Why Obama Gives Video Game Violence a Pass

Using children whose letters pleading for gun control were released to the Associated Press as props for his political theater, President Obama unveiled a panoply of sweeping proposals aimed at ostensibly curbing gun violence. Included in those proposals were 23 executive orders that run the gamut from unnecessary, in that they don’t really require an executive order to carry out, to those that come perilously close to violating privacy and infringing on states’ rights. Bowing to constitutional reality, the president further noted that congressional approval is required for the more restrictive measures. “To make a real and lasting difference, Congress must act,” Obama said. “And Congress must act soon.” Thus, the president has focused on most every factor related to lawful gun use. Conspicuously absent from the conversation are violent video games and other aspects of the sacrosanct entertainment industry.

The new measures requiring congressional approval, including a new and tougher assault weapons ban, a 10-bullet magazine limit, a ban on private possession of armor-piercing bullets, and criminal background checks that would encompass nearly all guns sales throughout the country, have been met with a great deal of skepticism regarding their odds of getting through a divided Congress, as well as outright criticism. “Nothing the president is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook,” said Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). “President Obama is targeting the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence.” “Instead of a thoughtful, open and deliberate conversation, President Obama is attempting to institute new restrictions on a fundamental constitutional right,” said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), who further predicted the initiative would elicit “drawn-out court battles.” “Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected, and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy” offered the NRA.

On the other side, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), in typical fashion, completely missed the point. “[The president] was exactly right when he said ‘weapons designed for the theater of war have no place’ in our society. I couldn’t agree more. These weapons have one purpose: to kill the most people in the shortest amount of time possible,” she said. That would be the same Diane Feinstein who was considering a law creating a gun buy-back program from legal gun owners — that could be made compulsory – as recently as last December. She was joined by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who, prior to ramming the toughest gun law in the nation through the state legislature, also suggested that “confiscation could be an option.” It is precisely that totalitarian impulse that drives Americans to want “weapons designed for war.”

Thus, it is entirely unsurprising that while the American left and their media enablers envision a “safer” world with less guns, their ham-fisted efforts are producing exactly the opposite of what they intend. Sales were “through the roof” at a gun show in Idaho last Saturday. “These guns and ammo are going out the door in arm loads. Some people can hardly walk they’ve got so much stuff,” said organizer Paul Snider. In South Dakota, Michael Mooney, owner of Southern Hills Tactical, reports that he has sold 85 assault weapons in three days. “Never seen sales like this at all,” he said. In Kentucky, guns are “flying off store shelves,” and several gun shop owners are reporting “lines out the door.”

In Virginia, people showed up more than two hours before a gun show opened, and lines stretched hundreds of yards throughout the parking lot. “This is just a perfect example and sign that when the government starts trying to legislate new gun laws it’s going to create panic,” says Mark Lilly, who owns a small market across the street from the event. An annual gun show in Las Vegas has issued credentials to nearly 60,000 people, who began showing up on Tuesday.

The FBI was also inundated. They revealed that the number of background checks conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) set a record in December, with nearly 2.8 million in sales transfers reported, up from the previous record number of 1.9 million sales recorded in December 2011. Checks for all of 2012 were record-setting as well, totaling 19.6 million, a number representing a 19 percent increase over 2011. These numbers only reflect checks of sales from commercial vendors with a federal license. They do not cover activity between private parties, nor do they reflect the number of actual guns sold, as someone who passes the FBI check can buy multiple weapons.

And in yet another unintended consequence, the Nation Rifle Association (NRA) has reported an increase in membership totaling 250,000 in the month since the tragedy in Newtown. Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA’s public affairs director minced no words explaining the the surge. “I would say that every time President Obama opens his mouth and Sen. Feinstein opens her mouth, and they talk about gun bans and restricting the rights of law abiding Americans, people pay attention to that and sign up,” he contended.

The organization also blistered the president in a new 35-second video on its website, describing him as an “elitist hypocrite” whose own children are protected at school, even as he has expressed skepticism about providing armed security in all schools. “Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” the narrator asks. “Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school? Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, but he’s just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security.”

