Trump Blames School Shootings On Violent Video Games, Movies; Suggests We Need Some Sort Of Rating System For Them

from the to-paraphrase-Cole-Porter,-'Well,-Can-You-Even!' dept

When a mass shooting occurs, politicians leap into the void with plenty of ideas of how to fix it. They can’t — or won’t — fix it, but they’re more than willing to sacrifice other Constitutional amendments to keep the Second Amendment intact. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevins was the first to fill the void with garbage following the latest school shooting by blaming violent video games, despite there being no evidence linking violent acts to violent video games.

Now it’s Donald Trump blaming school shootings on the First Amendment. During a discussion with Florida legislators (video here), Trump suggested doing something we’ve been doing for years.

Speaking to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Trump said: ‘I’m hearing more and more people seeing the level of violence in video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts ‘

‘And then you go the further step, and that’s the movies. You see these movies, and they’re so violent a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn’t involved, but killing is involved, and maybe we need to put a rating system for that.’

It appears Trump is suggesting video games and movies need a rating system. I honestly don’t know where to go with this. Video games have had a rating system — one adopted and enforced voluntarily by developers — for nearly a quarter-century now. Movies have had ratings for more than 50 years, and that rating system has been revised a couple of times to allow for a more granular breakdown of possibly offensive content.

These are not new ideas. But these are our President’s ideas — ones that carry a faint whiff of impending government censorship. Imposing further restrictions on “violent” media isn’t going to solve an ongoing violence problem, but it will allow legislators (and sitting presidents) to pretend they did something useful.

Whether or not you agree the Second Amendment guarantees the right to load up on powerful weapons, any advocate of Constitutional rights would do well to remember they’re a bundle, not a la carte offerings. Trump is a fierce advocate of the Second Amendment but doesn’t seem to care much for the First Amendment. (Or the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment… unless it’s him or one of his being accused of criminal activity.)

So, if you want an intact Second Amendment, you’d better leave the rest of the rights alone. This is stupid, kneejerk… well, it’s definitely not “thinking.” This sort of thing suggests no active firing of synapses. Instead, it suggests the primordial survival instincts of a politician who views rights as privileges and is willing to harm those not immediately beneficial to him. Politicians like Trump and Governor Bevins are quick to blame things they don’t understand or don’t participate in. This allows them to feel like they’re taking action without risking anything that’s meaningful to them. It’s crass, stupid, short-sighted, and ultimately, it’s a sign of weakness. It takes no backbone to sacrifice things you don’t care about.

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Comments on “Trump Blames School Shootings On Violent Video Games, Movies; Suggests We Need Some Sort Of Rating System For Them”

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123 Comments
David says:

Politics need a rating system

There must be a rating system for the minimum mental age admitted to a certain level of responsibility.

Of course this carries the danger of an elitary class not worrying about keeping the hoi polloi stupid.

But, well, look at what we got now. Who is going to take Trump as inspiration to raise the U.S. general education levels?

radix (profile) says:

> Politicians like Trump and Governor Bevins are quick to blame things they don’t understand or don’t participate in. … It takes no backbone to sacrifice things you don’t care about.

I feel like this is one of the main drivers of social and political polarization in general. Nobody is really immune from it, some just do a better job of suppressing their most public thoughts about the parts of a free society we would rather live without.

ECA (profile) says:

pont those fingers aomeplace else

AND??
Who else can we blame??
Parents not home, more then a few hours to PLAY WITH KIDS??
TO HELP with THINGS they need help with?
Who is taking hem TO THE MOVIES??

I watch Broadcast TV, from ABC/CBS/FOX and what AM I WATCHING..
Every Judge that could be found, Ever REAL TIME COP SHOW, Police Shows from the Gov. from all around the country..
Every one of them SHOWING HOW TO GET CAUGHT, and that NO ONE GETS AWAY WITH CRIME..
ALL DAY LONG

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Ratings system?

