Monday, December 11, 2006

Mayor Wants To Waste More Time On Violent Videos

During his first term as Indianapolis mayor, Bart Peterson (D) pushed for and got a city ordinance banning certain violent video games in gaming arcades. The ordinance, not surprisingly, was ruled unconstitutional. Peterson made taxpayers shell out money to appeal the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, costing city taxpayers several hundred thousand dollars in legal fees. Peterson never cared whether the law was constitutional or not; he was only interested in scoring political points with a certain demographic which responded well to the issue in polling data--namely, soccer moms. And so now it's an issue he wants to nationalize as the newly-installed president of the National League of Cities. The AP reports:

The new president of the National League of Cities says he'll try to focus national attention on the effect of media violence on children.

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, who was elected Saturday at the group's national convention in Reno, said a growing body of research shows a link between aggressive, anti-social behavior and exposure to violence in video games, television shows, movies and songs.

Peterson, who has had little success limiting violent video games in Indianapolis, questioned whether media violence is to blame for school shootings.

The number of deadly school shootings has risen and fallen over the last 15 years. Overall school violence has shown a declining trend, although it has increased lately, according to a government study issued earlier this month.

"Can media violence be blamed in part for tragedies like Columbine?" he asked. "All I know is that when I was a kid there were disaffected students, students who felt ostracized ... but they didn't shoot up their schools. Something has changed.

"Most don't follow up hours of video-game violence with criminal acts, but can we ignore the connection when we have evidence of many who do, and when we see so plainly that our society is cruder and our crime rates are rising?"

Last month, a media watchdog group said a chainsaw-wielding killer and blood-splattered shooting rampages are featured in some of the 10 video games that should be avoided by kids and teens.

Peterson said he wants to initiate a national dialogue on the issue in an effort to come up with solutions.

"I don't expect us to find clear-cut, irrefutable answers to the questions posed today ... but we will be in a better position a year from now to talk with parents and our other constituents about media violence," Peterson said in his acceptance speech.

Peterson has had little success restricting video games in Indianapolis. In 2002, Indianapolis agreed to pay the video game industry $318,000 for lawyers' fees and other costs. The industry successfully challenged an ordinance -- backed by Peterson – that restricted arcade games.

The law would have required minors to show parental consent before playing violent or sexually explicit video games in public arcades. City officials said research shows a link between children's anti-social or violent behavior and media violence.

But the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled no evidence backs that up, and attempting to shield children from exposure to violent images would be "not only quixotic, but deforming."

There is nothing more upsetting that when politicians pick issues like this one to score political points, knowing there really is no real public policy answer to the problem, but it might make them look good to voters while they're talking about it. As a mayor, you aren't going to stop kids from growing up to be criminals by getting rid of violent videos. The problem runs much deeper than that. Mayor Peterson would have far more impact on our city's crime rate if he focused on making the Indianapolis Public Schools the best rather than the worst public school system in the country. And if he's really concerned about Columbine-style massacres, he might want to ask Eli Lilly and other pharmaceutical companies why they're pushing psychotic drugs on all our children. No, I guess that wouldn't be politically smart to do that.


Anonymous said...

How about using some of that energy as a public opinion weapon, to force our incompetent coroner to shape up or ship out?

The mayor has zip statutory authority over the coroner. But the coroner's office's end-function, death certificates and investigations, can be and has been a direct cause-and-effect link to solving capital crimes better and swifter.

Conversely, failure to do it properly can, well, give some criminal defense attorneys a Technicality Fest.

Come on, Mr. Mayor. Focus on THIS problem in your own backyard.

The thing is, if Bart sneezes at this problem, it'll go away. He has that kind of influence.

But he'd rather exert it over national posturing.

What a wasted opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Bart - more concerned with what "looks good" than what "is good"

Can anyone show a link between video game bans and crime reduction? anyone?

Mayor Bart nor Julia will do anything about Ken "Quackles". That would involve the eating of too much crow.

Hey you know what goes with crow real well if you're a 'Rat? HEINZ KETCHUP!

indyernie said...

National League of Cities e-mail address is,

I've already e-mailed what I think of their choice.
All I can say is that they must have been desperate.

Anonymous said...

Oh Ernie, that's pretty pitiful.

The Mayor's lack of focus on issues here, which many of us care about, does not diminish the fact that his colleagues have tapped him for this job. That is a distinct honor. What he does with it, or how much time he spends on it, is another thing altogether.

E-mailing NLC to tell them Bart is a goof, only displays your goofiness. They have plenty of room for you over at Indy Undercover. Conspiracy theorists abound over there...where, after Jan.1 and the police merger, their balloon is going to burst.

indyernie said...

Anonymous, Last time I checked we had the right to freedom of speech in America. I think that Peterson is at best, a Do nothing but spend money-Mayor. The last time I checked the boys at Indyundercover were exercising their freedom of speech too. If you have a problem with what I say...well, I have the right to tell you to kiss my red white and blue ASS.
Peterson can't seem to get the job done here in Indy. Drive E on Washington St and count the empty boarded up Buildings and after you get to Post Road you will see what I see...non-existent Center Township Tax base. Crime on most corners and an over worked Police force. Then drive W on Washington or N & S on Meridian...its the same throughout Indy.
High Crime, High Taxes, No Police contract, corrupt City County Council, Coroner who can’t slap his own Ass with both hands, A Sheriff spending $900.00 dollars more on Patrol cars just so he can patronize his campaign Mgr....and where’s our Mayor? In Reno. Peterson needs to take care of business here first.
I’m not saying that he's responsible for all the wrongdoing but a little criticism from the Mayor would go along way to correcting our problems.
I should tell you that if you didn’t like what I’ve posted then you should go back to TDW and play in that sandbox...but if I did, I would be sinking to the same level as you.

Anonymous said...

OH CRAP! Mayor Fart! Look at the city! It is a mess and you are in command of this ship.

Anonymous said...

It is much easier and less stressful for Mayor Peterson to address violent video games than to deal with the real problems and issues in the City/County government. (the murder rate, crime, drunk democrat officeholders, the illegal bar in the government center,etc. He may mess around and his deputy mayor Steve Campbell might run for mayor in 2007. He allows him to address all of the hot issues while he hides in the background from the public. Parents buy video games for their children.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing but an anit-Democrat blog. I suspect all these hate-mongers hiding behind their anonymous ID's are pathetic white trash with nothing to do.

Get a life.