Banning video games: here we go again!

December 30, 2012
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With the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the public is understandably looking for explanations. Why did this happen? How can we prevent it from happening again? Since several high powered guns and many more rounds of ammunition were found at the site, gun control advocates have been extremely vocal. The shooter's possible history of mental illness only adds to the calls for more strict regulations on the sale of such weapons. But, another movement has been re-ignited by the tragedy in Newtown. Several lawmakers are looking to link Adam Lanza's alleged actions to his passion for violent video games. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D- CT) commented that the culture of violence can be "spawned by violent games." U.S. Senator Lieberman (I-CT) suggested that violent entertainment, particularly with video games, can help turn "troubled young men into mass murderers." U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) plans to introduce legislation to require the National Academy of Sciences to examine any possible links between these games and violent acts. Others however, disagree, and feel that blaming video games is misdirected. Perhaps, more importantly, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on this matter as recently as last year. In Brown v Entertainment Merchants Association, the Court ruled 7-2 that the State of California could not ban the sale of violent video games to minors. Justice Scalia, who wrote for the majority, clearly did not think that violent content alone justifies limits on freedom of speech. He pointed to several other sources of violent entertainment that children receive, including cartoons and books, neither of which have been banned.

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