Jeb Bush, Schwarzenegger Take Advice From Games Crusader Back To The Future, Past Tense
By Marc McEntegart: Monday 10 October 2005, 10:13
IN AN email to Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida and Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, Jack Thompson attached an edited statute called 2006 Florida Statute Prohibiting the Sale of Sexual or Violent Material Harmful to Minors.
While there had been some debate about whether or not Thompson had been asked to draft the statute or not, it looks as though it had not only been asked for but has now already been accepted in California. The email refers to his having been asked to "craft the attached". Jack Thompson's zealous war on violence in games seems to be turning.
Most of the changes are simply to include "video games" and "computer games" in places that had before dealt only with books, videotapes, motion picture film, drawing and sculpture. If anyone ever needed a definition of what is "Obscene there are a few handy included, none more functionally inclusive than "c) Taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." Honestly, I can think of few games that manage to slip past that one.
While all of this certainly seems sensible, it seems to be the first time that violence has ever been included in the statute as harmful to minors. This means that until now it was not considered harmful for minors to see, read or admire sculpture of violent acts.
One of the most noticeable changes is that these articles are, "…unlawful for any person knowingly to sell, rent, or loan for monetary consideration to a minor, by any means, including sales through the Internet, to persons in Florida."
The text in bold indicates a change to the statute.
The real question is whether or not sales through the internet can ever be as secure as this suggests. Most sales require a credit card which leads to the assumption that customers are adults.
While they may not seem like much there are big implications coming hand in hand with these changes. Arnold Schwarzenegger has already "signed legislation to ensure parent involvement in determining which video games are appropriate for their children. The bill I signed will require that violent video games be clearly labelled and not be sold to children under 18 years old," to quote the man himself. I'm not sure about anyone else but it does seem a little confusing to see The Terminator stand up and speak against violence.
So, our two favourite time travellers are united. Jack Thompson from a more enlightened age and helping keep us on track, has teamed up with Governator Schwarzenegger, having travelled back from a grim post-apocalyptic future where video games fight humans at every turn, to ensure that our children are not corrupted by violence, or indeed, sexually explicit material, in interactive entertainment.