Dragon Magazine goes political - Page 7
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  1. #61
    Originally posted by Number47
    Although I have not read the article, it seems that prisoners rights have nothing to do with it. If a prison otherwise allows a wide field of reading materials, then it is RPGs that are getting slandered. Nobody is saying that a prison that allows no magazines needs to allow Dragon, but that if a prison already allows similar content, then to deny a publisher of a specific genre is unfair. It would be like allowing horror novels, but disallowing sci-fi novels. The argument has nothing to do with whether prisoners themselves deserve sci-fi novels.

    I think the potential market in prison would be enormous. Do you have any idea how many people are in prison? In the country that idealizes freedom, I find it amazing that we will incarcerate people at the drop of a hat. What is the prison system for? Other posters mentioned punishment, but they don't seem to do that. Some would say rehabilitation, but not a lot of that seems to be going on, either. The idea confuses me.

    For those who encourage prisoners to be treated as sub-human, remember that they are just like you and me. They believe in the same values (although they do not always uphold those values). They want the same things in life. In many cases, they haven't done anything worse than many of us have, just got caught. Although I will never do it again, I once drove home from the bar after having a couple drinks. I wasn't what I would consider "drunk", just like an awful lot of people who go to bars and drive home. If a cop had pulled me over on that particular night, then it would be me aching to get Dragon delivered in prison.

    Why do bars even have parking lots?

    One last thought on the subject. McNuggets!
    Not to "brag", but my little sister has three DUIs and one with assaulting an officer and she just got her first suspension of her license with the third. It can be difficult to go to jail. My sister has had several other issues including car theft and has never spent a night in jail. The legal system is great. Pot smokers get probation, unless they have bought too large a supply and could be distributing.

  2. #62

    "From the inside"

    Okay folks, it's been a few weeks since I've actually posted on the boards here, but lemme drop my 2 cents in on this discussion... First off, I am in the military and have been for over 8 years now. Second, I work in a military prison that houses medium security prisoners serving up to 7 year sentences. For the most part they are young punks that have gotten busted smoking weed or doing X or some other illegal drug. However, we do have our fair share of violent prisoners (mostly assault and battery with the occasional murderer awaiting transfer to Levenworth), sexual offenders (to include numerous child molestors and rapists)... At any rate, all of these prisoners are allowed to purchase RPG books from retailers like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or straight from WotC etc. They must have authorization to purchase any material outside of the facility, period. That means anything from a pair of shoes to the new CoC book. Magazine subscriptions are approved on a case by case basis if they are not on the "approved" list (no they can't recieve porn). And I do recall a prisoner giving me the paperwork to be approved for Dragon a few weeks back.... Don't know if it was approved or not though.

    With all that being said, here is the kicker... The prisoners are not allowed to play any form of RPG, period. So while they can spend their money of the books etc, all they can do is read them. Do they play anyway? Yes, they do. Is a big deal made about it when they get busted doing so? Not usually, but it can be. Continue reading for my commands perspective on why they aren't allowed to play....

    It goes something along these lines... The prisoners are not to ever be put into a position in which one prisoner has any more control over a situation then another prisoner (or something to that effect). Basically the command doesn't care for the idea of one prisoner "leading" a bunch of other prisoners through anything. Whether it be a D&D adventure or morning PT, prisoners are not to hold leadership postions over other prisoners. It has to do with retribution, favoritism, and reprisal I suppose... But that is the gist of it at the facility where I work...

    I do think that it is ridiculus to allow these criminals to pay for the books and then not allow them to play... But you know what? I also think that it is ridiculus (and freakin' disgusting) that these guys are committing the crimes to get locked up in the first place... Like someone said earlier in thread... Prison ain't sposed to be fun!
    Last edited by Eye Tyrant; Thursday, 11th April, 2002 at 08:28 PM.

  3. #63
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    Originally posted by WSmith
    FWIW, the only two games the prisoners are alllowed to play at my place are scrabble and stratego. NOTHING that uses dice is allowed.
    And yet, you can use Scrabble and Stratego pieces as randomizers...

    - Eric

  4. #64
    Regardless of where you stand on the issue, is this appropriate for Dragon Magazine?
    As a 5-6 page article? Not really.

    As an editorial? (which is what it was) Yes.