For those who might take issue with that description of the president, it is useful to remember his own description of “bitter” small-town Americans in places like Pennsylvania, who “cling to guns or religion.” Obama believed job losses were the primary driver of their bitterness. After four years of one of the weakest recoveries in history, the president has done next to nothing to alleviate that bitterness, even as he has apparently driven the number of those who wish to join the ranks of gun “clingers” to record levels.

Obama has apparently reinvigorated federalist impulses as well. Officials in Oregon and Texas have indicated that they will not enforce any new restrictions they consider unconstitutional. “We must not allow, nor shall we tolerate, the actions of criminals, no matter how heinous the crimes, to prompt politicians to enact laws that will infringe upon the liberties of responsible citizens who have broken no laws,” wrote Oregon sheriff Tim Mueller in a letter to Vice President Joe Biden. In Texas, Republican state Rep. Steve Toth will introduce legislation making it illegal to enforce restrictions on semi-automatic firearms or magazine sizes, even as he warned that federal officials attempting to do so would be subject to felony charges.

As for the idea that the president’s proposals will curb gun violence, even the leftist New York Times was forced to acknowledge reality. “A new federal assault weapons ban and background checks of all gun buyers…might have done little to prevent the massacre in Newtown, Conn., last month. The semiautomatic rifle that Adam Lanza used to shoot 20 schoolchildren and 6 adults complied with Connecticut’s assault weapons ban, the police said, and he did not buy the gun himself,” the paper states. As for limiting the number of bullets in a magazine, Manhattan lawyer and gun-rights advocate Jerold E. Levine reveals the folly of believing that represents any sort of solution. “A 30-round magazine is no more dangerous than two 15-round magazines, or more dangerous than three 10-round magazines, or more dangerous than six 5-round magazines,” he said. “It takes only two seconds to change the magazine in a semiautomatic gun.”

Conspicuously missing from the discussion to curb violence in America are video games and movies. Despite being summoned to meet with Joe Biden’s task force last week, during which the Vice President wondered if video games contributed to a “coarsening of our culture,” the administration was apparently satisfied with a statement released by the Entertainment Software Association contending that “independent, scientific research conducted to date has found no causal connection between video games and real-life violence.” During that meeting, industry officials expressed fear they might be scapegoated — exactly like the administration is attempting to do with guns — for the carnage in Newtown.

Biden also met with Hollywood and TV industry association executives, including MPAA chairman and former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith, and National Cable and Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell. They too emerged “unscathed,” with Dodd promising he would be “vehemently” against any government restrictions on violence in movies.

In his Jan. 16 address, Obama weakly called for Congress to pass funding for more studies on video game violence, but it is of course nothing compared to the president’s demonization of firearms. Such reticence on the part of the administration to suggest restrictions on the First Amendment rights of video game manufacturers and Hollywood, even as law-abiding gun owners’ Second Amendment rights remain a target, reeks of a political double-standard. Obama and the Left have fixated on the type of guns used in recent mass shootings, but there has been almost a complete indifference to the shooters’ universal obsession with video games, including Cho Seung-Hui, Jared Loughner, James Holmes and now Adam Lanza.  One may be forgiven for wondering where the current focus would be if Hollywood and video game execs were bedrock conservatives. Obama contended that “if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try.” Since video games and Hollywood have been excluded from such obligations, one is left to assume the president believes not a single life has been endangered by the steady stream of on-screen and video game violence produced by those he wishes to politically ingratiate himself with.

Until the president is willing to confront members of his own political constituency who contribute as much — if not more — to the coarsening of the culture and subsequent violence this administration ostensibly ignores, Obama’s efforts should be recognized for what they really are: the tiresomely familiar exploitation of a crisis in order foist another element of the progressive agenda on the American public while it remains emotionally vulnerable. Nothing more, nothing less.

