Where was I? Oh yeah, Jack Thompson's an ass.
To me, the idiocy of using religion to promote government action on violent and obscene media is eclipsed only by the outright hypocrisy of it, without even getting into the whole "Separation of Church and State" debate. But before we get into that, let's take a look at the issues being fought.
According to Mr. Thompson, violent video games are "simulators" for destructive behaviors, and argues that in every instance of school shootings, the kids involved are found to be video gamers, therefore it must be the games driving them to this behavior. Wow.... there's a thought, kid's playing video games! Who'd have thought? Using this kind of ass-backwards asinine logic is like saying "We interviewed 10 crackheads, and found that, astonishingly, ALL ten were jobless! Therefore, EVERY jobless person you see on the street must be a crackhead. Or here's a simpler example... what if they did a rigorous study and found that every single kid involved in school shootings happened to really like roast beef sandwiches... would you then tell me that roast beef sandwiches drive people to kill?? That's a perfect parallel to what they're trying to tell us about video games. Perhaps Mr. Thompson forgot to ask the other 99.9% of the school population if THEY played video games, afraid he might find that, perhaps, a whopping majority of them ALSO engage in this carnal activity, without ever having the urge to blow away their classmates. How about reporting on the fact that, out of all these shootings most, if not all, of these shooters were considered "outcasts" by their peers, who were never accepted by the popular circles and usually came from broken homes or abusive parents? Why not? Because it's much harder to sue the jocks and socialites, or the parents and guardians, than a big game company. And you won't get as much media coverage. Jack Thompson is a D-level politician fighting trivial battles because he doesn't have the talent, clout, or intelligence to take on the bigger issues. He's like the big stupid bully that picks on the weaker nerds because he knows he can win, only to be laughed at and mocked when the nerd outsmarts him. How about fighting for better education? How about fighting for better family counseling? Or... oh my God, dare I say it?? How about fighting for better FUCKING GUN CONTROL LAWS!! How exactly is it fair and just to sue a game company for putting out a game (which is fictional entertainment) because some unstable lunatic can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality, but it's wrong and unconstitutional to sue A) The gun company for producing a product whose SOLE purpose is to kill, and/or B) the lazy-ass father who can't keep his "hunting" guns out of the hands of his kids? It only makes sense in the narrow-minded head of a religious fanatic. Without going too far off course, let me give you a little glimpse into the mind of a religiously-run entity: The website Christ-Centered Game Reviews is a site dedicated to rating games of all kinds based on their moral standings. Here's how they rated the "appropriateness" of the content in my favorite current game, Oblivion:
Sexual references: -4
Magic use: -5
Prejudice against other races: -1.5
Characters sleeping in their underwear:-3.5
So, to compare: Blaspheming, Swearing and Magic use gets a -5, but Violence gets a -4, and Prejudice gets a -1.5! It great to see their priorities are straight. Lets also keep in mind that 1) It's a Medieval fantasy roleplaying game, so of COURSE there's going to be some sort of violence; 2) The swearing they're referring to is made up of mostly fictional words created for the gameworld, and doesn't even begin to compare with games such as GTA or even some WWII shooters I've played; 3) The blaspheming they allude to refers to the nine in-game gods that characters worship, and not the Catholic Church's one and only God; and 4) Characters sleeping in their underwear??? Is there really a whole category just for this?? Give me a freaking break. Besides, it's not underwear as in frilly lingerie, it's like a permanent loincloth, used only when the characters aren't wearing any armor... which I would imagine is hard to sleep in. Idiots.
So the question remains: If not video games, what should these people really focus their efforts on? What is the real threat to the moral fiber of this great country...neigh, this great WORLD? Well, if these delusional fanatics and politicians were rational sorts, I would suggest things that, oh, I don't know, actually MATTERED, like the aforementioned real causes for teenage violence - the need for better education, better parental guidance, better counseling, maybe creating afterschool programs to help promote social skills; as well as the obvious things like better gun control or harder punishments for individuals responsible for putting guns in the hands of teens. Then of course there are other equally important issues with today's society, such as poverty, hunger, healthcare, etc., areas in which a real man with conviction can do some real good, things that people like Thompson wouldn't know the first thing about.
Having said that, however, I realize that these are NOT rational people, who base their actions on rational thought, and therefore we must try to think on their level to come up with a viable solution for them to support. Stay with me people, I know it's tough. (Please note the numbers used for this comparison are the most accurate I could find on the internet and may not represent exact figures, so don't sue me if I'm wrong!) I put forth the following argument: Let's assume we go strictly with the "games simulate violence and cause deaths" argument. There have been around 12 instances that I could find on the internet of deaths relating to video games, and most of them to the player him/herself due to stresses brought on by excessive playing, not behavioral modification. OK, let's round that up to 15, just to be fair. 15 deaths, in the world, EVER. NOW:
Â• According to ESPN.com, football attributed to 15 deaths in America in 2002 alone, that number having gone down from 23 the previous year. That's just players, and doesn't include the anti-social behavior it causes in fans, such as beer-chugging face-painted maniacs, violence erupting in stadiums, betting and gambling, football dads pummeling coaches and rivals' dads, etc. According to this data, it's clear football needs to be eradicated from society if we are to survive as a civilized world. Hell, wipe out ALL the major sports, better safe than sorry.
Â• According to wrongdiagnosis.com, around 98,000 people die in America each year by the actions (or inactions) of doctors. Surely a man who's 650,000 times more likely to kill you than the dreaded video game is a force to be reckoned with. Line 'em up, I say, I don't care how much good they've done, doctors are clearly a major threat.
Â• According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), 16.5 out of every 100,000 people in the U.S. were killed in an automobile accidents in 1996. That's in ONE year, PER 100,000 people, in ONE country. Obviously automobiles are also a menace, and car companies should immediately halt production.
Â• According to the CDC, approximately 438,000 people die prematurely each year due to smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Again, that's each year, in the United States alone. Why this malevolent behavior is still allowed to this day is beyond me.
And my personal favorite:
Â• According to historians, RELIGION accounts for several BILLION deaths throughout the world's history. This includes, but is not limited to: The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, The Massacre of St. Bartholomew, The Thirty Years War, Nazism, Islamic Jihads, various civil wars based on religious differences throughout the world, and general religious intolerance/fanaticism. Christianity alone makes up a huge percentage of these conflicts.
So, it seems that Mr. Thompson's platform to eliminate violent and malevolent practices turns out to be a much bigger CAUSE of it than any of the issues he fights. Which is no surprise when you think about it; If one man can fight so feverishly for such an insignificant cause in the name of religion, think of what a few, or many, or a nation, would do.
And people wonder why kids play video games to escape reality.