Violent Video Game Tax Proposed In Pennsylvania

Politicians want to tax violent video games 10% extra.

212 Comments

Lawmakers from Pennsylvania have put forth a bill that proposes a 10% excise tax on violent video games. House Bill 109 seeks to impose the so-called "sin tax" on games sold at retail that are rated by the ESRB as M for Mature or Adults-Only. The money would go into a fund called the "Digital Protection for School Safety Account" that aims to enhance security measures at schools in the wake of the school shootings in Parkland, Florida and Newtown, Connecticut.

State representative Chris Quinn, a republican, initially put forth the bill in 2018, but it never made it out of committee during the 2018 legislative session. The new version is similarly worded.

The 10 percent tax would be in addition to applicable state and local taxes. The sales tax rate in Pennsylvania is 6%, which means a standard $60 game costs around $64. With the extra 10 percent tax on violent games, the cost of an M-rated game like Red Dead Redemption 2 would make the game end up costing about $70.

Explaining the bill last year, Quinn said violent video games might be an element in the rise of school shootings in America. "One factor that may be contributing to the rise in, and intensity of, school violence is the material kids see, and act out, in video games," he said.

Quinn cited the National Center for Health Research's statement that studies demonstrate a link between violent video games and increases in aggressive thoughts and behaviors. Quinn's comments conveniently leave out the same statement's disclaimer that other factors like mental illness, access to weapons, and adverse environments should be considered as other risk factors. Not only that, but the National Center for Health Research's own reporting states that studies have not shown that aggression leads to increased instances of deadly violence or criminal activity.

Expectedly, the Entertainment Software Association, which lobbies on behalf of the video game industry, is taking a hard line against this bill. In a statement to Variety, the ESA the bill is a violation of the US Constitution.

"Numerous authorities--including scientists, medical professionals, government agencies, and the US Supreme Court--found that video games do not cause violence," it said. "We encourage Pennsylvania legislators to work with us to raise awareness about parental controls and the ESRB video game rating system, which are effective tools to ensure parents maintain control over the video games played in their home."

After the Sandy Hook shooting, a lawmaker from Connecticut proposed a similar tax in 2013. Also that year, a state representative from Missouri proposed a sales tax on games rated M and above. In both cases, the funds would have gone towards mental health programs. However, the bills never became law.

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DeucesUp

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What about the studies that show the link that people who play violent video games are less likely to commit acts of violence because they have an outlet for their frustration? Seems she's cherry-picking the research. How about if a kid shoots up a school the parent loses their gun rights? encourage parents to keep their guns locked up. This shit has been spewed since Columbine and every time something like this happens we have to debunk "what ifs". What if we actually funded research on gun violence so we know what actually causes it?

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rcdriver

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"Explaining the bill last year, Quinn said violent video games might be an element in the rise of school shootings in America."

And, worthless parenting might be another factor. How about a tax on garbage parents?

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F-Lambda

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Edited By F-Lambda

Do these studies differentiate between long-term and short-term effects of video games on aggressive behavior? Because it seems incredibly obvious to me that 5 minutes after intense PVP, you're going to be more aggressive; that's the whole point of adrenaline, to get you amped up so you can fight more effectively. But do the effects persist a week later? I seriously doubt that, especially with this line: "However, some studies have found that competition among players in video games is a better predictor of aggressive behavior than is the level of violence."

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theanimaster

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What about Sports games? If this is true they should have higher taxes on those because it seems we have way more sore losers shooting up stuff — look at what happened in the EA-sponsored event in the GLHF bar at the Landing, Jacksonville FL. SPORTS GAMES ARE DAAAAAAANGEROUS!!

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DavidinCT

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Edited By DavidinCT

Sin tax ? On, gee wiz, another reason to get taxed ? When the truth is, There is no direct proof of violent video games causing real world violence. Many tests have been done and they are saying the same thing they did 20 years ago.

>"One factor that may be contributing to the rise in, and intensity of, school violent is the material kids see, and act out, in video games," he said.

Oh, let's look at other places violence is shown today. Let's say, most of prime time TV, 80% of movies on TV, cable and off media. So, lets tax that, screw it, lets add a breathing tax, so you can tax even more people.

Chris Quinn who tried to put this through, should have a 50% tax taken from him going forward for the rest of his life.

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ANUBISZER0

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Jack assess.

Little Timmy shot up the school? Those damn video games drove him to it.

How about getting to the real root of the problem instead of scapegoating video games?