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  • Mary Sue

    This whole thing about violent video games pops up every now and then. Back in the day it was Mortal Kombat, though nobody suggested it caused mass murder, there were noises made about it causing (without evidence) children to be more aggressive or whatever. Any studies to date that I've ever seen debunk the idea thoroughly that violent video games cause the sort of psychosis found in people like Adam Lanza. If there is a link at all, the link is the inability to divorce fantasy from reality.

    Violent video games should not be banned, they already get rating levels and parents should be more responsible. If they know they have a child or two that is absolutely batfeces insane, they shouldn't be buying them such games if the kid's prone to mixing fantasy and reality in their mind.

    Though I'd like to add, video game manufacturers and developers, not to mention a good chunk of gamers, are by and large Obama supporters.

    • carrie

      The entertainment industry does have an effect on children and everyone else.That is why there are ratings.

      But if cartoon characters caused people to kill there would have been Wylie Coyote and GI Joe assassins by the boatload in the 70's.

      Not all children have irresponsible parents that let 8 year olds play COD. But almost every child has access to murders on the news,autopsies on CSI , muslim beheading videos on the internet and rap music promoting hate ,rape and murder on the radio.

      Children wouldn't have been shot in the Aurora movie theater if negligent liberal parents hadn't ignored the movie rating.

      • Mary Sue

        I'm not saying it doesn't have an effect, just that the effects aren't as "bad" as they make them out to be.

        Yeah, idiot parents taking kids to movies that aren't for them, that's a problem. While I never got nightmares from scary things as a child I know of children who did, and that can be pretty traumatizing.

      • Jim_C

        Why would you call those parents "liberal?" Can you really believe only liberal parents allowed their kids to see that movie?

        • RedWhiteAndJew

          A rare occasion where we agree, Jim_C. The latest Batman movie was a paen against the Banes of the world (Che Guevara…Pol Pot…Ho Chi Minh…Obama…)

          Every child, of whatever age a conservative parent deems suitable, should see it, and then the lessons from it discussed over ice cream, then an outing to the range!

          • Jim_C

            That is all right with me…(though I might balk if the child were, say, medicated for behavioral issues).

            I've been to the range with my son several times. BBs and .22s, nothing fancy. I'm not an enthusiast, but if he wants to learn how to safely use firearms, I will be happy to help him do so in a controlled environment.

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            I applaud your conscientiousness in teaching your son gun safety. Now, if we could only convince the cats who guard the educational cream to allow Eddie Eagle and Brasco Bear into schools.

          • Jim_C

            Well, I have long said that if conservatives could come up with a truly comprehensive, creative, and constructive re-imagining of our education system, they'd have an extremely strong platform.

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            So, all or nothing, then? That's a great bit of damning with faint (and withheld) praise.

            Try reading the section of Free to Choose by Milton Friedman Friedman, then. He did have a comprehensive plan, which the entrenched powers-that-be fight at every turn.

          • Jim_C

            I saw that series. I am not a voucher fan, at least in this "market" of schools, but Friedman is exactly the type of holistic thinker you need.

            I am a fan, however, of the simple value in charging at least a modicum of tuition.

            When it comes to education, conservatives typically just nitpick and gripe but, Friedman aside, offer few constructive plans. It's not just a matter of just breaking the unions or vouchers or charter schools. The entire model needs to change.

    • EthanP

      My concern is with the games that target civilians and schools. They exist. And cartoon violence desensatizes children about REAL violence.

      • Mary Sue

        I don't know, watching cartoons never desensitized me to violence, and I watched all that I could back in the day.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    For Obama and surrogates Hollywood is untouchable, as they are aligned with Washington Dem power centers and serve one another's interests – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/10/14/hollywood-lib

    They have each other's backs. Clear as a bell.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • pierce

    Barack Obama has gotten many donations from the Entertainment Industry, and just what are Video Games, me thinks it is a form of Entertainment, so he can't, and won't bite the hand that feeds him. A simple explanation.
    It is interesting in regards to Hollywood, a majority of the films made, portray violence. Many of the Video Games that attract young people are violence in nature.
    So it is the guns,, not the games, guns kill, games don't.

