Jack Thompson, who penned HB 353 (the bill pending in Utah that we asked you to help stop) has written a letter to President Obama calling for a national plan similar to the one proposed in Utah. In response to a recent tragedy in Germany where a young man shot 15 people at his former school, German and American media have linked the man’s violent actions to violence in video games. The International Herald Tribune reports that Merkel “was … considering what could be done to limit access to violent video games.”
Thompson is using this moment to call for a US national policy to limit access to video games of minors. In his letter to President Obama (reprinted in full here), he writes:
What they are now doing in Utah shows that what must be done in the United States is what is about to be done in Germany. If the video game industry will not do what is necessary to keep killer games out of the hands of impressionable kids, whom neuroscience proves are the most likely to copycat these virtual reality killing scenarios, then we must implement, as a society, a total ban on the consumption of these murder simulators by adults and kids alike.
As reported at Out-Law.com, the correlation between violent video games and actual violence is “wildly exaggerated.” That this tragedy can be linked to this individual’s playing of video games – as well as his to access to weapons and social exclusion – should not blind us to the dangerously censorious tendency to blame the game. As we pointed out in our call to action on the Utah bill, video games are fully protected by the First Amendment. Our response to this sad affair “as a society” should not be to enact a “total ban.”