We’ve all seen how successful the gun buy-back programs have been in lowering violent crime in various places such as LA and even Australia. Now, the town of Melrose in Massachusetts is getting to the heart of the matter: violent video games.
It started when the Hyams family entered a rest stop in Massachusetts on Christmas Eve with their 12-year-old son and witnessed another boy playing a video game that involved shooting “bad guys” on the screen with a machine gun replica. Mr. Hyams said that one could hear the simulated gunshots even in the bathroom at the rest stop.
So, the family did something about it and e-mailed the state Department of Transportation, letting them know that such video games have no place at a Massachusetts rest stop, particularly one so close to Newtown, CT. The Massachusetts DOT agreed and removed 9 violent video games in 4 different rest stops, leaving more “family-friendly” games like Pac-Man.
Melrose’s Mayor Robert Dolan launched an initiative aimed at buying back violent video games, toys and movies from residents in exchange for coupons. They hope to have the program up and running on February 1st. The Boston Globe reported:
"Under the initiative, called New Year — New Direction, residents who throw away items can retrieve a coupon sheet, which will include deals at local businesses and possibly a 'get out of homework free' coupon, Dolan said. 'I’m not saying people shouldn’t have [violent games and toys], but, at least in my house, things have changed since Connecticut,' Dolan said."
I don’t like violent video games either. They’re not allowed in our house, and I don’t want our kids playing them. That is our decision and our responsibility as parents. If parents don’t want to have violent video games in their house, they should ban them from their own house. But a government banning them (or encouraging people to turn them in for store coupons) won’t do anything to keep criminals from using guns or knives or explosives or whatever else they can get their hands on to commit violent crimes.
If they’re so concerned with violence in media, what on earth are they going to do about Hollywood productions and actors that celebrate violence? Of course those same actors and actresses that celebrate violence in their own movies recently went on a self-righteous campaign to “do something” about gun violence.
Banning simulated gun violence or even the real thing might feel like a good thing to do, but in the end, it’s just that, a feeling. Mrs. Hyams told CBS in an interview that after the state DOT removed the violent video games from the rest stops, she “felt gratified.” Well, that’s all any of these buy-back programs are going to do. Make certain people feel better because they “did something.” But it will do nothing. Except maybe pay for a few extra Hot Pockets at the grocery store.