    • carrie

      Guns do not kill people .
      People do.

  • wgswst

    A petition to make the White House a gun-free zone:

    Yeah, just for lulz, but it's a great in-your-face statement ;)

  • Ron

    The entertainment industry is degenerate and anti-christian, and has been so for over 40 years. It has much in common with the Democratic Party.

    • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

      That is antisemitic and ludicrous. Hollywood magnates adjusted to the already existing populism that can be found in both political parties. The WASP elite was busy with reformism when the immigrant founders of the movie industry arrived. They put out products that the masses would enjoy, much of it at the expense of the uncaring rich. And in so doing, they assimilated to various tenets of Christianity, that were also anti-capitalist. If you mean only the last forty years, you are responding to the New Left, sponsored by liberal foundations who were also anticapitalist in the sense that they were conservative reformers.

      • EthanP

        While it's possible Ron is an anti-semite, I take nothing from his short comment as such.

        • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

          I hope for his sake, that Ron is not an anti-Semite. But the accusation that Hollywood is controlled by Jews and that Jews in general cause decadence is a very old trope. Here is a compendium that I prepared for my website. http://clarespark.com/2010/11/14/the-abcs-of-anti…. “The ABC’s of Antisemitism.”

    • Questions

      Maybe you should see a movies before passing judgment upon them, Captain Ron. Nobody ever murdered someone on account of seeing a movie, a TV show or a video game.

  • tagalog

    Diane Feinstein said, “[The president] was exactly right when he said ‘weapons designed for the theater of war have no place’ in our society."

    I thought it was an article of the gun control movement's faith that guns that have no militia use can be regulated constitutionally under the Second Amendment. But semi-auto firearms with high-capacity magazines, particularly those that are replicas of military firearms, clearly have a militia use and therefore to restrict them is a direct violation of the militia language of the Second Amendment.

    • patron

      She also said "These weapons have one purpose: to kill the most people in the shortest amount of time possible"

      Like al-Qaeda terrorists and drug cartels who kill Americans due to the federal government, including Diane Feinstein, terrible failure at their jobs.

      • carrie

        Barry illegally armed drug cartels with guns from the US and left border guards with bean bag guns to die.

        • Jim_C

          Oh really? "Barry"s policies are different in some way from his predecessor in that regard? How so?

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            They differed in that Bush's intention was to use the firearms to track and locate the gangsters. Barry and Holder's plan was to manufacture a predicate for gun confiscation.

          • Jim_C

            Can you show me a source on that?

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            I could if I thought it would make a difference, but I don't care to waste my time.

            Actually, I'll take the chance.


    • slider 96

      If that's your rationale , then where is the justification of banning fully automatic firearms ? What I think people are forgeting , is that when the second amendment was written there were no semi auto or fully auto weapons in existence .

      • carrie

        Nor were there airplanes to fly into buildings ,fertilizer to make bombs, the internet for crazies to contact each other on and hack governments to shut them down ,tazers,wood chippers,massive access to drugs,drones,millions of swords,chemicals,cars,prescription drugs,cell phones,electricity ,hammers …….all of which can be extremely deadly weapons and are not protected by the constitution .

        More people are killed with hammers than rifles every year .
        Going to ban those ?

        • Jim_C

          What is the purpose of a hammer?

          What is the purpose of a gun?

          • RedWhiteAndJew

            The (designed) purpose of a hammer is to drive a piece of metal (usually).

            The (designed) purpose of a gun is pretty much the same.

            Then of course, there's the nail gun…

          • tagalog

            The purpose of a hammer is to aid a person using nails in his work. Put simply, its most common function is either to pull nails or to drive them.

            The purpose of a firearm is aid a shooter in his work. Put simply, its use is to launch bullets at high speed.

            It is people who employ hammers and guns to perform certain acts. The centerpiece of any use is the human will behind the tool.

            Guns are a bit more complicated because they are made to be used against living things. But the principle that a gun is just a piece of metal (or composite these days) until a human being decides how to use it remains true.

