Illinois Lawmaker Proposes Unconstitutional Ban Of 'GTA' In Response To Carjackings

from the jacked-up dept

If ever there were a stupid, unconstitutional notion that appears to be evergreen, it must certainly be attempts at outright banning games from the Grand Theft Auto series. While a certain segment of public officials have long sought to blame video games generally for all the world's ills, the GTA series has been something of a lightning rod for attempted censorship. Honestly, it's not totally impossible to understand why. The game is a violent, humorous parody of modern American life and pop culture, taken to such extremes so as to artistically point out the flaws in our society.

You know... art.

Art which is protected by the First Amendment and thus protected by attempts at government censorship. Which doesn't keep public officials from trying to ban it anyway. The most recent example of this is one Illinois lawmaker suggesting the entire state ban sales of the game because of an uptick in car-jackings in Chicago.

An Illinois lawmaker has a new response to the recent surge in carjackings around the Chicago area -- banning a popular video game. State Rep. Marcus Evans said during a press conference Monday morning in south suburban Olympia Fields that video games are contributing to the carjacking surge across the area.  Evans said he plans to introduce a bill to ban sales of the game in Illinois.

"'Grand Theft Auto' and other violent video games are getting in the minds of our young people and perpetuating the normalcy of carjacking," Evans said. "Carjacking is not normal and carjacking must stop."

Unfortunately, artistic takes that reflect our society are normal and, in fact, celebrated. And while an uptick in crime is certainly a cause for worry, it's also worth noting that the last GTA game came out in 2013. Why the series is now a suddenly responsible for an increase in car-jackings goes unexplained by Evans, but seems to represent a massive flaw in his logic.

Evans is getting much of this from a local anti-violence activist, Early Walker.

Walker agreed with Evans' conclusion about the game, in which players steal cars as part of a larger plot of organized crime.

"Representative Evans and I have researched and concluded that these very young offenders of carjacking are greatly influenced by the Grand Theft Auto video game," Walker said. "I truly believe that there is bipartisan support in Springfield to ban this game from being sold in Illinois."

Fortunately, it could have the support from literally every citizen in the state of Illinois and it still wouldn't matter. Banning the game would be plainly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court codified video games as protected speech protected from government bans in 2011. A fact, actually, that Illinois lawmakers should damned well be aware of. So, this is either grandstanding to accomplish nothing, or it's an admission that Illinois has elected incompetent buffoons to its state government.

Neither conclusion is particularly encouraging.

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Filed Under: 1st amendment, carjackings, gta, illinois, marcus evans, video games


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  1. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 10:48am

    This strikes me as an “I must be seen doing something” scenario where a lawmaker finds the easiest target to go after because they can’t/won’t go after the actual root cause of the issue. Such scenarios work more often than not — at least in regards to prolonging a political career — because being seen doing something is, itself, easier for the masses to accept.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Jojo (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 10:53am

    Why don’t we ban sugar, because sugar is a drug. And as we know, drugs are bad, m’kay.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 10:56am

    While we’re at it, we should ban dihydrogen monoxide. Everyone who has ever come in contact with that specific chemical compound has died.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    Except Dolphins, Whales, and Fish, for that matter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 11:02am

    Re:

    Careful, you don't want to get brought up on charges...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 11:04am

    Re:

    We should also ban breathing. Every crime ever committed could have been prevented if a breathing ban had of been enforced before hand.

    /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 11:05am

    Reminders me of the time ABC 10 News tried to blame a 10-year-old's car chase on a mod for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 11:07am

    This is one of those things that reveals more about the person making the proposal than about the people he thinks are influenced by the game.

    He's saying he's susceptible to influence and he thinks everyone else must be too.

    There are only a few isolated incidents of young children confusing video games with reality and that's not the fault of the video games, but rather of their parenting. The same kids could get confused by movies and tv shows and other media.

    I've committed genocide in videos since I was a kid and now I'm in my 40s with no criminal record and no history of murder or road rage or any kind of violence.

    It's almost like I knew the difference between games and reality...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 11:15am

    Hot Coffee

    I'm sure that hot coffee is responsible for the increase in teen pregnancies, not the ending of sex education and available prevention.

