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.