January 12th, 2013

What about banning violent video games?

John Hinderaker at Powerline makes some good points about the different reactions two suggestions to reduce violence: extending the ban on certain guns versus trying to limit violent video games (or violence in the entertainment media as a whole). Why is the first being pushed, but not the second?:

Today it was the turn of video game makers to meet with Joe Biden to talk about cures for violence. The conversation didn’t seem to go far–no surprise there–but the idea of regulating or banning violent video games offers a thought experiment…

I suppose Biden is just going through the motions; everyone knows that video games can’t be banned because they are protected by the First Amendment. I think the world would be a better place, and a safer place, without violent video games. But I don’t want to ban them, not only because they are constitutionally protected–that could change–but because only a criminal is responsible for his crime. If we start regulating all the influences to which we think the demented may be subject, there will be no room left for freedom. That seems rather obvious to me; I am not sure why it is not equally obvious to those who want to ban guns…

And if we want to cut down on spectacular mass shootings, let’s really go to the source: why do mass shooters do it, knowing, in most cases, that they are going to die? They want to go out in a blaze of glory. So why not deny them the glory? Far more effective than banning guns, movies or video games would be banning news coverage of mass shooting events…

So why don’t we do it? Is the only reason the fact that such news coverage is protected by the 1st Amendment? Maybe, but rights wax and wane over time. Why isn’t there a mass movement to restrict the 1st Amendment within reasonable limits, for the sake of the children? And guns are protected by the 2nd Amendment, so why are we even talking about gun control, if we are unwilling to talk about press control? I say, let’s talk about both, or neither.

Of course, we know the reason: it’s because liberals like the idea of banning guns much more than they like the idea of restricting the press or the entertainment industry, both of which are largely made up of liberals. But it seems to me that Hinderaker is correct about consistency here, although I also think that he is absolutely correct when he writes, “a criminal is responsible for his crime.”

Until the Warren Court in the 50s and 60s, the First Amendment was not thought to apply to the states, and so it was possible to do a lot of banning at the state and local level (remember the old “banned in Boston”)? Now any censorship is pretty much voluntary and subject to market pressures—plus a film ratings system that is a guide to the consumer, supposedly informing him/her of what to expect in a movie before going to see it.

Which comes first, a society that is shocked by the depiction of certain things in popular culture, or the official rules that govern what can be made? They work in concert, reflecting each other, following each other, and guiding each other. In the days of the Hays code for movies (1930-1968), the rules were surprisingly stringent (take a look). And it’s no coincidence that this system of rather strict censorship ended during the 60s, that famous era of hope and change.

42 Responses to “What about banning violent video games?”

  1. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I was born in 1945. My father and my uncles were vets. Most of my agemates were children of vets. Our fathers talked endlessly of their wars to each other when their sons–but not their daughters I found out later–were around.
    There was a GM car known as the F85. Don’t know what the boys were thinking, but it fit in nicely between the Republic F84 Thunderchief and the North American F86 Sabrejet. The, iirc, ’57 Chevy had two fairings in the hood with small fins on the front above the openings, just where you would mount machine guns, if you wanted to mount machne guns on your engine block. An Olds had faux exhaust ports on the front fenders, just where a single-engine fighter’s exhaust ports would have been, were the Olds a, say, P51 or Spitfire.
    Doing some library research on the Hungarian Uprising of ’56, I discovered that I was right in my recollection: About one issue a month of Life Magazine was a big deal about our military. Tanks, bombers, fighters, missiles. Same with other mags.
    The cowboy, or cowboy and Indian movies of the Thirties onwards were endlessly on television, with more in the theaters coming along. There were endless cowboy serials both for kids and adults on television. And endless war movies. Remember “Navy Log”? Victory at Sea?
    Pop culture, comics or others, endlessly referred to WW II just, afaik, to make the point that they were us and we were they and that huge catastrophe in our minds was shared. Disney’s Spin and Marty. One adult says to another, “His father was XO on my ship.” Completely unnecessary as to plot or character development, but necessary in the times.
    I submit the world for kids was awash in violence, and not just on the screen.
    School shootings?
    WRT mental health and “fixing” that, see the Rosenhan Experiment. If I were a UPS driver delivering to a mental hospital, I think I’d sling the box over the wall while barely slowing down.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey: there was talk of violence, reference to violence, but the depiction of the violence itself was surprising non-violent. A gun was shot, and someone fell down. An arrow was aimed and released, and a guy fell off a horse. You knew he was dead, but you didn’t see the violence itself in the graphic sense.

