Cal  Thomas
Intellectually, I understand the Supreme Court's 7-2 decision that the First Amendment protects the most violent of video games. Experientially, I don't.

It's fine for the majority to say parents have ultimate control over what their children see, but how many members of the Supreme Court have experienced "real" life? Chief Justice John Roberts spoke at the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference last Saturday and said, "I don't think any of us have a Facebook page or a tweet -- whatever that is. But technology is making inroads." It certainly is.

According to the Huffington Post, at least one justice -- Stephen Breyer -- has a private Twitter account, which he said he used "to track the so-called Green Revolution in Iran following the country's 2009 presidential elections. But he told a House Appropriations general government subcommittee he was testifying in front of that he had been unsure how to erase the account."

Justices live in an unreal world. They have little experience with cyberspace and violent video games. They bring law school minds to a subject that requires practical experience.

Justices enjoy security that protects them from the kind of assaults depicted in games like "Mortal Kombat" and others in which children are allowed to emulate school shooting sprees or virtually carry out assassinations, decapitations, rape, torture and every other unimaginable horror one human being can inflict upon another.

In his dissent, Justice Breyer asked the right question: "What sense does it make to forbid selling to a 13-year-old boy a magazine with an image of a nude woman, while protecting the sale to that 13-year-old of an interactive video game in which he actively, but virtually, binds and gags the woman, then tortures and kills her?"

Justices should step out of their safety zones and experience life on urban streets where mortal combat is for real and shootings are as commonplace as corrupt politicians. Where do armed teenagers in roving gangs get the idea that life is cheap and can be so easily taken without regard to social mores? Children aren't born this way. They must be taught these things, and if parents aren't teaching them -- or more accurately "parent," since fathers are usually absent and it doesn't take a sociologist to see a connection -- a violent and life-denying culture is happy to fill the moral void.

Does anyone believe Thomas Jefferson could have foreseen a day when violent images of the worst sort ought to be protected by the First Amendment? When he wrote about freedom of the press, did "press" mean blood and gore? And if it did, should anything be banned? Should any child be told "no"?


Cal Thomas

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Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
 
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