Connecticut Town Inviting Residents to Destroy Their Violent Video Games
On January 12th, at a drive-in theater off of the Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike between 9 A.M. and 12 P.M., a Southington, Connecticut awareness group will be hosting the video game equivalent of a book burning.
Each resident that brings in games depicting violence will have their act of “responsible citizenship” rewarded with a gift certificate worth $25 in value, donated on behalf of a member of the town’s very own Chamber of Commerce. On location will be a dumpster meant not only for the collection of violent video games but, SouthingtonSOS, the community group sponsoring the event, invites their neighbors to dispose of any other media that challenges citizens’ moral perceptions, including CD’s and DVD’s. Collected media will be destroyed and then thrown into the town’s dumpster for “appropriate permanent disposal,” according to SouthintonSOS.
For every stupid, blithering fucking action, there also happens to be a good intention. Formed after the horrendous shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary back in mid-December, SouthingtonSOS is an ad hoc collective effort spread across several different organizations in the hopes of both providing support to Newtown, the Connecticut town rocked by the tragedy, while also attempting to raise “proactive” public awareness. Unfortunately, “proactive” in this case means “destroying the hard-labored art of industry professionals.”
Speaking with Polygon, the area’s Superintendent of Schools, Joseph Erardi, insists that the destruction of developers’ creative works (which will be broken and burned before becoming refuse) was not the goal of the “Violent Video Games Return Program”; it’s merely collateral from the conversations about video game violence that the superintendent wishes for parents to have with their children. “Our message is fairly simple: Have the conversation with your child. If you conclude your child is done with these games, drop them off and let’s move forward. That is all.”
Joe, you have me all the way up to “have the conversation with your child,” because that’s absolutely the right message to be imparting when it comes to the subject of violence. With children, it’s of the utmost importance to share two pieces of information regarding violence: first, it should not be glorified in the real life. There are crass examples across all media that glorify the living hell out of blood, guts, and human suffering.
But more often than not, you’ll find that, stripped down to their base, violence in film and gaming is typically used as a storytelling tool; the forward momentum used to push along a narrative where that type of story or that genre of game would be unable to move without it. And you’ll find that’s because of our second parcel of information our children need to come to terms with: violence exists. To condemn and, in this case, outright destroy the media that contains it is to nullify our awareness of it; making it taboo veils the subject instead of educating others about it. We need to teach our kids how one should react to violence in the world by reinforcing an individual’s own morals, not by enacting the “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” policy.
And, honestly, responding to violent media by cracking it in half and fucking incinerating it before sprinkling the remains in a dump doesn’t sound like the result of an earnest, thoughtful conversation with your kids about the nature of violence and how these different forms of art impact them.
[Although, on the other hand, the gift certificate being handed out can also be redeemed for some splash-tastic time at a local water park, and heaven knows I’d be more than willing to part with my dust-caked copy of Duke Nukem Forever for that.]