Before we mercilessly rip the Marin County, California, authorities for a few hundred words, we do want to say it is intelligent and sensible to keep violent video games away from small children. There is absolutely no reason a seven-year-old should be playing Grand Theft Auto or God of War. So, yes, by all means, let’s keep that stuff away from them.
That said, how the Marin Independent Journal could cover this trade-in program from the Marin County authorities and not use the headline “Pearl-Clutching Fart-Sniffers Waste County Funds On Ridiculous Program” is totally beyond us. Essentially, they want you to turn in your video games and get ice cream and raffle tickets in return, because something something domestic violence something something the children. Seriously, the rationale for this is simultaneously incoherent and asinine beyond all belief. Here’s district attorney Ed Berberian, speaking to a reporter and completely failing to explain the link between pixels and some douchebag hitting his wife:
“As we know domestic violence incidents almost always have children present and these children develop over time imprinted images of the family violence,” Berberian said. “These children then carry those experiences into their adult lives and often repeat the pattern of violence in their own family units.”
Disposing of toy guns and violent video games provides “a chance to change today’s modeling patterns…”
Right, because it’s the violent video games that cause domestic violence. This is the part where I point you towards actual domestic violence research, which tells you that it’s the kid witnessing, you know, domestic violence that teaches them violence is how you communicate, not playing as Trevor. Does that help? Probably not, but if a kid is unable to tell the difference between the real world and a bunch of polygons, the problems go much deeper than just what they choose to play.
What’s most frustrating about this is that it will achieve nothing for the people who most need it, the victims and survivors of domestic violence in Marin County. If the games were being sold off or something to build a women’s shelter or give kids a safe place from an abusive parent, I’d box up every game in my house and happily ship it to them.
But it’s not. The local ice cream franchisee utters the most cringe-inducing words in all this, that it’s about “raising awareness.” Having grown up around self-satisfied left-wingers, that’s code for “I’m doing something that’s absolutely pointless and will have no effect, but hey, it makes me feel better.” I’m sure the kids hiding from the screaming parent who hit them will take comfort that you feel better, ice cream guy.
Via Ars Technica