Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Friday, February 08, 2013

New Study About Video Games

Few people over age 40 are aware of how extremely violent many of these video games are, and how many hours teenagers spend playing them. Even some bright students drop out of college due to an addiction to video games. In an outrageous example of judicial supremacy, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that the video game industry has a First Amendment right to sell violent video games even to minors. The case is called Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, and it prohibited states from protecting youngsters against violent video games by covering the games in the First Amendment. If that same case came before the U.S. Supreme Court today, it seems unlikely that there would be 5 votes (or 4 or even 3) for the ridiculous notion that training teenagers how to kill, and desensitizing them to the bloodshed they cause, is a First Amendment “right” that overrules parents’ rights over their own children. State legislators should pass laws to give the Supreme Court the opportunity to correct its mistake, and Congress should consider withdrawing this issue from federal court jurisdiction.

The Newtown elementary school is certainly not the only example of heinous crimes committed by young players of violent video games. A few days earlier in Oregon, video-game player Jacob Tyler Roberts massacred innocent people in a shopping mall in a manner reminiscent of a violent video game, and last summer there was a movie theater massacre killing 12 and injuring 58, by the suspect James Holmes, also a video game player. In many of these terrible crimes, the perpetrator kills himself too, which makes the subsequent withholding of detailed information about his video game use unjustified. Even when the perpetrator survives, he has surely waived any right to privacy.

A state legislature or Congress should immediately require full disclosure to the public of the violent game-playing activity found on the murderers’ computers. Instead of scapegoating gun manufacturers, legislatures should require the violent video game industry to put big, clear warnings on their products as cigarette companies are forced to do.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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