Citizens encouraged to get rid of violent games in wake of Newtown shooting
Community leaders in Southington, Connecticut are encouraging families to consider giving up violent video games, and are offering gift certificates in exchange for handing games over to be destroyed.
The horrific Newtown school shootings left America searching for solutions to gun violence, and giving a close look at a culture some suggest glorifies killing.
"We're not saying the use of video games causes people to become murderers, but there's evidence that it causes increases in aggressiveness, fear, anxiety and desensitization about actions of violence," Southington's director of community services Susan Saucier told The Hartford Courant.
Volunteers will collect games on January 12 that parents or children wish to get rid of.
While the games themselves will be consigned to the flames, participants will recieve a gift certificate for a more "family-oriented" activity.
"We want to stop the violence in our community," said Charlie Cocuzza, chamber of commerce board president.
"Those games can cost $60 or $70. So we want to give families a certificate to do something fun and family-oriented, something where they can spend a couple of hours together instead."
While the verdict is still out on the relationship between games and actual violence, many in the industry have begun to examine the message their games send.
Pressure is beginning to mount on the entertainment industry as a whole, with super pro-gun lobbyist group the NRA placing the blame for a "culture of violence" on hollywood, television, and game makers.
A bill from a West Virginia Senator has been put before congress, calling for a government investigation into the relationship between games and violence.
Consumers themselves have begun to take action; 12-year-old Max Goldstein of Newtown launched the "Played out initiative, calling on children in the community to dump their violent games in the trash.
He says the message to other kids is "Choose not to play."