Weekend Reading: The Week of Video Game Burning

Violence will not be solved by more acts of aggression

Southington is a town in Connecticut that sits close to Newtown, the side of the horrific shooting that left many killed and injured, so sadness and a desire for blame is a natural human tendency.

Unfortunately, an organization called SouthingtonSOS has decided that violent video games are to blame for the shooting rampage and that they should be banished from the community.

The initial plan, since then canceled after public outrage, was to simply burn all the games that concerned citizens bring in, presumably to demonstrate that destruction is the only rational response in the face of tragedy.

Joe Erardi, the superintendent of the Southington school system, believes that the burning is not in itself important but meant to encourage discussions about video games and violence between children and their parents.

This is clearly disingenuous because a conversation does not require burning as a starting point, especially when it comes to such grave matters.

The most infuriating aspect of the entire process is that the organization is based by the Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, the education board of the city, the fire department, United Way, local churches and city officials.

They all should know better.

Scientists are still debating the influence that violent video games have on children and on adults and there are no conclusive studies showing that they enable real-life aggression.

Gamers are mostly rational, intelligent people who never think about killing as a solution to their own problems.

The tragedy in Sandy Hook should lead to a discussions about gun rights and about a support system for those who are at risk rather than to talk of limiting the freedom of gamers via regulation based on emotional responses.

Fahrenheit 451 showed us what the dangers of burning books are; maybe it’s time for someone to write a similar book with video games at its core.

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