More seriously, the part of me which goes out of its way to look for reasonable interpretations of statements I disagree with wants to argue that it’s possible Trump was trying to suggest that we need separate ratings for "sexy stuff" vs. "violent stuff", rather than the simple uninformative categories things generally get rated into.

I think I’ve heard rumblings in the direction of such a thing at least once in the past, but if it’s already been done, it’s at least not widespread enough for me to be aware of it as a standard practice.

I’m not sure such a thing would make much difference in practice vs. what we already have; what’s more, if it’s not trivial to implement, I wouldn’t be surprised if implementing it were impractically difficult. But it’s at least not an obviously stupid or ignorant idea.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Ratings system?

it’s possible Trump was trying to suggest that we need separate ratings for "sexy stuff" vs. "violent stuff"

It’s true this is a shortcoming of the current rating systems, and it does almost sound reasonable then (except insofar as the courts have already said, recently, that mandatory government ratings are unconstitutional).

I still wouldn’t agree that we need these rating systems at all, let alone need "better" ones.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ratings system?

It would be exceptionally difficult to rate media based specifically on violence alone. Would a movie with a Disney Villain Death require a special rating or warning, even if the actual moment of death is never shown and the movie otherwise has no bloody violence, only because it features a character dying as the result of an otherwise-bloodless act of violence?

The current ratings systems for movies, TV, and games work fine enough as it is. If people ignore those systems or refuse to research why a piece of media has a certain rating, that is their problem.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Ratings Systems - The Gateway Drug to Censorship

Years ago various groups wanted a ratings system for records, so that kids could be stopped from buying music with explicit lyrics. They were quick to say that it wasn’t about censorship; they just wanted kids and parents to be informed.

The moment the system was in place, the movement began to purge those records from stores. Because HOW DARE they sell them – even behind the counter and hidden from view – in the same stores where children were shopping!

The same thing happened with television. The TV-14 and TV-M ratings were put in place to inform people, and to move such shows to later in the evening. Again the claim was that the system was not – no sir, not at all – for censorship. Instantly there were demands from folks like Reverend Wildmon, that the network drop those shows altogether. Wildmon also campaigned against Blockbuster Video for stocking NC-17 rated movies.

For added irony, the TV-M was changed to TV-MA because of a trademark dispute and to remove confusion with the ESRB’s "M for Mature" rating for video games.

I posted the above in response to a Techdirt story in 2014: One Year After Granting Adulthood To Video Gamers, Committee Suggests Australian Government Reenact Ban On R18+ Games

That’s right; the Australian government did exactly what Trump and Bevins demand: They created their own ratings system complete with an R18+ classification.

And a year later, was considering banning games carrying that classification.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Gateway Drugs to Censorship

Here in the states, the ESRB haggles with devs much the way the MPAA haggles with studios, and much the way that studios now insert extreme content as negotiating chips (e.g. I’ll take out three of the five exploding heads if you let me keep the love scene.) Some of those extreme scenes wind up ignored by the ratings board and left in the final cut.

(I hear in Disney’s musical animated version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame there’s a version of Esmeralda dancing nude in the flames during the Hellfire number. Never officially released, of course. Rather it was cut out to save some of the other more disturbing bits.)

While I can only guess that devs extreme up bits for bargaining, it has been curious what would push a game to AO-Adults Only rating here in the states:

Bad guys aren’t allowed to be too human lest they disturb the sensibilities of the player for killing them. Hence games that depict war aren’t allowed to be too warlike. They’re not aloud to express too much pain or beg for their lives. Hence, most mooks in shooters sound worse than eighties action-movie grunts who went to wrestling school.

Children are not allowed to be killed except in ephemeral or off-stage ways. It makes it far more precarious endangering children than in the movies, since it can be arranged that kids always escape. But in video games, there are consequences for failure, and people sometimes get chewed up by zombies (or worse, by a player-weapon misfire). Skyrim just made children impervious to damage. Most games just don’t include children at all.

