Republican senator: "video games is a bigger problem than guns, because video games affect people"

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128 Responses to “Republican senator: "video games is a bigger problem than guns, because video games affect people"”

  1. niktemadur says:

    It’s uncanny, isn’t it?  How these people keep putting their clumsy foot into their stupid mouth every time they open it.

    What does he know? The gun in his drawer.
    What doesn’t he know? Video games.
    Therefore: Guns good, video games bad.
    Jeez…

    • awjt says:

       No – it’s far FAR worse.  The real issue is that they are INSANE.  No rational debate can be had, here.  The Second Amendment could say “foo beak brok verbverbyverb glif glif mak mor grooooaawwwwwwwwww” and they would say exactly what they are saying now: “Don’t take away our gun rights!  We have a constitutional right to bear arms!  That’s not an assault-weapon!  It’s just a scary gun!  It’s an assault STYLE weapon.”  Etc etc. INSANITY.  No rational debate can be had on this issue.  You cannot debate with an insane person, or an insane group of people, no more than you can debate with a 1-year old or an owl.  In fact, I’d rather debate with an owl than these crazy politicians.

      • Amber Light says:

        Heard of “the wise owl” but never of a wise politician.. Don’t denigrate the owls please.

      • Crashproof says:

        I’m thinking of it as “unenlightened self-interest.”

        They collect their checks from the gun lobbyists, they get voted for by rednecks.  If a few more kids have to die so they can earn some more money and get voted in another term, so be it.

      • aliktren says:

        I would agree some sort of group insanity appears to be taking over, especially the GOP, sitting outside looking it’s pretty worrying but at least I am not paying their salaries!!

      • Grahamers2002 says:

        I disagree. They are performing statutory interpretation just like the rest of us. There are whole course on the subject. To sum it up, the following methods are used by various people to interpret statutory language:

        1) Stick with the dictionary meaning of the words of the statute using the definition in place at the time that statute was voted upon.

        2) Stick with the dictionary meaning, but use a current dictionary.

        3) Go beyond the four corners of the statute and look towards legislative intent by placing the language in question in the context of the broader legislative scheme. (E.g., The definition of a “medical device” in the Food Drug and Cosmetic act is “…an instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article…which is [among other things]…intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals.” (21 USC §321.) Using methods #1-2, bullets and guns would be regulated as medical devices by the FDA. Using method #3, putting this definition in the context of the who legislative scheme, judges decide that while a bullet is “an article intended to affect the structure of function of the human body”, it is not a medical device.

        4) Same as #3, but for other contexts such as historical context. (E.g., Using the bullet example, the judge would not only look at all of the other laws surrounding the definition but also read legislative debate records, newspaper accounts, books, etc. from the time at which the law was passed to help him figure out that Congress did not intend a bullet to be a medical device.)

        5) Screw the words of the statute, try to do what you think is “good” where you find any ambiguity.

        Rehnquist was a classic #1. Scalia and Thomas are #2s (mostly). Sandra Day O’Connor was #5. Kennedy is #3 and #4. Etc..

        The real problem with the 2nd Amendment debate is that conservatives usually argue for using method #’s 1-2. This is why they always scream “Activist judges legislating from the bench!” when they don’t get what they want (as is all statutory language is crystal clear, right? The definition of “medical device” disproves this instantly.) Well, those same conservatives are now dropping methods 1-2, skipping #s3-4 and jumping to #5 when reading “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” They ignore the plain language of “Militia.” They forgo the legislative and historical context of the statute where people kept sing-fire muskets in their house in case the Brits came around. Now they simply say, “It says I have a right to bear arms and arms means a machine gun!” (Mixing method #2 and #5 on that one, I guess!)
        That’s all that is going on here. They aren’t crazy. They are massively hypocritical.

        PS: My Statutory Interpretation professor started his course by having us read the Civil Rights Act and then asked us to define the word “color.” Try it yourselves to see why conservative claims of “Judicial activism” disingenuously imply that all statutory language is clear, unambiguous, and can be applied by anyone with ease! http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=97&page=transcript

        • awjt says:

          wtf?  Just the sort of INSANITY we’re talking about. Here’s what I heard from what you wrote: “Foo beak brok #1 and #3, no #5, #s 2-5 beak braok whirrrrrrr verby verby verb #3 Rhenquist #2 #1 #2 #2 #2 gurgle gurgle glug glug.”

        • chaopoiesis says:

          Tribal logic (which predates the Greek kind) is based on the double standard: one set of rules for tribe members, a second set for outsiders. 

          Same as it ever was…

      • Mordicai says:

        Well in his defense, the First Amendment specifically talks about the freedom of speech being “well regulated” & for a militia, so…

        Oh wait what?

  2. Adrian Martin says:

    So if everybody had guns and nobody had video games, then there would be less people getting shot?

    • niktemadur says:

      Exactly, it seems.  I guess.

