Violent video games are no way for kids to express...


January 19, 2002

Violent video games are no way for kids to express themselves

It's troubling, though not surprising, that one who sneeringly ridicules the idea of God ("How can anyone possibly believe in God?" Opinion*Commentary, Jan. 3) encourages his pre-teen son to play video games in which the chief goal is to devalue the life of other human beings ("Video games are the place to be bad," Opinion*Commentary, Jan. 11). I suppose this is part of the ennobling humanism that atheists appeal to.

But I have a simple question for Crispin Sartwell: What would be your reaction if you happened upon a group of older teen-age boys in your neighborhood playing a video game in which the goal is to rape and murder 11-year-old boys?

Surely consistency requires him to simply chalk it up to the sheer "fun" of harmlessly participating in forbidden activities, and the virtues of "individuality and truth."

And if they come after your child when the virtual world becomes too mundane, then, hey, "lighten up."

Michael Martin


I want to thank Crispin Sartwell for his column on the video game Grand Theft Auto III.

I have always tried to teach my kids right from wrong and have thus deprived them of the pleasures of playing a video game that portrays cop killing, car stealing and vehicles bouncing up and down when prostitutes are doing tricks.

But thanks to Mr. Sartwell for showing me the light. I'm now off to purchase some other video games that I have been holding back from the kids. I'll be on the lookout for Rape and Pillage IV as well as Shoot Your Neighbor.

After all, I wouldn't want my kids to become bored and resentful playing just any video game.

Michael Langbaum


Illicit `Baltimore' Internet site shows need to control Web

After reading a Sun article about a person who buys up city and other domain names and sets them to direct inquiries to an obscene Web site ("Web site owner links city to smut," Jan. 14), I became concerned that such a site might bypass normal parental controls on most Internet Service Providers.

I used each of my son's screen names, all of which are normally protected from obscene sites by AOL's parental controls, and each screen name was able to access the site by accessing The Web site, filed with sexually explicit obscene images, completely bypasses all parental controls.

I do not like the huge amount of obscene materials bandied about the Web under the misguided "First Amendment" banner, but as long as my children are protected I do not make a big issue of it. It is merely an indication of how sick and misguided our society has become.

But when someone deliberately sets up material that is blatantly obscene, and arranges it so that it can be viewed by any child, in an attempt to blackmail people or governments into paying him, it is time to seriously consider government controls over Internet use and content.

Robert N. Cadwalader


Cartoon misrepresents ties between Bush and Enron

I realize it is too much to ask that Mike Lane be objective and nonpartisan in his cartoons, but his Jan. 14 editorial cartoon is offensive and unhelpful to anyone looking for keen insight into the issue of the relationship between the Bush administration and Enron Corp.

I have not heard one bit of information that indicated that Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay spent any time in the Lincoln Bedroom of [Mr. Bush's] White House, as Mr. Lane's cartoon suggests.

It seems that Mr. Lane is attempting to paint a Bush scandal using a Clinton brush. It doesn't work.

John Tully

Glen Burnie

The Sun's Jan. 14 political cartoon was totally inappropriate and disgusting. It hints of improprieties for which there appears to be no supporting evidence.

The cartoon is not humorous and is an insult to informed citizens.

Jack Shagena

Bel Air

Democrat will stay home if Townsend is on the ballot

I am a woman and usually vote Democratic. But if Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is the Democratic candidate for governor this year, I will not vote.

I certainly don't think she deserves to be the next governor of Maryland based on her name. What has she done in her eight years in office besides raise money?

I like Mayor Martin O'Malley, but he needs to pay his dues - and Baltimore needs him.

Jacqueline Sheets

Bel Air

How people drink is no cause for alarm

The writer of the column "What would mother say about bottles at the ballet?" (Opinion*Commentary, Jan. 8) seems to have gotten his knickers in a twist because a well-dressed woman and her well-dressed (though bearded) companion drank water from individual bottles at a ballet intermission, even though the writer's mother had enjoined him: "Don't drink from the bottle, it's uncouth."

The flagrant water drinkers obviously never got that memo. I didn't either, although I did get the one that said: "Don't sweat the small stuff."

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