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The Court Has Lost Your Mind

The Other Side of the Tracks: A Socially Speaking commentary

June 28, 2011

By Perry Redd



The Supreme Court has lost your mind…once again.  For all of those “family values” conservatives, you’ve been shucked!  On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law banning sales or rentals of violent video games to minors as a violation of free-speech rights, its first ruling in a video game case.  Did the founders make room for this? This ruling is among the most hypocritical of the modern, neo-conservative court era.

The people of California thought it best to protect their children from the claws of capitalism by passing legislation prohibiting sales of unnecessarily violent video games to minors.  You’d think the states rights crowd would be up in arms about this ruling.  By a 7-2 vote, the justices upheld a ruling by a U.S. appeals court that declared the law, which also imposes strict video-game labeling requirements, unconstitutional. What about the Tenth Amendment?  Isn’t that a part of the Constitution?

The law, adopted in 2005, has never taken effect because of the legal challenge. It defines a violent video game as one that depicts “killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being.” Retailers who sell or rent a violent video game to a minor could be fined as much as $1,000.

The law was challenged by video game publishers, distributors and sellers. This is all about the money; you owe it all to capitalism.  You see, the nation’s video game industry makes about $10.5 billion in annual sales. More than two-thirds of U.S. households include at least one person who plays video games. Chances are, that one person is under 18.  So according to this ruling, the welfare of our country’s children is secondary to the almighty dollar, knowing that graphic images are a breeding ground for violent behavior.  You don’t need a study for that.

Remember Columbine?  Eric Harris and Dillion Kleibold made a video for a school project that showed them pretending to shoot fake guns and “snuffing” students in the hallway of their school as Hitmen for Hire. The video is also known for its swearing scenes, in which they yelled at the camera lens and said violent things—much like these video games. I do understand that Harris and Kleibold made those videos. They both displayed themes of violence in their creative writing projects for school; Harris’ teacher said of a Doom-based tale, written on January 17, 1999 by Harris, “Yours is a unique approach and your writing works in a gruesome way—good details and mood setting.”

Why is that relevant?  Because the High Court said video games are art, and they deserve the exact same First Amendment protections as books, comics, plays and all the rest.  Some art doesn’t need to be protected.

Six other states have adopted similar laws, and all were struck down in court…so much for State’s Rights.  I wish southerners would quit it!  The Supreme Court rejected California’s argument that the Constitution’s free-speech guarantees under the First Amendment do not prevent a state from prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors under 18. Since the Court intervened in California’s affairs of commerce, would this make the High Court “activist?”  Surely, not!  Finding the most outstretched reach to define free speech?  If we can prohibit minors from smoking, drinking highly-caffeinated energy drinks, purchasing pornography, from entering an R-rated movie, then how does this ruling stand scrutiny?  Justice Antonin Scalia is a prostitute…for the gaming industry.

It a baseless rationale driven by video game publishers, distributors and sellers, including the Entertainment Software Association. Its members include Disney Interactive Studios, Microsoft Corp., Electronic Arts and Sony Computer Entertainment…big boys on the block.  America, you just lost again to the corporations.  The people have been whopped by Citizen’s United, by funeral picketers, Janus Capital, Wal-Mart v. Dukes and a fourth amendment decimation that allow for warrantless search and seizure.  When will you quit allowing Tea Party emotion to rule your lives?

These neo-con judges have not only lost your mind, but they’ve lost theirs. In another court, a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice is accusing another one, Justice David Prosser, a conservative, of trying to choke her during an argument two weeks ago. Ann Walsh Bradley, a liberal, is doing her job and this conservative is angry as hell about what he wants…to destroy other people’s lives!  Prosser is well-known for surviving a re-election campaign earlier this year that became a proxy war over the state’s collective bargaining legislation. He denied the accusations, or course and the local sheriff is investigating the incident.

But I digress…as a practical matter, one has to honestly ask themselves, “What redeemable value is there in allowing my child to partake in mindless violence,” even if it’s a video game?  I don’t see any, but what I do see is a whittling away at “liberties” (a euphemism for social justice and quality of life) won through decades-, some centuries-long, battles. This Court is “losing it.” I’d like to think the Court reflects the evolution of a civilized society—you and me.  What conceivable good can come of it.  If you can come up with a sensible answer, then you ought to be doing magic.  More than anything, if you can come up with a sensible answer, then you may have lost your mind.

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