Louisiana Politician Defends Failed Video Game Law

May 10, 2007 -
There have been a number of efforts to legislate video games around the country in recent years. All have failed on constititutional grounds, but one stands out as a complete embarrassment for its governmental backers - Louisiana's 2006 fiasco.

The bill was authored by game-hatin' Miami attorney Jack Thompson and sponsored by Democrat Roy Burrell (seen at left with Thompson). When the resulting statute was struck down by a Federal District Court earlier this year, Judge James Brady was unsparing in his criticism of the Louisiana legislative process that produced the video game law.

In today's edition of the Shreveport Times, Burrell pens an op-ed defending his efforts in regard to the failed video game law. In the piece he terms the video game industry "predatory" and writes:
I am offended The Times and one federal judge would question state legislators' commitment, integrity and legal knowledge... Like me, during the legislative process, legislators never knew they would vote unanimously on HB 1381, only to have it struck down by a federal district judge, then publicly criticized by him and the media for doing their legislative duty.

The unsuspected cost of $100,000 to taxpayers for legal fees is but a small price paid to save the life of just one child, given the many killed or maimed, linked to the mind-altering harmful ultra-violent video games...

One expert, Pat Brown, a national top criminal profiler and parent, said that these video games are causing our children to become psychopathic killers by 9 years old. Others, such as Dr. Phil McGraw (psychologist), Bill O'Reilley (Fox news), professor James Alan Fox (criminal justice expert) and Candice DeLong (retired FBI profiler) echoed similar sentiments.

GP: Notably missing from the "experts" cited by Burrell: bill author Jack Thompson. And, Bill O'Reilly? Please...

It's also interesting to note that during Burrell's testimony before the Louisiana legislature while his bill was under consideration, two games he mentioned specifically were the racist, anonymously distributed web game Border Patrol and Kingdom of Loathing, a free online game in which stick figures do battle. Neither is a product of the "predatory" video game industry he cites. What's more, neither would have been affected in any way by his bill, which addressed games sold at retail.

That Burrell would cite those games as examples in support of his legislation indicates that he either didn't understand what he was regulating, or was attempting to sensationalize the issue in order to whip up support for his bill. However one parses that, Judge Brady got it right when he wrote:
The court is dumbfounded that the attorney general and the state are in the position of having to pay taxpayer money as attorneys fees and costs in this lawsuit... In this court’s view the taxpayers deserve more from their elected officials.

Comments

"linked to the mind-altering harmful ultra-violent video games…"

"One expert, Pat Brown, a national top criminal profiler and parent, said that these video games are causing our children to become psychopathic killers by 9 years old."

I guess i have to take a shot of prozium and stop playing computerised EC-10 content to prevent violent psychopathic urges...

mind's apparently too altered from 9 years of gaming despite being completely docile.

He doesn't seem to grasp why the bill was struck down, nor does he get that it's his job to research whatever he's writing a bill about, at least enough to determine whether the experts he's consulting are actually experts. For instance, what's Bill O'Reilly's qualification? He's not a sociologist or anything similar and seems to barely know what a video game is. Having a TV show doesn't make him an expert on all social issues.

(in his yosimiety sam voice) I hates anti video game poloticans

Ace of Sevens:

But gawsh dernit, he's on TV.

I said it before and I will say it again.

DECLARE WAR ON INCOMPETENCE

Like me, during the legislative process, legislators never knew they would vote unanimously on HB 1381, only to have it struck down by a federal district judge, then publicly criticized by him and the media for doing their legislative duty.

I'm pretty sure the judge's point in his criticism was that that you should have known that it would be struck down by a federal judge on grounds of constitutionality concerns. Especially as several very similar laws have been struck down already.

The unsuspected cost of $100,000 to taxpayers for legal fees ...

The other point of the judge and the media was that the cost of $100,000 in legal was very easily suspected. The striking down of similar laws had already resulted in legal fees in the hundreds of thousands to their creators. The only reason this one wasn't higher is that the AG knew when to cut his losses.

