Once again, the government of New York thinks its citizens are too dumb to make choices on their own. Maybe some of them are. But it’s not up to elected officials to make up for the ignorance of parents who buy Grand Theft Auto for their five-year-olds. There are those who say that the plethora of violent video games available makes it harder to raise their children decently. How? How does it make it harder? The challenge of parenting includes boundaries, guidelines, and saying no to things you don’t want them to play, read, watch, or listen to. It also involves teaching your kids that people who die on TV or in video games — wait for it — don’t die in real life! It’s fake! And here’s a challenge: Instead of being so shocked that your kid is robbing pixilated taxi drivers and humping cartoon hookers that you cry to your senator to enact a law to forbid it, you take the game away from him. Better yet, do a little research before you buy a game for your child, and don’t send him alone into the store with a wad of cash and no guidelines on what he can or can’t purchase with it.
While once again trying to legislate personal responsibility, New York is ignoring the fact that similar laws have been struck down in California, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington. The Family Protection Entertainment Act, a bill sponsored by Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman that was supposed to protect children from violent video games, suffered a slow, silent death and never became law. Clearly, Governor Paterson and Senator Lanza did not look into precedent when putting this into motion. If they did, they would have only had to look back to last year, when then-Governor Eliot Spitzer tried and failed to regulate video game sales. Sad thing is, this isn’t even the most inane video game bill pushed by a New York politician.
Richard Taylor sums up the problem with laws such as this: “It also unfairly singles out the video game industry over all other forms of media. One wonders where this overreach by government in New York will end. If New York lawmakers feel it is the role of government to convene a government commission on game content, they could next turn to other content such as books, theater, and film.”
Overreach, indeed. While some people are happy to have information about video games laid bare for them — in much the same way they are happy to have the government count calories for them — we have to wonder where this will lead us. Not only are we looking toward a day where our government strips us of our ability to make our own decisions on our day-to-day life events, but the monumental waste of taxpayer money being spent on babysitting and hand-holding adults who should be responsible for themselves and their families without government interference is shameful. Our politicians are creating crimes under the guise of protecting us from ourselves. And it is costing us money to fund these studies, to put these bills through, to have panels formed that will spend years and dollars duplicating research, coming up with the same vague results as panels before them did, and then having their nanny laws shot down as unconstitutional anyhow.