As part of the fallout from the high school shooting in Florida, Alabama’s 1st District Congressman, Republican Bradley Byrne, has announced that the House needs to come together in order to apply regulation and some form of censorship against violent video games and violent media content. Byrne explained that he understands that media is protected under the First Amendment, but believes that some form of censorship will be necessary to protect America’s “young men”.
Yellowhammer News is reporting that during a town hall meeting, Byrne unequivocally stated…
“It bothers me every time I see one of these video games, or one of these movies or television shows, that we’ve allowed to get violence to the point of where it’s a fantasy. Violence has been fantasized and that feeds into the immature minds of young men.”
Before getting into the rhapsody about censorship and regulation, Byrne first took jabs at Google and Facebook, stating that the social media sites have been “irresponsible” in allowing the facilitation of spreading violent media content, saying…
“We’ve got people who make billions of dollars in this country off of feeding that to our young people,”
“I think that we’re going to have to have a hard look in Congress, and we already are, at what’s happening on all of these websites and all of these digital platforms like Google and Facebook and all of that. I think they have been irresponsible.”
The Yellowhammer report states that a neighbor of Nicholas Cruz told them that he played violent video games and that all the killing in games may have been a factor in the shooting that took place at the high school in Parkland, Florida. This is despite the fact that multiple research reports and university studies have more often than not shown that video games don’t turn people into killers and do not greatly desensitize them to real life violence.
According to Byrne, he claims that he’s not about restricting First Amendment rights anymore than restricting the Second Amendment and that he’s firmly against any kind of gun control whatsoever.
Even still, Byrne states that something has to be done about video game violence and violent media content, even if it means encroaching on the First Amendment…
“I think we do have a right in government to go to them and say ‘we’re going to regulate you so that you don’t harm American society and the American public. I do think there are things that we can legitimately, legally, and constitutionally do with some of these platforms that are basically putting stuff out there that’s like poison for young minds.”
“I’m not for trampling first amendment rights any more than I’m for trampling second amendment rights,”
[…] “We’ve got to talk about how the glorification of violence, the fantasy of violence, is infecting young minds. And it’s infecting young minds to the extent that some of them are willing to go off and do what this kid did.”
Byrne is mirroring the statements of his fellow Republican cohorts, including President Donald Trump, who have also put the blame on video games as well. Republicans have nearly all gone in lock-step to call for regulation on violence in media, and have already put a bill on the table to add higher taxation to violent video games.
While video games are protected under the First Amendment after a Supreme Court ruling in 2011. However, Yellowhammer points out that Republicans will be looking to add regulation by classifying content in video games they deem inappropriate under non-protected speech deemed “obscene”, “slanderous” or promoting “child pornography”.
As some of you know, Australia’s Classification Board and Germany’s USK ratings board have both denied ratings to many Japanese games under the purview that games that have characters of questionable age are the equivalent of promoting under-age sexual objectification. In result, many Japanese games are not available for retail sale in Germany or Australia. So it’s not impossible that game taxation could be applied under the application of certain games being classified by government as “obscene”.
(Thanks for the news tip Lyle)
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