Of course, these pragmatic real world numbers are easy to push aside in favor of laboratory tests that judge "violent behavior" by grading answers to a questionnaire. Much like the old Pharaohs who divined the will of the gods by the rise and fall of the Nile, it feels as if opponents of gaming are selectively representing information to cloud the issue. But "bubbling toil and trouble" is what gets you into the headlines.

Read Thompson's website. Thompson et al are appealing to the tired working man who just wants to make sure his kid doesn't turn into the Zodiac serial killer, and people like Thompson are remarkably good at scaring everyday people into believing their sensational agenda. Even the name of his site, "Stop Kill," is political maneuvering at its finest. But you know what? It works, and the Democrats are finally catching on.

Make no mistake; regulating the game industry into the ground is going to be a bipartisan affair. The left needs an opportunity to prove their commitment to "family values" but they can't go after their benefactors in the movie and music industries. Game companies, on the other hand, why they hardly donate to the Political Action Committees at all! Meanwhile the right is happy to let big government step into the picture in support of social conservativism. And games will suffer in perpetuity in the name of this alliance

Amidst all this forthcoming legislation, senators are missing the mark. If we really cared about what's causing violence among youth, all we really need to look at is their parents' paychecks. It may be a political rough spot, but poverty and socioeconomic disparity are the leading contributors to all crime, including that of our precious offspring. But the ill effects of poverty aren't something we like to talk about, and targeting things that don't extend as far into the roots of our society - like games - is far easier.

To top it off, these alarmists aren't even looking at the right games when they extend their gaze of suppression against products like "Hot Coffee." There are hate groups out there creating games in which players accrue points by killing blacks and Jews. While perhaps even these games are covered under the scope of the First Amendment, they're far more deserving of heat from people like Thompson and Clinton. But until a White Power party writes a killer app for two consoles, they'll continue along under the radar. Once again, sensationalism gets in the way of rooting out century old problems.

The only way to prevent this insanity is to become part of the process. Older members of the gaming generation are to the point where they can conceivably run for office, and many of us could conceivably vote for them. If even a few gamers on either side of the political spectrum were to stand on Capitol Hill and proudly proclaim the fact they played Thrill Kill - and haven't attempted to murder anyone to date - they would throw a monkey wrench into the cogs of the insipid anti-expression movement in Congress. Even writing letters to current lawmakers could have a noticeable effect. Once these people realize their constituency is onto their ruse, they'll change their tune. Free speech and expression - even violent and sexual speech and expression - are sacred ideals in western culture. In order to avoid a dark future in 15 years, people need to defend the media that's constantly under attack. These "squeaky wheels" rattling off bad facts and propaganda only benefit from silence.

I really don't want to know at what temperature CDs really burn.

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