    • anansi133 says:

      In the logic of détente, a gun is the perfect deterrent. There are no costs and no risks to arming everyone, because then everyone has an equal power to stop violence. It’s a waste of time to claim that the real world doesn’t work this way, because by the time you’ve taken their claim seriously enough to respond, you’ve ceded the frame.

  3. chgoliz says:

    One word: Japan.

  4. Clemoh says:

    It’s true because it’s true,

  5. Dave Plint says:

    i assume he thinks games are worse than guns because they might make you want to murder someone… with guns

    • for_SCIENCE says:

       He doesn’t understand video games, and things you don’t understand are scary. Ergo, video games are scary.

  6. abstract_reg says:

    To be honest, as a Canadian, I’ve been affected by video games, but never by guns. There were some parts of Super Mario Bros. that were really frustrating to me and I said things that I regret now.
    I imagine that most people alive haven’t been directly affected by guns. Mind you that’s probably because anyone who is directly affected by a gun is likely dead.

    • Shane Simmons says:

      But…but…here in ‘Murica, there’s guns available, and that means people have to go out and shoot someone!  They just HAVE to!  It’s basically a requirement that someone get shot when guns are available!  That’s why we have to do something!

      But don’t you dare touch my video games, music, movies, or books!  Those never influence anyone to do anything, and anyone who thinks otherwise is insane!

      (I use lots of exclamation points sometimes.  Sorry about that.)

      • nowimnothing says:

        So all the other countries with the same video games, music movies and books but with less guns and less violence are just aberrations?

      • chenille says:

        Ha. Even trying to sarcastically portray a gun control supporter, you still put things in Lamar’s terms instead – pretending the only question is influences, not what things enable.

        The real questions, of course, are to find what risks different policies would permit or create. But I guess the whole point of framing is to avoid taking about stuff like that.

    • Bashtarle says:

      I will say over the years I have had my share of blowups involving videogames. I came to learn that when a game has become so frustrating that it is no longer fun to play, it is time to put the game aside and do something else. Preferably something constructive.

      It isn’t videogames that are the problem it is the people who either fail or are incapable of grasping that.

      • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

        It isn’t videogames that are the problem it is the people who either fail or are incapable of grasping that.

         Huh.  It’s almost like things are only as good and intelligent as the people using them.

        • wysinwyg says:

          If gun laws were designed in such a way that they ensured only good and intelligent people were able to get them there probably wouldn’t be so much debate on this issue.

          Are you really going to contend that’s the situation with which we’re dealing?

          • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

            I’m saying that stupid or dangerous or damaged people, when given objects which are potentially lethal, will sometimes do stupid and dangerous things.  

            Those stupid/dangerous things will often result in deaths.  

            When intelligent, sensible, responsible people are entrusted with dangerous things, bad things will still occur, but likely far fewer.

            I am also saying that continual exposure to violence, whether simulated or real, will tend to produce a larger number of violent people.    Video games are part of that, and to deny it is fucking stupid.

          • wysinwyg says:

            I’m saying that stupid or dangerous or damaged people, when given objects which are potentially lethal, will sometimes do stupid and dangerous things. 

            I wish you’d stop focusing so much on the mental illness aspect.  Folks without diagnosable mental illnesses commit all manner of violent crimes all the time and most people with mental illness do not. 

            I also wish you could admit that a stupid and dangerous person with a gun is a lot more dangerous than a stupid and dangerous person with a baseball bat.

            That said, this is exactly why I think gun control laws are a good idea.  We should be trying to keep guns out of the hands of stupid, dangerous people.

            I am also saying that continual exposure to violence, whether simulated or real, will tend to produce a larger number of violent people.    Video games are part of that, and to deny it is fucking stupid.

            Then why is violent crime declining even while use of violent video games is on the rise?  Why was the world more violent before violence in mass media (as Stephen Pinker argues exhaustively in a recent book)?

            Edit: Oh, hey, look what Felton linked downthread:

            http://boingboing.net/2013/01/18/a-helpful-reminder-video-game.html

    • jimh says:

      Guns don’t kill people, goombas kill people!

    • sisyphus321 says:

      “Mind you that’s probably because anyone who is directly affected by a gun is likely dead.”

      Or, like my son, living with a bullet in his back and borderline PTSD.

      What I’m thinking now is wrong, but I can’t help it.

  7. Daneel says:

    Republicans are a bigger problem than video games because Republicans affect people.

    • jimh says:

      I would put talk radio just below guns but before video games on the affect/problem scale

      • giantasterisk says:

        I’d say talk radio does even more damage than guns — for self-righteously stoking hatred, fear, bigotry, and ignorance in people who lack critical thinking skills.

  8. chris jimson says:

    “the First Amendment limits what we can do about video games and the Second Amendment to the Constitution limits what we can do about guns.”