    I would like to introduce this guy to the correlation between global climate change increases and the ever decreasing number of pirates.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Koby (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 11:15am

    Too Much Credit

    A fact, actually, that Illinois lawmakers should damned well be aware of. So, this is either grandstanding to accomplish nothing, or it's an admission that Illinois has elected incompetent buffoons to its state government.... Neither conclusion is particularly encouraging.

    If it's any consolation, I'll reminded everyone of the congressman Hank Johnson / Guam capsizing incident. I'm just saying that it IS possible that an elected official could be so unaware. You are likely overestimating lawmakers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 11:26am

    it IS possible that an elected official could be so unaware

    That doesn’t speak well of someone elected to make laws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 11:26am

    Re: Too Much Credit

    "Hank Johnson / Guam capsizing"

    I had forgotten about that, it was funny.

    I am not a geologist but I have read about underwater landslides, some result in collapse of above sea landmass. I assume it can be triggered by most anything, what can 8000 troops do to trigger such an occurrence ... artillery practice? idk.

    Yes, I'm afraid the we have several, maybe more, politicians that are ignorant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    NoahVail (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 11:40am

    I find myself wishing for a historical list of US moral panics - with analysis about how well they held up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 12:09pm

    Stop the food waste

    Our children have taken to stomping on the mushrooms we buy... There's that Mario Bro's game that sensationalizes stomping on food and some small animals.
    I'm afraid my children are going to start kicking turtles soon if the government doesn't step in and put a stop to this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    Take a look at the Build For Tomorrow podcast (formerly pessimists archive) https://pessimists.co/

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    R.H. (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re:

    Are dolphins, whales, and fish immortal? If not, then they too die sometime after contact with dihydrogen monoxide.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    ECA (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 12:54pm

    In all of this

    So, what do we do with the kids?
    There are less activities around for them
    There are NO jobs until they are 16, NOW(thanks repubs).
    There is generally no one home to help, protect, GUIDE them as we work our buts off for less than $15 an hour(area dependent, as states are creating Their OWN min wage).
    WE USED to have safe houses for kids, they had signs in the windows, incase they had Problems.

    In the OLD days, we had Neighbors, NOT neighborhoods. Everyone knew everyone. Everyone help care for the kids, and watched out for them. There were people who knew all kinds of things, and If a kid needed a piece of wood, or wanted to learn about working on cars, and metal, THERE were people around to help and show them.
    With todays ATTITUDES, you will be lucky if you can wlk on their lawns, because if they get HURT on your property, YOU WILL GET SUED.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Stop the food waste

    You're lucky! My kids somehow found a vintage arcade Gauntlet machine. I keep telling them "don't shoot food", but they only reply "Red Wizard needs food, badly!"

    And I had to hide the kitchen knives when "Fruit Ninja" was all the rage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 1:07pm

    "SOMETHING must be done! This is SOMETHING, therefore we must do it!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 2:12pm

    A lawmaker once took a bribe in Illinois, lets ban them all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 2:14pm

    No that's fair

    I mean everyone knows there's no other form of media that might glorify and/or excuse criminal actions, and what's more theft and assault simply did not exist before the introduction of video games so it's just as reasonable to blame GTA for criminal actions as it was to blame Minecraft for a bunch of kids going out and punching trees and trying to dig holes everywhere.

    Adding to the tragedy of course is that kids and teenagers are mindless mirrors, unable to tell the difference between fiction and reality and with not a single person or category of people that could teach them otherwise, such that it's only sensible to limit one particular aspect of a specific form of media lest they start getting Ideas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    TaboToka (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Too Much Credit

    I am not a geologist but I have read about underwater landslides, some result in collapse of above sea landmass.

    Hank Johnson was referring to capsizing Guam, which doesn't happen to islands. After he got busted for being stupider than a squid, he tried to play it off by saying he was joking and meant the military presence would be too much for the island's infrastructure.

    Unfortunately for Johnson, telling a good joke requires actually having intelligence.

    Here's a joke: he's still in congress.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Another Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 2:41pm

    Re:

    Ban love too. I've heard it's a hell of a drug.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Too Much Credit

    Yup - capsizing is for boats.

