An editorial in The Salt Lake Tribune calls Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s decision to possibly support the videogame industry in the upcoming Schwarzenegger v. EMA SCOTUS case “baffling.”
It appears the paper has sided with pro-life groups and a handful of politicians in condemning Shurtleff (pictured) for a decision he hasn’t even made yet. Titled, “Let it Go,” the editorial stopped just short of labeling Shurtleff a hypocrite, saying instead that opposing the California law was ironic for someone representing a state “that trumpets its devotion to family values.”
The editorial went from delivering an attempted body blow to another shot a little farther south, insinuating that a trade organization may have some influence over Shurtleff’s eventual decision:
The fact that Shurtleff received a $3,000 campaign donation from the Entertainment Software Association, the trade organization representing video-game makers, might explain his interest. We hope not.
Yet the editorial then flips 180 degrees, arguing that “the best reason to oppose the California law is its limitations on freedom of speech,” not because of any perceived notion that playing violent games might impact children in real life.
Thankfully, a letter to the editor answering the Trib editorial argued that Shurtleff is right in (possibly) opposing the law. Penned by Betsy Burton of Salt Lake City, the letter also noted the Tribune’s bizarre bipolar-like stance on the issue, before stating:
As a small-business owner of The King’s English Bookshop, I’m thankful that Shurtleff may oppose this ill-conceived law. If the court upholds California’s law that prohibits children from buying violent video games, there would be nothing to stop states from extending it to books, magazines and other expressive works. Given Utah’s legislative history, there is every chance that Utah might pass such a law.
This would mean that my staff and I would have to review every book in my store and decide if selling it to a minor could lead to a fine or even jail. The Odyssey, The Divine Comedy, and Titus Andronicus are examples of great literature that include graphic descriptions of violence that some might believe are inappropriate for minors.