@nekojin

I think all the represntatives have to be there for a vote to commence, however Jack Thompson was there spouting off lies half-truths, and other less then admirable tactics.

"...mind-altering harmful ultra-violent video games..."

Jesus! How many adjectives do you need? If a politician needs to prove a point, this isn't the way to do it. Parents will think "mind-altering? harmful? ULTRA-VIOLENT? I better protect my kids from this garbage!"

"I am offended The Times and one federal judge would question state legislators’ commitment, integrity and legal knowledge… "

Actually if you really think about it, not blindly accepting what politicians tell you is a trait to be admired (although never trusting politicians is bad as well). If we never questioned our government it could (and probably would) easily turn into an Orwellian style dictatorship. Also I think a federal judge has more say in it, than you.

Like me, during the legislative process, legislators never knew they would vote unanimously on HB 1381, only to have it struck down by a federal district judge, then publicly criticized by him and the media for doing their legislative duty."

If you think politicians (or anyone for that matter) are exempt from criticism you are sadly mistaken (and completely oblivious to the times might I add). And might I add that the judge also has a legislative duty to protect our civil rights, even if you could prove video games are harmful he'd still be obligated to protect our free speech (don't quote me on this though).

"The unsuspected cost of $100,000 to taxpayers for legal fees is but a small price paid to save the life of just one child, given the many killed or maimed, linked to the mind-altering harmful ultra-violent video games…"

He he not grasped that since the bill never passed not one child has been "saved" by the bill and that it really was a waste of money? The only way you could say that the money was not wasted was if some progress was made against the video game "issue", but since the bill never made it the end result was 0 progress, unless it was a trial and error kind of thing but since similar bills have failed this excuse does not work.

"One expert, Pat Brown, a national top criminal profiler and parent, said that these video games are causing our children to become psychopathic killers by 9 years old."

Name me ONE psychopathic killer 9 year old, just one.

"Others, such as Dr. Phil McGraw (psychologist), Bill O’Reilley (Fox news), professor James Alan Fox (criminal justice expert) and Candice DeLong (retired FBI profiler) echoed similar sentiments."

And yet others with similar credibilities have said the exact opposite. Why should they be ignored? Or is it that you are purposely leaving them out to give the illusion of consesus amongst the well educated?

Won't someone PLEASE think of the children?!

whats next? quoting the onion?

If any of you are wondering, Burrell is responding to this article on the Shreveport Times:

http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070422/OPINI...

Kingdom of Loathing taught me the dark arts of Pastamancery, how to steal accordians, and why it is important to get falling-down drunk every night.

We all know that puns and pop-culture references are the true reason for the downfall of modern society. This game should be taken off the store shelves. Oh... riiiiight.

He uses the words ultra-violent. Guess who he just got off the phone with?

looks like there are people dumb enough to believe jack.

That starts to make you wonder where the line between "violent" and "ultra-violent" is. Obviously, it's only "violent" if you kill someone in a manner that isn't bloody, like strangulation. But what if someone dies because his head explodes? Does it matter how it's done? A Half-Life Headcrab, a laser rifle, or a good old .44? Are those all "ultra-violent"?

And who gets to decide what category games are put into? Is graphic mutilation of a stick figure even really worthy of the label, "violent"?

Best bit is, Kingdom of Loathing is a text adventure, it's not even animated.

http://www7.kingdomofloathing.com/static.php?id=whatiskol

The horror that is corrupting our youth, according to Politicians.....

Says it all really, doesn't it?

UNSUSPECTED $100,000?

The only thing unsuspected about that is that it was that low.

@Devr

I think they just saw the words in Doom and it Stuck.

Or at least it makes me think of that.

Burrell sound a lot like our friendly Florida lawyer, exept he is actually speaking somewhat coherent (just barely). Maybe JT is emitting some kind of radiation that slowly turns the people into himself. How much exposure do you think Mr. Burrell has recived?

So is this one of Jack's "experts"?

...A Democrat cites Bill O'Reilly as a reliable source?