    My recollection is that that stopped with “Bonnie and Clyde.” And the movies have never looked back. They became sadistic.

    Same with sex. It was implied during the code days, but with great subtlety. Romance was the big thing. Not any more, although they try.

    Married couples on TV used to have twin beds (rather ridiculous, in my opinion). Now—well, you know what it’s like now.

  3. Jim Nicholas Says:

    The evidence from psychological research is clear and consistent that exposure of children to violence in television renders them less sensitive to cruelty and more likely to be aggressively and physically violent. The demographic research is also consistent–that introduction of television in various countries around the world was followed in about 15 years by a doubling of the homicide rate, even though the time of appearance of television varied by 20 years in different countries.

    The adult population is unwilling to give up its pleasures for the sake of protecting its children–forgetting that the purpose of the First Amendment was protection of political speech rather than protection of sexual and violent pornography.

    It has always been a puzzle to me that the Supreme Court has not been able to recognize that original intent and make that distinction.

  4. Mac Says:

    My recollection also is that Bonnie and Clyde was the first movie to really revel in explicit violence. Perhaps there were low-budget things that did so, but B&C was a huge mainstream success.

    I posed a question similar to yours (the title of the post) on Facebook, because I have very fervent lefties and righties among my friends there and was curious as to what they’d say. I didn’t say “ban,” but just “restrict.” My question was something like “If you would support restrictions on gun ownership, would you also support restrictions on violent entertainment? And if not, why not?” Not many people answered the question directly, though several were willing to admit entertainment might be a contributing influence. The most fervent anti-gun person said no, the first amendment trumps the second.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Mac: ask that person about criminalizing hate speech.

  6. Richard Aubrey Says:

    This brings up a question. We supposedly have an epidemic of rape. Or, at least, the rape-activist feminists tell us so, and the misandrist types of all genders tell us. And a number of liberals trying to discredit men in general and traditional men in particular.
    So should we start thinking about regulating dirty books/films/porn?
    That would fit with the violence/shootings question.

    Neo. WRT the pre-B&C violence. Might have been true of some television and movies. But not necessarily when our fathers were talking to us by talking to each other. And the difference in impact is not convincing.

  7. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States and some Canadian provinces Says:

    }}} Of course, we know the reason: it’s because liberals like the idea of banning guns much more than they like the idea of restricting the press or the entertainment industry

    I see nothing wrong with the media figuring out that simple doing a silence-mode on the names of the killers would possibly do a lot. If no one knows the “Sandy Hook Killer” was (insert name of dickhead here) then the interest in doing it might be lessened. Not necessarily completely, but it should help reduce the interest in it for the narcissist segment of that group.

    I’ve taken to not using his name any time the subject is being discussed.

    As far as the video-game thing, they’ve shown short-term increases in violent attitudes after playing the games. What they HAVE NOT shown, the last I heard, was ANY significant correlation between playing violent video games and acting out in the commission of violent crimes. If there was, that would have long since been trumpeted from the rooftops. So, given that there are enough people out there attempting to FORCE a connection between the two, I am inclined to put this in the same category as the Meese Commission’s effort to connect porn with rape. If you can’t force it, despite making every effort to establish a causal connection, then there most likely IS no causal connection to be found.

    Ergo, violent video games don’t lead to violent crime.

    (I have no issue with limiting access to them among the young, just as we do with movies)

    Moreover, I would suspect that, if anything, that violent video games may well REDUCE violent crime by providing a cathartic outlet for our innate violent impulses. It’s a lot better to blow the pixellated head off that shambling zombie than to blow your “#%$#$#% arrogant idea-stealing” boss’s head off.

    FIRST, show a causal connection. THEN we’ll talk about controls.

  8. Simon Says:

    “…two suggestions to reduce violence: extending the ban on certain guns versus trying to limit violent video games.”

    I don’t care for violent video games, nor would I be that concerned if they were all banned. I have never played one and never will. I have to say though that actual physical guns scare me a lot more than guns made out of pixels.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Simon: why is it that somehow it doesn’t surprise me that freedom of speech issues don’t seem to concern you, if there’s something you don’t like?

    I detest violent video games, but the issue of banning them does concern me.

  10. Occam's Beard Says:

    A modest proposal: ban rap music.

    It’s completely worthless, serves no discernible social purpose, and only stirs up the more … “stir-upable” elements of the population.

    This is of a piece with my other modest proposal, to initiate gun control in gang-infested areas, which would be at the top of the list for places that could benefit from it – if it worked. Which, of course, it wouldn’t.