    So we can’t do anything then? Is THAT what the Founding Fathers envisioned, we should become hostages to the strict wording of the Constitution? Because I think they were smart enough to know that new events and issues would mean we could change laws to, you know. . . make our lives better. Last I checked nobody is seriously proposing banning all guns, anymore than slander laws have completely killed the 1st Amendment.

    It would be nice if we could at least get the NRA to stop blocking research into gun violence. That makes no sense.

    • Bashtarle says:

      There is a reason constitutional provisions are so hard to change, to prevent abuses of power. And historically speaking when idiots changed the constitution because they though it the moral thing to do (read: prohibition) it failed miserably.

      As for research into gun violence personally I see that as a pointless exercise. A gun is a tool and it instills no more ill intent into its wielder than a hammer forces someone to build a shed.

      Tho I could entertain the idea of research into the possible causes of violent behaviors in general. The unfortunate fact however is most of these types of studies have gone on to find exactly what they were looking for (read biased studies have been biased). Usually being disproved in a following study that is then disproved in a following study that is then disproved in a following… etc.

      Leaving you with a whole bunch of studies that all disagree with each others findings.

      • llamaspit says:

        Again with the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.

        That argument is only partially true until you carry it to its logical conclusions. Hammers don’t accidentally go off and build sheds. Children who find hammers in their parents possession don’t accidentally build sheds with them. Mentally ill people don’t choose hammers to act on their impulses to harm people. Aggressive vigilante types don’t use hammers to accidentally kill black teenagers. Gangs don’t choose hammers as their weapons of choice.

        Please. 

        • Bashtarle says:

          No but a hammer could fall from a height and cause great physical harm or death. Children well could find a hammer and accidentally hurt themselves or others. People have used hammers in the commission of murders. Rather specific but probably falls into the previous. I’ll give you the last one, tho even if stringent gun laws pass gangs will still use guns as their weapons of choice. Just look at Mexico, total civilian gun ban with few exceptions and more gun violence than you can shake a stick at.

          It isn’t the fault of the tool for the intent of its wielder. If you start condemning things because someone somewhere misuses something. You aren’t going to have anything left.

          • llamaspit says:

            When hammer deaths (either accidental or planned) start to approach the magnitude of gun violence, I will accept your analogy.

            By the way, there are plenty of places where limiting guns has been successful in reducing gun violence, so your Mexico example doesn’t prove what you think it does.

          • nowimnothing says:

            And where do those guns in Mexico come from?

          • wysinwyg says:

             It’s really fucking ridiculously obvious to any thinking person that someone with an intent to harm can do much more harm much more quickly with much less chance of being stopped with a gun than with a blunt object.

            If you keep ignoring this blindingly obvious point then the rest of us have no choice but to ignore you as someone who is clearly partisan and unwilling to compromise on this issue even where a compromise is wise.

            When people advocating against gun laws refuse to acknowledge basic and obvious points against guns it makes me fucking nervous.  It makes me think we really can’t trust you with guns.

            Argue honestly and I think there can be a reasonable compromise.  Otherwise you’re going to turn off those of us on the fence.

          • wysinwyg says:

            @twitter-188802927:disqus I see you haven’t bothered to address the substance of my comment.  It’s not a tangent.  It directly addresses your argument: that it’s only intent that matters and not means.  No, the means matter as well and you’ve said nothing that would convince any reasonable person otherwise.

            It isn’t the fault of the tool for the intent of its wielder. If you start condemning things because someone somewhere misuses something. You aren’t going to have anything left.

            That’s an argument against gun laws.

            Your retort on the subject is to continue right on the tangent and to do so with an aggressive tone and crass language. But it’s me who should concern you?

            I guess now you’re going to content that aggressive tones and crass language are just as deadly as hammers and, by extension, firearms?

            Ya know, I don’t think it would have been unreasonable for you to concede that guns are, in fact, much more dangerous than blunt instruments. It’s not a controversial point. You’re really not making your fellow gun nuts look very good here.

            Yes, of course I’m latching onto hammers. You’re making a dishonest argument and it’s the dishonesty that troubles me. I’m not dead set against gun ownership. If you could get over your “arguments are soldiers” trip and admit that guns really are more dangerous than blunt instruments then there wouldn’t be an issue.
            “You people…” is also working against you. We don’t have to be on opposite sides. That’s on you.

          • wysinwyg says:

            Stop trying to read my mind.  You’re no good at it.

            Your variant tangent is essentially “dangerous things are dangerous” and is implicit (at least to me) whenever anyone talks about guns. But if you need someone to say it then yes dangerous things are dangerous.

            Can you admit that guns are more dangerous than blunt instruments?

            As a hammer with the proper intent can be just as deadly.

            Apparently not.

            This is ridiculous.  A person with bad intentions with a gun is obviously more dangerous than a person with bad intentions with a hammer.

            If you can admit even that much there is no disagreement between us.

