Ignoring The Problem

Not letting a "crisis" go to waste, Utah's sole Democrat in DC (Jim Matheson) wants to supplant the free market and parents when it comes to video gaming.

Rep. Jim Matheson has tried for years to require ratings on video games and levy steep fines for selling them to underage kids, and recent debate on the games’ influence on gun violence could finally propel the measure out of committee.

Matheson on Tuesday reintroduced his legislation, which would also force stores to post an explanation of the ratings system for customers to see.

Striking while the emotional iron is hot,Rep. Matheson is again advancing a bill the has failed to garner support for over 6 years.

The Utah Democrat first introduced the measure in 2006 and has subsequently tried to push it in every session since, though the legislation has never earned a hearing.

This is what the bill intends to do....

The bill, as proposed, sets a fine of $5,000 for selling, renting or shipping a video game without a rating displayed on the outside of the box or sale of an "adult"-rated game to a child under 18. Sales of "mature" games to kids under 17 would also be subject to that fine.

Except for the fines, though, the Entertainment industry has already SELF regulated and formed ratings and standards for selling rated games.  Rep. Matheson's legislation would mandate that game stores post the ratings definitions when parents can see it, but the industry already does that - on every game box that they rate.  The information is there for parents to see CLEARLY already.  

Of course the SL Tribune, couldn't resist the urge to take a swipe the the real progressive boogey man in this debate (and by proxy Rep. Matheson as well).

After the massacre of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Conn., some gun-control opponents — including the gun lobby — have pointed to violent video games and entertainment as a possible catalyst of such rampages.

"And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people," NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said at a news conference in December, "through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse."

Matheson, who was endorsed by the NRA, makes a similar point, saying the some games are shocking and troublesome.

Emphasis mine.  Because apparently standing up for your rights is now lobbying.....

But like every other piece of misguided legislation that has been discussed since Newtown, it takes a big sweeping side step around the 500 pound gorilla in the room - mental health.  No one wants to discuss the fact that the shooters in all of these recent mass shootings (going back to the Virginia Tech shootings) have all had a history of or displayed symptoms of some sort of mental illness.  Most of them were not being treated, even though their history of prior disturbing behavior had been pointed out repeatedly to mental health officials.

We are never going to completely rid ourselves of these kinds of incidents - because people intent on hurting others will find a way to do what the want to do by legal or illegal means, but we can greatly reduce the number if we can ever get the already overwhelmed mental health industry out of treating eating disorders and into treating people like Jared Lee Loughner, James Holmes, Adam Lanza and Seung-Hui Cho - people who have real mental health issues.

Controlling the tools, will not stop the disturbed mind bent on violence - it will only kick the can down the road while making the appearance of "doing something".....a trait Congress has gotten really good at of late.

Written by LL.