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txcfrg

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realistically its stupid. rasing the price of a game will make someone will want to play it/watch it whatever more. ohh they jacked up the price so it MUST be good...

its parenting by state. good parents dont let their kids play these sort of games full stop and use filters for offensive content.

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TheEternalGamer

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Let's not stop there. We should also tax R-rated movies, mature content on TV, satellite and cable. Let's tax utilizing the internet for anything other than education. We can also tax people any time they go over the speed limit by placing sensors in every vehicle. Think of all the money we could make for our great country. Am I right, comrades?

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atherworld

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Bad idea. Besides the obvious they ave yet to actually link video games to such behavior, it'll spread. Sin tax on alcohol, because it kills people, leads to violent behavior. Then onto cigarette, cigars etc, followed by guns. Then sooner or later, somebody will say Abortion is murder, so let's tax abortions. Then the shitzu droppings will hit the fan.

But got to love the logic. Violent video games may, perhaps, contribute to violent behavior, so let's just assume it really does despite any real evidence, and tax it just to be safe. So, how about an idiot politicians tax for idiot politicians who come up with stupid bills based on feelings and hunches.

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Naud

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@atherworld:

I think cigarettes are already taxed more than anything else. The tax is higher than the profit.

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Jonesy974

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So apparently my comment bashing my own state that I live in, and bashing the idiocy of both political parties here wasn't removed specifically due to "intended to harass another user or was simply disruptive".

Weird, I attacked no one, made an obvious remark, and was completely on the subject of the article.

*slow clap* good job moderators. Keep up the horrible work.

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s3as3a

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Edited By s3as3a

Edit:

I realized a flaw in my argument. Technically, they can still get non-violent games which are fun. Having said that, I can't think of a fun non-violent game. :P

This would only stop the (somewhat) poor from getting the games, and they're more likely to commit crimes in the first place (out of survival-based desperation), so if we prevent them from getting videos (which are stress-relievers), couldn't it be argued that violent crime would increase (or not change at all)?

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s3as3a

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To be honest, I didn't look into this in detail, but I suspect that this is proposed by politicians who have not looked into the research on the effects of video games and who are also not into video games themselves, so they just don't get that such games are "stress relievers" (that, if I remember what I read correctly, actually reduce violent tendencies (which makes intuitive sense to me)), rather than "violence catalysts".

(I would look into this in detail if I were the one to make an official decision.)

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SofaJockey

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How about taxing stupidity, that would make a lot of money.

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Cylor

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'Cause if there's one thing this country needs...it's more taxes.

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tsunami2311

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Edited By tsunami2311

oh get the hell out here, games, maybe if said parents fucking took noticed what there kid does and actual payed attention to them and and didnt just buy them any game they want and ignore ESRB labels in first place so said kid left them alone this would be such big issue, so now that parents cant be bother to parent there kid and pay attention to them, which if that is the case they should not of had kids. no governments want to get involved and propose tax on said games.

First they said warning system dont work, it not that it dont work it that parents buy those game for there kids in first place and give it to them. its parent that just ingores it, now they want to add a tax to said games for, Where is the "sin" tax for some of these music albums? or sin tax for the movies? that glorify voilence and killing that pg-13? or TV shows that similar rated what crock shit.

Blame the fucking parent that cant be bother to parent there kid and buy there kid any game they want just so there kid leaves them alone. more then half people out that have kids should be having kids , cause they can be bothred to parent there kid in first place.

I wonder why name of people porposing this want released or named? last guy that tried this got castastred publicly for it

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Schizycho

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Yup, let's blame video games, let's blame rock music, let's blame D&D and young women that get abortions.

The gun violence couldn't possibly be caused by guns. I propose government officials get a new pay deduction on their income, let's call it the stupid **** tax.

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AstroGazer

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how can they propose a SIN tax when they do not have any religion and thus there is no such thing as sin. But maybe there should be an abortion tax since that is a sin they can accept (Since were talking on religious terms).

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j_rab

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Here is an article posted on the mayo clinic from two MDs and a JD, addressed to the Supreme Court about why this correlation is so unfounded and focused on bias and scape goating :

Article on known facts about games and violence and why we shouldnt villainize videogames as the cause

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vamroc

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Here is a computer term these idiots can understand SINTAX ERROR

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JSprunk

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Edited By JSprunk

Let’s blame everything except the dirtbag that murders innocent people.

That 10% tax is just going to feed another slush fund for Congress to rob, just like every other fund they’ve ever started.

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ZombieVirolina

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HEIL TRUMPLER!!!