Story writers can’t play with Christianity too much. The Binding of Isaac which places with biblical myth would never have gotten past the ESRB. Fortunately, Steam didn’t care, though Apple does, and BOI is banned from iTunes (and thus all non-jailbroken i-devices).

And of course, sex and nudity are even more tightly governed in games than they are in movies, which means the industry has only barely explored love and sex in interactive media. Mostly there are porn games and games where the girl is the prize at the end…and Huniepop which is a good casual match-three game with porn.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

We have a rating system

It’s called elections. What? Need something more granular? How about annual election of the President, or, maybe we should call it a vote of confidence, without any electoral college crap. Straight up or down…no…something granular, how about on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being bad, confidence in the direction, and separately confidence in the leadership of the highest elected official in our land?

Now, what to do with a poor rating result???

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: We have a rating system

The problem with having shorter terms is that a new leader needs time to learn about their new position. Also if that leader changes to quickly you will constantly be shifting direction in your organization. The constant redirection will waste money and time.

So changing out the president, or other senior leader role, routinely will ultimately destroy your company/country. But there will be times you need to, which is why those same leaders can be impeached or recalled.

Unfortunately our political system just seems to keep electing the lesser of two evils and each time the choices are worse and worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

The solution to all of this is more representation

This goes for all “Western Democracies” we all need at least two orders of magnitude more representatives cap national representation at 35K constituents, cap regional(states/provinces etc) representation at 15000 and local at 5000, yes this means paying for many 10’s over thousand of representatives but it makes it possible to hold them to account and it diffuses power so that it is almost impossible to bribe them all and they WOULD have to work together to get anything done

OA (profile) says:

I’ve never read or heard an argument in support of video games causing violence that I found credible. Most of the accusations were obvious scapegoating.

However, our (American) media is not so innocent, IMO. The main problem isn’t how overt media violence is, but how media often smooths over social reaction to violence (not just physical violence). Media treats the roots of violence in an irresponsibly casual manner. In defense, media cannot cause violence on its own. Media does act as a filter and cultivator of violence, but only at the bidding of a dominate aspect of society itself.

A society cannot cultivate violence narrowly or in a controlled way. If violence is cultivated at all, it will ultimately be impossible to contain. Fetishizing the tools of violence provides an excellent negative contribution.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That narrow view being only physical violence, social and psychological violence is never even acknowledged, much less addressed, sound like this kid was pretty messed up, parental violence, then loss of said parents, exclusion by peers, judgment by authority. I don’t know all the details but that’s just what I’ve picked up, in all of this there seems to be no interest at all in WHY, even if it turns out he was a crazy racist, that was on some sort of mission to avenge the white race or something, he didn’t get that way overnight and comments like ‘we need to be armed to protect ourselves in this world’ sound like a kid that was not being protected, there is a deep sociological issue that will not be address and it’s all going to get worse and worse until it is, Maybe it’s time to ACTUALLY think of the children, instead of increasingly trying to harm them.

Narcissus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’ve also never seen evidence of video games creating solutions but I think this is also where it becomes complex.

An argument can be made that the gun culture in the US is mirrored by the media and specifically by games and movies. In American movies and games violence is always the solution, never the problem (I’m generalizing a bit of course).

So the big question is if the media is causing the American attitude to guns or is the media giving voice to existing attitudes?

I don’t have the answer but I think this is where the crux of the answer to gun violence is. I’m all for better gun regulation but I also think this is not the full answer.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“So the big question is if the media is causing the American attitude to guns or is the media giving voice to existing attitudes?”

Well, that would seem to be an easy question to answer by merely looking elsewhere. While most other countries have local film industries, the majority of films watched in most of them are American (as a quick example, I just had a quick look at my local cinema here in Spain – of 11 films showing, only 3 were originally in Spanish, the majority are Hollywood productions apart from the British produced Early Man). So, if these countries which consume the same movies do not have the same attitude to guns, it must be something else.

