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.