I think Joe Lieberman just made a friend.

It's ok to use the constitution as toilet paper because Dr. Phil said so.

I'm glad that one of the people who the ignorant vote (and massacre) chasers misquote or attribute false statements to in an attempt to push their own agenda, has had the decency to stand up and say "No, that is not what I said, you are wrong."

I wish that the APA would chase down every instance where Jack Thompson has stated that they found a direct causal link between violent video games and print/declare a correction. They responded on GP before explaining what they really found, a casual correllation that only proved that playing a violent game made some people more aggressive (as football, or basketball or even Bible fragments also do). Maybe they are not aware of it (which is hard to believe as Thompson sends out so many press releases). If not, then this should be brought to their attention, and at the very least they should contact Jack Thompson and explain to him how he is wrong. But then again, that would only prove that they are part of the grand conspiracy, along with the Florida Bar, Take Two, Blank Rome, Area 51, the Smurfs, etc.

While the correction is satisfying to see, I still believe Mr Brown to be wrong in one respect. He states at the end "For this reason, we would be remiss as a society to ignore this public health hazard that has gotten so far out of hand."
Violent video games are not a public health hazard, never mind one that has gotten "out of hand". If they were a health hazard there would be proof! Not stated opinions, or biases, but actual proof. Which to this date does not, and is never likely to, exist.

I dont get it, you would think that Jack has already done and said some very stupid stuff that you cant actually believe.

I often say with this guy: "Ok NOW i've seen everything" Then he gets to another court and says something even worse. I thought he couldnt get more stupid but aparently there is no wall he cant take down.

If it is true that Americas IQ is going down, this guy must be like 75% of the IQ drop.

If he wants to "save the children" he must first look to his own, they must have comited suicide by now either by boredom or embarrasment of their father.

"I am offended The Times and one federal judge would question state legislators’ commitment, integrity and legal knowledge… Like me, during the legislative process, legislators never knew they would vote unanimously on HB 1381, only to have it struck down by a federal district judge, then publicly criticized by him and the media for doing their legislative duty."

OMFG STFU NOOB!!!!!1111

u got fkin pwned nao gtfo an nevar tri 2 maek a lhaw agin.

lol u fukin suk nub.

madness?!?

this is LOUISIANA!!!!!!1!!2

Burrell is really talking out of his ass here. How do I know? Because one of the experts he cited, James Alan Fox, had appeared on national TV in the wake of the VT shootings. AT NO TIME did Fox ever say video games - or popular cutlure for that matter - were a factor. Fox was actually one of the more reasonable people who was leaning more towards holding the killer as responsible for his own actions. So either Burrell's memory is faulty or he's willfuly making stuff up.

"mind altering"????

hmmm... maybe that explains it... Forget games-as-porn, next stop: games-as-narcotic!

mind altering. What does that even mean?

Burrell is now chasing the waaaaaaaaambulance...instead of being honest and upfront about his failed attempt at passing unconstitutional legislation.

I honestly can't tell whether these are Burrell's true convictions or if he is Jack's masterpiece, the full extent of his truth-twisting. Either way, he's completely out of touch with reality.

@Grahamr

First off, that was very funny and very true. Second, gah, l337-speak! My eyes! MY EYES!!!

Has anyone read Pat Brown's correction that he just wrote to the Shreveport Times ? Here is it :

"Dear Rep. Burrell,

While I agree with your concerns and approve heartily of working to legislate control over violent video games, I need to correct the quote you attributed to me that these video games create psychopaths by age nine. Violent video games alone cannot create a psychopath. What I have stated often in television interviews is that a psychopath is already a psychopath by age nine. It is a combination of personality and childrearing (by the family and community) that help create that psychopath. Video games can be a part of this picture as they lend to the loss of empathy that is a hallmark of psychopathy and young children viewing repetitive violence and participating in "killing" via video games are living in an unhealthy psychological environment. Furthermore, teenagers who are already psychopathic and then spend a great deal of time with violent video games are being inspired to act out their psychopathy in a similarly violent manner.