      • EthanP

        The 1934 firearms act that lisences and restricts fully automatic weapons, as well as things like sawed off shotguns was passed using gangsters as an excuse. The real fear at the time (Depression) was civil insurrection. McArthur had just recently and violently surpressed the Bonus March. There had been several massacers of strikers by Thompson armed mine gaurds. They never thought for a moment that it would stop criminal activty. Criminals, by the way rarely used the TommyGun. Too expensive. They cost $175 in 1934. Thats about $10,000 in todays money. Most used BARs (and hand grenades) taken from National Gaurd armories.They were free. By the way, the transfer tax on full auto weapons was $200, more than the cost of a TommtGun.

      • tagalog

        The justification for the Federal Firearms Act of 1934 was not to ban fully automatic firearms, and it didn't. What it did do was make it harder for people to obtain them (although they could, and still can if they jump through the federal hoops) because gangsters were stealing them and using to aid them in committing crimes.

        Was that an adequate justification? I don't think so; after all, Frank Hamer was instrumental in killing Bonnie and Clyde with a full-auto rifle. Others in law-enforcement used full-auto firearms too. You may not be old enough to remember the public campaign of the FBI, in which they were photographed using Thompson submachine guns on full auto.

  • Johnconrad

    Ask Korean grocers during the L.A. riots if semi-auto rifles have no self-defense purpose.

    • tagalog

      Also, high-capacity magazines.

  • slider 96

    No , not really , the First Amendment gives violent video games a pass .

    • carrie

      How so ?
      All games are rated and have warnings.
      The failure is by liberal parents.

      • slider 96

        Wrong …..it's not regulated by law or oprdinance , the violence in vdeo games has already been challenged , and found to be protected by the First Amendment . You have no idea of what you're talking about as far a "liberal ' OR "conservative " parents for that matter .A kid can go to any video/game outlet and buy one . The restrictions are totally up to the parent , not the law . and that's what we're talking about .

    • RedWhiteAndJew

      "No , not really," what? There is a difference between attempting to pass laws which won't meet Constitutional muster, and using the bully pulpit of the presidency to persuade without the force of law.

      But as far as the First Amendment giving things a pass… there's also that pesky Second…

    • tagalog

      How are video games, or the proclaimed right to play them, protected by the First Amendment?

      It looks more like a Fifth Amendment issue, if there's a constitutional issue at all. Of course, the Fifth Amendment rights, like the right to own property and liberty, can be taken away if the state gives the owner due process of law.

      An argument could be made that video shoot-'em-up games have a militia use, since the armed forces use them in training. Too bad video games don't qualify as arms.

    • tagalog

      I doubt if video games have any relevance to the rights of 1. freedom of the press, 2. freedom of speech, 3. freedom of religious expression, 4, freedom of association, and 5. freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances.

      Playing video games is an act, not speech. Making them violent may arguably be a speech issue. There's precious little intellectual content, or ideas, to a shoot-'em-up video game. There isn't much in pornography either, for that matter, but at least pornography is a form of "artistic" expression.

      I don't think the federal courts would see any relevance either, although we ARE living in a strange legal world these days.

      • PhyreSpirit

        Going back to California trying to pass crappy laws ignoring individual rights, when the Entertainment Merchants Association sought an injunction against CA law making it illegal to sell M and AO rated video games to minors without proper ID under penalty of law, the injunction was granted by a federal court citing the 1st amendment, an appellate court upheld the ruling. The Supreme Court heard the case in 2011 and upheld the injunction stating that "video games qualify for First Amendment protection", so Slider is right. The Entertainment Merchants rights to freedom of speech were being suppressed by the law unless the law included banning all violent books, television, etc. from minors as well. The law singled out video games and unjustly suppressed their right to free speech that even minors are allowed to "hear" or see.