Games are actually a little more complicated because a lot of people don’t actually understand where they’re produced. For example, many people would consider the GTA series as being “American” games, but while they certainly are set in parodies of American cities, they’re actually largely produced in Scotland. Lots of these games are not American at all, they just home in on tropes from American media. Regardless, the same games tend to be popular across Western nations, so if there was cause and effect you’d see it elsewhere.

“I’m all for better gun regulation but I also think this is not the full answer.”

I’m not really sure that anyone significant is claiming that it is. It’s just that, whatever else might be causing the problem, free and easy access to weaponry does not help matters. Some recent massacres (e.g. Vegas) would literally have been impossible to have been carried out in the way they were without guns (the killers may have found other methods, of course, but the events that have transpired would not have done without them).

Narcissus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“While most other countries have local film industries, the majority of films watched in most of them are American”

I agree, there must be something more than only media. However, we also must be cautious to immediately discount the influence of pop culture on this. It certainly seems as if the attitudes(for lack of a better word) of Americans and pop culture are enhancing each other.

Still, many fingers can be pointed to many things. Politicians are a big part of the problem as well. Being, like you, from Europe, I have a hard time believing that the blatant pandering to industry interests (NRA) would be accepted here. Obviously our politicians say other stupid things but that is another issue.

What I wanted to say is that perhaps we go too soon into problem solving mode, without really understanding the root cause of the issue.

Having said that, I feel that creating stricter gun legislation is a good start without significant drawbacks. I have yet to see a good argument for unfettered access to handguns, semi automatic or otherwise.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I agree, there must be something more than only media. However, we also must be cautious to immediately discount the influence of pop culture on this. It certainly seems as if the attitudes(for lack of a better word) of Americans and pop culture are enhancing each other.

Culture can definitely influence the way we think; just look at how gun culture—and how the NRA effectively controls every discussion about it—for a good example. We cannot, however, assume that a correlation between the existence of violent media and the rise in gun violence means that the former causes the latter.

We can and should discuss how the media portrays and even glamorizes violence, as well as what kind of responsibility the media has in how it presents scenes of violence to viewers. (That goes as much for fiction as it does for non-fiction.) We should not blame violent media for the ills of our world, though. Doing so leads us to a path of censorship that we should never walk.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Is The Second Amendment More Important Than The First Amendment?

I like this comment:

Despite the absence of credible evidence that video games cause violence, the idea is a popular meme amongst gun-friendly politicians. It’s also a bit of a red herring because it’s very, very difficult to kill people with a video game, but very easy to kill a lot of people with a semi-automatic weapon.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Is The Second Amendment More Important Than The First Amendment?

Or this one:

"And the National Rifle Association says that, "Guns don’t kill people, people do," but I think the gun helps, you know? I think it helps. I just think just standing there going, "Bang!" That’s not going to kill too many people, is it? You’d have to be really dodgy on the heart to have that-" – Eddie Izzard

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Is The Second Amendment More Important Than The First Amendment?

A rifle or handgun just sitting their loaded is all to convenient if tempers flare, depression sets in, or a kid picks it up. Heck armies do not just leave loaded guns lying around, but rather a weapon is being carried if it is loaded, or in storage with gun and ammo separated if it is not being carried. US gun enthusiasts are far too casual about weapon storage and handling.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Is The Second Amendment More Important Than The First Amendment?

on the other hand, a rifle or handgun just sitting there isn’t going arbitrarily decide to kill someone.

Indeed. But to resort to hyperbole for a moment, neither does a nuclear weapon sitting there arbitrarily decide to kill someone, but most people seem to get fairly het-up about them lying around and anyone getting their hands on them, so I’m unconvinced that’s a good standard to apply to the issue.