Violent video games do not make well-adjusted older teens or adults into mass murderers (although there still could be more positive pasttimes and inputs for these game playng individuals). Unfortunately, however, we must be our brother's keeper in a civilized society and just because not all people will be damaged by these video games, enough of our vulnerable young children and emotionally disturbed teens will indeed be affected (and consequentally become a danger). For this reason, we would be remiss as a society to ignore this public health hazard that has gotten so far out of hand.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown"

It means that it warps your mind and makes you do stuff.

This basically sounds like he's going up on a pedestal and screaming "They're being mean to me!" like a 5 year old.

AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A FREAKIN' DEMOCRAT, OY! I hope you end up getting cursed by Oyashiro-sama (see Higurashi no Naku Koro ni on YouTube) and get "taken away" by Ogres, oy. Or Jack Thompson must have the Geass eye (see Code Geass) to brainwash him to say that, oy.

"unsuspected cost of $100,000"

idiocracy

HAHA! I love the Pat Brown Correction. It is such a wonderful world when the experts correct those that quote them. I hope that other professionals take notice of this.

I hope that a representative of the FTC comes and corrects him too.

during the legislative process, legislators never knew they would vote unanimously on HB 1381, only to have it struck down by a federal district judge, then publicly criticized by him and the media for doing their legislative duty.


in other words, it's your duty to vote for failed and failing bills

"sabin_blitz Says:
May 10th, 2007 at 9:45 am
I honestly can’t tell whether these are Burrell’s true convictions or if he is Jack’s masterpiece, the full extent of his truth-twisting. Either way, he’s completely out of touch with reality.

@Grahamr

First off, that was very funny and very true. Second, gah, l337-speak! My eyes! MY EYES!!!"

I should have said "LOL QQ Moar nub"

When people start quoting Bill O'Reilly as a reason for doing anything, you have to question just how far they actually researched the subject matter.

From the sound of it it's like saying 'Well, all the guys down the pub said it was true, so it must have been!'. The BIll was born in Ignorance and Stereotype and passed because of the same.

The Judge was right, had these people actually researched, instead of merely being stupid enough to believe the Media-prostitutes, they would have realised just how much they were bowing to assumption and prejudice.

"The unsuspected cost of $100,000 to taxpayers for legal fees is but a small price paid to save the life of just one child..."

FREE HEALTHCARE! Oh wait..."legal fees"... :P

Funny Tye The Czar should mention Higurashi, that show messes with your mind more than GTA could hope to.

PWNED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! when will they realize they cant win.


thank god we have some people in the legal system that don't have their heads so far up their rears they cant smell the fresh air.

"given the many killed or maimed, linked to the mind-altering harmful ultra-violent video games"

Amazing facts there Mr Burrell... care to share which Florida lawyer's arse you pulled those out of?
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

So, what's the total in legal fees up to? We got $100,000 from here, so what is the total?

Actually, if the bill was unanimously passed, it raises two questions:

1.) How many Representatives were actually in session that day?

2.) How many voted for it because they KNEW it was unconstitutional and would get squashed, but voting for it would look good to Joe Average?

If only politicians had to cite their sources....

Oh, for life to be like Wikipedia...

Yup, another politician trying to prove why his failed law was good and "helped save the children" while trying to cover his rear from being kicked out of office. Weee. Glad to see this guy's putting his time and effort into something important, instead of say doing more about New Orleans reconstruction. And I'm glad to see this guy has no clue what would his legistation would stop and not stop. It just proves this guy's a waste of space, and Jack really must have given him some bad info when he wrote that legistation.

"Do not sell harmful mature video games to minors!"

Also, the video game industry sells it's games to retailers, not children. If you have a bone to pick with anyone regarding children getting their hands on unsuitable content (other than out-of-touch/uninterested parents), then bring it up with the people who ACTUALLY sell them. However, that wouldn't get him far as apparently most retail chains have been tightening up on carding younger customers.

Why do they keep using the word "ultra-violent"? IMO it just makes them sound childish and silly.
 
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