I'm going to be honest - this is NOT the blog I had planned for tonight. But after reading something in the news (I really need to quit doing that) I was fired up again.

The tragic events in Connecticut affected us all differently and some more than others. With the exception of the media and the politicians using the heartbreak to push an agenda, the event is little more than a memory for most. I don't want to diminish the pain and suffering those families must be going through and I continue to grieve for them and pray for them as I continue to study anything and everything I can find out about the incident. As a gun owner, a gamer, a parent and someone who has devoted my entire adult life to protecting others and the Constitution, I can't let it go...not that I can ever change what happened, but perhaps I can at least understand it more than I do now.

But this blog isn't going to be about that incident, not directly anyways. It is going to be about the continued aftermath as a result of that incident. You see, when the memory of those tragic days fade, we tend to not notice the day to day political and media activity that continues on. Not that we should or not that there is anything necessarily wrong with forgetting about it, but continuing to follow the findings might at least keep us informed at how our hobbies are represented (and blamed) in the matter.

Take for example this news article that was posted weeks after the event.

"Lanza changed magazines frequently as he fired his way through the first-grade classrooms of Lauren Rousseau and Victoria Soto, sometimes shooting as few as 15 shots from a 30-round magazine, sources said. Investigators are aware that frequent reloading is common in violent video games because an experienced player knows never to enter a new building or room without a full magazine so as not to risk running out of bullets. This has led them to speculate privately that this might be a reason that he replaced magazines frequently...In searching the house, police discovered that Lanza had thousands of dollars' worth of violent video games...Before he left the house, Lanza destroyed the hard drive on his computer, which likely kept some of the records of what games he played and who he played with."

I'll refrain from commenting on that so you can form your own opinion on the matter, but next up is the matter of the Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act, H.R. 287 which you can read the official legislation here.

It's important for us (you + me) to realize who is behind this legislation and what it will (or won't) accomplish. This official website from the state of Utah seems to state clearly who is behind reintroducing this legislation. You can read the story here if you want to.

"Washington, D.C.-Congressman Jim Matheson reintroduced legislation, H.R.287, the Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act, requiring that video games be labeled and that retailers check identification in order to keep inappropriate video games from being sold to children.

 The Video Game Ratings Enforcement Act would require all retailers to check identification for any children attempting to buy or rent M (Mature) rated or AO (Adult Only) rated games.  According to industry data, half of the top ten best-selling video games in 2012 were rated M.  The legislation also requires that an explanation of the video games ratings system be posted in stores for all customers to see.  Most video games are labeled with a rating determined by an industry-ratings panel known as the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB)."

Again, I don't want to say too much so you can form your own ideas. My main point is to draw these matters to your attention and provide actual / factual links to the references so if you want to do your own fact checking you can. I'm not promoting my agenda or any agenda for that matter. I'm encouraging you to be informed, make your own decisions, and respond accordingly.

If you read the actual bill or if you read the summary above...consider this point though.

Who does this law target?

It shall be unlawful for any person to ship or otherwise distribute in interstate commerce, or to sell or rent, a video game that does not contain a rating label, in a clear and conspicuous location on the outside packaging of the video game, containing an age-based content rating determined by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

The law targets the stores that sell the games. Now, I don't know about you, but I was carded the last time I bought a game from Target (and I'm old); and I've seen every Game Stop I have ever been in card kids trying to buy Mature rated games. While the ESRB ratings aren't required by law, it is essentially used by most publishers and retailers. How does making it a law change anything?

My question is this, where is the legislation that addresses the parents and legal guardians who aren't supervising their children's activities? Not that I'm necessarily advocating such legislation, but if the politicians are seriously trying to fix this problem, I don't understand how what they have proposed does anything whatsoever. But you should still be aware of it, especially if you're in Utah and Jim Matheson is your Congressman.

But the final story...this is the one that really spun me up. In a story posted just yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle, a reporter named Benny Evangelista posted an article titled, Video Games Drawn Into Violence Debate which included an interview with State Senator Leland Yee, representing San Francisco and most of San Mateo County.

"Gamers have got to just quiet down," Yee, D-San Francisco, said in an interview Tuesday. "Gamers have no credibility in this argument. This is all about their lust for violence and the industry's lust for money. This is a billion-dollar industry. This is about their self-interest."

By all means do your own research on Mr. Yee, one of our elected officials. Perhaps you will come to the same conclusions that I did when you read about the number of instances where he introduced legislation designed to regulate video games, or the challenges he's made against the ESRB for games like Manhunt and Grand Theft Auto.

I'm just going to take a look at this most recent quote and analyze it for its content.

Gamers have got to just quiet down...

Ironic, since he passed legislation designed to protect student free speech and prohibit school administrators from censoring school newspapers and broadcast journalism. So, it's okay for some people to enjoy their First Amendment right, but we as gamers should just quiet down.

Gamers have no credibility in this argument.

Really? Is that so? I wonder how Colleen Lachowicz, the Democratic Senator from the state of Maine representing the 25th district feels about that, seeing how she is a well-known World of Warcraft gamer; who was recently elected even after her opponent tried using the fact that she was a gamer against her. Does she have no credibility in this argument? Or just the rest of us lowlife citizens who aren't part of the elite?

This is all about their lust for violence and the industry's lust for money.

So, the only reason you and I play video games is to quench our lust for violence. And shame on those developers and publishers who are trying to make money in this free society...I thought that's what capitalism was all about but apparently I am wrong.

This is about their self-interest.

A convenient argument to advocate against something that isn't important to you - in this case clearly Mr. Yee is not a gamer so it's easy for him to say that we defend our rights to play video games because we're just worried about what we want individually. That doesn't sound like the Constitution I've read.

I've written a number of pieces now on video games, guns and violence now...and I will continue to do so in the future. I have intentionally refrained from injecting a lot of my own commentary (except for my bit about Mr. Yee) into the discussion because I truly would encourage each of you to read and study the material yourself.

Pick a side, dig in...and prepare for the coming battle. The video game industry is under attack...