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Drive by shooting: Massachusetts pulls violent games from roadside rest stops

Time Crisis 3
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Ever since December 14, the day that Adam Lanza opened fire on the students of Sandy Hook Elementary, citizens and law makers alike have been frantically searching for any kind of solution to America’s ongoing trend of horrific gun violence. In fact, a new study recently published by Common Sense Media (.pdf) claims that the average person’s fear that he or she (or their children) will be gunned down at random in public has never been higher. 

In times like these, where fear is a prime motivator, it’s not uncommon to witness bold, drastic action. Massachusetts is a perfect example of this: After receiving a concerned letter from Andrew and Tracey Hyams of Newton, MA, state officials have decided to remove all violent games from those highway rest areas that normally serve as coffee dispensaries and illicit sex dens for whoever might need an illicit sex den. The Hyams’ had recently visited one of the state’s rest areas and their 12-year-old son found himself enjoying an unnamed light gun shooter, which apparently disturbed his parents.

“People have the freedom to have whatever video games in their own homes that they want,” the Hyams’ told the Boston Globe (apologies for the paywall). “We were struck by walking into a [state-owned] rest stop within an hour’s drive of Newtown and seeing and hearing a life-sized, mounted machine gun on a video game.”

As they point out, Newtown, MA and Newtown, CT are relatively close together, and thus the Hyams remain extra-sensitive about this sort of thing. So much so that they were the ones to suggest the removal of violent games from rest stops, only to have state officials agree with the move. “Bottom line is I think there isn’t a person who doesn’t ­believe that there isn’t too much violence in our society, and games can glorify that,” said Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Richard Davey. “A video game in a public space could be used by anybody of any age.”

“At the end of the day, those games are there to entertain kids, probably for a few minutes, while their parents are resting from a long trip. I just think it makes all the sense in the world to have it be a more passive [game].”

After delivering this pertinent information, the Boston Globe piece attempts to poll the common man to see what he or she thinks of this decision. The majority of respondents agree with the move, but to its credit, the Globe also offered up commentary from a truck driver who sees this as an overreaction. “I think it’s just a little over the top,” said 32-year-old Chris Gerdes.

Interestingly, and to Chris Gerdes’ likely dismay, this isn’t the only anti-violent games effort currently brewing in Massachusetts. Robert Dolan, Mayor of Melrose, MA, has created a program dubbed “New Year — New Direction” which allows participants to trade in violent games for things like “a coupon sheet, which will include deals at local businesses and possibly a ‘get out of homework free’ coupon.”

“I’m not saying people shouldn’t have [violent games and toys], but, at least in my house, things have changed since Connecticut,” Dolan explained.

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Earnest Cavalli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Earnest Cavalli has been writing about games, tech and digital culture since 2005 for outlets including Wired, Joystiq…
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