  • Moishe Pupick

    Th., 01/17/13

    Any "gun control" bill drafted by Congress must contain provisions that explicitely declare that members of Congress, executive agency bureaucrats, federal judges, and federal lawyers are bound by the SAME firearms restrictions as ordinary U.S. citizens re. concealed-carry permit requirements, maximum number of rounds in a clip, caliber of ammunition, etc. Such explicit inclusion is crucial, if the Preamble's statement that "All men are created equal." is to be more than a 4th of July quotation.

  • The7Sticks

    If this were the case, then how come it is always the left that has proposed regulation of violent video games and television? Sen. Jay Rockefeller has repeatedly sponsored bills to study the alleged effects of violent media, as well as bills to regulate it. California state senator (and Democrat) Leeland Yee was the author of the law that went to the Supreme Court that would ban the sale of violent video games to minors, even though it was already difficult for minors to do so. And the Center for American Progress was part of the poll that asked parents if there is too much violence in the media.

    • Mary Sue

      It comes from both sides, really, but I've most often noticed that it comes from the "peace-hippie" side.

  • Raymond in DC

    Full disclosure: The only guns I've ever owned or shot had the brand name "Mattel" on them. That said, I think Hollywood stars who regularly appear in violent films, whose bodyguards often carry guns, yet urge restrictions on guns for the rest of us, should be called out for hypocrisy and otherwise ignored.

    • Questions

      Name me these stars who advocate gun restriction. Several stars, such as Kurt Russell and Clint Eastwood, are proud gun owners.

  • slider 96

    "mostly from the peace hippy side ?? It's that generation that's writing most of the code for those games …you're all wet . Objections are indeed coming from BOTH sides , that is people who find these games , filled with gratuitous violence . You're too quick to inject your bias in this …lol..and about everything else you say .

    • 11bravo

      The hippies are 55-70 yrs old now. I am sure they are not writing the code. It would be funny to see Bill Clinton, J Kerry, and Mitt Romney writing code-HA!!

      • Mary Sue

        They'd still be writing in FORTRAN!

    • Mary Sue

      I'm talking about the literal hippies, not the kids writing the code. I'm talking about their parents, grandparents, and crazy uncles and aunts. You know, organizations that actually call themselves Peace organizations.

      Hippies object on "peace" grounds, these are the pacifist morons that think, like idiots, that if kids aren't exposed to violence, that they'll be good little drones. The Religious side (conservative not liberal) objects on a slightly different basis, and it's not even a uniform objection, but scattered all over the place. Some are like the people that think Harry Potter promotes Witchcraft among children, others take bible passages out of context in order to object, and others claim it will warp the kids' minds for the Devil.

  • Ghostwriter

    I don't buy that stuff anyway.

  • 11bravo

    Gun violence-mass shootings-violent crime are all down!!!
    It isn't the guns, the games or movies; you know that. I believe more than anything it is the thug-life music and portrayals elsewhere, coupled with the disintergration of the family, the black community and the way the MSM is mainstreaming RAP and thugs and gangsta life!! Go after the media.
    The educational system full of socialists may be the biggest problem.

    The country is safer today than it has been in decades of not ever. The media just scares the hell out of everyone 24/7 with "if it bleeds it leads". Why does the entire country need to know there is an amber alert in Peoria? It is all political. I welcome them going after the guns, I hope there are some votes on it. We may get the senate and the house.

  • evy

    The VP 'wondered' if video games contributed to the 'coarsening of society'… As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Only evil continually… consider how many hours the addicted youngster spends at this.


    Add misogynistic C(RAP)/hip/hop "music" to the sick category.

  • rjohn

    Government and Hollywood have learned how to raise money and grow in power together by whitewashing lies..There's no going back for them.

    • Questions

      Then how come so many movies depict evil government plots? The notion that "Hollywood Leftists" are promoting high taxes is a myth.

  • Loyal Achates

    Completely lacking from this article is even a hint that video games are a cause of violence.

    Sorry Arnold, but there's no correlation between using violent video games and actually being violent…and if there were, you'd still have to figure out if video games MAKE people violent, or if violent people like to play video games.

    • Questions

      You got that one right.