Ryunosuke (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Is The Second Amendment More Important Than The First Amendment?

again, it’s no fault of the weapon itself, but rather the people getting their hands on them. Now the argument could be made for unexploded ordinance in Germany or Afghanistan, but that’s a discussion for another time.

a firearm has one purpose, and that is to launch a projectile at high speed through the end of a barrel. It doesn’t care whether a practice target or a person is in the line of fire.

now I am not “pro-gun” per se. I am more of responsible ownership and sensible regulations.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 "Weapon" / "Destructive" / "Assault"

Lawrence D’Oliveiro you’ve made the argument before that certain devices may have specific deadly uses. You’ve called guns weapons before and pointing out that their purpose is destructive, whether a gun is taking down an elk so that a family can eat for a winter, or dispatching a mad dog, or defending a woman from an assailant, or even mortally wounding a dozen or so children.

That is all semantics. That a gun might be classified as a weapon doesn’t affect how they should be regarded by society.

By trying to classify guns, it sounds like you’re saying we civilians are generally too irresponsible (or malicious, but that comes down to temper or desperation) to handle dangerous things.

Frankly, I don’t think we’re responsible enough to vote, or raise kids, or operate motor vehicles, or feed ourselves.

But neither are the officials and agents of the state, including law enforcement. Including the military. Including our elected representatives. They’re all as incompetent as we are. And they will use their additional power (are already abusing their positions to further their own interests) which means they shouldn’t be responsible for guns (kids, cars, policy, food) either.

And since we can’t find someone to be responsible for all this crap for us, we have to assure that civilians have control over the same stuff that the state has. Otherwise, it quickly turns into a caste system, where the upper classes are not answerable to the lower ones.

In fact, that’s what we got now. Because civilian gun access wasn’t enough of a check to stop the corruption. We have police officers gunning down innocents indiscriminately, and not even losing their jobs over it.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Re:5 That is all semantics.

“Semantics” means “meaning”, so I never understand how people think that’s some kind of refutation of an argument.

Tools have constructive uses, weapons don’t. Simple as that. Trying to make excuses for destructive weapons by making analogies with constructive tools falls down on that basis. You are just trying to bring up a red herring.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 That is all semantics.

“Tools have constructive uses, weapons don’t”

Actually, slight counterpoint – weapons so have constructive uses, it’s just that they gain those as a direct result of their destructive nature. For example, using a weapon for hunting has a constructive result once you have the dead animal, Using a weapon to deter a potential attacker is constructive. But, in both examples neither thing would happen without the weapon being destructive.

But, that’s really where gun control and the like become necessary. If even positive uses for the weapon come directly from their destructive nature, it makes sense to ensure that their use in negative ways is limited as much as possible.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Re:8 talk about restricting where people can carry a gun, and the guns nuts scream that the government is trying to take their guns away.

And so the Second Amendment becomes a convenient decoy for when the Government wants to take any of your real rights away. As in the very subject of this article, where the President is suggesting restricting First Amendment rights. The gun nuts seem perfectly happy with that, even as they claim that the Second Amendment is their guarantee against the Government taking away their rights!

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 "Tools have constructive uses, weapons don’t."

Sorry, Lawrence D’Oliveiro, I was trying to give you the benefit of doubt. I thought that behind your simplistic cave-man argument there was a relevant point. But you sure set me straight. Thanks!

If you would care to call me a gun nut or wingnut you’ll complete a stereotype for me and I’ll get a BINGO.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Is The Second Amendment More Important Than The First Amendment?

again, it’s no fault of the weapon itself, but rather the people getting their hands on them.

Again, indeed. So your argument is that it’s absolutely fine to have hundreds or thousands of unsecured nuclear weapons just lying around because you’re going to be fantastic at deciding who gets to pick them up. Y’know, like Nikolas Cruz and Stephen Paddock, for example.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Video Games don't kill people

But Role Playing Games do.

Or at least that was the sentiment regarding AD&D in the 1970s and 80s during the Satan craze (which happened after The Exorcist was a big hit in cinema). People genuinely believed that RPGs lead children into the occult, included real spells that could affect real physical change, even killing someone.

