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The Debate Over Dog Fighting Video Games for Android

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Headlined to H3 4/30/11

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Google is facing backlash for allowing "KG Dogfighting" to be sold in the Android Marketplace. This comes only days after the original app, "Dog Wars," was pulled after a national outcry, with former dog fighter extraordinaire Michael Vick adding to the dialog.

The question is now becoming whether or not a game which depicts the illegal act of dog fighting dogs should be allowed to be sold.

Vote: Should dog fighting apps be allowed to be sold in the Android Market place?

Paul Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, doesn't think so.

"The game teaches users how to breed, train, fight, medicate, and kill virtual dogs," Weber said in a letter to Google CEO Larry Page. "The entire concept is repulsive and sickening."

Same old story

But then, this isn't the first time such rhetoric has been used to describe video games.

In 1999 following the Columbine tragedy, KRG founder David Grossman described the first person shooter video game, "DOOM," as a "mass murder simulator."

However, DOOM, which was released by id Software in 1993, does not approach any level actual simulation. Using a mouse and keyboard to aim a fictional plasma rifle at an imaginary imp is no substitute for purchasing a firearm and going to target practice, a constitutionally protected right for all Americans.

In the same vein, KG Dogfighting provides no level of realism a small touch screen. The step from playing an unsophisticated video game to committing crimes in real life would be like becoming a master detective by simply having read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

What really matters...

Just like the Second Amendment protects the right to own and tactically train with semi-automatic weapons, the First Amendment protects the right to freedom of speech; and the Supreme Court of the United States has repeatedly upheld that video games are speech, and are to be protected no differently than literature, art, or film.

In the end, does KG Dogfighting depict an illegal act? Absolutely, and so do other popular video games. (Grand Theft Auto, anyone?) Google, which has stood up to China and has a record of being a free speech advocate, should leave the app in place. No matter how revolting dog fighting is, I would be disappointed in them if they pulled it.

 

www.revrob.com

Founder of "The Rev. Rob Times," (www.revrob.com) Rev. Robert A. Vinciguerra has been a longtime student of journalism. From Phoenix, Arizona.
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