Civil Liberties

Guns Don't Kill People; Imaginary Guns Kill People

Pretend wars are apparently scarier than real ones


Behold the strange dichotomy of pro-gun-rights Democratic Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. In his defense of gun rights and rejection of calls for more gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, he's quick to throw video games under the Desert Bus. Via Montana Watchdog:

Instead of talking about the guns, the gregarious governor urged a national discussion of the violence culture now gripping Americans, especially youth.

"This is evil and it has everything to do with mental illness and, look, I'm going to pick on somebody right now," Schweitzer said. "You wanna pick on somebody? How about those video game manufacturers, where an entire generation are glued to a screen for six to eight hours a day while they are poking buttons and blowing other people up and shooting them in the face."

The governor stopped short of prescribing any solutions to reverse America's addiction to violent movies and video games.

Pro-tip (that word comes from video games, by the way): Don't try to oppose the bullying of one industry/civil liberty by suggesting the bullying of another ("pick on"). It draws a bit too much attention to your deflection. The First Amendment deserves Schweitzer's support, too.

It's fascinating (and by "fascinating" I probably mean "repulsive") when government leaders decry America's violent youth when the government keeps sending them off to foreign countries to kill people. Granted, the governor of Montana has little connection to our foreign policy, but Sen. Joe Lieberman has no such defense. Yet he, too, was quick to blame violence in our entertainment culture.

Excuses for violent military intervention in foreign affairs arise from both the left and the right. Our government leaders look for reasons to give actual people actual guns and send them off to shoot actual people (or pilot drones to bomb them remotely). It's a bit rich to see any government leader decry violence in culture. Maybe it's yet another example of government not liking competition?

Quite a few folks fret that our soldiers treat war like a big video game. Maybe we should be using that. Maybe we'd have been able to get our troops back from Iraq and Afghanistan faster by convincing Congress it was all a great, big, scary video game. They seem to be more afraid of pretend wars than real ones.