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey: talking about something is, by definition, not graphic. And I never heard a conversation about World War II or the Korean War from any veteran; I also have been told (and have read) that WWII veterans and Korean War veterans almost never talked about those wars to their children, as a rule. There of course must have been some exceptions, but they were exceptions.

    I watched tons of cowboy movies and war movies as a child, and they were not violent in the graphic sense. One of my favorites, by the way, was this one.

  12. oldflyer Says:

    Richard Aubry, I was born in 1935. I watched my Dad, neighbors, older cousins leave for WWII, and saw some of them return. My favorite Uncle was a WWI vet. Guys a few years older than me went to Korea. I never had your experience of graphic descriptions of what they experienced. Any stories they told were most likely of humorous experiences. My Uncle did describe wading a river, stepping on all of the bodies, and that seemed gross.

    But, Neo is right. Any stories you heard do not compare to the graphic, senseless violence that fills today’s media. No one suggests that even this affects every young mind in a way to trigger violence. But, they do desensitize, and there is no doubt in my mind that they play a significant role in spurring the terrible actions by those already on the edge.

    It simply boggles my mind that anyone could seriously suggest otherwise.

    As an aside. We know that part of the training of infantry soldiers to prepare them for the violence they will witness and participate is to desensitize them; to make those they will kill seem less human. How much of current entertainment has the same effect?

  13. Charles Says:

    Ban guns, ban violent video games – these recomendations both suggest that there is ONE cure-all for violence – there isn’t.

    Someone who is intent on doing harm or commiting suicide-by-cop is going to find a way.

    To say that the gun was too available, or that the violent video game “desensitized” someone is, to me, too easy of a cop out. There are millions of gun owners who would never think of using their guns in such a violent way. There are even more who watch violence on TV, at the movies, and yes, even play violent video games, but do not act out violence because of it.

    Oh, heck, there are more folks who read the bible (or whatever “holy book”) and do act out violence because of something they read (or they hear God command them to do something). Should we then ban the Bible?

    I’ve often wondered, in cases like Newtown, what family and friends were thinking. Did they see any warning signs? Did they think that “something” could happen? But, of course, no one ever thinks that this kind of violence would happen in their town, so, I’m sure no one would ever think that THEIR family member would do such a thing.

    No, in the end it is easy to talk about banning something so that we can feel good about “doing something,” when in reality we are often powerless against evil in our midst.

  14. Tesh Says:

    Violent entertainment does coarsen the soul/persona/conscience of those who partake of it. It’s not likely to do *enough* to make an otherwise balanced individual into a killer, at least, not by itself.

    …but that’s still no reason to ban it. It’s reason to avoid it. There’s a world of difference between controlling others and controlling yourself.

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    Charles: from what I know of the Newtown shooter (which, basically, is what I’ve read in the media), there was no prior indication of any propensity to violence. No warning signs. He was odd, very shy and tense, that sort of child, adolescent, and young man, but not violent.

  16. expat Says:

    I think the big difference between older depictions of violence and what is shown in movies and TV now is the missing social context. Previously, there was a reason for the violence, and there were moral principles being upheld. You were shown the characters of the people involved, and they were multifacetted. Think of High Noon. Today, the emphasis seems to be on how cool the explosions are.

    I agree with Occams that rap has a lot to do with the coursening of the culture, as does meaningless sex. You have rappers invited to the WH and wardrobe accidents at Superbowl games. It’s all about what I want now and how cool I am. Relationships and broken hearts are not dealt with. Try to imagine a rapper as Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. Our generation was also exposed to older films. Today, they know nothing except the latest big-bang blockbuster. And yet, you see by the success of Harry Potter books and films that kids are hungry for some context to go along with the fantasy.

    I think that the kids who do the dramatic mass shootings are being fed the skimmmings of a generally course culture. They don’t connect to anything. Sure, there are mental health issues, but leaving kids with problems alone with video games simply allows the weird fantasies to grow. Beta males simply seem to drift into being gamma males and a few make it to upsilon.

    Adults don’t take responsibility for kids anymore. Look at Father-of-the Year Clinton. Chelsea made it into Stanford, but Monica was irrelevant. No one can be a parent to all the kids in the world, but they sure shouldn’t be counterparents. Madonna sells sex to everyone else’s youth, but keeps her own isolated from the coarseness. This is tied to the previous post on history classes in colleges. Kids are given the option of being on the side of the good victims or condemned as imperialist racists. No one is telling kids, as they once did in The Yearling, that life is hard but you try to find some principles that will see you through the hard times and that if you try to build a life on these principles you will make it. No one is saying that the key to happiness is not based on the price of your basketball shoes or the size of your Victoria’s Secret wardrobe. No one is identifying the criteria for being a man (or a strong woman) as Kipling did.

