Connecticut Town Holds Drive to Collect and Destroy Violent Video Games

In light of the Newtown massacre, Southington, a small Connecticut community, is organizing a voluntary “Violent Video Games Return Program” aimed at collecting violent games, music, and movies from families and destroying them — potentially with fire.

Families can trade in their violent media on January 12th in exchange for a $25 gift voucher intended to be used for non-violent forms of entertainment. The collected items will then be snapped, tossed into a town dumpster and likely later incinerated, according to Southington School superintendent Joe Erardi.

The event is being organized by the SouthingtonSOS, a collective of representatives of Southington community organizations that includes the Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, board of education, fire department, town officials, United Way and local clergy. Speaking with Polygon, Erardi stressed that the heart of the matter is getting parents to have a “real, sound conversation with their children about video games.”

“There are youngsters who appear to be consumed with violent video games,” he said. “I’m not certain if that’s a good thing. If this encourages one courageous conversation with a parent and their child, then it’s a success.

“We’re suggesting that for parents who have a child or children who play violent video games, to first of all view the games. We’re asking parents to better understand what their child is doing. Have a conversation about next steps. If parents are comfortable (with their child’s gaming habits), we’re comfortable.”

According to a statement from the organization:

“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.”

What are your thoughts? Erardi’s message about opening a conversation between parents and children, as well as getting parents to better understand the games their kids play, is one few people could argue with — but doesn’t the image of a giant, burning pile of shattered discs strike you as somewhat… disturbing?

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13 Comments on Connecticut Town Holds Drive to Collect and Destroy Violent Video Games

Mike

On January 2, 2013 at 8:45 pm

YAY! More stupid knee-jerk reactions that don’t address the actual issue (which is mental health)! I am reminded of a certain novel…hmm what was it, oh right! Fahrenheit 451.

folklore

On January 2, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Dang it. Stupidity of this group action brought back my eye twitch.

Axetwin

On January 2, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Burning of video games is the new book burning I guess. I think this is taking it to the extreme, but then again when have we as a species ever shown restraint and have done things in moderation?

With that said, there is some part of their message that does make sense. I agree with them when they say parents need to take a closer look at the games their kids are playing. I recently saw a picture that said ” A good parent knows when to say no to their child every now and then”. When I saw that, I was like, no, thats so wrong, it should be the completely opposite; A good parent knows when to say yes to their child every now and then. The former implies that a good parent gives their kid anything they want most of the time, while the latter, teaches them the completely opposite. I could go into an entire rant about how for atleast the past decade we have been coddling children and teaching them that nothing is ever their fault, but that would be completely off topic, not to mention delving into controversial grey area.

In anycase, I came across this article awhile ago and I found it to be a very interesting read.
http://jezebel.com/5970533/why-are-we-even-surprised-by-school-shootings?

In a nutshell this article outlines out we are in a vicious cycle where we keep getting surprised when theres an outbreak of unexpected violence and then forget or stop caring 2 weeks later. I encourage everyone to take a moment to read it.

doonerbandit

On January 3, 2013 at 1:18 am

Ignore the guns blame EVERYTHING ELSE! Heres an alternative idea ban assualt rifles, smg and automatic pistols. Just ban them, no debate JUST BAN them! now DO IT NOW!!!!

Chris

On January 3, 2013 at 2:35 am

am i the only one that thinks this is an amazing idea? Game stop will give you next to nothing for the original COD, and wont even take PC games. now you have the opportunity to get 25 bucks for all your old violent games.

IF people are gonna act stupid, im gonna be first in line to take advantage of it.

Russell Nordstrom

On January 3, 2013 at 4:22 am

Yea lets throw money away because people have to let a game babysit their children for them. What a world we live in.

Curns

On January 3, 2013 at 5:12 am

The NRA have played you like a fiddle, yet again. Target the real evil in society instead of making these vacuous knee-jerk reactions. Elvis, Marilyn Manson, Grand Theft Auto, Dungeons and Dragons, Judas Priest, Harry Potter, pornography – NONE of these things are responsible for the evils of the world. Greedy, regressive scumbags and piss-poor education are the cause.

Swcloud99

On January 3, 2013 at 9:43 am

Mike and Chris both have it down. This is EXACTLY the kind of things Fahrenheit 451 denounced. It is atrocious idiocy and there’s a real issue behind it which is indeed mental health.
On the other hand, it’s a pretty damn good deal if you want to return old games you don’t play for at the very least a decent buck.
Good work guys.

CJ Miozzi

On January 3, 2013 at 9:45 am

Lots of great points raised here, all around, and a great article linked by Axetwin. I just want to clarify that you receive $25, period — not $25 per game you turn in. It’s $25 per family that turns in violent games.

Still a bargain if you want to unload some crap games…

Kevin

On January 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I suppose if morons want to do it voluntarily, let em. but yeah, still not very comfortable with this, and I don’t play a lot of the shooters that typically get mentioned, and found the sadism in games like manhunt repellent.

But there’s a difference between objecting to games I personally find in poor taste and burning them in public or banning them. Yet since we as a society cannot look reality in the face, we will keep looking for easy solutions which solve nothing.

That reality is simple: we are going to have to trade a lot of what we call “freedom” for more security, on the off chance it might work, or we are going to have to accept that these kind of heinous things happen, and do what we can to reduce their occurence on the margins, accepting that in the end, evil happens, and it isn’t neccessarily the fault of anyone when it does happen.

Jode

On January 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm

There’s no easy answer. The best starting point is severely limiting gun access, but that can’t be the finishing point. I disagree with some of the tone of the article that Axetwin linked to, as it seems to adhere to a pretty bigoted view of “men = bad” contrived gynocentrism being the solution. The solution isn’t going to be one individual thing – it’s going to be a combination of the following: increased gun control; increased focus on state secularism; increased regulation on banks and multinational companies, plus better/more widespread access to healthcare and other public utilities; less media-led paranoia and more pragmatism.

gasmaskangel

On January 3, 2013 at 6:16 pm

If parents aren’t already monitoring the media their spawn consume, then no amount of well intentioned PTAs and churches will change that.

That said, having been exposed to video game violence pretty much all of my life, and real violence I have to say that anyone who claims that violent video games desensitize us to real world violence does not know what they’re talking about.

Also, the intentional destruction of art, no matter how bad or abhorrent that art may be, is strikes me as morally repugnant.

Ron Whitaker

On January 4, 2013 at 5:20 am

To amplify what CJ said, you also don’t get $25 cash – you get a $25 gift certificate for an alternative form of entertainment. I believe the example given was a water park.