by Mike Masnick
Thu, Sep 6th 2007 10:01pm
Last month, California was the latest in a long list of states who discovered that passing a ban on the sale of violent video games violates the Constitution. This shouldn't be a surprise. More than 10 states have passed such laws and every single one of them has been thrown out. Any state still trying to pass such a law is clearly just wasting taxpayer money so some politicians can claim (incorrectly) that they're "protecting the children." It looks like California's Governor Schwarzenegger is joining the crowd of wasteful grandstanding politicians. He's appealing last month's ruling and making a bunch of factually incorrect statements in doing so. First, he claims that "many studies show the link between playing ultra-violent video games and violent behavior." That's incorrect. The studies that people like to cite have all been debunked, as the interpretation usually doesn't follow from the data in the studies. Furthermore, the real world evidence that violent crime rates keep dropping as violent video games get more popular should raise plenty of questions concerning any claim of the opposite. Second, the Governor claims "we protect our children from buying inappropriate movies and ought to be able to protect them from buying inappropriate video games as well." That's nice, but it all depends on who the "we" is. It's true that kids cannot buy certain movies, but that's based on a voluntary system, put in place by the movie industry -- and not a government mandated one. That's the key issue here -- and Schwarzenegger is being misleading by claiming that the voluntary agreement in the movie industry is the equivalent of a gov't-backed plan.
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