This Daffiness Bugs Me
by Scott Bieser
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
In the fallout from the Columbine High School massacre, as people
either seek something to blame for this tragedy, or cynically use it
to advance their own agendas, the debate begins to resemble an old
Warner Brothers cartoon.
This cartoon features Elmer Fudd in his usual role of Goofball
Hunter. His prey are now both Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, each
spending five slapstick-filled minutes competing to see who can
maneuver Fudd into shooting the other. Bugs, being slicker, usually
wins, although sometimes Daffy has his minor victories as well.
The plot of this depends on the audience NOT asking one or two
impertinent questions: 1) Why don't the rabbit and duck unite against
their common enemy, and more easily evade the hunter or get rid of
him altogether? and 2) Why doesn't Fudd just ignore the silly
shenanigans and shoot both of them?
In the real world, we have two camps each trying to maneuver Elmer
Clinton (and his pal Foghorn Congress) into fragging the other guy.
On one side the entertainment companies, and computer game companies
in particular, find themselves in Elmer's crosshairs because "violent
media" are supposedly desensitizing kids and training them to kill.
On the other side, gun rights supporters are getting blasted for
supporting the "proliferation" of guns and blocking gun control
So each camp, to avoid taking damage, points to the other guy: "Don't
shoot me, shoot him!" If this were really a Warner Brothers cartoon,
we could hope that Clinton and the Congress would become so
hopelessly befuddled that they give up the hunt. But Kenneth Starr
has already shown us that Elmer Clinton is much more clever and
tenacious than Elmer Fudd.
Most people in the entertainment business are not gun owners, and
most gun owners are not in the entertainment business. But some of us
are. I am a member of both the Academy of Interactive Arts and
Sciences, a computer game industry group, and Gun Owners of America,
an uncompromising gun rights group. I like to create games and shoot
guns. And I don't like seeing my friends and colleagues in each camp
trying to make human sacrifices out of the other camp.
The charge against media companies and the charge against guns are
both based on the same wrong idea: that people have no real minds of
their own, but simply react to whatever stimulus is in the current
environment. Or put another way, that we shouldn't and can't expect
people, especially 18-year-olds, to know right from wrong.
Once a game company spokesman fingers guns as the problem, then he
agrees that people can't be expected to make proper moral choices,
such as not murdering one's associates. And therefore, the state gets
a green light to regulate or prohibit anything that might seduce
these foolish people into making the wrong moral choices, scary guns,
seductive movies, and violent games included.
When a gun rights spokesman points to violent video games as the
problem, he agrees that people are soft, malleable vessels who can be
easily twisted by entertainment into murderous monsters. Now, who
would want to let such mindless creatures own guns?
The bottom line is, if we unleash the government on guns today,
they'll come after our entertainment later. And if we send the goons
after "evil" entertainment, then our arguments against their taking
our guns later will be laughable.
It's time for us to stop playing Bugs' and Daffy's game. There's
plenty of room in Elmer Clinton's meat freezer and no real reason he
can't draw a bead on both guns and games, while we stand around like
silly cartoon characters pointing fingers at one another. Instead,
gamers and shooters should stand together under the banner of free
will and the Bill of Rights, and send Elmer back to Little Rock
Scott Bieser is art director for a major computer game developer and
publisher in Southern California. And he'll pay good money for used
copies of L. Neil Smith's out-of-print novels.