynically using the concept of helping minorities as the rationale. (Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see how getting someone into a house that they couldn’t afford, which was going to drive them further into poverty on the payments and end in an eviction counts as helping them in any way.)

The banks pushed really hard for subprime mortgages to be legalized, because they knew they’d make a killing. As “high-risk loans,” they’d be able to charge extra-high interest rates, and they knew that if the whole thing ever fell apart, they’d be bailed out (again) because they were too big to fail. And the whole scam got pushed through by congressional Democrats, who swallowed it hook, line and sinker. (You don’t usually tend to associate Democrats with deregulation, but that’s how it happened this time.)

But the government never forced anyone to make any bad loans. If they had, you’d have seen a lot more banks in trouble when it all came apart, because they’d have all been carrying all those bad loans they were forced to make. But plenty of banks (including the one I bank at) saw the opportunity and chose not to grant any sub-prime mortgages (which they were able to do because no regulators were forcing them to) and came through it just fine.

If this big lie about banks being forced to make bad loans were true, then my bank (which does home loans, but only responsible ones) would have been in crisis. But they came through it just fine, so please don’t try to further promulgate this lie where I can hear it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I agree with you but the reason they get people to take loans on houses they can’t afford is they usually try to afford it for a little while and the banks get that money first. Then when it collapses on them the bank gets to keep the money they have been paid and gets the house too which they can then turn around and sell again the same way. The banks really couldn’t care less about “helping people out of poverty”. That’s just the angle used to sell it to Congress and the public.

silverscarcat says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Bear in mind that bank bailouts and a “too big to fail” rationale are nothing new. We saw a very similar situation in response to the S&L crisis of the late 1980s. And when the banks realized that they could pull stupid crap like that with impunity, they started pushing for something new.”

Know what the funny part about that is?

Reagan, after bailing the S&L banks out, sent over 2000 CEOs to prison for breaking the law.

Simple Mind (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There is some truth to what the AC said. It wasn’t that the govt forced banks to make bad loans (as the AC did not say but you seem to have read into it that he did) but that the govt was complicit by guaranteeing loans to low income buyers. The banks aren’t going to deny a loan if they have no risk.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Yeah, so it wasn’t the banks fault at all. Obviously those no good low income buyers forced the banks to sell all those high risk loans bundled into products advertised as low risk to the unsuspecting market. And then to make it much worse, those low income scum buyers forced the innocent speculators into betting against said bad investments. That ill gotten gains are simply an unexpected outcome – who knew this would wreck the world economy. Thank goodness the job creators were not hurt by the selfish greedy low income home buyers because that would be a travesty beyond belief.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The banks didn’t like that much, because any loan they can’t make is a loan they can’t charge interest on.

You’re very close, and in some cases you are right, but I think in most cases it goes a little bit deeper. You have to go back to supply and demand.

There is a secondary market for mortgages where they are bought and sold. A mortgage broker acts as an interface to this market. They only have enough funds for a few mortgages at a time, and they require a sort of pipeline that they can sell these mortgages into so that they’re off their own books. Notably, this means the brokers don’t have much skin in the game once it’s off their books.

One of the purposes the secondary market fulfills is the creation of Mortgage Backed Securities. These are a good thing; by combining thousands of mortgages, the risk of any one mortgage defaulting can be spread out among the others, so that the overall investment is less volatile.

Then someone else on Wall Street took these MBS and combined them into Collateralized Debt Obligations. These CDOs are split up so that the senior tranches are paid before junior tranches. This technique allows you to combine a bunch of MBS (or other financial product) together and sell some of it as AAA-rated debt with “low interest” (since they are paid back first), and some basically junk bonds for “high interest” (compensating for the risk of being paid last, or not at all).

Bear with me, we’re almost there. Some genius on Wall Street figured out that you can take a bunch of the junk bond junior tranches and combine them into a CDO (they called it a CDO squared). Using the mathematical formulas that ratings agencies like Fitch and Moody’s use to rate the CDOs, they managed to take an entire collection of pure crap and sell it as AAA-rated debt, the kind of debt you can sell to pensions and stuff.