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vamroc

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@ZombieVirolina: OMFG that sounds like a new flavor of Poppler (from Futurama)

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JSprunk

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@vamroc: I wouldn’t drink it though. Probably give you herpes.

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vamroc

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@jsprunk: Oh, in the Futurama episode Fry found these little alien balls in a dirt hole and began eating them not realizing they were the larva of The Omicrons a large reptilian race. The name Poppler was chosen because of the way you could just pop them in your mouth one after the other of course Lela was horrified to find out what they were after seeing one of them hatch and call her mommy.

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Broncos7

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Edited By Broncos7

Not a fan of violent video games and I won't let my kids play any games with an M rating on them. With that being said it's my parenting decision and parents need to step up and make the best decisions for their kids. A 10% tax isn't going to solve anything.

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F-Lambda

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@broncos7: To add, M-rated video games aren't even allowed to be sold to under-18s in the first place, so this wouldn't "protect" them any additionally (assuming current rules were actually followed).

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RetroPlay2

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Edited By RetroPlay2

Seriously, how long has this discussion on games and violence been going on? 25+ years? Why is it that those people STILL always have to go back to the "threat to America's youth" note? Do they really think parents are so utterly stupid they don't know not to give M-rated games to their underage children? This sort of thing defeats the entire purpose of the ESRB, which is a guideline for what they should or shouldn't expose their kids to. Besides, there's a myriad of other ways young kids may expose themselves to violence: growing up in a dangerous neighborhood, losing or having a friend wounded in a gunfight (whether they take part in it or not), falling in with a bad crowd, watching a Tarantino movie... Games like GTA are a REFLEX of these things, not the CAUSE. I fear those guys may never understand the difference.

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deactivated-5c93b0750c68b

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Corelation does not equal causation. Violent people like violent media. Go effing figure.

Stop trying to blame violent media on the results of lax gun laws and other factors*.

* Not going to spend the time detailing them, nor responding to likely arguments that would ensue.

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vamroc

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@swiftsails: Doctors are trying to use video games to CURB violent urges on the basis that if a patient has an outlet for his impulses he'll be less likely to perform those acts in his day to day life.

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Mr_Dave

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How utterly out of touch with reality can a person be? I am shocked that such a moronic notion for a tax came from a republican. Smells like false flag coattail riding to me. Just like manbearpig!

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vamroc

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@Mr_Dave: HA! Man-Bear-Pig

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jaguar10books

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Dr. Phil specifically said on his program on a segment about a kid addicted to Fortnite & Grand Theft Auto that violent video games do not make kids serial killers or school shooters. (it's on Youtube if you want to watch it) It's the parents fault if a kid is playing a rated M game like Grand Theft, which in the above case, the mother was a wimp and would not discipline her child! Parents have to learn to say NO!!! Dr. Phil's solution? He took a hammer to the kids controllers!! ha, ha.

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Rmokeefe76

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Yeah right.

I can see game studios just love watching their sales decrease because somebody wants to arbitrarily charge more tax on rated M titles.

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leeko_link

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Edited By leeko_link

More ways for the government to steal money from consumers using children donation as excuse. If safety is their concern why not do this with movies as well which also had ratings too.

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Happylad

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Age ratings exist for a reason. Kids aren't supposed to be playing these games and increasing the price isn't going to change anything. I hate the fact that video games are used as a scapegoat when violent movies and tv shows are just as bad.

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jonesbgs17

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Edited By jonesbgs17

When will lawmakers wake up and realize that the majority of video game players, regardless of rating, are adults. Saying that violent video games are a children's issue is like saying that baby food ingredients are an adult issue. Apples and oranges. Study after study shows no negative impact by violent games on the mind of a healthy person of any age and yet these bizarre assumptions continue. And what about taxing violent blu-rays? Kids watch those. Probably nobody talks about that because movie watchers outnumber gamers. For now.

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AirDPort

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Every other country in the world plays these and does not have shootings. So many factors run into this but one of the biggest that is unspoken is the typical American parent. Parents in the US do not actually parent their kids and do anything to push blame for their kids actions onto something else. They also over medicate them for being hyper like normal kids. I played violent videos games for over 20 years and I've been shooting guns for 25. The first rule in gun safety is never point it at somebody else and my dad hammered that into my brain. Parenting is the most important job in the world and a lot of Americans are failing at it, this is one of the effects.

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ScooterG46

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@airdport: I'm a Canadian parent of 2 boys, I dont let my kids buy M rated games and monitor any usage of my M rated games. They are 12 and 13yrs old.

The first line of defense or person at fault is the parent of the child,know where and who your kids hang with.

