Far be it from me to get political on a video game website, but…
In a move that can only be called “complete and total idiocy” or “political theatre” (or both), right-wing Neo-Con Diane Franklin (R – Camdenton), a Representative in the Missouri General Assembly’s House of Representatives, has introduced House Bill 157 to the floor, which would impose a 1% “excise tax” (read as “sin tax”) on all games rated T and above. This not only includes favorite Republican targets such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, but also games like Guitar Hero and Ultimate Card Games (rated T for “suggestive lyrics” and “simulated gambling,” respectively).
The income from the taxation, according to the language of the bill, will be used to fund “the treatment of mental health conditions associated with exposure to violent video games.” Despite the conflicting evidence that cannot establish a firm link between video games and behavior, evidence found by scientists who spend their lives researching such behaviors, the lone Representative from rural Camdenton, Missouri has decided she knows more, declaring that “history shows there is a mental health component to these shootings,” Franklin told the Associated Press.
The President of the United States today authorized the allocation of $10 million to fund more research between video games and behavior. But Representative Franklin, she doesn’t need such “scientific research.”
Other misguided lawmakers have tried to pass similar bills in locations such as Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and New Mexico, but none have come close to passage. Last month in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D – WV) proposed funding additional studies between video games and children’s behavior, but the plan could not advance. God forbid anyone tries to find actual “research.”
No matter anyone’s thoughts on gun control, the strengthening of or the argument against, attacking video games in such a blanket manner is far off the target. This isn’t even an issue of focusing on the symptoms and not the sickness, this isn’t even focusing on the symptoms. It’s a clear and blatant swipe at the video game industry. Franklin, the single Representative from the city of Camdentown (population: 3,718), is conducting an abysmal form of political circus, trying to take the heat off the National Rifle Association – whom she enjoys the political backing of – and attacking an already-beatdown video game & electronic entertainment industry.
If, as a gamer, you are adequately outraged (and you should be), let Representative Franklin (pictured at right) know what you think of House Bill 157 by telephoning her office at (573) 751-1119 or by emailing at Diane.Franklin@house.mo.gov.