      • chris jimson says:

        Yes, but in the larger debate we are not necessarily talking about changing the constitution, we are talking about enacting laws that the NRA and its supporters claim would be unconstitutional, when it is up to the Supreme Court to decide that, not the NRA.  The problem is that the 2nd amendment is vague– if we can outlaw flame throwers then we can outlaw assault rifles, and if we can’t outlaw assault rifles, then we can’t outlaw flame throwers– all it says is “the right to keep and bear arms”* but of course at the time “arms” were muskets and swords, not flame throwers or AR-15s or nukes. 

        Some conservatives claim the 2nd amendment exists so the citizenry can overthrow the government (or at least act as a threat to keep the government from getting too powerful), in which case flame throwers and nukes SHOULD be legal.  Except that isn’t a world I want to live in.  And that’s my point: what kind of world do we want to live in?  A vast majority of US citizens didn’t support alcohol prohibition, which is why it didn’t work (in fact even the congressmen who passed the bill didn’t like it.)  From the recent polls about 70% of the US supports some kind of new gun legislation.  Perhaps we will be sorry after it passes, but that shouldn’t stop us from TRYING to do something. 

        Furthermore, the NRA has opposed all kinds of research into gun safety– it’s just research, what are they scared of?  If we are going to get solutions we should be looking at the problem scientifically rather than working from hypotheticals and ideology.  I am not opposed to research on video game violence– if the study is sound then we can learn something, if not it will be apparent through peer review..  This idea about “opposing studies” implies that every published study is equally valid, if that were the case then we cured cancer decades ago.

        http://www.salon.com/2012/07/25/the_nras_war_on_gun_science/

        *the 2nd amendment also says “well regulated militia”– it’s interesting how the “well regulated” part always gets ignored.

  9. vonbobo says:

    Space Invaders: 1978
    Star Wars Space Defense Initiative: 1983

  10. groovyeyal says:

    ‘slow clap’.  I’m impressed with the NRA and their gun lobby and their ability to convince these schlemiels to divert blame to video games and say it with a straight face. Bravo.

  11. Clemoh says:

    I would posit from your statement that in terms of ‘defensive’ gun ownership, you would support a ban on ‘assault’ weapons then. You know, because Fascism.

    • peregrinus says:

      Oh come now.  Everyone knows one of the best forms of defence is attack.  When you’re hunkered down in a sandbagged foxhole while the local PD comes for your … freedoms … sitting on 40 crates of beans and a couple paraffin burners, a breech loaded shotgun just ain’t gonna do.  You need to be firing short, sharp, rapid bursts with a kill radius of 200 yards minimum.  ‘Assault’ only means ‘assault’ when it’s, y’know, illegal.  As in unconstitutional.

      And you’re in the clear – because you are a key sharpshooting unit of an organised militia.  You’re honed and ready, poised and deadly, because you’ve been training on Call of Duty.

    • meatdonut says:

      A semi-auto rifle is a semi-auto rifle.  Things mislabeled as “assault rifles” such as an AR-15 are great home defense weapons and extremely popular for that use.  The popularity stems from its modularity and ergonomics.  I don’t like AR-15′s but I understand why they are the most popular defensive rifle in the U.S.

      So be accurate about what you want to ban.

      • dmc10 says:

        I call bullshit. I have several friends who are gun owners (though moderate and not NRA fans) who are very clear that rifles are NOT their first choice for home defense — they are larger, more bulky, and much less maneuverable in close quarters like a house or apartment than a pistol.

        AR = assault rifle, period. To claim it’s primarily defensive is ludicrous; it’s a weapon absolutely designed with offense in mind, not personal home defense. Ask the kids at Sandy Hook, oh wait, you can’t.

        The only people I know who own AR-15s are survivalist whackos, ‘the government’s going to get me’, Ted Nugent types. 

        • meatdonut says:

           I’m not an NRA member, just FYI.  I do support my local gun rights organization (CalGuns).

          Pistols are compact and maneuverable and lots of  people keep them in the home for defense use.  Some people prefer shotguns.  Others prefer small rifles like the AR-15.  When our SWAT or military clear a house they don’t use their pistols.  See my reply to wysinwyg for an explanation of why.In some states where short-barreled rifles are legal, you can get an AR-15 with a 7.5″ barrel compared to a 3″ to 5″ pistol barrel that won’t stick out much farther than a pistol would.I’m not big on arguing over terms but “assault rifle” has a real definition, it’s a rifle which can fire both semi-auto and full-auto.  AR-15′s are not that.  The military’s version of the gun is.  They look identical but they behave differently.I have 6 coworkers who own AR-15′s.  They’re extremely common now.  I prefer a simpler rifle, personally.

          • majorhappy says:

            “which can fire both semi-auto and full-auto.  AR-15′s are not that.”

            Well, not until you hit the gun shows for a perfectly legal bump-fire stock and a belt-feed ammo mod.

            http://www.slidefire.com/zombie-media

            Then it’s 800 rounds a minute, baby!