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StokeMeAClipper

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Myself and probably millions of others grew up playing violent video games and have no issues with violence. I am 35 and haven't even had a fight in my adult life. Surely that's evidence that video games don't cause violence. There have been numerous studies done in the past which have showed video games don't increase violent behaviour. The problem is, if one study they call for shows the results they want to see, that will be enough for them to have their way. If you study most things over and over again, eventually you'll get back an anomalous result. I believe that is exactly why so many studies are done. They are waiting for a study that says what they want it to say regardless of whether it is an anomaly.

You'll always have out of touch politicians that think only kids play video games despite the fact that many people that grew up playing video games continue to do so as an adult. They are constantly calling for studies to be done and will leap on the tiniest suggestion that video games have a negative effect on people despite the overwhelming evidence that it doesn't. It's a witch hunt and they employ similarly idiotic methods to try to prove their point as was used in witch trials (Okay, we've thrown 50 women over this cliff and none of them have flown away, but if we keep it up we'll find a witch eventually).

Also, why should adults have games intended for them taxed because people that shouldn't be playing them (kids) might be being negatively affected by them (despite much evidence to the contrary)? It's completely moronic.

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scifiknut

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Well, it's not a ban. Just pay a little more to atone for your dirty gun toting killing sprees in any FPS game and you're good. You gun-luvin' scoundrels, you ?. Because OF COURSE you can connect the dots between playing violent games and that of being a dysfunctional person in society due to mental health issues AND still with access to real-life guns. Being around guns all the time and having easy access to them never was a problem. Oh no, sir. We have to blame interactive games, violent movies and anything that potentially dulls your senses and influences you to do bad things and make the wrong choices. Any other factor that could screw up a life, like a violently or sexually abusive upbringing, bullying in school, failure to meet expectations from parents and those closest to you, not getting a steady job and paycheck and thus struggling hard to make ends meet. Those are things that can break someone and in some cases the person wants to lash out at the world around them to, in their eyes, get justice/revenge and make one last attempt at getting some resemblence of "acknowledgement", no matter how twisted. Normally I believe playing violent games is far down on such a person's list, but with generous access to real-life guns allowing mentally unstable people to kill people around them, isn't it easy to just point the finger at gaming and completely ignore the bigger picture?

PS! I'm assuming this bill is backed by NRA, as it targets gamers acting out in a virtual world and not some random person shooting up their real-life school or neighbourhood?

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rangeraragorn

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Some kids act up, so let’s tax everyone. The real problem is parenting. There are parents out there that (whether they don’t want to, or their focus in life is in something else) don’t want to put in the effort to truly parent their child. They’d rather focus on themselves and let their child get their influences from other sources, whether that be other kids, the music they hear, the TV shows and movies they watch, and yes, even the video games they play. The parents don’t take the time to fully understand what influences are in their child’s life, and those that don’t more than likely don’t try and counter the potentially negative influences by explaining (despite what we see and hear) how we should treat others. I doubt we’d have many bullies and outcasts in our society if they did. So some parents don’t want to invest the time it takes to raise their child the right way, so let’s tax everyone.

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Badbrad1961

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I think the biggest cause of the school shootings and similar things is something no one seems to want to address. It always about the kid who snaps. What about what made him snap. Like the bullies in school and cliques that constantly picked on him/her the ones that ostricized the kid. The ones that physically harmed him/her. That's where the problem is.

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ScooterG46

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@badbrad1961: the problem is as a parent myself, we are letting other people raise our children

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Badbrad1961

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@scooterg46: yes that too. I can tell you though as a kid I was harassed and you could say kids attempted to bully me. Due to the fact I was either the new kid in school ,27 different schools due to a single mom in California. Rent went up we had to move. You could move two blocks and be put in a new school. Or because I was the shortest kid in my grade. However as they say dynamite comes in small packages. So they were the ones who went away with the bumps and bruises. You see I was a brown belt in karate at a very young age so that helped as well. Very easily could have been the other way like alot of kids get, then one day they snap. Then all the blame is put on the kid that snapped, not any on the kid or kids that drove him to that point.

You could also say women going to work caused part as well. A mom at home with their kids is way more beneficial than day care. Also her being there when kids get home. I'm not saying a woman's place is in the home. But there is something that can be said for a mom to be home with children growing up.

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ScooterG46

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@badbrad1961: I agree with you 1000%, I've always said our downfall was to have that "home" parent be forced into the workplace.my mom went to work for the school when both my brother and I were in elementary, then she followed us through every school until we graduated, we didnt have a chance to stray hahah