- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2000

The Federal Trade Commission has just released its yearlong study showing how Hollywood's film industry, the music industry and the video-game industry have been deliberately targeting and marketing all manner of filth and violence to America's children.

No less an expert on filth and violence, President Clinton ordered the FTC study after the deadly spate of school shootings over the last few years. Mr. Clinton said the entertainment industry's targeting of America's children with a barrage of violence blurs, in their young immature minds, the distinction between "fantasy and reality violence."

Here's where I am confused. What Big Entertainment has done to America's children makes what Big Tobacco has done pale by comparison. When Big Tobacco makes one of our children smoke a cigarette, death is not immediate and there's just a chance it might come 40 or 50 years later. But when Big Entertainment tells a child to pick up a gun and shoot a playmate, death or injury is immediate.

I'm wondering why the White House and Congress are not calling upon Attorney General Janet Reno to sue and try to reach a multibillion-dollar settlement with Big Entertainment like they did with Big Tobacco.

About 30 big-city mayors have either brought suits, or are contemplating suits, against gun manufacturers. The FTC report suggests these mayors are mistaken and misguided. It's not Big Gun that is responsible for causing all the murder and mayhem in their cities, it's Big Entertainment that tells both children and adults to shoot up neighborhoods and schools.

I'm guessing that we will see no government suits against Big Entertainment. Why? Big Entertainment and Big Government are allies they both contribute to one another's agenda.

Here is another puzzlement: For the past couple of nights, I have been watching television programs featuring the nation's new supermax prisons, such as California's Pelican Bay. I have also watched the History Channel's series "The Big House," featuring notable prisons such as Sing Sing, Leavenworth and Louisiana's Angola Prison, a k a The Farm.

Feminists have called for and succeeded in ending a lot of sex segregation in the military, even aboard combat ships and in combat units. Women have integrated the nation's police and firefighting forces. Women even serve as guards in male prisons. Women have fought to be admitted in organizations where they were unwanted, such as all-male country clubs and sweaty male locker rooms. I'm wondering why feminists haven't called for prison inmate integration, so female criminals can take their rightful place alongside male criminals? What possible excuse can be given as justification for one of the last bastions of sex-based segregation?

Don't say anything about physical differences between men and women. America's male chauvinists tried that argument and lost when they attempted to keep women off combat ships and out of combat units. We who care about justice and equality ought to demand answers from sentencing boards and prison authorities.

There's something else on the sex front I find a bit strange. Companies face lawsuits and fines for not having a certain percentage of women in their work force. One problem is that, in some jobs, women don't apply according to their numbers in the population.

For example, I have seen zero to no female garbage collectors and jack-hammer operators, just to name a couple of occupations. If a company can be sued for not having enough women, then companies ought to be able to protect themselves. How about allowing companies to draft women, forcing them to join their work force?

You say, "That's wrong, Williams." Why? If the Army is able to draft men when it doesn't have enough soldiers, what's wrong with companies being able to use a draft when they don't have enough women?

Walter Williams is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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