            (although they sell the bump-fire stocks at Cabelas “sporting goods” now too!)

            Not *technically* full auto mind you, that would be illegal. You just externalize the normally-internal repeat-fire mechanism, and presto, Bob’s your loophole!

      • wysinwyg says:

         I’m confused as to why a rifle would be a good choice for home defense.  The longer range wouldn’t seem to help at all in close quarters while the longer barrel would seem to be a liability.  However ergonomic it might be it seems to me that a pistol would be even more ergonomic and easier to wield.  There’s also the fact that one could wield and fire a handgun while using the other hand to, say, call the police.  What advantage for home defense would an AR-15 have over a semi automatic handgun?

        It seems to me the main benefit of owning an AR-15 is that it’s a big, tough-looking rifle that’s modeled after military assault-style rifles.  Which is fine — I just wish people would stop pretending there’s a pragmatic use for such a weapon.

        • meatdonut says:

          People use several different types of weapons for home defense.  Pistols are compact (which matters) but are much less powerful than rifles and shotguns.  Long guns (rifles and shotguns) are much easier to aim under stressful situations.  Shotguns are often recommend for home defense and have their own pluses and minuses.  Personally, I keep a shotgun handy for things that go bump in the night (though in my neighborhood I’ll probably never have to use it).

          AR-15′s shoot the .223/5.56 NATO cartridge.  It is fairly weak as far as rifle rounds go.  For some context, it’s barely adequate for deer hunting.  The gun itself is fairly small and light.  With correct ammo choice I hear it’s perfectly suitable for in-home duty.

          • wysinwyg says:

            Long guns (rifles and shotguns) are much easier to aim under stressful situations.

            Hmm, not sure that this seems very plausible to me.  But I don’t know a great deal about guns so I won’t argue the point.

            Notice I didn’t mention power at all.  I realize that assault rifles assault-style rifles usually use rounds without a lot of stopping power.  One more reason why it seems to me that pistols and shotguns are the better weapons for home defense and that the main benefit of owning an AR-15 is “OMG look how cool it is!”

            And since I am many kinds of geek I understand that sentiment entirely, I’m just frustrated that most gun owners can’t seem to admit to it.

          • meatdonut says:

             Ah, ok, I’ll admit that lots of gun owners buy things because they look cool (or that’s the gun from CoD!).  But the main non-utilitarian draw to the AR-15 is it’s very customizable.  There’s a huge industry around add-on accessories for this gun.  It’s kind of the Honda Civic of the gun industry.

            You should go shoot one.  I don’t like them but it’s good to understand something before you rail against it.

          • wysinwyg says:

             I don’t believe I have “railed against it.”  I think I’ve asked questions relevant to whether there’s actually a pragmatic use to such weapons.

      • majorhappy says:

        “Things mislabeled as “assault rifles” such as an AR-15″

        With the right, legal “Bump Fire” stock, you can get a civilian AR-15 can fire a full 800 rounds a minute!

        http://www.slidefire.com

        In most states, you can legally get not only high-capacity clips, but full-on belt feed bolt-on ammo buckets.  

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=i2zGcMipD54

        “Assault rifle” indeed.  An AR-15 is a full on machine gun.  Anyone who tells you different isn’t accessory shopping at the right gun shows.

        • meatdonut says:

           I was aware of both those components but had never seen them combined in action.  Entertaining.

          It’s worth noting that you could make slidefire stocks and belt-feed adapters for many types of semi-auto rifles.  The AR-15 is just popular enough to justify the marketing of such items.  This is my original point, you’re just harping on one particular firearm that just happens to be popular an in “common use”.

  12. brainflakes says:

    Guns don’t kill people rappers do,

    Ask any politician and they’ll tell you its true,

  13. “video games is a bigger problem than guns, because video games affect people”

    Well, I suppose a good and traditional shoot to the face would somewhat affect him, but I’m quite sure he would blame Professor Layton or Phoenix Wright for that!

  14. Erik Sandberg says:

    The biggest problem are subject verb agreement

  15. Dave Delisle says:

    You can pry my NES Zapper from my cold, dead hands.

  16. And this my friends will go down in the long list of dumbest things said publicly by politicians.

    I counter propose, idiocy is a problem because it affects politicians.

  17. jkonrath says:

    That explains the huge rash of deadly disk murders around 30 years ago when the Tron video game first came out.

    • nowimnothing says:

      Ah the Summer of Tron killings, I remember it well. Those maniacs running around with razor blades duct-taped to frisbees…

      I saw one guy dragging 30 feet of chain link fence behind his motorcycle on the 101.

      • quori says:

         this made me laugh so damn hard. Thank you jkonrath & nowImnothing for this. I read this story and heard this fool’s comments a couple days ago. I have not stopped chaking my head in dismay.

    • Felton / Moderator says:

      Not to mention the Dig Dug bicycle pump massacre.