    Why? Because it releated to how D&D product was being percieved and treated by people in authority, which I believe is fair game for an editorial in Dragon. If you took our "prison" and replaced it with "school district" or "military base" would folks have got into such a flap about it being so ~political~?

  5. #65
    Originally posted by KDLadage
    Because allowing a prisoner to focus his anger/problems and chanel them into non-violent activities is a good thing?

    Because helping a prisoner to learn better reading, writing and social skills could go a long way towards his/her recovery once s/he is released?
    I've seen these arguments a few times. The problems with them are, first, you can't say that the prisoners would use this as a constructive activity. You can roleplay anything you want, including rape and murder. We've all heard of evil campaigns. The game is not inherently socially constructive.

    Secondly, D&D is NOT a reading program! That argument ignores that the primary purpose of D&D is as a recreational activity. As such, prisons are allowed and even obligated to regulate and restict those activities.

    But back to my original post. The problem with the editorial is that it was political. Those of you who like the article seems to agree with its position. What happens when D&D ways in against abortion because it reduces the pool of possible future gamers? Point is, it isn't the right venue.

  6. #66
    Originally posted by CaptainCalico
    If you took our "prison" and replaced it with "school district" or "military base" would folks have got into such a flap about it being so ~political~?
    I just did in an earlier post. The above comment holds no water.

    First, the majority of people in the military are not there to cause trouble, nor are school kids. EVERYONE in prison is there for commiting a crime. And don't buy that Brooklyn Bridge tale that they were framed or innocent.

    Second, the amount of people incarcerated in the US alone is only a fraction of the amount of school kids in this country. If I need to cite numbers I will but most people find statistics borning anyway. Plus I am trying to not turn EN World into a "Crossfire"

    So, the bring it back to the editorial, I pay a good penny for Dragon. The kinds of things I want to see in the editorial are the tales of the editor's game and how it relates to what is in the month's issue. I don't want to hear about real world politics. That is why I read it. The escape.

    Ironically enough, desipte this thread, this is one of the strong points of EN WORLD. Guys who have different political views like Arcady and I can talk about WOT and not even know each others political views unless they come up somehow, or are learned on another message board, . This place is pure D&D, and that is the way I like it.

    So, I am am sorry to the MODS and will try to not fan the flames of this thread anymore. (I really will try. )

  7. #67
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    I'm pretty shocked at the naive perception of prison portrayed here, though I shouldn't be. I too thought everyone in Prison deserved to be there, and for as long as they had to be there. But maybe it is my profession (lawyer), maybe my ex girlfriend (public defender), and maybe the city I live in (Los Angeles), but now I know that is simply false for a lot of cases.

    First of all, have NONE of you heard of Rampart? Literally hundreds of people were recently released from prison because the police were completely lying about their guilt (and several of those police officers are now in jail). My ex personally witnessed a District Attorney stating, off the record and so that there were no witnesses, that he was sending a guy to prison on a charge he knew was false, but was doing it because the guy was an illegal alien (something the DA's are not involved with prosecuting), and felt it was better for society if he sent the guy to jail because he was an illegal alien.

    I've personally witnessed an officer beat someone over the head with a baton, WHO WAS HANDCUFFED AT THE TIME AND NOT FLEEING, merely for smarting off to the cop (the guy was drunk, and barely able to walk). I was too young at the time to understand that I should have done something about it, rather than letting it go. That cop probably killed a suspect eventually.

    In another case, a retarded teenager broke into his father's toolshed, where he lived, during a weekend when his father was not home, and the police were called when the father returned. After figuring out what happened, the police arrested the kid for one of the various felony theft charges, over the objections of the father (you do not have to press charges in the State of California). The kid had two prior felonies (one was for shoplifting over $500 worth of stuff at one time, the other for taking someone's backpack combined with the words "if you don't hand it over you're dead", which was charged as what was then known as a terrorist threat). The kid was convicted for the toolshed breakin, and is now serving LIFE IN PRISON under the three strikes law.

    I could go on and on about the people currently in prison...one serving life for stealing a pizza from a delivery guy, with two prior drug possession charges...(That's the one that will likely result in a change to the three strikes law actually here in California).

    There are too many other stories to recount here...

