Supreme violence

Don’t shoot!

Don’t shoot!

Her T-shirt reads, “Hos before bros.” The woman, in her 20s, is checking out the Assassin’s Creed video game with a friend at Arden Fair mall on Monday.

Nearby, two young boys, possibly fifth-graders, also look over video-game possibilities, oblivious to seemingly momentous news from the U.S. Supreme Court: Their Constitutional right to free speech had just been violated.

In its decision, Team Justice, a.k.a. the Court, spoke out for all California children with time on their hands, or for the video-game industry, depending on how you looked at it.

Either way, the Supreme Court recently ruled against a 2005 California law that aimed to restrict the sale of violent video games to minors.

That law, signed by the Terminator himself, former cyborg killer and governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, never took effect due to several court challenges and push-back from Big Video (officially known as the Entertainment Merchants Association, which sued). The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed those earlier court rulings this week.

As part of the decision, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the argument that violent on-screen behavior led to “special problems” is “unpersuasive.” “This country has no tradition of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence,” he said.

Whatever. Instead, two kids at GameStop consider an old-school Batman video game, ignoring the Assassins Creed, BloodStorm, Sniper, Mortal Kombat and Killzone games nearby. Batman bros before sniper hos, fo’ sho’.

And at the counter, a GameStop employee says the “Sniper-Assassin-Mortal-BloodStorm-Killzone”-type games didn’t even come close to true bloody, misogynistic mayhem.

“The most violent game we got, probably the most violent video game ever, is Grand Theft Auto, hands down,” he says. “In that game, you can steal a car, hire a prostitute and beat someone over the head with a baseball bat repeatedly if they take your money.”

The boys in the corner of the store don’t look up from the Batman game, and woman in the black-and-pink “bros” shirt and her friend move on to other Assassins choices.

“The Supreme Court ruling doesn’t make a difference to us,” the Game Stop employee adds. “For the mature games, we require people to be at least 17.” (Hugh Biggar)

Plant a tree on Facebook

This Fourth of July, when your gut is full of barbecue and beer, remember to log on to Facebook and plant a tree.

That’s right: On Monday, July 4, visit and vote for the Sacramento Tree Foundation, one of five nonprofit organizations in the running to win a Toyota Tundra hybrid. The contest is part of Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program. Previously, local music/arts/activism headquarters Sol Collective won a Toyota last month.

The Sacramento Tree Foundation says they’ll use the new wheels to transport trees around town. If they win, it’ll be good fortune: The truck they used recently crashed and can’t be fixed.

Voting begins at 3 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m. Visit for more info. (Nick Miller)