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Another Lawmaker Wants To Put A Tax On Violent Games

If you let these ignorant lawmakers sink their talons in, there will be no shaking them off.

That's worrisome.

Connecticut lawmaker DebraLee Hovey, whose district not coincidentally includes Newtown, home of the Sandy Hook school tragedy, has written a new opinion piece where she attacks violent video games. In it, she says such games lead to "observable behavioral changes."

As such, she's calling for the application of extra warning labels and taxes on such games. She tried to pass a bill that would place an excise tax on violent games after the Sandy Hook massacre, but it didn't pass. Said Hovey in the op-ed:

"I am disheartened this bill did not pass. Assuming Connecticut lawmakers are truly serious about changing the culture of violence in our state, taxing violent video games is a common sense start to achieving this goal."

Obviously, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rates such games as "M"-Mature (restricted to ages 17 and up), but Hovey wants an "extra warning label" so a parent "might think twice before purchasing that game for their young child." She even implied adults are affected by violent games as well, and everyone should lower their exposure...as if we're talking about freakin' heroin.

"If the children, teens, and adults who play these games (alike) were aware of the risks of violent video game play, they could moderate their exposure to such play and seek help if needed."

Hovey added that the Sandy Hook shooter was "known to play these violent video games for hours a day." Yeah, she didn't bother to read the report that stated he did no such thing and in fact, participated in highly unoffensive and non-violent games, such as Dance Dance Revolution and various Mario games. But then again, these people aren't interested in facts; they're interested in pointing a finger, as if that'll do anything.

Violent games...aren't...made...for kids. Kids shouldn't be playing them. We have ratings that say this.

...morons.

Tags: violent video games, violence in games, violent games, gaming industry

5/1/2014 9:56:47 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (58 posts)

Ather
Thursday, May 01, 2014 @ 10:47:30 PM
Reply

"observable behavioral changes."

Yet no research has proven this. How odd. I bet she refused to allow sensible gun control laws to be passed. The very definition of common sense.

That shooter needed help, and couldn't get any. Why would people playing video games (who are magically affected by them) be any better off?

How about a tax on idiot suggestions from lawmakers? We'd fix our economy in days.

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Shauneepeak
Thursday, May 01, 2014 @ 11:40:19 PM

Well violent imagery, such as those in movies and videogames, have been proven to negatively affect those age Seven and under. But those children should not even be allowed access to those games to begin with.

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PSN French
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 4:42:20 PM

"sensible gun control laws"? ... "the very definition of common sense"? You obviously haven't been paying attention to whats going on in California with Senator Leland Yee. Making gun laws ONLY hinders those that OBEY laws. I can make a gun in my garage if I wanted, so this is not common sense.

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PSN French
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 4:48:21 PM

I'm assuming that you simply can't afford a milling machine, so you don't understand how easy it is to make guns and you THINK it's common sense. I know I'm going to get voted down on this, but I don't care... You can give up your guns, I will always have the BEST weapons for self preservation. Of course, gun control laws in Germany circa 1940s worked REAL well for the Jews.

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 5:10:44 PM

I doubt I'll ever own a weapon beyond my kitchen utensils. I also don't anticipate I'll ever need it, anyways. Then again, I also live in a country where I've never even seen a gun up close.

Personally, I like the gun control laws in Iceland the best. 1 homicide per year on average.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/2/2014 5:11:58 PM

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PSN French
Sunday, May 04, 2014 @ 8:23:29 AM

You are fortunate enough to live in a country with less than 300k people. Small towns scattered throughout your country create a lack of anonymity, and this inherently causes crime to fall. Factors of crime are so vast that it's impossible to make graphs and pie charts without flaws. And to blame any one outlet, be it games, movies, or guns themselves is a strategy used for decades to force people to give up freedoms. Your government isn't like mine, it isn't fighting it's own people to ignore it's written constitution. I wish things were more simple, that way the idiot's in my country (USA), wouldn't be led like sheep to the slaughter.

