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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Demuzio, Thompson And You

I got a couple questions yesterday on comparing Demuzio to our favorite psycho, Jack Thompson. So let's run it down.

They are simulations, not all that different from the simulations used by the U.S. military in preparation for war.
- Demuzio

Look at the Institute for Creative Technologies created by DOD to create these killing games. Tax dollars paid to the industry to create the games to suppress the inhibition to kill, and then the industry turns around and sells these games to kids.
- Thompson

Studies conducted have concluded that adolescents who expose themselves to greater amounts of video game violence were more hostile, reported getting into arguments with teachers more frequently, were more likely to be involved in physical fights and performed more poorly in school.
- Demuzio

The heads of six major health care organizations testified before Congress that there are "hundreds" of studies that prove the link.
- Thompson

And the icing on the cake? The law itself.

The General Assembly finds that minors who play violent video games are more likely to:
Exhibit violent, asocial, or aggressive behavior.
Experience feelings of aggression.
Experience a reduction of activity in the frontal lobes of the brain which is responsible for controlling behavior.
- HB4023, Sec 12A-5 - Findings

But let's trackback for a second and see how the joint statement to Congress on entertainment violence ends:

Although less research has been done on the impact of violent interactive entertainment (video games and other interactive media) on young people, preliminary studies indicate that the negative impact may be significantly more severe than that wrought by television, movies, or music. More study is needed in this area, and we urge that resources and attention be directed to this field,

We in no way mean to imply that entertainment violence is the sole, or even necessarily the most important factor contributing to youth aggression, anti-social attitudes, and violence. Family breakdown, peer influences, the availability of weapons, and numerous other factors may all contribute to these problems. Nor are we advocating restrictions on creative activity. The purpose of this document is descriptive, not prescriptive: we seek to lay out a clear picture of the pathological effects of entertainment violence.

Basically the Illinois Senate is nodding their heads in assuming that video games can be a direct cause to violent behavior. They frame the violence side of this video game law not as any kind of curtailing of free speech - because video games are not a form of speech by their definition. They frame it as a public safety issue.

The danger there lies in the liability if a public safety problem arises from not obeying this law. If a Best Buy clerk willingly sells a kid a copy of Grand Theft Auto, and then next week that kid kills a copy while stealing a car ... the Best Buy clerk may have helped incite the crime.

As slopes go, I'm not sure it gets much slicker.

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