  17. expat Says:

    I was a bit too strong in using the word no one above. Obviously most parents try to raise kids to be good human beings, but pop culture makes it hard for them, especially as kids go though the identity-seeking teens. Sadly, the people who could help have all too often set the bar for success at making sure kids become Ivy-credentialled adults who can vacation on Martha’s Vinyard. The nurses aid who changes your mother’s diapers in the nursing home and the maintence man don’t count.

  18. parker Says:

    I’m old enough to know that vets of WW2 and Korea rarely talk about their combat experiences except perhaps to their fellow vets. Same goes for Vietnam vets and with my own children and nephews/nieces who experienced the so called war on terror. They have no inclination to talk to me, when they talk about their experiences it is with their fellow comrades.

    Video games, Hollywood, rap music, or whatever; parents are the ones who do or do not teach morality of their children. Teach your children how to shoot and teach them when not to shoot. Right from wrong is a constant, it has not changed for 100,000 years.

  19. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    What I object to in most violent movies and TV shows is that they never show the anguish, grief, and pain that are suffered by the victim’s families and friends. Killing or maiming people is not a trivial thing as those who have lost family and friends will attest. The other thing is that so many movies and TV shows today are just a non-stop litany of senslesss violence. To what end? It is possible to depict violence and the struggle of two opposing forces and still inject a sense of humanity and excitement without resorting to sadistic violence. I would nominate Shane and High Noon as two such movies.

    As a young boy (14), I knew a young man who was badly wounded in WWII. He opened a leather tooling business (learned while doing his rehab at Balboa Naval Hospital) in what had been my grandfather’s electric repair shop. He befriended me and showed me his scars once. They did not make me want to go to war. They were so awful as to induce dread of war. Seeing our young warriors coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with missing limbs also show the real cost of violence.

    I think that the games and movies could be just as enjoyable even if they were less violent and sadistic. But I would not ban them. I would suggest a new classification including not only the age appropriateness, but also a rating based on how gratuitous/sadistic the violence is as a guide for parents.

    If I were a parent with young children today, I would probably not have a TV. We lived in the mountains of Colorado when our children were young and impressionable. Had no TV reception and were far from any movie theatres. Made our life much easier. Our children learned to read, to enjoy the outdoors, (hiking, skiing, hunting, fishing, etc.) and to entertain themselves.

    There are three types of people who commit murders with guns:
    1. Hard core criminals and gang bangers who have no regard for the law.
    2. Mentally unbalanced people who often spend quite a lot of time planning their massacres.
    3. Crimes of passion committed by normally law abiding people.

    The first category is addressed by law enforcement every day. More police and tougher sentences are the methods of choice to reduce these crimes. Since most in this category cannot lawfully own a gun, banning guns means nothing to them.

    The second category is one in which it might be possible to reduce the crimes with more alertness by mental health professionals and parents. However, society must at least be willing to confine those who might be dangerous until proven otherwise. Yes, mistakes would be made and maybe we aren’t willing to go there. Making it much harder for these people to obtain guns might help some.

    The third category is the smallest and if a gun isn’t available these people will usually turn to the most convenient lethal object – knife, hammer, baseball bat, etc. Does not seem that banning guns would help much there.

    It is a conundrum. What to do to reduce violence? It doesn’t seem that the gun control lobby cares about reducing the violence – only about reducing guns in society. The evidence shows that is not likely to reduce violent crime.

  20. Don Carlos Says:

    All of this chatter about “the need to reduce violence” strikes me as odd. IIRC (and I have not the time to recheck the data), FBI violent crime statistics show a progressive decline over the past two decades.

    There is a lot of top-down (i.e., elistist) thinking in how to reduce violence. That emphasizes the fact that we are being viewed as “masses.”

    Meanwhile, the frightening strength of the anti-bullying movement gathers apace.

    Let’s face it: We have over fifty years pulled up our cultural and moral roots. Individual responsibility is in disarray. Bloomberg, Cuomo et al. are in charge of our major population centers, to say nothing about baraq and friends.

    There is a tide in the affairs of men, and it is against us.

  21. Schmidty Says:

    Our education and psychological communities have spent decades normalizing the idea that there is most always something to be blamed for behavior other than simple choice. Personal choice. It’s a not-so-complex answer to the question of why did he/she do it.

    They did it because they considered and identified the behavior as an option and then chose that particular course of action.