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Underdog15
Sunday, May 04, 2014 @ 11:56:27 AM

I live in Canada... we have nearly 35 million. I live 2 hours from Detroit. And our most violent areas tend to be small isolated towns in the more northern regions.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/4/2014 11:58:11 AM

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, May 01, 2014 @ 11:24:03 PM
Reply

Just another example of an uninformed, biased individual blaming society's ills on a scapegoat. Nothing new.

Well, at least it's a proposal against something, not like the idea of the Australian government to tax high-income earners for no greater reason than to reduce the country's debt. Politics, man...

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, May 01, 2014 @ 11:31:20 PM

Here in America they are taking food stamps away from people who work, veterans, children, and the elderly to reduce the debt.

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, May 01, 2014 @ 11:39:48 PM

Ugh... The irrationality of governments makes me want to pull a Fight Club and annihilate the world's stock exchange to reset everything to zero and give the productive a chance to rebuild the world.

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 1:19:58 AM

When you work a job in social services, like I do, that is publicly funded, you really see the waste. It's immensely frustrating. Governments refuse to acknowledge what well funded research has proven works on pretty much every level imaginable.

It can be really discouraging when you're trying to make a difference in the world and it's government structure that holds EVERYONE back. Everyone blames the party in power or the party formerly in power depending on their voting preference as the cause, but in my experience, it doesn't matter what party is in power. None of them get it. Government is inept because politicians can't be bothered to trust what the professionals say over their own fleeting one-off opinions.

So am I surprised a politician is using phantom research to support his opinion? Nope.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/2/2014 1:22:26 AM

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Athrin
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:02:22 AM

WorldEndsWithMe its not the government job to clothe, feed and lodge you, if you want that move to north korea, all those programs should be cancelled, plenty of charities out there to do all those things to help people in need, and are much much much more efficient than any government will ever be.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:43:17 AM

Never said it was Athrin, most people on government assistance work.

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:50:57 AM

Hey Athrin,
who do you suppose hands out such not-for-profit programs, and where does their funding come from?

The government.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/2/2014 9:52:09 AM

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 11:46:17 AM

Heck, we at this site know of a guy or two who worked hard their whole life, only to get screwed over by the economy and need those programs in the interim. It's easy to condemn those without when you are with.

Additionally, there is an amazing amount of research out there that proves such grass-roots social programming inevitably saves huge amounts of money down the line. Poverty is an ugly blight on our society, and the less we do about it, the more it will cost us.

This is fact.

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SaiyanSempai
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 1:52:51 PM

Athrin, if charities were able to do it all then there is nothing stopping them from doing it already. The fact that they aren't is simple proof that they can't. You can reduce people's taxes to nothing and that wouldn't translate to increased donations. Get it? When you got a raise did you contribute more to charity?

There is a substantial difference in what comes from private charities and what is needed and the government programs fill in that gap. How about asking all these very profitable corporations to pay their employees a salary that enables them to get off of government assistance programs?

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SaiyanSempai
Thursday, May 01, 2014 @ 11:24:26 PM
Reply

I've read many personal Gamestop employee stories of parents not paying any heed when they point out a game is M-rated or when they suggest to the parent to explore other options for their 8 year-old whining two feet away. Many employees say the parents get annoyed or tell them off, so what will a larger or more apparent label do?

How about making corporations pay taxes on their billions of dollars of profits before taxing games?

Last edited by SaiyanSempai on 5/1/2014 11:28:24 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, May 01, 2014 @ 11:32:08 PM

But then what would the Swiss bankers do?

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Shauneepeak
Thursday, May 01, 2014 @ 11:35:58 PM

Yep I remember the story Ben posted a while ago about the woman at Gamestop with their 8 year old son for the new CoD game.

No amount of warning will help employees could be forced to tell the parents "These games may cause a sever psychological impact and permanently damage your child's mental development" and a majority will still by the game for their kid. Simply because, sadly, most parents don't care. I see this all the time at Walmart and it is disgusting.

