Monday, October 02, 2006

Who do you blame now, Jack Thompson?

Jack Thompson has been one of the most outspoken advocates of banning and censoring video games and other forms of entertainment to "protect" children from their "harmful" influence. He blames such tragedies as school shootings and teenage drug abuse on violent video games and their supposed psychological effects. Today, there was, unfortunately, a school shooting at an all-Amish high school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. In case you don't recall, the Amish reject all industrial and post-industrial technology - in other words, this kid didn't get the idea from video games.

I don't want to make light of this situation, but it does make anti-free speech advocates like Jack Thompson and Hillary Clinton look pretty dumb.

UPDATE: Apparently the shooter was not an Amish person, in which case, this is just sad and does not serve an argument.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The entertainment industry has a responsibility to the public, whether they like it or not. Hollywood in particular has enormous influence over society, and over adolescents and teens specifically. The main responsibility lies with the parents. Nice that you made the assumption the shooter in this case was Amish. It is appreciated that you made the update, but the initial error remains. Assumptions and "not my responsibility" positions do nothing but make the problem worse. What this society needs is someone with enough intestinal fortitude to accept responsibility for themselves and do the right thing, despite profit. Apparently, that won't be you...

9:14 PM  
Blogger Free American said...

What a bunch of hooey, anonymous.

People are responsible for their own actions unless coerced into doing by some 3rd party.

The test to see if any person, organization, or industry is responsible for another's illegal activities is to see if that person's, organization's or industry's actions has the same exact effect on other people 100% of the time. I'll even settle for 51% of the time.

The truth is that there is no direct connection between someone actually killing someone and a movie or video game, otherwise there'd be a lot more school shootings.

Especially when there are laws preventing the possession of the very means for preventing such occurences.

And violence statistics should have increased due only to the onset of violent entertainment, but that is not the case.

Providing ideas and coercing someone into acting are two different things.

When athletes succeed, their endorsement deals and paychecks don't go to those who inspired them.

When people shoot up schools, their "inspiration" shouldn't not get credit either.

Ironically, it's because of people like you who refuse to place the blame where it belongs, that such actions are encouraged to continue. Knowing that one can shift the blame is a powerful incentive.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous krateein said...

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20516878-2,00.html

"Dammit, we need something, ANYTHING to distract from "Page-gate", Bob Woodward's book, Iraq, and Afghanistan!" - Official White Horse Souse.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I completely agree that individuals are completely responsible for their actions. And, what applies to the individual applies to the corporations. They, too, need to accept responsiblity that their actions are influential, and have an impact. Your initial post wants to remove that responsibility from them. Everyone has their role in the way this society works. I am not shifting blame, I am holding entertainment and media responsible for the part they play.

The problem with people like me is that I have the guts to do that. Do you?

10:58 AM  
Blogger Nigel Watt said...

"First, I completely agree that individuals are completely responsible for their actions."

Since video games do not kill people, video games cannot be held responsible.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nigel, at least bring an argument to the table that I can respect instead of hiding behind "Since video games don't kill people...". Guns don't technically kill people either, and that argument is without merit as well. There is a big picture that needs to be considered before making those statements. If not, the arguments you present are one dimensional and to no benefit to anyone. If, as you present, the current trend in video games (i.e. Grand Theft Auto) or entertainment (children out of wedlock, divorce, domestic abuse, drug abuse) is not responsible, then what do you present as a solution to a seemingly growing epidemic of violence, crime and immoral behavior in today's society? Can you present a solution or are you all bark and no bite?

10:15 PM  
Blogger Nigel Watt said...

A growing tendency for people to find something else to blame, helped along by bigger and bigger government getting people out of situations which they put themselves into.

Also, do me the favor explaining why my argument is without merit, instead of simply saying it is.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I have already stated why corporations in entertainment and media have a responsiblity to the public. My first response, I believe. The content of that material is influential, and has a negative impact on the impressionable youth who suffer the imbalance of having parents that don't do their jobs. Second, I am not blaming. I already said the shooter in the Amish case was responsible for his actions. He had a responsibility to be a productive member of society and he failed. The entertainment and media industry have a responsibility to be PRODUCTIVE members of the community as well. The are failing in their responsiblity as well. That is not blame. That is holding people and organizations responsible for themselves. Limiting or eliminating sensationalist material from the marketplace won't be the end all, be all solution. But it would have an impact. It would be a start. It would help. It is the right thing to do, even if profits for big corporations suffer. Sometimes for us all, the right choice is the toughest.