We human beings suck at deciding what is dangerous or not. Or even what is deadly or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

>Whether or not you agree the Second Amendment guarantees the right to load up on powerful weapons, any advocate of Constitutional rights would do well to remember they’re a bundle, not a la carte offerings. Trump is a fierce advocate of the Second Amendment but doesn’t seem to care much for the First Amendment. (Or the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment… unless it’s him or one of his being accused of criminal activity.)

This isn’t just a Trump thing. It’s not even just a politician thing. This is fucking *everyone*.

Ryunosuke (profile) says:

  • It’s not violent video games (As Penn and Teller explained).
  • It’s not Violent movies, since they have been around since moving pictures have been around, and it’s only been (relatively) recently that this shit has been happening.
  • It isn’t the firearms themselves that are the problem, see: Norway, where it is very safe there, and iirc, they have a lot of semi-autos, shotguns, bolt actions, and aside from that incident a few years ago, you don’t hear of a mass shooting in Norway every week. We in the states have had firearms in private hand for a long time, and it’s been (relatively) safe (aside from that stunt in Chicago in the 20’s).

No the problem is a cultural or a personal problem. Something has changed. I posit that the problem IS television, but not in the way Trump describes it, but in the way Trump Embodies it.

mcinsand (profile) says:

Re: Given that TV is linked to culture

I’m following the way you think, and I think I’m in agreement. TV is very strongly linked to culture, and we seem to have a broken culture.

Firearm access doesn’t seem to correlate to incidents. I wish I’d saved a link to an article from last year, and the article featured a plot of firearm incidents versus firearms in the home. For general violence, R² was under 0.1, which strongly implies a lack of a relationship, though R² was something over 0.5 for suicides.

Also, while some are pointing to concealed and carry as a problem, that particular demographic is actually the slice that is least likely to be involved in a firearm incident, according to study conducted a year or two ago (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2814691). However, arming more people is not a solution. Again, correlation != causation. While the current system may be handing permits to those least likely to cause a problem, if we start handing out firearms too carelessly, then we will start arming the wrong people, at some point.

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Re: Re: Given that TV is linked to culture

Firearm access doesn’t seem to correlate to incidents.

Does that mean that Americans are just naturally more homicidal than the rest of the western world?

if we start handing out firearms too carelessly, then we will start arming the wrong people, at some point.

Statistics and indeed regular news reports would seem to suggest that "at some point" was quite a number of years ago.

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Given that TV is linked to culture

Does that mean that Americans are just naturally more homicidal than the rest of the western world?

No, they’re just cherry-picking countries in an effort to make a point. I can cherry pick states in the US and make an entirely different point. The issue is more complex than either side cares to admit.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Given that TV is linked to culture

“TV is very strongly linked to culture, and we seem to have a broken culture. “

But… every other country on the planet consumes American TV and they don’t have anywhere near the problem with guns that you do. Same with movies, games, books, comics, music, you name it – other countries consume American media voraciously without the same results so logic dictates the root cause must be something else.

So, the problem must be something else. Could it be the ubiquity of guns? Possibly, but it certainly makes violent people able to act out their fantasies much easier.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The problem is people and their willingness to allow culture issues divide them into groups and extremes. In addition to this there is a culture of risk aversion going on as well. Everything from stranger danger omg don’t let your kids play in the park across the street to don’t go near guns they will shoot you when you least expect it!

People have allowed fear and politics to overrule all common sense. TV is just a victim/symptom of that problem NOT a cause.

Narcissus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If I remember correctly even Michael Moore, hated by everybody left and right, agrees with you that it’s not necessarily only the guns. At the end of Bowling for Columbine he compares the US to Canada and even though Canada does not have a substantially lower number of weapons, relatively speaking, there is much less gun violence.