Now you have a pipeline for crap mortgages. Wall Street had almost limitless demand for them. The brokers realized the demand was there for crap mortgages, so they gave them out to just about anyone who could fog a mirror. They probably slept at night thinking that house prices were appreciating faster than interest payments, so it seemed like houses were paying for themselves.

It gets worse. The banks knew these were ticking time bombs. Hell, Goldman Sachs settled with the FEC for practically designing a CDO to fail and then betting on that CDO’s failure with a Credit Default Swap.

So long as they could sell squared CDO’s to investors, the pipeline kept up. Then one day, someone realized these CDO’s were dangerous. The market for them collapsed. This lead to a chain reaction, with the MBS market collapsing as well (hence the Fed buying all those MBS every month). With that collapse, the small brokers had no where to sell their crappy mortgages, so they collapsed as well. People with ARM or interest-only loans were then trapped by the tightened lending. All of a sudden, the number of homes in foreclosure skyrockets. The presence of all these foreclosed homes drives up the supply of homes for sale, which drives down the price of housing. The lower price for housing puts some people underwater on their mortgages, creating an incentive to just walk away, leading to more foreclosed homes. Tighter lending also means fewer buyers, which also drives prices down.

Notably, the Community Reinvestment Act, which is what is typically blamed for “forcing banks to make loans to minorities”, had little to do with subprime. The default rate on CRA-approved loans is in line with historical averages. In fact, almost all of the crappy mortgages were NOT originated by CRA-approved lenders at all.

Had there never been a market for crappy secondary mortgages that could be turned into squared CDOs fueled by ridiculously low interest rates and ridiculously high appreciation, the brokers would have had no one to sell them to, and the loans would never have been made.

Anonymous Coward says:

Here's your sign...

The minute a politician opens his mouth to use the term “artistic value” regarding anything, you immediately know he’s full of shit. Actually I would love to see someone immediately take a line of questioning to him asking him to explain what credentials he has to make an official determination of the artistic value of a work. Something like:

“What is your specific academic training, education, and/or other experience in the arts and art history that qualify you to make a determination of the artistic value of a work?”

“Do you have any verifiable credentials that you can present to support these alleged qualifications?”

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Grassley pointed to evidence that a mass killer in Norway had played the popular “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” game and had referred to the game as part of his “training simulation.”

If anything, Modern Warfare is a recruitment tool for the military, despite showing how stupidly easy it is to get yourself killed in combat.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There may be “some evidence” that Anders Behring Breivik played a video game, but in his manifesto, he quoted Jeremy Clarkson several times and said that Top Gear was “one of the very few programs at the Burka Broadcasting Corporation [BBC] still worth seein[sic].”

So obviously, he was a bit of a prick, video games notwithstanding.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually if you want to look for a literal ‘murder simulation/military recruitment tool’, look no further than the army produced ‘America’s Army’, a game the army has had out for a number of years that strives to be as accurate and real to life as it can be, to the point the army uses it for both training and recruitment purposes.

bob (profile) says:

brilliant point

brilliant point in that racing games should also be regulated, because once the guns and gun video games are taken away, kids will having nothing to do than play ultra realistic racing games, then grab the keys to the parents station wagon and go careening through school zones.
it’s a natural progression and slippery slope.
and the problem with the slippery slope is that games don’t teach you to slowly pump the brakes until you regain control of the vehicle.

qyiet (profile) says:

Re: brilliant point

the problem with the slippery slope is that games don’t teach you to slowly pump the brakes until you regain control of the vehicle.
Actually on a greasy road I did slide my car, and regained control via pumping the brakes. AND I credit this to playing a car game. A few months before the incident I’d been playing a minor track racing game with a wheel controller. When I slid out I reacted the same way I would have in the game, and regained control of the car as fast as was possible. I’d not practiced that before in any way in the real world, but the reaction was natural and learnt from the game.

While I don’t think that computer games saved my life, I do think they saved me a few thousand dollars and a lot of mess.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Your bias is showing (still)

What’s with all these articles talking about “gun violence” in quotes, or even ‘so-called “gun violence”‘, as if it’s not a legitimate term?