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 1:26:28 AM

Nevermind read. I have seen countless parents buy M rated games for their kids. I know how I would feel if some stranger told me I was a bad parent, though, so I've never said anything. But maybe I should... you know... improve my itty bitty corner of the world. :p

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Athrin
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:05:48 AM

Idk what planet your on but they already pay taxes, and hike taxes too high and they will leave taking all those high paying jobs with them

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:46:20 AM

nah Look at Verizon, they move things around enough to pay a 0% effective tax rate.

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SaiyanSempai
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 2:01:32 PM

Athrin, there are over 50 corporations that pay nothing in taxes on their profits each year. In fact, many of them get tax credits. McDonalds, GE, AT&T, Verizon, Nike, the list goes on. You seem very knowledgeable on what is going on.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, May 01, 2014 @ 11:30:07 PM
Reply

What a sad lady. People really just want someone to blame other than that young man and the people who failed him. Games are an easy target. Everything creates observable behavioral changes, but we are human beings and cannot be islands. All we can do is be our brother's keeper the best we can. The product already has a tax on it, this isn't cigarettes where they kill you and the taxes are aimed at killing the health costs it creates.

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Shauneepeak
Thursday, May 01, 2014 @ 11:37:58 PM

First it was Marilyn Manson caused Columbine now it is videogames caused Sandy Hook. =S

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 1:23:52 AM

Oh yeah, I remember that Marilyn Manson crap. I'm not a fan of his work, but I've always been impressed by his intellect. What a bunch of bologna that was.

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matt99
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 11:12:56 AM

Mental health is the real issue and until lawmakers realize this we are going to keep seeing these kinds of tragedies. If people were better educated about mental health and there wasn't all the stigma attached, someone might have noticed the behaviour of this guy and many other mass shooters, and realized that they needed serious help.

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Underdog15
Sunday, May 04, 2014 @ 1:11:23 AM

I'm right with ya Matt. There's been a ton of discussion in my hometown about the police department budget. One of the things they mentioned was that more than 650% of the calls police had to respond to were directly related to mental health. Apparently, a huge amount of their budget is spent on attending to mental health issues. They aren't getting to the right professionals.

I see it in our social services too... people with mental health issues fall to non-profits not equipped for it. Of course these agencies try to help, but when not equipped for it, that translates to waste and ultimately poor service for the need.

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Bio
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 1:44:30 AM
Reply

How do you blame Call of Duty for acts of violence and stupidity in one article and then turn around and play the defense of free speech the next day?

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frostface
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 6:53:10 AM

Exactly this.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:47:01 AM

He didn't do anything of the sort.

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Bio
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:59:29 AM

Yeah, he did.

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 10:01:51 AM

Link, bio? I'm not seeing it either.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/2/2014 10:02:03 AM

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Bio
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 10:07:57 AM

http://www.psxextreme.com/ps3-news/14174.html

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 11:03:30 AM

I said Call of Duty and in general, multiplayer gaming has given rise to addictive behavior, which can in turn also result in behavioral changes. The more violent the multiplayer experience is, the more that will be reflected in the aforementioned addictive behavior. It's why "swatting" wouldn't show up in a million years due to Ratchet & Clank online multiplayer.

Furthermore, I do believe Call of Duty shouldn't be sold to anyone under a certain age, as stated by the ESRB. I've been an ESRB supporter since the program began, as I completely agree that violent media of all kinds can and does have negative impacts on our children.

I've made all of this clear dozens of times before in previous articles and in comments.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 5/2/2014 11:04:24 AM

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 11:32:52 AM

I don't see how that article indicates the author believes CoD causes acts of violence or stupidity. To me, it sounds like the point is that those types of games have an atmosphere that allows for people with already existing mental health issues, tendencies, and addictive personalities to find something where their issues can start to shine.

I don't believe there's a contradiction. It makes perfect sense to me, personally.

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Bio
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 2:12:48 PM

Ben we are definitely in agreement on the ESRB.

