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This sort of thing just pisses me off...
Posted Jan 3, 2004 - 16:24:26

Okay, so I should have never opened up the link to this New York Post article.

I just... I just get so frustrated when I think about these fear-mongerers. I mean, I know it's the Post, so most intelligent people ignore it - but there are still people out there who take this sorry excuse for fecal excrement seriously.

Allow me to explain something to the world: I am a gamer. I play lots of videogames, many violent. I also coincidentally watch violent films, and listen to rock and roll. I have never been inspired to harm another person by playing video games. Never. In fact, anyone who knows me would agree that I in fact couldn't bring myself to hitting another person, let alone going on a mass-murder spree. I believe that harming another human being is wrong, and no videogame, movie, or song is going to change my moral values. Why? Because I have free will. Also, I don't have such a flimsy moral foundation that a silly little videogame is going to change me.

And I want to know how "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" is "...10,000 times worse than the worst thing anybody thinks Michael Jackson ever did to a little boy"? Holy crap, he did not just say that. See, get this - regardless of Mr. Jackson's innocence or guilt - everyone thinks that Michael Jackson sexually molested a young boy. Apparently, in the mind of New York Post reporter Christopher Byron, creating a violent virtual world that doesn't effect the real world in any way is worse than sexually abusing children. Guh-what?

Let me tell you something, Mr. Byron, if you think that a videogame is worse than child molestation... well, let's just say that you have no right to tell anyone else what's "morally questionable".

But my problems with this article stem deeper than Mr. Byron's apparent acceptance of paedophilia. See, I agree with him in the fact that children shouldn't be playing violent videogames. Lord and Lady on high, that should be bloody obvious to anyone with a pulse.

Of course, what Mr. Byron assumes is that kids are the ones playing the games. This is all part of the stereotype that videogames are for kids. Well, let me tell you something - they're not. According to a poll conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates this year, the average age of videogame players is twenty-nine. That's right, twenty-friggin'-nine. These are ADULTS playing these games. And let me tell you, if you're twenty-nine years old, and your morals are so flexible that a videogame is going to inspire you to go on a killing spree, you have larger psychological problems than owning a PS2 could have ever caused.

And videogames have ratings. There is a reason why the "Grand Theft Auto" series carries an "M" rating. Mr. Byron says the 17 year old cutoff is unenforceable. It is true that many stores don't enforce it. Well, if you object to that, then you should find the stores that don't enforce the age limit, and use the green vote: the dollar. Start a boycott of that store, and write letters. Again, I agree - kid's shouldn't be playing these games. But Mr. Byron continues to attempt to link a couple of Tenessee teens who went out and shot at cars to "Grand Theft Auto". See, in Mr. Byron's wild world, you don't ask "where'd they get the guns", you don't ask "where were the parents?", you don't ask "how were these kid's raised"... no. You ask "What videogame were they playing beforhand?"

As if that leap in anti-logic wasn't enough, Byron makes an outrageous statement immediately afterwards. I'm going to quote the whole paragraph, just to show you exactly how screwed up it is: Besides: By what preposterous reasoning can one argue that once someone turns 17 years of age it magically becomes OK to glorify mass murder? Are we saying that it would have been OK for that Beltway Sniper guy - who was apparently in his 40s - to have been allowed to play "Grand Theft Auto" before going on his killing spree, but it wouldn't have been OK for that young teenager who went along with him to have done the same?.

Holy mother! What the heck is wrong with this guy? Let's see, hmmmm, let's go make an alligation with no logical connections whatso-freaking-ever. He's using the beltway sniper to make a point about violent videogames. Even though the beltway snipers didn't play videogames. Look, Mr. Byron, if you're trying to make a connection between videogames and violence, it helps if you actually use examples where the violence was actually connected to videogames.

And, also, he's saying that adults, on their own, don't know the difference between real life and make believe. I'm alarmed at this more than anything else. Now, I'm not lawyer, but I have done interesting things like read the Constitution. See, there's this little thing called the First Amendment. Mr. Byron should apparently look up the defintions of "free speech" and "freedom of the press", you know, those two little things that let him publish his poorly researched articles.

And, if recent history has told us anything, videogamers aren't the evil monsters that Byron would paint us to be. Penny Arcade raised $27,406.18, and much more than that in Toy donations through their Child's Play charity drive this holiday season. These donations came from the videogaming community - and, to put Mr. Byron's complaints to rest - none of the videogames donated carried an "M" rating.
- Traegorn

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