    Why that particular choice? Because of the defining down of deviancy in our culture, because of the normalizing of violence (and associated penal leniency) and because of the normalizing and societal acceptance of ‘he/she did it because of x y or z’ instead of he did it because he wanted to (and should therefore face the consequences).

    IMO, the DSM is a contributing factor to the decline of decency, amoral behavior, and lack of self control we see in our everyday lives.

  22. Occam's Beard Says:

    That emphasizes the fact that we are being viewed as “masses.”

    Ah, but we’re “New Masses.” Can’t recall where I heard that expression before.

  23. DonS Says:

    Violent video games really began in the 90s.

    Crime in the US has been dropping since about 1991.

    The fact is, despite violent video games and movies, and despite widespread ownership of firearms that are more effective then ever before, the US violent crime rate has been dropping.

    Sometime in the 80s, the US homicide rate per 100,000 people was 6 for non-hispanic whites, 26 for hispanics, and 34 for blacks. Compare with England with 4 per 100,000.

    In 2011, the rate was 2.5 for non-hispanic whites and 17 for blacks (I don’t know the hispanic rate).

    Homicide is a cultural issue, not a gun issue. One would think violent video games contribute, but if so their impact falls far short of the cultural issues driving homicide rates downward.

  24. DonS Says:

    To add more context to my above post, generally homicide hs been dropping in the US. It did peak in the late 20s / early 30s, then dropped and reached a valley in the 50s. It raised again in the 60s, peaking in the 70s and then dropping again until it again peaked in the early 90s. It has been dropping evern since, but generally I think the trend has been downward.

    The 20s and early 30s suffered from prohabition. The early 90s it was the drug war and inner city gangs, mostly black. In 90 or 91, blacks, about 13% of the population, committed 49% of US homicides.

    Immigration can also be tied to crime, much of the crime of the 1890s and early 1900s was related to immigrants from southern or eastern Europe.

  25. DonS Says:

    Don Carlos Says:

    January 13th, 2013 at 12:42 pm
    All of this chatter about “the need to reduce violence” strikes me as odd. IIRC (and I have not the time to recheck the data), FBI violent crime statistics show a progressive decline over the past two decades.

    There is a lot of top-down (i.e., elistist) thinking in how to reduce violence. That emphasizes the fact that we are being viewed as “masses.”

    Meanwhile, the frightening strength of the anti-bullying movement gathers apace.

    Yes, crime and violence has dropped. Things have been getting better and more civilized in this respect.

    Obama should be doing his job and fixing the government mess: passing responsible budgets, cutting spending, and improving the economy by reducing regulation, instead of attacking the rights of Americans trying to improve something that is improving on its own for reasons he doesn’t understand.

    Hell, the talk of banning assault rifles is pure bunk, rifles of all types are used in fewer killings then hammers every single year, by a wide margin. But that’s irrelevent, when the real goal is control, not crime reduction.

    Note that the administration that ran guns to Mexico lawlessly now wants to ban the same guns in American. The whole Democrat Party and MSM is fine with this. They ignored Fast and Furious, because their goal has nothing to do with crime prevention. Nothing.

  26. Artfldgr Says:

    well i guess those that wanted to ban rock and roll were right…

  27. thomass Says:

    Richard Aubrey Says:

    “So should we start thinking about regulating dirty books/films/porn?”

    Some parts of the left do support that. Not most leftists I know personally; but I’ve read articles by lefties who do want porn bans, prostitution to not be legalized, et cetera.

  28. Richard Aubrey Says:

    WRT stories by our vet fathers: I wondered, some decades later, if the conversations between dad when sons were around were a way to prepare us for our war. With a bit of historical foresthortening, you could say; you graduate, they give a war. Happened to be right. They were talking to us by talking to each other when we were around. My father said that was the point, and I controlled, in a manner of speaking, by asking my sister. Never heard such a thing.
    Worked. When I was in, with my millions of buddies, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, nothing was a surprise, all seemed just another thing you did.
    I was an Infantryman. I don’t recall desensitizing training. We did have a course called “Quick Fire” which made up-close shooting like bird-shooting. First we learned to shoot without taking up the standard marksmanship positions, and we learned to shoot first at pop-up targets as we went through the woods.
    I suppose you could do that on the computer, but it wouldn’t be as effective since, in the real thing, it’s REAL. The connection might not connect.
    This also presumes that the scions of a race, 95% of whose existence has survived by hunting, and the rest, until very recently, by farming and slaughtering domestic animals, would necessarily quail at blood and require training. It’s not like we’re trying to turn parakeets into falcons.