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Knightzane
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 2:01:03 AM
Reply

Yes, lets also tax Senators and CEOs who make 10 times more money than the average person. Why? for the ignorance at their own existence in destroying the planet while also making hard working people lose assistance they actually need while also giving free money to single women with 9 kids all with different dads getting food stamps and child support. whilst single moms who work 2 jobs get no assistance.

If these morons spent more time helping the unfortunate instead of trying to make themselves even more wealthy.

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Athrin
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:17:36 AM

You want politicians salary to go down, vote people in who will lower it as for CEO you want lower salaries for them then buy stocks and make a motion to lower their salaries till then its none of your dam business what CEOs make.

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Japanese_Gamer
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 4:09:30 AM
Reply

We want gaming news.

Last edited by Japanese_Gamer on 5/2/2014 4:09:48 AM

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:52:36 AM

... and uh... here you go?

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Bio
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 10:09:00 AM

We get plenty of gaming news here. Not liking one particular article's content doesn't change that.

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___________
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 5:53:10 AM
Reply

absolutely amazing!
you cant have violent games, but they know they cant get rid of them, so there trying to pass this sh*t!
yet you find guns at the f*cking sports store!
ill never forget the day we went on holidays, and a friend of mine said lets go look at the guns at the sports store.
i thought he was joking, so he grabbed me and dragged me in and there they were just as you walk into the store.
amazing!
yanks, what else can i say?
violent games no good, drinking at 20 years old no good, but guns in f*cking sports clothes stores is fine.
WTF!?

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slow and smart
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 10:22:40 AM

Yes,THIS!!,
the usa has a crazy weapon-industry,but nooooo ...that's no problem ,she talks about...games,huh??

Last edited by slow and smart on 5/2/2014 10:23:16 AM

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matt99
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 10:57:05 AM

The gun culture in the US is really astounding and quite shocking to anyone who isn't from there. However, the vast majority (I think somewhere around 80-90% even) support tougher gun laws and things like background checks.

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___________
Saturday, May 03, 2014 @ 9:47:29 AM

i just cant believe how a sports cloths store can have them!
its funny one of the guys i went on holidays with has been around the world and he said the US is the ONLY country hes been to where there so readily available.
most countries have specialized stores, and there a long long way away from your local sports clothes store.
as it should be!

you wont believe how freaking strict it is here!
when i went to melbourne last month for holidays i wanted to go to the pistol range and they would not let me in because i have been twice before and once you have been twice you must be a member and get your gun license or they wont let you in.
i didnt want to get my license because of costs, and to keep your license you have to attend a shooting range minimum once a week otherwise you lose your license.
freaking ridiculous forcing people to have a licence just to shoot off some freaking pistols at a controlled gun range.
and they were the 9mms, your not allowed to fire anything above a .45 without a license even if you have never touched them.
so stupid 2 visits than you must have your license.


Last edited by ___________ on 5/3/2014 9:51:18 AM

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berserk
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 8:26:37 AM
Reply

Me i would propose that every mature game get some barbwire around it so you cut yourself when trying to open them .

That would make a good double warning about it being mature .

No matter how stupid that idea is , it still make as much sense as anything those morons ever suggested/demanded .

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:48:00 AM
Reply

Every M game should come with a hatchet.

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:53:15 AM

Hatchet would be dangerous for our children! Now a nice handy gloc, on the other hand... well that's ok!

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:53:49 AM
Reply

I wrote her a letter and sent it this morning. Here's what I wrote:


Good morning,

After reading your recent piece on violence in video games, I first would like to point out that I completely agree that violent video games, particularly ones rated "M" in titles such as Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto, should absolutely not be accessible to children in any way, shape, or form.

However, I would like to encourage you to avoid implementing taxes and laws about these measures without first investigating the measures currently in place to protect families and children from easy access to this content. Unfortunately, the biggest issue appears to lie with the parents.

The ESRB ratings in place label violent content very effectively. Any "violence" you see in something rated E10+ would be comparative to the "bonking" of little slimes with a rubber hammer. Fantasy violence will always earn a minimal teen rating (swords and magic), while guttural violence with guns, blood, and gore would attain an M rating.