It’s violence. It’s done with guns. What else should it be called? When you use silly terminology like that, it makes you look like you have some sort of agenda involving denying (or minimizing) the existence of the problem of gun violence.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Your bias is showing (still)

Guns dont kill people, I do. LOL.

Take away all guns, and it will be knives,
take away all knives, and it will be sticks, big ones,
take away all sticks and it will be rocks,
Take away all rocks and it will be hands,
Skip to the end and just cut off everyone’s hands.

Blaming video games for gun violence is just stupid. Its OK we blow the hell out of ppl around the world, and have it on TV everywhere, but this is just another politicians talking point to say see:
lookie me I am doing something.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Your bias is showing (still)

Blaming video games for gun violence is just stupid.

Oh, I definitely agree. I’m a gamer myself, have been all my life, and I’ve never shot anyone IRL with anything scarier than a Super Soaker. But talking about gun violence as if it was not a legitimate issue at all (regardless of the dubious connection to video games) is just silly.

A Monkey with Attitude says:

Re: Re: Re: Your bias is showing (still)

But voilence is violence, a gun doesnt make a difference to the affected (if your killed by knife, jet, car, or catapult your still dead, and still a victim of voilence)

Now a rational discussion would be why these things happen, and a portion of the discussion would be about the tools used by those who caused said violence.

The entire discussion should not be about the tool. People create tools, its one of the things that supposed to make man a “high” form of life, but we never talk about the human that did the violence (guns are not automated, they and all tools require a person to operate them or start them up, or make a decision to be used in some manner). Yet so far no where in the discussion have we as “reasonable” people had the discussion on what makes a person perform such a huge act of violence.

Now you could argue that is what the lobby to “control” the games are trying to do, but once again it fails as it goes down one path and one path only, instead of looking at the true fault and that would be a person made a decision. Now lets talk about why they made such a evil (by most peoples standard) decision. In understanding you will find truth.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Your bias is showing (still)

You say “violence is violence” as if it were all one problem, but that’s obviously not true. Do you really think domestic violence, for example, is the same problem (or even the same class of problem) as school shootings? What about road rage? Sexual assault? Bullying in schools?

These are all examples of violence, but they’re very different things that need to be treated as distinct, individual problems, and I don’t think anyone would deny that. So why is it that only when the tool involved is a gun, that people try to deny that it’s a real, distinct problem?

varagix says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Your bias is showing (still)

So why is it that only when the tool involved is a gun, that people try to deny that it’s a real, distinct problem?

Probably because violence done with a gun -isn’t- a distinct problem; its a subset of all the different kinds of violence you just mentioned as defined by the tool used to commit it. ‘Dealing’ with guns won’t solve the problems with violence in this country; it will only shift these acts of violence to other, different tools.

Or, to borrow part of the line from you I just quoted, “Why is it that only when the tool involved is a gun”, is the tool suddenly more important than solving the distinct problem that tool was involved in?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Your bias is showing (still)

While gun violence may be a legitimate issue, it’s not the type of lethal violence you are likely to see. You’re far more likely to be stabbed or beat to death. And, in schools, you’re much less likely to be murdered by any means than 30 years ago.

So if we’re going to freak out about violent activity, it would make more sense to address the larger risks first. That we are instead focusing just on “gun violence” is pure politics.

With that background, the quote marks make sense to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Your bias is showing (still)

There was an account of a prisoner that was caught with a loaded pistol in his cell. He manufactured all of it within the prison while working in the workshop.

Guns are not very complicated at all, they are a technology from the 1700s, it is too late to put that genie back in the bottle.

Outlawing guns will take them away from the law abiding, but not from the criminals who would shoot people.

Gun crime has increased in places where guns have been banned and the criminals can rely on the fact that most people are unarmed. Crimes only take minutes to commit and the police arrive after the crime.

The second amendment has the clearly stated purpose of protecting a balance of power to ensure the citizens are ultimately at the top instead of being repressed by some form of dictatorship as in many other countries.

For full disclosure, I have no gun, but enjoy the benefits that those who would commit a crime against me or my family are left not knowing who is packing.

Anonymous Coward says:

There are so many logical fallacies here that I can’t get through them to worry about my constitutional rights.

