The freakout over violent video games shows no signs of abating. We’re back to Connecticut again. Debralee Hovey, a state representative there, has proposed an additional 10 per cent tax on the sale of M-rated video games.
The idea has been thoroughly discredited everywhere else it was brought up, but as Hovey’s district includes Newtown, scene of the Sandy Hook school massacre in December, there’s an element of political sympathy here that could carry it further.
As for the effect of the bill, it’s nothing we haven’t heard before: An extra $US6 from the sale of an M-rated game would be collected by the state to fund mental health service. That’s the big broad good thing everyone likes to bring up because a) no one knows how “mental health services” would directly prevent another Sandy Hook, but no one knows that they wouldn’t, either. More importantly b) it doesn’t get you in trouble with the NRA or its lunatic cheering section.
I’ve got to wonder, would it be more constitutional, and still send the same message, if the state of Connecticut simply required all M-rated games to carry the label “YOU ARE A BAD PERSON FOR BUYING AND/OR PLAYING THIS”?