The FCC, something I'm sure you respect, considers the ESRB to be -THE MOST RELIABLE RATINGS SYSTEM IN THE WORLD-.

That fact should not be ignored. Additionally, it is illegal to sell such titles to children. This should tell you that either there aren't any penalties to businesses who do sell them to kids or it isn't enforced in your state. The other problem could be that parents are buying them for their kids. I know where I live, anyone who looks like they may not be old enough to buy M rated games are always ID'd before sale.

Let's not forget that music has parental advisories and movies have ratings systems that are far more lax. In fact, we've seen M rated games turn into movies and achieve PG13 ratings....

At any rate, I do believe there are improvements to be made to video game laws, but I don't believe you are on the right track. Additionally, I'm concerned you are not focused on the real issues of a lack of mental health care services, issues that stem from poverty, etc. etc. which are far more likely to be the cause of violent acts than video games (which is a multi-billion dollar industry now far more popular than any other form of media with an average participation age of 36. Most countries and many other communities are welcoming game makers are part of a strategy to boost local economies.). Afterall, the US and other countries have well documented evidence that proves taxing things like tobacco products or alcohol does not result in restricted access of content to minors.

I am also concerned with your misinterpretation of publically funded research and the apparent lack of heed paid to the wealth of other studies performed by institutions of note.

Am I to assume you do not trust the expertise of researchers at institutions like Yale or Harvard? Because that is a message you are sending loud and clear to them.

Lastly, I don't wish to delve too deeply into this topic at this time, but it does strike me as odd to be open to a culture that accepts violent weaponry yet be opposed to a rated form of media with plenty of warnings and education available.

I applaud your apparent concern for preventing future tragedies and the desire to protect children from cruel and violent acts. But I believe to be truly effective, you must be more prudent to take more meaningful and long lasting actions as opposed to merely speaking out for the sake of speaking out. Video games are a great scapegoat, but that's all they are... a scapegoat.

I encourage you to continue to take positive steps for your constituents, but I would like to see you spend your energy in areas that are far more likely to make real and lasting change.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/2/2014 9:57:57 AM

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matt99
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 11:04:21 AM

Well said, let us know if she responds.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 11:05:04 AM

You're not the only one to write her a letter. ;)

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Underdog15
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 11:34:43 AM

Will do and thanks. Also, I copy and pasted you guys the pre-edit version. So there's a few things different in what I sent, like changing the first "measures" to "mediums of entertainment".

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/2/2014 11:34:54 AM

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tes37
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 12:58:46 PM
Reply

We need the rest of the world to step up and help us out every once in a while. We need someone to come over here, kidnap these politicians and drop them in the ocean on their way back home. There's gas money, lost wages, and most importantly a violent video game in it for all participants.

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DarthNemesis
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 6:38:28 PM
Reply

Another scape goat claim.The problem is access to guns period.These gun freaks are to blame.Why did his mother feel the need to have Rambo's arsenal?

Why did he have access to them? Why are people exposing kids to guns and teaching them how to use them?This obviously has a negative impact on them.

These people are paranoid and think some phantom threat exist to get them.The fact is guns do not protect, but kill.

They serve no purpose outside of killing.Most of these shootings come from the people who claim gun laws protect them.

It seems to me that the rest of us need protection from these gun freaks.Something is wrong with a person who thinks they need that many guns.

Last edited by DarthNemesis on 5/2/2014 6:43:48 PM

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PlatformGamerNZ
Friday, May 02, 2014 @ 9:10:53 PM
Reply

man will this every stop it does really get on my nervs even if not everyone gets our side of the story most of the time.

happy gaming =)

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gamebolt
Monday, May 05, 2014 @ 5:54:35 PM
Reply

I thought Republicans didn't want to raise any taxes, must just be the ones for the rich.

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gamer4lifexxx
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 @ 12:29:10 AM
Reply

It's just about the government trying getting more money off of games and nothing more. they don't really care about ratings, they just want more tax money collected.. the ratings thing is just an excuse they're using to try and justify their stupidity

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