So, it’s a complex issue, who knew? That’s not to say that putting stronger controls on guns is a bad start but it’s probably not the only answer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Video games are demonstrably linked to firearms violence

No like most positions of authority what we need is a demonstration that the people involve are able to navigate complex multi stakeholder confrontations, without resorting to authority or violence, I’ll be here holding my breath while you set that up, resurrect my decayed bones when your done, without devolution of power to a granular level, there will never be any solutions and it will get worse and worse, or we could hope for global thermal nuclear war or giant meteor, but that is what passes for hope these days

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

I'm hearing...

‘I’m hearing more and more people seeing the level of ignorance in US politicians is really harming people’s thoughts ‘

‘And then you go the further step, and that’s stupid bills and speeches. You see these empty motions, and they’re so pandering to the lobbyist of the moment, so inane, maybe we need to put a rating system for that.’

I give that rating system suggestion and the preceeding thoughts:
Four Pinnochios

E

Sarcastic Fringehead says:

warning labels good

I remember when Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister went against Al Gore in the Senate to stop warning labels on certain rock albums. He lost. Soon after, you couldn’t sell a rock album *without* a warning label. The kids loved it. So a rating system for VidGames might turn out to be a major selling point.

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Probably a good thing swords are hard to find.

Really? I been in pawn shops in a bunch of states, and every one has had at least a good dozen swords. Many are actually even REAL swords, being sold by kids who had no idea grandpa’s sword was real and not a prop.

Most people don’t have any idea how dangerous a real sword can be. My old boss attended an expo where an expert doing a sword routine actually cut off his own arm.

Anonymous Coward says:

He could have gone the Liberal route...

Let’s replace the word gun owners with player of violent video games and repeat the same crap the liberals have been spewing about guns.

While it’s true that less than .01% of players of violent games become mass murderers, you should be OK with giving up your rights. Do you think your fun and recreation are more important than the lives of children? You are just a video game loving monster.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: He could have gone the Liberal route...

This is an obtuse assertion but if your as an obvious self identified conservative want to actually want to help children… there are things that can be done.. that don’t infringe on your right to bear arms or to play games that are known to be linked to SWATing violence.

you could support universal health care, or basic income, to ensure that no child is left without, or monopoly enforcement of tech companies and holding entities like most banks that are sucking the economy, or on foreign investment in physical property that is driving purchase and rental prices in many cities in north america far beyond the ability of the majority of people to afford.

Seriously Think of the Children.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: This is how easy it is to rip apart your false equivalence:

“if we where playing a game together it would be much easier to SWAT each other.”

…and what does SWATting do? Send people to the person’s home where there is an injury of dying or death… due to the guns! Even in that example, it’s the heavily armed cops that are sent to the door that are the problem, not the game.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: MPAA R-rating

R rating restricts viewers under 17 who must be accompanied by an adult — which means someone sixteen or younger can get in if any adult (even an eighteen-year-old stranger) vouches for them.

NC-17 is 18+ only. Minors are not allowed. Period.

The ESRB M rating is similar but it only states a game cannot be sold to someone under 17. Anyone can play it. Left 4 Dead had players as young as five with parental supervision. Nine without supervision.

I think the legality of minors viewing adult material in private varies from state to state, where some give allowances for parental supervision, kinda like drinking. I remember parents who were more concerned about exposing her kids to extreme violence than blatant sex or nudity, so private standards vary.

Jinxed (profile) says:

*Whether or not you agree the Second Amendment guarantees the right to load up on powerful weapons, any advocate of Constitutional rights would do well to remember they’re a bundle…*
It’s also important to remember the Constitution isn’t written in stone and any amendment can be removed or rewritten.

Yet, for some reason, this viable option is never discussed.

Expect more shootings as the news media continues to sensationalize them because millions of viewers can’t help themselves to tune in to watch it unfold live.

Anonymous Coward says:

“But these are our President’s ideas — ones that carry a faint whiff of impending government censorship.”

