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Violence for Ice Cream! Wait, What?

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You know the drill by now – new game comes out, involves the use of guns. Parents everywhere are losing their minds.

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The life lesson learned here is never to tell retail workers to hurry up.

Fortunately, California’s Marin County will soon put the minds of the oversensitive to rest. According to Marin Independent Journal, District Attorney Ed Berberian plans to activate a buyback policy, encouraging people to trade their toy guns and violent videogames for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Berberian’s anti-violence plan involves a team-up with the Center for Domestic Peace and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, an undertaking that will run throughout October at several different locations. Both parents and children are welcome to participate in the trade, although no information has been given on exactly how many children are going to have a choice in the matter – although to be honest, most kids are going to have a hard time giving up violence for ice cream, because kids are notorious for the classic, “Can’t it be both?”

Parents also get the extra incentive of a raffle ticket for each turn-in.

“As we know, domestic violence incidents almost always have children present and these children develop over time imprinted images of the family violence,” Berberian explained. “These children then carry those experiences into their adult lives and often repeat the pattern of violence in their own family units.”

Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time a town has actively begun a crusade against violent games in an attempt to quell violence. In 2013, a Connecticut town announced plans for a search and destroy mission against all violent videogames, CDs, and DVDs. The plans were fortunately canceled shortly before the event was due to begin, to the relief of the cooler-headed folk who agree that the answer to violent chaos is not more violent chaos. A tamer version of violence control was done in Melrose, Boston in the same year, offering coupons for those who turned in violent games, movies, and guns.

We’re all a little tired of hearing the media’s inevitable attack on the gaming industry after a major tragedy. Despite plenty of evidence suggesting that videogames don’t cause violence, people will go on for weeks about how a particular criminal played or was interested in a certain type of game, therefore creating a ‘solid’ link between violent games and dangerous individuals. Most people don’t play Grand Theft Auto V with the intent of performing the same actions later on in real life, nor are they sociopaths or antisocial deviants. Whichever way you look at it, there’s a certain level of fun in plowing through a city with a nigh-indestructible car, wrecking everything in your path, and getting off nearly scot-free. If someone who plays games more than is considered healthy starts behaving more aggressively or erratically, it’s an issue with the person, not the game.

Not pictured: Fainting parents, laughing children, and a very concerned Disney.

The solution to the yearly weeping and gnashing of teeth is quite simple, really – don’t buy your kids anything you don’t want them to play. Kids are sponges, and if they’re playing an M-rated game years before they’re even close to the age range, they’re most likely going to pick up things you might not want them exposed to at such a young age. Game companies do their best to put appropriate ratings on their products, and it isn’t their fault if violent gameplay is viewed by a child.

Violence prevention is commendable, but the media focus needs to shift away from violent videogames and more towards violent individuals. We’ll go a lot further if we stop relying on negative stigma.

 

About Deborah Crocker

Deborah is a 22 year old semi-hermit currently plodding through her senior year of college and getting her feet wet in game journalism. She has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with high fantasy, video games, novels, and Elder Scrolls. When she's not in front of a screen, she enjoys singing and a bit of beading. She's also currently on the hunt for the restaurant with the best cheeseburger.

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