Following the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 children and six adults dead on December 14, community leaders in the nearby town of Southington (about 35 minutes away) are planning to collect and destroy violent video games, as well as CDs and DVDs.
The Hartford Courant reports that volunteers will assemble at the Southington Drive-In on January 12 to accept any video games parents or children wish to get rid of. These games will be destroyed, and each family will receive a gift certificate to a local restaurant, the Lake Compounce amusement park, or a bowling alley.
"We want to stop the violence in our community," Southington board president of the Chamber of Commerce Charlie Cocuzza said. "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."
The initiative is being spearheaded by the Southing SOS community group. The organization made clear it is not linking violent games directly to the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Instead, they suggest that now is a suitable time for parents to engage their children in discussions about whether or not playing violent games is appropriate.
"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," said director of community services Susan Saucier.
National Rifle Association vice president Wayne LaPierre said at a press conference last month that violent video games like Bulletstorm and Mortal Kombat were partially to blame for December 14's deadly shooting in Connecticut. California senator Leland Yee called this claim "mind-boggling."
Earlier in December, West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller introduced a bill to Congress that would direct the National Academy of Sciences to investigate how violent games and other such programming affect children.