I went to QuakeCon for a little while this evening and had a wonderful time, but I had one extremely odd moment that I think personifies the recent ESRB debate perfectly.
I was checking out some of the custom cases in the BYOC area (some were rather amazing), when I bumped into a small child. I turned around, and saw a 6-year-old girl. I apologized for bumping into her, and she challenged me to a 1-on-1 tourney match in "Quake III: Arena."
Never mind that this child is 11 years too young for the game as rated, but the way she challenged me told me she'd been playing online for awhile. I asked her why she wanted to play me, and she said so she could "smack my bitch-ass down." Her mother then came over, took her by the shoulder, and told her, "Don't be mean to the nice man."
So you can blame the developers, or you can blame the store clerks, or you can blame the publishers, or you can blame anyone you want for "M"-rated titles being in the hands of children. Personally, I'm going to blame the mother of a 6-year-old girl who not only bought her daughter a copy of "Quake III: Arena," but also allowed her to play online and then went so far as to pay for her admission and escort her to a LAN party dedicated to an "M"-rated title.
Mind you, I'd much rather a child play "Quake III: Arena" than "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" anyday, but that was a bit too surreal of an experience for me.