Most of the underage kids I know (e.g. My kids’ friends) get access to “mature content” through, of all places, their loving parents. They have unfettered access to R and unrated movie content through the cable television that is ubiquitous. Music is purchased online with no age verification through mommy & daddy’s iTunes account. Parents purchase M-rated console games for their 9-year-olds for their birthday.

Regulation that is voluntary or government enforced won’t make a difference either way. this content will remain available.

The only logical answer is to threaten to imprison the parents if the kids are caught in possession. [/s]

Anonymous Coward says:

Banning and/or heavily regulating guns and video games isn’t what the victims would’ve wanted or the general public wants. It’s actually what those creeps who kill innocent people want. They want us to live in fear and oppression. I bet all those Islamo-terrorists and school shooters are cackling in Hell knowing what this country’s become.

Trevor (profile) says:


It’s OK to regulate [i]videogame[/i] sales to people because they [b]might[/b] make their way to minors, but it’s NOT OK to regulate [i]gun[/i] sales to people [b][i]even though[/b][/i] they [b]might[/b] make their way to minors, the mentally ill, and cirminals?

The “cause” (not really a cause, it has not been proven to be true. In fact, it was proven that it is completely inconclusive) is more dangerous than the ACTUAL OBJECT THAT ACTUALLY KILLED THE ACTUAL PEOPLE?

My brain just pooped.

Anonymous Coward says:

Call of Duty is labeled an “innocent civilian shooter”

And you know what is also an “innocent civilian shooter”, and the most widely used to top it all off?

Maybe he’ll want to do something about that?
Maybe he’ll want to prevent doctors to give syringes (even without needle, that’s simulation and has no artistic value) to children so they can play with water?

ECA (profile) says:

Can I ask something

I need to ask a question here..

HOw long ago have the Social groups and activities in local areas, GONE AWAY??

Even in small towns, there USED to be tons of activities going on..NOW??

PS.. they didnt COST ANYTHING..

Are we isolating ourselves??
All the news and ABUSE of NEWS? does it scare us that THINGS HAPPEN. That a Church leader molested a child? That a school was shot up??(get better doors, and metal detectors)
HAVE the lawyers scared off the PARENTS from letting the kids go to the PARK, and they MIGHT get hurt??

This is getting as bad as the OLD halloween scare from the 70’s,,

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Can I ask something

HAVE the lawyers scared off the PARENTS from letting the kids go to the PARK, and they MIGHT get hurt??

Lawyers? hell no, the COPS have me too scared to let my kids go to the park.

Literally, I had a cop come knocking on my door one day because another parent saw my kids (8, 11 at the time), playing at the park with no parent, and decided police action was necessary. so she called 911 and the local police department had to come and ask my kids where they lived. RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET.

The cop then proceeded to have them escort them to our house, where he knocked on the door and proceeded to belittle me for allowing the kids to go to the damn park. I asked him what crime was being committed and obviously he started backpeddling.

but I’ll be damned if I dont send the kids out to play as much anymore… I’m not scared they’re gonna get hurt, I’m scared they are gonna be traumatized.

Rekrul says:

I have it on good authority that the Sandy Hook shooter as well as every other school shooter used “air”. In fact, I’ve heard that they were addicted to it and used it every day! If they hadn’t had access to “air” they probably never would have shot up those schools.

We need to start regulating this “air” as soon as possible! Everyone will be a lot safer when we figure out a way to completely eradicate “air”!

Anonymous Coward says:

"Civilian shooters"

Pretty sure most games give negative consequences for shooting civilians, even if they allow it.

GTA – the cops start chasing you.
Call of Duty – the civilian shooting section was presented as a terrible event, not glorified, and had terrible consequences.
Hitman – Massive negative score.

Most other shooters that have civilians simply end in a failstate if you shoot one. Its supposed to challenge the player to pick their targets carefully.

This is just a perfect example of government officials justifying their existence by “fixing” something that will have no consequence except making them look good.

