Will the First Amendment suffer?

By now everyone’s probably heard about the 8-year-old boy who shot a 7-year-old girl at a Maryland day-care center earlier this week. More details are emerging, mostly surrounding an alleged robbery attempt by the boy. Those details are as absurd as they sound, but this is what most caught my attention:

The prosecutor also said investigators found photographs of guns in the apartment and learned that the boy had access to “very violent video games.” According to a police source, two of those video games are “50 Cent Bulletproof” and “187: Ride or Die.” The Washington Post agreed not to identify the source because the case remains open.

“Bulletproof,” released last fall, depicts rapper 50 Cent in a bloody New York underworld overrun with gangs and crime syndicates. Survival in the game requires shooting nearly anyone who gets in his way. The game costs about $50. “Ride and Die,” an older game with a similar premise, is based in Los Angeles.

Darlene Hall, the boy’s aunt, said her brother has been a positive influence on the boy, who she described as deeply troubled. She said the boy denied that his father taught him how to use guns.

“He beat on the desk and said: ‘No, my father didn’t do that. I learned it from 50 Cent,’ ” Darlene Hall said, describing how the child acted during a hearing on Wednesday that was closed to the public. She was present at the hearing.

No doubt Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton are in conference figuring out how to pin this incident on violent video games and the businesses that produce and sell them. It would be too easy to admit that a parent allowing a “deeply troubled” boy access to violent video games is responsible, rather than the game or its availability. Until we learn (which we have no reason to) the 7-year-old girl’s name, I guess the Jane Doe Keep Kids Safe from Violent Video Games Act of 2006 will have to suffice.