Last week Leland Yee, a Democratic senator from California, took time out of his busy schedule to attack the intelligence of every gamer on earth. And even though a few minutes spent playing Call of Duty on Xbox LIVE might force you to agree with his comments, they were a bit out of line.
Well, in an uncharacteristic turn of events, Yee has publicly apologized for his remarks.
The original comments were made in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle last week. "Gamers have got to just quiet down," Yee said in a discussion about violent video games. "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."
Obviously, the fact that Yee's home state is the gaming capitol of the world hasn't swayed his opinion much. He was at the helm of the much-publicized violent video game law that was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2011. And, even though some might find his resolve charming, I don't count myself among those people.
As I've said before, scientific research has not been able to find a connection between violent video games and violent behavior. So Yee's crusade is, in many ways, contrary to reality.
I was understandably surprised when he apologized for his comments via Twitter. "Gamers, I admittedly didnt use best words to SFchron," Yee tweeted. "Meant video game industry has inherent conflict of interest in the gun violence debate."
He added, "I have a lot of respect for many gamers - many are on my staff and in my family - but the industry has profited at the expense of children."
So, even though California's heavy association with gaming companies can't sway his resoluteness, Yee's personal relationships seem to. And that's definitely respectable.
Just for the record, the gaming industry has not profited from children any more than the fast food industry, and fast food has been connected with far more deaths than gaming ever will (unless Activision includes a nuclear device with the next special edition of CoD).
To be sure, the gaming industry is not perfect, and we should all be pushing for better established regulations when it comes to protecting children. However, when the average age of a gamer is 33 years old, it's time to stop blaming an entire industry for the violence of a few people.
Date: January 31, 2013