In the wake of recent tragedies involving violent murders across the country, a lot of people have been speaking out against violence in video games. Of course, they’ve also been speaking out against things like the second amendment and gun enthusiasts. Interestingly enough, despite a very clear desire on the part of most Americans to hear more discussion of how our mental health care system might be the real cause of concern in this debate, discussion still centers almost entirely around issues that have almost nothing at all to do with the tragic events that recently took place. In other words, people like Senator Leland Yee are using tragic events to highlight their own misguided concerns.
Despite the many studies which have been conducted in the past few decades, people like Yee still feel rather vehemently that violence in video games is at the center of the issue. Recently, he had the following to say about the subject:
“Gamers have got to just quiet down. Gamers have no credibility in this argument. This is all about their lust for violence and the industry’s lust for money. This is a billion-dollar industry. This is about their self-interest.”
Gamers have no credibility in this argument? I’d like to see him back up that argument with anything substantial. The truth is that we are very credible. In addition to the several studies that have shown absolutely no link between video games and violence, the industry and its supporters also have the ESRB to fall back on. We’re not talking about some kind of wildly unregulated business in the arts that does not take these issues seriously. You rarely ever see anyone talk about violence in film in the same manner that they discuss violence in video games, but for whatever reason it is now the responsibility of this industry to keep violent materials out of the hands of psychopaths? How does that make any sense?
What we’re really dealing with here is misguided fear from powerful men who don’t mind trading a little censorship for peace of mind. Unfortunately for people like Senator Yee, they routinely find that the American people aren’t willing to accept much of any kind of censorship. Yee isn’t exactly new to this debate, as he has previously spoken out about violence in video games and authored a bill in 2005 that would have banned sales of certain games in his home state of California. Thankfully, the Supreme Court ruled that his bill was unconstitutional, as they should. For any American out there who doesn’t already love the Supreme Court, you really should – they’re the ones who routinely do things like this to ensure our freedoms against any and all tyranny.
Like it or not, video games are an art form. They might not be an art form that everybody is familiar with, but they are most definitely a protected form of speech in the United States. Despite recent misguided reports on the meetings between heads of the industry and Vice President Joe Biden, the truth about said meetings is that there was no malice intended. Some reports said that Biden gave the industry a “stern warning.” In reality, Biden said little more than to reassure industry heads that there were no serious intentions to change much of anything about the way that video games are currently regulated in this country. At most, the Vice President said that there should be a concentrated effort on the part of the industry to change their image and the public perception of video games.
In other words, there was no warning – there was only a very powerful man telling powerful men that they had nothing to fear and they just need to work on their public image. Of course, it’s not exactly the industry’s fault that certain uninformed individuals in this country see them as the problem. As for what can be done to change the public perception, there are some things that just can’t be effected in a media world dominated by sensationalist news corporations. As for Yee, I think it’s clear that we have little to fear from men like him. Thankfully, we’ve got protection from fascists who seek to limit our freedoms built into our system of government and our constitution.
Speaking as a gamer, I don’t think I’m the one lacking credibility here. As someone who had his bill shot down by the Supreme frickin’ Court, I would think that the Senator wouldn’t be so quick to judge others for their credibility or intentions. Yee says that our side of the debate is all about our “lust for violence,” and about the industry’s “lust for money” and their “self interest.” With that in mind, allow me to suggest that perhaps the Senator’s intentions aren’t as noble has he makes them out to be; that perhaps using a tragedy as a means to try and force your ideals on an entire country is far more disgusting than trying to stand up for something like freedom of speech.
In the grand scheme of things, I’m sure my words will fall on deaf ears, but if the industry is being asked to start changing their image, maybe gamers should attempt to do the same. I think it’s time we all spoke up and stood up for ourselves against the likes of those who would see our rights limited or revoked. Senator Yee is telling you to quiet down and not speak out against people like him. Feel free to tell the Senator exactly what you think of his estimation of the situation by sending him a letter. Conversely, you could just let us know how you feel in the comments below. Either way, I think his words are just further proof that we as a community need to do just the opposite — it’s high time we all spoke up for this art form.