    • IronEdithKidd says:

      The only thing that game made me want to kill was the game itself.

  18. dragonfrog says:

    Well technically it’s true.  Guns affect bullets.  Bullets recently under the effect of guns can have a significant effect on people, but you can’t blame the gun for that.

  19. MrJM says:

    Do you naively think it’s just a coincidence that the planet’s gorilla population plunged after the introduction of Donkey Kong?

    Open your eyes people!!1!

  20. Magill Foote says:

    Relevant:
     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC03hmS1Brk

  21. Kevin Pierce says:

    Lamar Alexander’s 2008 re-election campaign collected $9,900 from the NRA — so the answer is to just outspend them – start the Violent Video Games PAC and outspend the NRA.  

    For a mere $10K, VVG-PAC can have this schmuck in their pocket.

  22. Bearpaw01 says:

    Shorter Lamar Alexander: “I like pizza!”

  23. James Holmes says:

    There was an article in Scientific American recently about how first-person shooters “can sharpen our focus, reasoning and decision-making skills”. Which, anecdotally, makes sense to me, so I don’t really see anything that far off from the statement “video games affect people”. Because, well, they do… 

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-video-games-change-brain

    • SomeGuyNamedMark says:

      Obviously he isn’t referring to sharpened skills, he is referring to violent behavior.

      • James Holmes says:

        Surely, if games can modify behavior in positive ways, then surely it can affect some non-trivial percentage of the population in a negative way. Like running, for the most part getting physical activity will improve the quality of life of most poeple. However, for some people that are predisposed to bad knees or are severely overweight, running can cause way more harm than good. Unless you are attempting to suggest that all people are affected the same by all things….

  24. anansi133 says:

    Gabrielle Giffords

  25. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    I’m convinced that Democratic party operatives have infiltrated the RNC.  There is no other way to explain their self destructiveness.

  26. Ed Mar says:

    OK, so let me see what you’re after, Senator.

    You don’t want to piss off your gun rights activist friends, so guns aren’t the problem.

    You don’t want to fix or touch the mental health care disaster in this country because that would piss off the Tea Party types already incensed with the healthcare initiatives passing, so that’s not the issue, either.

    Right, time to bring out the straw horse….

  27. Christopher says:

    So when Tennessee state senator Stacey Campfield–who’d sponsored and vigorously defended a bill to allow people to carry concealed weapons in bars–was caught driving drunk with a loaded gun in his car video games were to blame.

    He also says he “forgot” that the gun was in his car. I guess video games are to blame for that too.

  28. RaidenDaigo says:

    Why isn’t the second amendment protecting my right to carry ninja arms? Sharp shiryukens, nunchucks, sais, tonfas, feet and hand claws are illegal in many states and no one is crying a river for them. At least in California I can openly carry my ninja wakizashi.

    • dmc10 says:

      I’m guessing it’s a rhetorical question, but it’s all about the money. If the NRA profited as much from martial arts weapon supplies as they did gun manufacturers, I guarantee they would be talking about it. The NRA I don’t think cares about gun ownership per se, they care about guns as a money making enterprise that fills their coffers and garners them political power.

  29. mat says:

    I’m certain I killed more people in video games than I did with guns.
    Point goes to him.

  30. take the guns from this children and smack their asses

  31. Oscar Aird says:

    An image I threw together in response to Lamar Alexander’s nonsense. Hope it tickles your fancy. 

  32. dmc10 says:

    If it weren’t for my wife’s family being here in the US, I really think I’d prefer to return to Canada (my birthplace). Of course Canada isn’t perfect, but it just seems more sane. While there’s many good people and things here in the US, the gun culture, anti-intellectualism, and religious right crazies (rape is gods will, rape victims don’t get pregnant) just make me really hate living here some days. 

  33. Hanglyman says:

    I don’t know a single person aged 35 or younger, even those who despise video games, that would take this seriously. Maybe it’s time to start pushing for younger senators. What good is all the valuable experience they’ve supposedly built up over years of politics if they’re completely out of touch with modern-day reality?

    • IronEdithKidd says:

      You’re lowballing the age at which Alexander’s complete bullshit is detected.  I’d say at least 40, if not 45.  

  34. euansmith says:

    Kill Mario!

  35. 96mouchoirs says:

    Do people actually take what comes out this senator’s mouth sincerely (or any senator’s for that mater)? Their job is to sway opinion and tow the line.  But then to religiously cling to the notion that shoot-’em-up video games have no negative influence on society is itself equally upsetting to witness for being so absolutely reactionary. Nietzsche would be proud. Unlike some sites one of which I won’t have to mention here because that would be just redundant, Mindhacks had a rather balanced treatment  … http://mindhacks.com/2012/12/31/in-other-news-behind-the-video-game-scare/

    • eldritch says:

      Do video games have a substantial negative influence on society? Perhaps. We’ve yet to see any scrap of scienfitic evidence to support such a concept, but it is at least possible.

