So the makers of the Guantanomo prison video game have decided to pull the plug after a tempest of controversy. Some of the game’s critics claimed (falsely, say the game makers) that it glorified terrorism. More on the claims here.
Whether it did or not, I don’t regret having one less violent game on the market.
But look what this says about our society. It’s just fine to have violent, amoral games like the “Grand Theft Auto” series, where players can assassinate police and kill and discard prostitutes. Civil libertarians rush to defend a 13-year old boy’s right to whack some ho’s, and the series has sold millions of copies.
Where’s the protest against this kind of stuff? Must there be some kind of overtly political subplot in these games to arouse our collective disgust? I guess drugged-up thugs treating human beings like disposable puppets isn’t enough.
I wouldn’t support an outright ban on these games, loathsome and corrupting though they are. But I think restrictions on their sale and clear labeling of their contents are completely reasonable. By the same token, I wouldn’t support a ban on X-rated novelty stores; consenting adults have the right to please themselves as they will if nobody else is hurt. But cities have every right to restrict the location of such stores and to regulate the age of the customers. If zoning can keep a can-crushing company out of a neighborhood, it can keep an X-rated store away from a daycare center.
I’m glad that, in a surprising move, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear California’s appeal of the lower court ruling that blocked its violent-game law. The law would prohibit anyone under 18 from buying certain games. Here’s a quote from California Atty. General Jerry Brown, who is no knee-jerk conservative:
California’s children are exposed everyday to video games that glamorize killing sprees, torture and sexual assault. In the face of this brutal violence, I am petitioning the Supreme Court to allow the state to enforce its reasonable ban on violent video game sales and rentals to minors.
Sounds good to me. As California goes, so goes the nation. If the Court rules against the California law, we may not see many more serious attempts to say no to a culture of violence and sleaze.
PS–of course it would make even more sense to do something to restrict easy access to real guns that are used to kill real people. But the Dems running Congress are not touching that one.