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A SWAT for wasting money – for the children

Submitted by on Friday, 22 May 2009 No Comment

You just gotta love California, though I suspect the state’s predicament is more amusing to residents of the other 49 than it is to those of us who live here.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature are up to their ears in budgetary alligators, unable to overcome systemic flaws and plain old political truculence to reach a solution.

Voters douse the flames with gasoline on Tuesday, rejecting five measures that would have trimmed the problem from $21 billion to $15 billion.

Then Wednesday, Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown decide to defend all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court a law banning violent video game sales to minors. Fighting the lawsuit already has cost the state almost $400,000.

What a great show of bipartisanship for the children.

What a bunch of bunk.

The lawsuit stems from a 2005 bill that the Video Software Dealers Association has asked the courts to block. The association has won so far at the district court and appeals court levels.

Granted, the association also is pushing a load of bunk, waving the First Amendment when in reality sales are a greater issue than free speech for teens. Courts long have ruled that states can regulate minors’ access to materials as long as adults aren’t restricted.

It’s even funnier when the association tries to make itself “for the children” by spinning a pastoral picture of the family gathered around the electronic hearth to enjoy a cozy evening of shoot ‘em up.

“The association’s advocacy is propelled by the recognition that video games and other forms of entertainment can educate, amuse, inspire, challenge, and bring people together and that society is invigorated if individuals and families can decide for themselves, without the interference of government, what they shall see, read, hear, and play,” the group says in a position paper.

Ay, but the wannabe law would block children from buying video games that depict people being killed, maimed, raped or tortured. That’s probably not the type of amusement and inspiration most parents want for their children.

And if it’s not, there already are systems in place to help parents decide if a game is appropriate.

Then there’s the gratuitous link between video games and violence, the one that allowed original sponsor Leland Yee to say his bill would “save children.” That link’s no where near established. One recent study of studies suggesting personality helps determine whether people who play violent games become violent.

The upshot: Schwarzenegger and Brown are fighting to implement a law not needed because parents who really want to can keep their kids from buying violent games. That still won’t stop them from sneaking over the a friend’s house, though.

Gov. Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown, Stop Wasting America’s Time – and California’s money – by continuing an expensive legal battle “for the children.” Try sinking that money into real programs “for the children” instead.

Know of someone who deserves a SWAT? Click here to make a nomination.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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