    If I recall ... Guam was very much involved in wwii and I'm pretty certain there were many more than 8000 troops involved. Many explosions of rather large proportion during that time would have capsized (lol) the island for sure if it was going to happen at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Stop the food waste

    Just imagine how these video game kids will drive after having played Mario Kart.

    The horror!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Bobvious, 26 Feb 2021 @ 2:55pm

    Grandstanding buffoonery

    Plain and simple.

    Oh, and there's also a certain deadly airborne disease going around that some would like to distract your attention from.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    There's this elaborate contrived pun my father told me once about immortal porpoises...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 4:17pm

    The best solution they could come up with was to ban an eight-year-old videogame. I don't care if they believe it or not, they're still incompetent buffoons.

    A good problem-solver looks for root causes and isn't afraid to throw away theories in the face of contradicting facts. You check your ego and move on.

    The only problem these guys are trying to solve is how to look good without doing the work they're paid for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 4:39pm

    "Politician" is synonymous with "criminal" even moreso than "GTA," therefore Illinois should ban politicians.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 5:26pm

    Re: In all of this

    Wait Republicans were the ones who barred work beneath age sixteen? That is surprising - not because of expecting any concern for children post-natal but because I heard far more complaints over teens not working over them working young.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 5:32pm

    Alzheimer's or demagoguery?

    Has a physician evaluater Marcus Evans for Alzheimer's? Seriously that sort of year confusion is mostly seen in memory care wards and is why one of the first questions doctors ask elders during checkups is what year it is. He looks young for it but well Alzheimer's is vicious and can strike shockingly early.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 27 Feb 2021 @ 5:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Is there an purpose for that porpoise?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2021 @ 9:10am

    Chicago, where most of the state's population lives, is close enough to Illionois or Wisconsin to just drive across the border and buy a copy. There is no way the State Of Illinois is going to stop that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2021 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re:

    Not if he uses VPN or Tor, so he cannot be traced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2021 @ 9:33am

    Re:

    One other thing about that is that they could do like California does in enforcing its ban on out of state ammunuition, by spying on those who buy ammniution in Oregon, Nevada, or Arizona and the radioing ahead to police back in California.

    Illinois could do that to enforce its GTA ban

    However, that can be solved by jamming illinois police radios, so that any spies in Wisconsin or Indiana cannot radio anything ahead to police in Illinois.

    Jam their radios so that your vehicle description cannot be radioed ahead to police in Illinois.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2021 @ 9:50am

    Re: Hot Coffee

    Hmm.
    There is a correlation between coffee consumption and lung cancer.
    People who drink more coffee take more coffee breaks. During which they go out for a smoke...
    On the other hand I'm not so sure about the pirate thing. The copyright people seem to have data that indicates there are more pirates today than at any time in history.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    ECA (profile), 27 Feb 2021 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: In all of this

    AC.
    If you dont know.
    The civil war was based on NOt having enough work up north. Capitalism, cutting corners.
    And thinking releasing the slaves would give them More jobs.

    Then we had Wars, and Lots of workers, until the END of those wars, and then No more jobs, again. Keep that in mind.

    then we placed child labor laws, 12 years for Farm kids Older for others.
    Then retirement
    To limit those that COULD be working, to have MORE jobs.
    Then recently we added that Farm kids had to be 16.

    WE have enough people to do anything, But the idea that WE have to be PAID to do anything. And corps that dont understand WE NEED THE JOBS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2021 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Hot Coffee

    Lots of people make lots of claims, rarely do I see any evidence. Note, IP Address alone is not incontrovertible evidence.

    ePiracy is a misnomer, as there are no swashbucklers stealing booty and burying treasure, it's just some kids trading songs, movies and gifs.

    Avast Mateys !

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2021 @ 1:09pm

    Re: In all of this

    "There are NO jobs until they are 16, NOW(thanks repubs)."

    There is a lot to that story, interesting that you call out one party in particular.

    Activism against child labor

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2021 @ 1:42pm

    Either X influences human behaviour, or it doesn't.

    They need to pick a fucking side and stick with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    Canuck, 27 Feb 2021 @ 2:29pm

    Re:

    "Everyone who has ever come in contact with that specific chemical compound has died."

