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Town in Connecticut Set to Collect, Destroy Violent Video Games

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Posted on January 3, 2013 AT 11:33am

A group in the town of Southington, Connecticut has organized a drive to collect and destroy violent videogames in response to the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Now, before we go any further, let’s be clear: what happened at Sandy Hook absolutely was a tragedy. It should never have happened, innocent lives and families were destroyed, and the person responsible for that act deserved to pay for what he did (instead of taking the coward’s way out and ending his own life).

That said, it is inevitable that after such events, some look for scapegoats upon which to pin blame. Once again, we find violent video games to be the target of some of that blame—partially because the perpetrator was known to play videogames. (Like, you know, a large amount of the population at this point.)

So, a group calling themselves SouthingtonSOS has organized the “Violent Video Games Return Program”, set to take place on January 12th. According to their press release:

“As people arrive in their cars to turn in their games of violence, they will be offered a gift certificate donated by a member of the Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce as a token of appreciation for their action of responsible citizenship. Violent games turned in will be destroyed and placed in the town dumpster for appropriate permanent disposal.”

To be fair to SouthingtonSOS, they then go on to make the following comment:

“The publication of the first press story today has attracted a significant response which was no surprise to SouthingtonSOS. The group’s action is not intended to be construed as statement declaring that violent video games were the cause of the shocking violence in Newtown on December 14th.

Rather, SouthingtonSOS is saying is that there is ample evidence that violent video games, along with violent media of all kinds, including TV and Movies portraying story after story showing a continuous stream of violence and killing, has contributed to increasing aggressiveness, fear, anxiety and is desensitizing our children to acts of violence including bullying. Social and political commentators, as well as elected officials including the president,are attributing violent crime to many factors including inadequate gun control laws, a culture of violence and a recreational culture of violence.”

Now, I’ll be honest: there is a part of me that wonders about the effects videogames have on us as human beings. However, destroying videogames is not the solution, just like burning books is never the solution to dealing with opinions that one might not care for. Destroying games is an immature and irrational reaction to what may legitimately be a serious problem, and does absolutely nothing to fix that problem.

Education, more communication, better parenting, a fix to society’s outlook on mental and emotional issues and how we deal with them, less access to guns for those who shouldn’t have access to them—that is where we should be putting our focus in the hopes of stopping tragedies such as this. Not destroying games with the intention of sending an ill-conceived message and the reward of a gift certificate.

What are your feelings on all of this? Weigh in by posting your comments below.

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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