  29. Occam's Beard Says:

    The fact is, despite violent video games and movies, and despite widespread ownership of firearms that are more effective then ever before, the US violent crime rate has been dropping.

    It’s almost as if the numbers of the demographic most responsible for violent crime dropped between 1970 and 1990.

  30. n.n Says:

    Once again, we are implored to mitigate a minority problem with a proposal to control the majority. It’s interesting to observe when the Left deems it fit to constrain liberty. It’s interesting that the great “managers” are incapable of conceiving proper and effective risk management. This would suggest that a monopoly of capital and power in the hands of an authoritarian minority interest (i.e. government) is not only a historically proven, but clear and present threat to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  31. n.n Says:

    As for violent video games, movies, books, etc., let’s consider our priorities. In America, guns are the proximate means to end the lives of over ten thousand human lives annually, while the proximate means to end the lives of around one million human lives annually is scalpels and vacuums. While guns are used in a majority of cases as force equalizers and serve to deter or limit involuntary exploitation, the use of scalpels and vacuums only serves the same purpose in an extremely limited number of cases.

    The people proposing to further restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens have no moral standing until they address the possession and abuse of arms by minority interests, including: cartels (i.e. Fast and Furious, Benghazi), criminals, and an authoritarian class (i.e. government), to commit involuntary exploitation, up to and including the premature termination of another human life without cause.

    The current administration in particular has no moral standing to demand anything at all. They have proven to be unaccountable for their actions and willing to commit further transgressions of the Constitution — and the rights of citizens it affirms — they pledged an oath to uphold.

    Let them condemn elective abortions. Let them propose how to mitigate occurrence of criminal and other sociopathic behavior. Let them propose how to hold civil “servants” accountable for their selective regard of our laws. Until then, we cannot have a legitimate or credible discussion of the issues, and they can only employ coercion (e.g. emotional extortion) or democratic leverage to demand any further concessions of Constitutionally recognized rights.

  32. n.n Says:

    They are proposing the same solution to address [gun] murders as they do for account deficits: progressive devaluation of capital and labor/progressive restriction of liberty. With both solutions, the offending minority interest escapes scrutiny and accountability. This demonstrates an extraordinary level of arrogance that only a monopoly could hope to enforce.

    They are proposing the same solution to address [gun] murders as they do for political, economic, and social issues: treat symptoms while ignoring causes and therefore escaping culpability. Of course, the former is opportunistic, and profitable in perpetuity. It is the preferred method of individuals who exploit differentials (e.g. skin color, gender) and gradients (e.g. capital) to advance their political, economic, and social standing.

  33. Simon Says:

    You are right neo, and I too would be concerned if violent video games were banned for freedom of speech issues. It was just my way of expressing how much I dislike violent video games. I should be more careful with my words. When it comes to actual guns though, I want whatever clever restriction can be conceived enacted sooner rather than later. I really believe that the more guns there are out there, the more innocent people will be killed by them.

  34. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Don S. said, “The fact is, despite violent video games and movies, and despite widespread ownership of firearms that are more effective then ever before, the US violent crime rate has been dropping.”

    I wonder how much of that is due to “Three Strikes and You’re Out” laws? We have that law in Washington State and there is no doubt it has reduced violent crime. Many of the hard core criminals are now in jail for life. There’s a cost, as prisons aren’t free, but it seems to work.

    We also have a pretty effective TV program (Washington’s Most Wanted) that shows the perps that are wanted and offers rewards for information leading to their arrest. They keep racking up new arrests. It seems to be a help.

    There are other things affecting crime statistics besides the level of gun ownership in the nation.

  35. Occam's Beard Says:

    I really believe that the more guns there are out there, the more innocent people will be killed by them.

    Analyze your statement rationally.

    Do you believe that doubling the number of guns would double the murder rate? Or that halving them would halve the murder rate?

    No, of course not. Over a wide range, the murder rate is zeroth order (i.e., appears in a rate equation raised to the zeroth power) in the number of guns.* It is, however, probably first order in the number of people with previous criminal convictions.

    * As an instructive example, Berkeley used to (and doubtless still does) have a problem with feral dogs running loose. Leftists proposed neutering male dogs, heedless of the fact that puppy production is essentially zeroth order in male dogs, but first order in females. To halve the rate of puppy production, one would have to neuter virtually every male dog in the city, or spay half of the females. Sometimes – perhaps most of the time – math is politically incorrect.

    Put another way, if you were trying to breed more dogs (or, more appositely, cattle) would you lay on more males, or females?