    So you're dead, but you still managed to post that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2021 @ 2:55am

    Re:

    That is an example of binary thinking, and it leads to politicians making bad decisions. There is usually much more nuance to real world problems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2021 @ 3:19am

    Re:

    "Chicago, where most of the state's population lives, is close enough to Illionois or Wisconsin "

    Yes, you are correct, in that Chicago is close to Illinois.
    In fact, it is a major city within the boundaries and is part of the state of Illinois.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2021 @ 3:24am

    Re: Re:

    There is much nuance to the art of assigning blame.

    Masters of this field create the best pretzels.

    Eventually, even the most elaborate schemes falls apart, usually due to a lack of facade maintenance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. icon
    Tanner Andrews (profile), 28 Feb 2021 @ 4:47am

    Fortunately, it could have the support from literally every citizen in the state of Illinois and it still wouldn't matter. Banning the game would be plainly unconstitutional

    It would also be unnecessary. If everyone was opposed to the game's distribution, they would not purchase it, and the effect would be what was desired: no sales of GTA in the state.

    Neither is this particularly unreasonable. There are said to be many projects which fail to achieve sufficient sales to be successful. We call that a ``marketplace', and some even celebrate it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. icon
    Deltapooh42 (profile), 28 Feb 2021 @ 3:52pm

    There is a mod for GTA that allows players to play as officers dedicated to stopping crime. Aside from LSPD First Response, there are a number of online communities with police following strict rules meant to mimic real police. Sure you can abuse your prisoner, tase them more than once as punishment, but you would be amazed at how many resist this to be good cops.

    I state all this to point out GTA is open world. As the article noted, it highlights issues in our society, not create them. So even if the game was protected, banning it would have no impact. The game allows players to entertain bad behavior, not create it. And where it could possibly create, the blame is on parents that allow kids to play GTA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2021 @ 8:51pm

    Re: No that's fair

    I've always wondered what would happen if an idiot lawmaker were to stumble onto Assassin's Creed. You know, the game where you assassinate prominent politicians in the name of the people?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2021 @ 1:01am

    Re:

    "Either X influences human behaviour, or it doesn't."

    Well, it depends.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2021 @ 1:05am

    Re:

    "There is a mod for GTA that allows players to play as officers dedicated to stopping crime"

    Sounds interesting, and more involved than just stealing a cop car and going on a crime fighting mission.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. icon
    nasch (profile), 1 Mar 2021 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re:

    In fact, it is a major city within the boundaries and is part of the state of Illinois.

    Yes, but how close is it to Illionois?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    " Everyone who has ever come in contact with that specific chemical compound has died."

    Specifically; inhalation is fatal.

    I'd like to say the transport and QC is badly regulated in cities as well, but then I remembered Flint and the joke started feeling flat.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 7:31am

    Re: Too Much Credit

    " I'm just saying that it IS possible that an elected official could be so unaware."

    Emphasis mine.

    Soo...about that program of mass education, lest the voters, ignorant sheep that they are, keep sending the dumbest dimbulbs they can find to govern the god damn country...?

    At some point the US will wake up and realize the importance of an educated population. Hopefully before rather than after they have to re-learn the old european curriculum in said sad subject, the hard way - by suffering a full-blown nazi/fascist infestation and losing significant parts of their population getting rid of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. icon
    John85851 (profile), 2 Mar 2021 @ 11:22am

    How about some evidence

    Since this guy wants to ban a video game and directly impact a company's business, then I assume he has proof. So...

    How many people were carjacked last year?
    Of those, how many of the carjackers played GTA?
    Of those, how many said playing the game influenced their decision to carjack a car in real life?

    By contrast:
    How many copied of GTA were sold in the past 5 years?
    Of those, how many were purchasing in Illinois?

    So, then what percentage of people were influenced to carjack a car in real life compared to the total number of sales just in Illinois? So even though ALL of those people played the game without any issues, the game should still be banned?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2021 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Re: Too Much Credit

    Too far...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. icon
    ishanikappor2019 (profile), 21 Mar 2021 @ 11:47pm

    Nice

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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