Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No Dragons in this Dungeon or One more reason for nerds to avoid getting incarcarated

I have only recently come to the wonderful world of table top role playing games. I would have likely gotten involved at an earlier age, but when my mother discovered my printed copy of Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition (lovingly printed on a dot matrix printer... it was huge and involved a lot of perforated edge tearing), she had me destroy it, lest I be seduced by the witchcraft-y wiles of Wizards of the Coast. It wouldn't be nearly ten years later after graduating college that I would have my second introduction to the genre. 

I largely entered roleplaying games in a reverse order than most gamers, having my first games be White Wolf games (Hunter and Exalted). I only recently had my first real experience gaming with Dungeons and Dragons. The high fantasy environment feels at once both new and familiar. It's very much like my experience with modern gay history. I had experienced the products of a culture, but only later unearthing the roots from which the many derivations and rebellions of our modern gay era have sprouted from.

So when I heard that a Chicago-based court recently ruled that it was legal for a prison system to ban the play of Dungeons and Dragons, and was not, as the plaintiff alleged, an infringement on his 1st Amendment rights; it brought a simultaneous chuckle and knowing sigh. The image of hardcore violent crime inmates rolling initiative is highly humorous to me. I also want to know they sneak their twenty-sided die into the prison @_o:

In an opinion issued on Monday, a three-judge panel of the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals hexed a lawsuit challenging a ban on the game of Dungeons and Dragons by the Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin.
The suit was brought by a prisoner, Kevin T. Singer, who argued that his First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights were violated by the prison’s decision to ban the game and confiscate his books and other materials — including a 96-page handwritten manuscript he had created for the game.
Mr. Singer, “a D&D enthusiast since childhood,” according to the court’s opinion, was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for bludgeoning and stabbing his sister’s boyfriend to death.
Prison officials said they banned the game at the recommendation of the prison’s specialist in gangs, who said it could lead to gang behavior and fantasies about escape.
The game could “foster an inmate’s obsession with escaping from the real-life correctional environment, fostering hostility, violence and escape behavior,” prison officials said in court. That could make it more difficult to rehabilitate prisoners and could endanger public safety, they said.

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