I think by now we all know that gaming as an industry and as a culture has had a fair few critics using gaming as a scapegoat for violence, saying that violent video games are the cause for several incidents, ranging from sexism to flat-out physical violence. Jack Thompson, the now disbarred ex-attorney who tried to pass video games off as murder simulators that desensitize kids for violence, is probably the most famous example. Now another spokesperson for the anti-gaming movement has got himself in a bit of a situation, and it’s a doozy!
The man in question in the 67-year old former California State senator for the Democratic party Leland Yee, a politician who in 2011 tried to implement a violent video game law (co-signed by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger). The law got blocked by the gaming industry at large on the grounds that the scientific “evidence” used to write up the bill was too tangential to be admissable, and the bill got dismissed.
Let’s fast forward to March 2014 when Yee got arrested as part of a 5-year long sting operation by the FBI because of a suspected conspiracy to traffic unlicensed firearms as well as illegally import weapons. Oh, and fraud. Because smuggling guns wasn’t quite enough. Yee pleaded guilty to racketeering in 2015 when he was charged with exchanging money for votes, effectively using his political influence in exchange for cold hard cash. And yet video games are unethical.
Yee now has been sentenced to 5 years (originally 20 years but his attorney managed to lighten the sentence somewhat) in a federal correction facility, despite attempts by Yee to get some sympathy from the judge. His request for leniency on the grounds that he was “ashamed” of his actions and that he’s willing to make amends fell on flat ears. If you want to read more about the court case, you can do so here.
What goes around comes around. I’m just glad that this man has officially been taken out of the conversation, and that he’s no longer able to use his political influence to further an agenda that is exceedingly misguided. He betrayed the trust of the people he represented and I don’t get why he only got 5 years. Seems to me that gun trafficking should net you a lot more.
Have you been following this case? What do you think about the case and the sentence? Sound off in the comments!