      That said, you can’t cherry pick your media. How are violent video games any worse than violent cinema, or television, or music, or books? Are we going to examine the negative influence of every form of violent media and act against them all? Who is going to be in charge of deciding what constitutes violent content, or what kinds and amounts of violent content are acceptable or not? Who is going to enforce censoring of such content, and in what manner, and with what oversight? It gets very unmanageable, very quickly.

      More relevant, however, is the effect guns have on society. It’s hardly difficult to see clear and obvious examples in ordinary places, but if you need ones that are utterly uncontestable, look at major wars. The rearmament of Germany after the First World War directly factored into the unfolding of the Second World War. The arms race between the USA and the USSR during the Cold War absolutely helped negatively shape those two societies. The ubiquitous availability of cheap firearms such as the AK-47 has directly enabled many of the 20th century’s worst regional conflicts, massacres, genocides, and terrorism. There is no debating that guns have a substantial negative impact on society.

  36. E D says:

    Someone only needs to point to Japan and Singapore. Two of the most deeply embedded video game cultures on earth. 0 school shootings.

  37. xian says:

    I think he has a point, children all around the world suffer from nasty sore thumbs and sometimes even blisters from too much gaming.

  38. rocketpjs says:

    I suppose I might have drawn a line from my enjoyment of Super Mario back in the 80s and my willingness to each magical mushrooms a few years later.  But probably not.

  39. Lee Pierce says:

    May we please have psychological evaluations and a 30 day waiting period before Senators are allowed to hold office or even speak out loud.

  40. RElgin says:

    Senator Alexander has long been an embarrassment to the state of Tennessee, thus this is no surprise to hear him spout scientifically unsubstantiated contentions.  This only makes me wonder how poor the choices are, in Tennessee, for the senate.

    • Christopher says:

      In the last election the Democrat running for the position of one of Tennessee’s senators was a conspiracy theorist named Mark Clayton.  He only won the primary because no one was paying attention, and was disavowed by the Tennessee Democratic party.

      Lamar Alexander’s remarks are an excellent demonstration of what happens when a single party lacks any kind of organized opposition.

  41. Mary Mac says:

    Republican senator: “seantors are a bigger problem than guns, because senators affect people by being bat shit crazy.”

  42. Lee Pierce says:

    Good Example of Gun Use by an Average Citizen:
    My ex mother-in-law called me and said she had a squirrel in her attic.  (She has lot’s of squirrels in her attic but this was a real one.)  She wanted to know if she used her shotgun in the attic to kill the squirrel did I forsee any issues with local law enforcement.  I said, “Possibly, but you will absolutely fix the ventilation issues in your roof and ceiling.” Maybe there should be mandatory training just to own a gun.

  43. Felton / Moderator says:

    I’d say this excellent recent post from Maggie is relevant here.

  44. Luther Blissett says:

    Meanwhile: GPS kills.
    http://mashable.com/2013/01/30/man-shot-gps/
    Just another thing with a screen to blame.

  45. Robert Lizak says:

    Question:  If video games lead to violence, why are national rates of adolescent violent crimes decreasing or staying level over the last 20 years while game sales continue to increase?  (Reference: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/stats_at-a_glance/vca_temp-trends.html and http://www.theesa.com/facts/salesandgenre.asp )

  46. kieran smith says:

    sounds like there needs to be a new amendment - The right to keep and play games.

    Pry my controller from my cold dead hands?

  47. No one ever calls out lying politicians in an effective way.

    Ask him to name the studies on which he is basing his opinion. 

  48. MrJM says:

    When you can’t win an argument based on the facts, claim that a conspiracy to make your side look like fools is the reason you can’t win the argument?

    Got it!

  49. Crashproof says:

    We’re all still waiting for a Republican to say something intelligent about guns or video games.

  50. anansi133 says:

    Right, it’s not as if this particular republican was in any sort of position of authority or power, not like his dumb ideas have any connection to the law of the land…

     We pesky liberals exist purely to spoil your fun. It’s not like we’re actually invested in having safe streets or a livable environment. Our only function in life is to pester conservatives!

     Problem is, in order to win a debate, we’d need to actually have an exchange of ideas. If our opponents keep sticking their fingers in their ears pretending they can’t hear us, then they can always claim we are unfairly dominating the field.

    You can’t imagine the debates I’d rather be having, far more interesting than this one.But  when children are being gunned down in their classrooms, something is going to change. And I just don’t see kindergarten teachers showing up for work with holstered sidearms. So if you’ve got something to say besides “I’m rubber and you’re glue”, this is a great place to try.

  51. wysinwyg says:

    You do realize BB routinely runs stories criticizing the Obama administration on whistle-blower prosecutions, federal drug policy, drone strikes, various war on terror issues, federal policy on intellectual property, and a lot of other stuff besides, right?

    Liberals don’t vote democrat because they like democrats.  They vote democrat because republicans scare the shit out of us and democrats are slightly less scary.

