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Gov. Rod Blagojevich shouldn't act so surprised and indignant that a federal judge has thrown out his initiative to ban sale or rental of violent or sexually explicit video games to minors.

Similar efforts were struck down in other states. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association told him the Illinois proposal would be found unconstitutional, too. So did many other critics, including editorial writers.

Those warnings didn't stop Blagojevich from proceeding with the project - nor did they discourage the Legislature from going along with the governor. That included some lawmakers who voted yes for political reasons, not because they thought it was a good law.

Shame on them and shame on the governor if he carries through with his pledge to fight the ruling. No more public resources should be wasted on this losing cause.

The First Amendment protects freedom of expression and that includes video games. Although court rulings have allowed some restrictions to protect minors, such laws must be narrowly written.

This wasn't even a close call. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly ruled state officials "have come nowhere near making the necessary showing" that such games pose an imminent threat and the law was the only way to counter that threat.

Are many of the targeted games disgusting, if not outright disturbing? Yes.

Should young, impressionable children be playing these games? Probably not.

But parents should be supervising their children, not the government.

Video stores also should do a better job of voluntarily keeping youngsters away from inappropriate video games unless they have their parents' permission.

Appealing this flawed law will not keep violent video-games away from children. It's not clear the law could have achieved its goals even if the judge found it constitutional.

What is certain is an appeal will tie up state resources while accomplishing little other than attempting to polish the governor's image.

The Pantagraph/XXXXXX XXXXX


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