  36. beverly Says:

    Simon, guns PREVENT more crime than they “cause”.

    All those guns are, in the hands of law-abiding citizens (still the great majority), tools of SELF DEFENSE.

    THAT’S the statistic you should think about. Seriously. See this link: http://rense.com/general76/univ.htm

    “The new survey, conducted by random telephone sampling of 4,978 households in all the states except Alaska and Hawaii, yield results indicating that American civilians use their firearms as often as 2.5 million times every year defending against a confrontation with a criminal, and that handguns alone account for up to 1.9 million defenses per year. “

    I live in a part of New York City that used to see a Lot of crime: the Bowery. People would go to 14th Street 30 years ago and ask the shop owners if they had any Mace (illegal in NYC also: man, they REALLY want the “People” castrated), and if they like the look of the person, they’d sell it to him or her. Apart from that, no one has any means of self-defense or protection of their property, without complying with laws that are so damn draconian, only the rich and well-connected can manage it.

    You have to apply for a permit to even have any type of gun in the house; have to crawl on your belly to a judge every 2 years and beg him to “allow” you to own the gun because you persuade him that you “need” it; pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege, and Repeat the process every two years!

    Meanwhile, you have to practically sink the gun in wet cement and let it harden to carry the thing to the extremely few gun ranges. In fact, you have to be a licensed gun-owner to even GO to those gun ranges. [Going from memory; haven’t read up on it lately, but under the “No Painkillers for Surgery Patients!” despicable toad Bloomberg, it can only have gotten worse. “Let no innocent person escape!” is the City motto.]

    But the hoods and criminals have all the guns they want, babydoll.

  37. blert Says:

    The crazed attacks that have drawn the headlines were perpetrated by functionally insane people.

    Until policies WRT the mentally insane are corrected there is no stopping them.

    When guns are banned — they use knives, poisons, baseball bats…

    And, at what point does one censure art, graphics or toys?

    Does GI Joe kill?

    At the margins, it’s a crappy world we live in. Some crazed behaviors are going to kill and maim no matter what Big Government does or doesn’t.

    The over arching threat: Big Government, itself, gone insane. Upwards of 100,000,000 souls perished from insane Big Government in the last 100 years.

    A global average of 1,000,000 per year is in stark contrast to the trite horrors of a handful of crazed nut-jobs.

    WRT to Adolf: as a full blown drug addled addict he still didn’t make it to the top of the gore standings.

    Stalin out blooded Adolf 2:1…. Which is astounding.

    And, then, there’s Mao, Saddam, Pol Pot, …. et.al.

    Yet in all of that tyranny — do keep in mind that they kept getting worse and worse.

    Even Adolf wasn’t the ‘full Hitler’ until the end.

    Stalin had been in power for seven years before he Really went off the rails.

    Mao’s worst bloodletting didn’t happen until he felt ‘safe.’ That took about eight years. After that point, in stages, he went after one slice of China at a time. By the end, like Adolf, he was killing his inner circle.

    All of which is a long way of saying that Barry’s true downside is still in front of us.

    Remember the odds: Reactive-Dependents, when elevated to the top executive position, normally utterly destroy that organization.

    (The scale is unimportant/ doesn’t permit fate avoidance.)

    ( c.f. GM, etc.)

  38. blert Says:

    J.J. — INRE Three Strikes.

    Coming from the front lines: until this law, the legal organs of the State of California were utterly consumed with re-processing the same felons — over and over — over and over.

    Though only 0.75% of the male population — this crowd was logging 70% of the Criminal Court’s time.

    This disparity makes sense when you consider the magnitude and depravity of their crimes.

    Charles Manson would’ve been put out of business before the Tate murders if Three Strikes was law, He and his crew were feral. Virtually every time a LEO saw them they were engaged in one form of criminal behavior after another.

    After the law was in effect, the courts unclogged. Civil suits finally could get a place on the court calendar. LEO morale went straight up.

    The single most dangerous intersection in San Jose was pacified in just months. The drug retailing (murderer) could no longer limbo underneath the felony threshold. Resources became re-allocated towards getting those three felonies — and the life-time criminals were swept up.

    It cleaned up East Palo Alto, too. (Same drill.) Until the Three Strikes law, no LEO felt it was worth it to press these clowns with even three felonies. As a practical matter, LEOs shift their tactics towards players that they can’t get off the streets — permanently. There’s only so much paperwork that can be endured.

    This behavior shift explains the Mafia in New York and elsewhere. Local cops simply give up: they know that they’ll never get the goods on the Goodfellas — no matter how obvious it is that they’re life-time criminals.