There is no faint whiff of anything here, as this doesn’t even remotely equate to censorship, but my aren’t you quick to imply that it does (because you can entertain your itchy trump bashing fetish yet again, pulling it out of thin air when you want)… and yet “somehow” the content moderating actions of those with whom techdirt is in financial allegiance (something techdirt will not deny, because they would be lying through their teeth if they did, although this never stopped them from lying through their teeth about anything else) is “someway” beyond the “faint whiff” of censorship. And no one gives a god damed fuck that a patently insidious company like your Google/YouTube “reserves the right to be insidious”. It’s a premise to cover up a wholesale (not selective in the slightest) attempt to demonetize content across the board, if not now, eventually. Google and YouTube no longer wants to pay out, not could they even if they did want to but they will never admit they size of the hole they’ve already fallen into. YouTube will be entirely defunct within the next 2 to 3 years.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Hey, quick question: Do you know why the comic book industry originally implemented the Comics Code, a set of rules governing what kind of content could be shown in comic books could? The answer is “to ward off government intervention in the wake of serious questions about how comic books could corrupt the youth of America”.

Another question: Do you know why the video game industry originally implemented the ESRB rating system, a set of content ratings (eventually accompanied by generalized content descriptors) meant to serve the same function as the MPAA rating system? The answer is “to ward off government intervention in the wake of serious questions about how violent video games could corrupt the youth of America”. (Before you say “the government could never censor games”, remember that video games were not afforded true First Amendment protections until 2011, just shy of 17 years after the formation of the ESRB.)

The US government has shown prior interest in regulating the content of our media. It will do so again, even if just to finger-wag at media creators. But under the right circumstances—say, one political party owning two branches of government and having party-friendly voices in a majority of the third—it could conceivably pass laws that would let it censor media. I would rather pay closer attention to whatever the government wants to do about regulating content than to whatever Google does vis-á-vis moderating YouTube.

Norm_bone (profile) says:

Apply Rubio's guideline to infringement

Let’s treat other Amendments the way Rubio insists we treat the 2nd.

“If we are going to infringe on the [Amendment_Number] Ammendment, it has to be a policy that will work,” Rubio said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/feb/22/florida-students-not-backing-off-push-for-gun-regu/

I’m not excited to encourage any infringement of any Amendments, but I’d like to see this same bar applied when:

  • FISA courts infringe on the 4th Amendment, or
  • Media censorship would infringe on the 1st, or
  • Compelled device unlocking infringes on the 5th, or even
  • Government trespasses on private property to install a camera infringes on the 3rd.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/02/rancher-finds-creepy-and-un-american-spy-cam-tied-to-his-tree-sues-feds/

[I know that last one’s a stretch, but I’m amused to see a situation where someone could arguably plead the 3rd.]

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

The opposite example of that Bullshit ep.

Penn & Teller’s Bullshit did an episode about violence in video games, which centered around a kid (I think he was ten) who religiously played Call of Duty. They took him out to the firing range to try an AR-15 for size (supplied by an off-duty US Marine who also was fond of CoD). The lad aimed the rifle took a shot at a target and was done. It was, for him, a scary, overwhelming experience.

These days, we have data from the opposite end, in the form of drone pilots who pilot a predator over Afghanistan or Pakistan, fly surveillance over villages and other population clusters. And very often, word comes down from on high that that cluster has been selected for a strike.

These pilots are the guys that ultimately pull the trigger on hellfire missiles. They can be thousands of miles away, sometimes over here in the states operating controls of the remote UAV on the other side of the world. It’s about as removed and video-gamey as war gets.

And it fucks these pilots up.

To be fair, they actually see (at a distance) the villagers as they live their lives, work, play, go to school, eat, shit, fuck and so on. They’ll watch them often for days before a strike command comes. And they see that these are peaceful civilian families, including children and grandmothers, before they get the order to massacre them all.

And after the strike the pilots then have to fly low and survey the carnage they’ve wrought, maybe looking for a person of interest to make sure that face is on one of the corpses.

That can’t be easy to do.

But our pilots sure can tell what they’re doing is real and not a simulation, not a video game.

Our drone-strike programs are running short on pilots because they burn out fast, and no-one outside the drone program wants to do the job.

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