  52. sisyphus321 says:

    So you’re drawing an equivalence between rape victims and gun owners? Creating and enforcing laws for responsible gun ownership = raping gun owners?

    Screw you.

  53. wysinwyg says:

     And you’d probably be right.  There’s not really a contradiction where you’re hunting for one.

    I don’t think anyone’s saying media including video games don’t influence behavior.  I think what people are saying is that guns influence behavior more (usually by preventing any kind of behavior besides decomposition).

  54. chgoliz says:

    That’s why so many conservatives voted for Democrats in this last election, too.

  55. IronEdithKidd says:

    Expand jeffrey’s profile.  That is all. 

  56. kringlebertfistyebuns says:

    What the presence of a gun does is provide someone who is already badly screwed up the option to exercise their impulses in a lethal fashion.  That’s it.  

    For those who are unstable, guns can provide false bravery and a real retributive power against the objects of their ire, real or imagined.

    However, the unstable have to “get there” somehow.  If you’re already messed in the head, are exposed to endless casual violence, then given access to lethal weapons, the end result is fairly predictable.

    How do you address that without making it unreasonably, unfairly more difficult for not-dangerous people to exercise their rights, whether that right is to play a game, watch a movie or TV show, or own a firearm?

  57. wysinwyg says:

    1. I’d bet significant money that most gun violence is not perpetrated by people with diagnosable mental illness.
    2. I don’t believe that violent media are significant contributors to mental illness.
    3. I don’t believe that calling something a “right” gives an argument any more moral force than calling it a “wampeter” or a “flarg”.  If you think there’s a moral argument justifying the ownership of firearms then make that argument.  (You’d probably agree with this position if you were arguing against someone who thought they had a right not to be offended or something.)

    I don’t think anything I’m suggesting makes it the least bit more difficult to play a game or watch TV or movies.  I think it should be difficult to own a firearm because firearms are deadly weapons.

  58. wysinwyg says:

     Yes, I should know better by now.  Thanks.

  59. kringlebertfistyebuns says:

    1.  Please note I said “unstable” and “screwed up,” not “possessed of a diagnosable mental illness.”  I think it’s a continuum of behavior and modes of thought.  

    Seems to me that anyone who could pump 11 bullets into a 6-year-old at close range (as in Newtown) would  qualify as disordered.

    Whether it’s through mental defect/disease, poor socialization, social conditioning, or a combination of those factors, SOMETHING is causing these people to commit these awful mass murders.

    Unless you’re suggesting they’re just plain evil, that is.  

    Certainly you aren’t saying their behavior falls within “normal” parameters?  

    2.  Mental illness?  Probably not.  At most, violent media exacerbate existing problems.  

    But does overexposure to violent media produce a desensitization to violence, with a corresponding lack of empathy?  Or an increased likelihood of viewing violence as a viable means of problem-solving?  That seems far more likely to me.

    3.  All individuals have the inherent right of self-defense.  This is self-evident.  That right applies whether the aggressor being defended against is another individual, an invading army, or one’s own government gone badly awry.  Guns are a means to exercise that right.  Whether the defense is ineffectual (as some contend it would be against infantry) is not germane.

    Gun owners (and even people who don’t own guns I’d imagine) are more than a little suspicious of gun registration and licensing because in the hands of the wrong people, a gun registry could easily facilitate confiscation.  

    Is it LIKELY that such an event would occur?  Probably not.  Yet here we are arguing about making laws in response to a different statisically unlikely event.  

  60. wysinwyg says:

    Seems to me that anyone who could pump 11 bullets into a 6-year-old at close range (as in Newtown) would  qualify as disordered.

    You guys can either argue:
    A) mass murderers contribute almost nothing to the murder rate and therefore we shouldn’t change gun laws on their account or:
    B) only crazy people do bad things with guns so we just need to keep the guns away from crazy people.
    But you can’t have it both ways.  I’m not talking about Adam Lanza, I’m talking about the vast majority of homicides by firearm.

    Certainly you aren’t saying their behavior falls within “normal” parameters? 

    When did you stop beating your wife?  I never said anything remotely resembling that.  Not sure why you’d imply I did.

    But does overexposure to violent media produce a desensitization to violence, with a corresponding lack of empathy?  Or an increased likelihood of viewing violence as a viable means of problem-solving?  That seems far more likely to me.

    There’s no evidence for either as far as I know, but feel free to correct me if you have any.

    Whether the defense is ineffectual (as some contend it would be against infantry) is not germane.

    From a cost/benefit analysis perspective it is absolutely germane.  If owning guns puts you at some risk but cannot plausibly guard you against other risks then it’s a net negative.  If owning guns puts others at risk )and it does) then it is in the interest of society to regulate gun ownership.

    Yet here we are arguing about making laws in response to a different statisically unlikely event. 

    You are the one talking about Adam Lanza.  I am not.

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