    So, the Three Strikes law has had far more impact than Liberals ever want to admit.

    Something like a Three Strikes law has to be invoked for the aggressively insane.

    I’d go with a point system – like traffic infractions.

    Crazed crimes will never stop until the afflicted are taken out of circulation.

    Now that we have an expanded pharmacia – -perhaps they can be chilled out without destroying their humanity.

    We might start with free booze for end game alcoholics. That’d certainly beat having them flopping on steam grates downtown, Thunderbird in hand.

  39. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Left prioritizes things based upon the goals of their particular theological style of government, surrounded by utopian death cult ideals and mega corrupt corporation economics. When it comes to controlling the people, having the people be able to do things for themselves, such as using guns, is a big weakness in a slave economy. One cannot have one’s slaves doing the shooting and the ruling, so to speak.

    The Left, thus, requires the control of guns, but it is not the banning of guns they seek. No, they seek to be able to conduct operations like Ruby Ridge and WACO with impunity, what they don’t want to happen is the citizens figuring out that they don’t need to rely on the government for life and limb.

    In the context of preserving and protecting the First Amendment, the Left does so only to the extent that they will use it, and everything else, to destroy the US Constitution and completely transform America into a nation of slaves. They already have 3/4ths of the Jewish population, a super majority of urban dwellers, and a 99% Saddam democratic majority in the black city demographics. In so far as they can paint themselves as defenders of justice, free speech, and the US tradition of Constitutional limits, they will do so, but only in so far as it fulfills their desires of unlimited power and mad dog style politics. To create a nation of slaves, one must disarm the slaves in both body and mind, for the shackles of the heart and spirit are far stronger than the bonds put upon the body.

    For a regular person, they may misinterpret the Leftist alliance’s aims as being something of a “political nature”, and thus believe all other political parties are simply just as corrupt or with just as many hidden corrupt agendas as the Left, thus they’ll vote for whoever offers them the most goodies. In this case, that would be the Democrat party. What regular people don’t understand is that evil knows no bounds, and there is a particularly definite division between those who are evil, and are using politics and the tools of law to pursue evil, and those who just make mistakes in politics and law. So long as Americans believe the Left is composed of the latter, they will never be able to exert the necessary motivation to do anything productive against it. It is only when one realizes the true nature of evil, that one can both understand it and fight it.

    A responsible and duty bound citizenry and citizenship, with its allegiance owed to the country at large, which includes everyone in it, is much safer in terms of politics and economics than a slave owned empire that is entirely under the aegis of the Leftist authoritarian nobility. Yet even though the Left knows this (remember Diane Feinstein and other Democrats arming themselves for “protection”), they would rather make you suffer, and net themselves a smaller reward in security, than see everyone prosper.

    How can people not understand such a definition of evil where a group of people consistently chooses the option of 5 for them 0 for you, over 6 for them and 6 for you. Then, of course, one remembers that many blacks believe Abraham Lincoln was a Democrat, and the story narrative becomes much clearer as to why people are motivated to do one thing but not another. He who controls the past, controls the present. That was true of Divine Rulers in the past as it is true of today’s petty politicians.

    The Left will destroy this nation and remake it in their own utopian death cult image, and they will make you pay for the privilege. Those who thought this was about “political disagreements” are so far behind the reality of this conflict, that they might as well be sight seers.

    The Left will make you see that which you never thought possible in terms of cruelty and evil. Whether or not you want to believe it.

  40. Rob Crawford Says:

    Richard Aubrey: there was talk of violence, reference to violence, but the depiction of the violence itself was surprising non-violent.

    According to some, that “sanitizes” the violence, and makes it more acceptable.

  41. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Rob. Well, I expect the instructors, introducing another weapon, who said, uniformly, “will enable you, the individual Rifleman, to place heavy and accurate fire on the enemy” could be accused of “sanitizing”.
    But that presumes we had no imagination. And hadn’t had Infantry first aid. Not for sissies.

  42. Rob Says:

    I sometimes play violent video games. In fact, I especially like to play them when I’m stressed out, angry, on edge, etc. because they’re an extremely good way to blow off steam. After I’ve sat down and played for 20 or 30 minutes, I’m usually a little saner. Before one of my knees went out on me, I used to achieve the same effect with a strenuous game of basketball. So, despite all the talk about how these games promote violence or make some people more prone to violence, I suspect that the opposite is the case. If we seal off all of the imaginary paths for people’s violent impulses, we’re only going to force those impulses into REAL BEHAVIOR.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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