    Oh, and as for the guy who admitted he drove after drinking once, if he had been caught on his first offense he would not be in Prison. However, if he had hit someone because he was intoxicated, you can be damn sure he would be in Prison right now for a long time. He's just lucky, that's all.

    Not everyone in prison is evil. Not everyone deserves to be there, or to be there for as long as they have to be there. Police, and judges, and juries, are only human, and sometimes they make mistakes, and sometimes they are also evil people. The next time you think everyone in prison is just a piece of filth, just thank god it isn't you. Life is strange, and odd circumstances can happen. You can be in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong police officers or mistaken or bad witnesses. It could be you.

  8. #68
    Originally posted by WSmith


    EVERYONE in prison is there for commiting a crime. And don't buy that Brooklyn Bridge tale that they were framed or innocent.

    Interesting that you find the courts completely infalable. Everyone in prison commited a crime? No one has EVER been wrongfully accused, I'd swear I've heard of at least a few cases of poeple being released from prison after new facts were found. Was I mishearing?

    There's only one absolute in this world, and that is that nothing else is abslotute. There are no Everys and Nones

  9. #69
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    Darwin, I'm afraid it isn't just a few cases. As the New Yorker reported:

    "[Rafeal Perez, a former LAPD officer now in jail for corruption], implicated about seventy officers in wrongdoing, and the questions he raised about police procedure cast the city's criminal-justice system into a state of tumult. More than a hundred convictions were thrown out, and thousands more are still being investigated. The city attorney's office estimated the potential cost of settling civil suits touched off by the Rampart scandal at a hundred and twenty-five million dollars. A city councilman, Joel Wachs, said that it "may well be the worst man-made disaster this city has ever faced." The Rampart scandal finally broke the L.A.P.D. in a way that even the Rodney King beating, in 1991, and its bloody aftermath had not, forcing the city to accept a federal role in overseeing the police department's operation."

    "...Perez declared that bogus arrests, perjured testimony, and the planting of "drop guns" on unarmed civilians were commonplace..."

    Not rare. Not even uncommon. Perez revealed that the planting of guns on suspects was COMMONPLACE.

    That isn't ancient history, it is RIGHT NOW. Attorneys continue to review as many as 15,000 cases that may have involved misconduct by police officers. One police chief lost his job over this, and as of two days ago a second one looks like he is on his way out. Meanwhile the CRASH unit, where much of the corruption took place, has been disbanded, and our police force is under Federal oversight.

  10. #70
    Originally posted by SemperJase
    ... first, you can't say that the prisoners would use this as a constructive activity. You can roleplay anything you want, including rape and murder. We've all heard of evil campaigns. The game is not inherently socially constructive.
    But the question is is role playing rape and murder the same thing as doing rape or murder? -- I would state that it is not, and that if they have things like this in thier heads that need to be expressed, it is best expressed with some books and play acting than in reality.

    Secondly, D&D is NOT a reading program! That argument ignores that the primary purpose of D&D is as a recreational activity. As such, prisons are allowed and even obligated to regulate and restict those activities.
    The primary purpose of a condom is to act as a barrier for procreation. However, in Vietnam it proved to be an excellent way to keep water out of your weapon.

    The primary purpose is not at issue here. The secondary effects are what I am concerned with. I never claimed that D&D should replace RIF, I said it can aid in the literacy of the player.

    But back to my original post. The problem with the editorial is that it was political.
    As stated above, I doubt that as much uproar about the political stance would have been made had the word prison been replaced with the word school district or military base -- at that point, even given the fact that the editorial would be every bit as political in nature, the outcry would have been nil.

    IMHO, YMMV, yada yada yada...

    Those of you who like the article seems to agree with its position.
    True. Even so, I would rather the space have been used for something else. Still, I defend the right of Dragon to print what they want. I further defend the right of the readership to complain about it. In the end, I think the fact that we are all talking about Dragon proves that the article was a successful one, no matter the outcome.

    What happens when D&D ways in against abortion because it reduces the pool of possible future gamers? Point is, it isn't the right venue.
    Some will agree. Some will disagree. Some will think it was a waste of space in a good magazine. But as long as the editorial has something to do with gaming (even on a tangent) -- then it is at the very least ON TOPIC -- no matter if I would have rather read something else or not.

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