I'm not sure what your big government comment means. Can you be more specific?

Finally, you simply adding a statement that says "Video games don't kill people" is a reiteration of the initial argument I responded to. Is there more to that? Since there wasn't support in your original post, it is without merit. Simply re-stating what has already been said does not solidify or justify a position. With that said, I ask again. Do you have something more? Do you have a workable solution to the state of society today? Do you have a hunch, a hankering or an idea to get us started? What can you offer besides the easy one line sound bites? If there is a workable solution aside from video game companies offering more meaningful and positive content, I'd love to hear it. Now that I have done this favor for you (again), what can you offer for me?

11:15 PM  
Anonymous dont know said...

hey anonymous to say that the companies are influencing this violence is too much because ultimately the individual can choose to not buy the product and thus not be influenced negatively.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Free American said...

jesus, do you even know the meaning of the word responsibility?

It when one's actions leads directly to a specific outcome.

Shooting someone leads to injury. Responsibility.

Saying shoot someone does not always lead to injury. No responsibility.

Even if gun companies and the entertainment industry were saying "shoot niggers" directly rather than indirectly as you would have us believe, the responsibility would squarely sit on the person pulling the trigger and not the person who invented the trigger or said pull the trigger.

That's because people have minds of their own and are able to weigh the benefits and losses of their own actions.

The only exception is when the person who says pull the trigger threatens punishment for failure to do so. Generally, that person is likely to be an agent of the government or a criminal in the most libertarian sense of the word.

You seem to think that any failure to do positive is automatically a harmful negative and thus deserving of punishment and censure. Let me assure you, that is simply not true.

That's not courage or having guts. That's ignorant aggresiveness.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Sam said...

So, free america, I guess you just love entrapment? It's, like, ok for the cops to offer you drugs so many times till you do something you wouldn't normally do, then arrest you, because, hey, they are directly telling you to do it, but, hell, why can't they? YOU did the illegal thing. All they did was... hey, wait a sec....

1:16 AM  
Blogger Free American said...

>>So, free americaN, I guess you just love entrapment?<<

How do you figure that?

>>It's, like, ok for the cops to offer you drugs<<

What does this have to do with anything?

Last I checked selling drugs is illegal (though it should not be illegal)

The reason it's called entrapment is because government should not be able to do what it prohibits individuals from doing.

I say let the cops, teletubbies, and the school marm sell drugs if they want to.

And let the users be responsible for their own well being and under-the-influence actions.

But I'm getting off track. Stay on point, "sam".

Why do you think someone else should be responsible for your actions?

Are you unable to maintain control your own mind and body?

if the answer is yes, then I understand your pessimistic views of others even if I disagree.

if the answer is no, then you think you are better than others and the world would be a better place if you were in charge. in which case, you are no better than any tyrant, past and present.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Nigel Watt said...

"sam", WTF are you talking about? I think your points were meant for "anonymous".

(By the way, when people don't have the balls to use their names and then attack viciously my positions, I don't really pay attention. At least use a plausible first name. It's not hard, and it gets you a lot more credibility.)

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Sam Thomas said...

The point I was making is of course everyone is ultimatley responsible for their actions. But coercement, when taken to a high level, can influence the minds of a lot of people. I mean, it's a little ridiculous to advertise cigarettes to teenagers or kids when they are young and impresionable, wouldn't you agree? There is no real penalty for not smoking, but by making it look cool, they can influence people to do it. But not all people grow up enough to become impervisous to peer presure from wellmade marketing campaigns or influential leaders of movments and such. Should we hold someone responsible when they wouldn't normally do something but do it because of someone else? Or should we ultimatley hold the coercer responsible? That is the point I was trying to make.

5:03 AM  
Blogger Nigel Watt said...

No. Cigarette companies should be free to advertise however they want. We are not free unless we are responsible for ourselves.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous tom said...

there is scientific evidence that persistent and relentless bombardment of a psychological idea presented at a very early age will ultimately influence the being's later views. take for instance the textbooks the Nazi's used for their children. Even simple multiplication involved pointed remarks that could transform any rational being into a cold hearted one. for example "if it costs 1000 marks a day to feed and maintain a mental patient, and only 200 marks to maintain a healthy, Arayn citizen, how much could Germany save a year if mental patients were no longer part of society?" Imagine taking that kind of psychological bombardment from the age of 3 every day of your life. Would you hold these people responsible for their negative view of mental patients?

2:25 PM  

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