Thursday, August 03, 2006

Katie: closet nanny-statist

Spot's been busy, so you just get a drive-by on Katie today, boys and girls. Katie's column today is about Judge Rosenbaum's (a Republican appointee, by the way) decision holding that Minnesota's shiny new law regulating video games unconstitutional:
Minnesota legislators from across the political spectrum agree. In May they passed a law intended to protect children 16 and younger by imposing a $25 fine on those who try to buy or rent M or AO-rated games.

But this week U.S. Chief District Judge James Rosenbaum put the kibosh on the new law before it could take effect. He declared it --- what else? -- an unconstitutional restriction of "free speech."

It is astounding that Rosenbaum found no proof that violent video games -- many of which the state's attorneys labeled "utterly repulsive and demented" -- harm children. And the state's substantial social science? Wholly insufficient to prove its case, said Rosenbaum.

"There is a paucity of evidence linking the availability of video games with any harm to Minnesota's children at all," he wrote.

Say what? Ask anyone you know -- your neighbor, your barber, a junior high school teacher -- who has kids or works with them: How would a typical 14-year-old boy be affected by immersing himself in a video game that mimics snuff films? You'll get a common-sense answer.

Only don't ask a federal judge. You'll get a cold, detached answer from the world of social science.

Here's a sample of Rosenbaum's reasoning; "[T]he body of violent video game literature is not sufficiently large to conduct a detailed meta-analysis of a specific feature."

Do we detect a little confusion here, boys and girls? Why yes, we do! Take a look at the two passages that Spot has italicized. One the one hand, according to Katie, the state had the social science on its side, on the other, Judge Rosenbaum relied on cold, detached social science. Well regardless of the confusion, give Spot cold, detached social science over Katian hysteria every time!

And Spot's gotta ask, how does Katie know so much about video games?
Been to the video store lately? Games rated "Mature" (17 and older) and "Adults Only" crowd the shelves within your young teen's reach.

Take "Manhunt." It lets a player "become" James Earl Cash, a serial killer. A character named the Director wants to use Cash in snuff films.

As Cash, you slaughter people. You slice them with a chain saw, behead them or stab them viciously in the eyeballs. Meanwhile, the Director adds his comments: "You're really getting me off, Cash" and "You're really doing it for me. Why I ain't been this turned on since ... Well, let's not go there."

Our kids can easily get their hands on "Manhunt," or other M-rated games such as "Resident Evil: 4,"God of War" or "Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend." Games such as these invite kids to set people on fire, urinate on them or disembowel them. Young players can rack up points for raping women.

It is apparent to Spot that Katie really likes state intervention into private lives - just so long as they leave Katie's purse alone - when it is congruent with Katie's view of the Proper Way to Raise Children.

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