We don't like video games that are excessively violent, misogynistic, or those that glorify gang members and other criminals. We wish more parents would keep these types of games away from their children.
However, we agree with Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's decision to join the legal fight against a California ban on selling violent video games to children. Shurtleff went against the opinions of Gov. Gary Herbert and others in joining a friend-of-the-court brief against the ban, which is currently tied up in court.
Shurtleff certainly is no fan of the violent games, but he understands that this is a First Amendment issue. There is no legitimate research that shows the violence in these loathsome video games hurt children. And if you can't prove that, then this issue becomes one of free speech. We need to ask ourselves: Is it right for the government to freeze speech -- in this case the video games -- because some people are offended by the violence? The answer is no.
If parental judgment can be superseded in the case of video games, what is to stop offended parties from deciding that certain books deserve to be banned? These are not decisions that we feel comfortable having government decide. It's not constitutional and we expect that the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear the California law, will side with the Constitution.
Some have criticized Shurtleff, claiming his decision was motivated by a $3,000 campaign donation by the Entertainment Software Association, a trade organization. That seems like a cheap shot against Shurtleff to us. His arguments -- a lack of causal connection and the law's shaky constitutionality -- are sincere, on-target objections.
Shame on those who create the trash that serves as video game "entertainment" for many youngsters. It's disgusting. However, parents need to be the ones who exercise control over their kids' video games.
If they're not paying attention, their apathy needs to stop; it's hurting their children.