Sabrina Thompson (profile) says:

I am a video game player and I think there are some games that should not be allowed like “Grand Theft Auto”. Why play a criminal when you can play the hero? I know video games don’t make people murder but they can influence I think. I use to play games like “Grand Theft Auto” but stopped because I think its wrong now. I don’t think all video games with violence are wrong. I play games with violence in them but I play games where you fight evil guys and monsters. I also play some multiplayer shooters ,but I am not a violent person, I think intent and how you play matters. Some people I think shouldn’t play certain games it depends. Another thing is how come I read of stuff where video games are blamed ,but what about movies where gangsters are the main characters or evil glorified?

Sabrina Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think video games CAN infleunce people but does not make them do things like other forms of media. For example, I have read things that influenced how I think ,but I let it because I agreed with the writings.I use to play GTA. It didn’t make me steal and I never killed anyone ,but it could have influenced people in other ways for example, like they may not react to a murder reported in the news with sadness like they use to if they did or in other ways. I think people have free will and can choose what to do and they choose to have things influence them. It is a choice. I realized that games like GTA are not good. Why play it? I can understand people playing a bad guy in games and fighting their friend who plays a good guy in games. I do it, but for single player I don’t do the villian thing to kill good guys. I think games can influence how you react to things and how you think if you let it. I think the real problem with murder shootings is the murderer themself, they allow murder in their heart and perhaps they got inspired to murder by a game or movie but they are still accoutable for their own actions. I don’t think a video game has EVER made people do anything. They choose. I play lots of games but don’t try to imitate everything I play, but one who is mentally ill might try.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Kids used to play cowboys and indians, pirates, etc and this did not seem to result in mass murder. Video games are no different.

Possibly the over medication of our youth with unnecessary mind altering drugs has something to do with this. I have yet to see any study which included this potentially contributing factor. Anyone seen one – I’d be interested.

Sabrina Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I think there are times when kids are given drugs by doctors and don’t even need it and say they have some kind of disorder, not that I don’t believe in mental illness but I think some doctors don’t understand. Some people are affected differently by things like certain meds, games,etc. Many can play war as kids and never kill andyone but a few who are bad may get ideas but the game never makes them do it they just may get influenced or get inspiration from a game on how to do something they alreadly had in mind. It seems people like to blame something for other people’s behaviour like a disorder some one doesn’t have, games,guns,rpg games or etc. Drugs are not always the answer to bad behaviour. Some parents don’t know how to raise kids and take them to a shrink who gives them meds that don’t even help.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘an unregulated video game market is a dangerous thing’

what os definitely more dangerous is having people who are in powerful positions but not a clue what they are talking about or dealing with try to fix something. he, like others, would be much better off keeping his snout out and putting the problem (if it actually exists) into the hands of people who have the knowledge and the commitment to correct any issues, rather than just trying to make a name for himself by screwing up royally!

PaulT (profile) says:

If I’m charitable enough to think that he has any idea what he’s talking about, I’d assume that the “innocent civilians” comment was targeted at the “No Russian” segment of Modern Warfare 2 where that is indeed what you have to do (playing as an undercover solider forced to participate in an airport slaughter to keep his cover).

However, if that’s the case he’s not only ignoring the artistic intent of that segment (deliberately disturbing in order to cement the immoral enemy), but also the self-imposed reaction to that segment’s controversy (they made it skippable so you don’t have to play it if you don’t want to). The rest of the games concentrate on the killing of enemy combatants whose quest is to undermine western civilisation. Hardly innocents.

Isaac Kotlicky (profile) says:

Alcohol taxation

From the federal standpoint, alcohol is taxed at the point of production based upon how much is produced. Since it’s supply side taxation, the cost DOES get passed on to the consumer, but it’s effect isn’t entirely noticeable – like subsidies and taxes for gas.

Currently, the tax on beer is $18 per 31 gallon barrel for each barrel produced annually in a run of 2,000,000 or more.
For less than that, you pay $7 per barrel up to 60,000 barrels and $18 per barrel after that.
Overall, it comes out to something like $0.05 a 12 oz. bottle is federal tax.

I’m unfamiliar with the exact tax schedule for distillation or winemaking, but it’s dependent upon alcohol content. Wine runs around $0.21 per bottle and distilled liquors run over $2.

Here’s a link with details for the interested:

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