The response to the tragedy in Sandy Hook is a familiar one: the finger of blame is often pointed at multimedia. During Columbine, it was Marilyn Manson. Now, violent videogames are the scapegoat for the shooting.
Southington, a town in Connecticut about 30 miles away from Newtown, is holding a drive dubbed the "Violent Video Games Return Program", which offers up a $25 gift certificate for non-violent forms of entertainment in exchange for violent videogames. Violent movies and music are also acceptable.
Hosted by SouthingtonSOS, a community-organized group that formed after Hurricane Katrina, the Violent Video Games Return Program will take place on January 12th at the Southington Drive-In.
The point of the program, according to Southington School superintendent Joe Erardi, is for parents to initiate a "real, sound conversation with their children about videogames."
"We're suggesting that for parents who have a child or children who play violent video games, to first of all view the games," said Erardi to Polygon. "We're asking parents to better understand what their child is doing. Have a conversation about next steps. If parents are comfortable (with their child's gaming habits), we're comfortable."
However, the program is directed to parents who aren't comfortable in having such a conversation with their children. They can instead take their violent media and exchange it. The discs will then be snapped and burned.
While the idea of burning multimedia may call to mind something akin to Fahrenheit 451, Erardi assures that the goal of the movement was not for the destruction of violent videogames.
"Our message is fairly simple: Have the conversation with your child," he said.
"It's not about the NRA endorsing, or video game production companies defending, it's a grassroots movement. It's simple and we believe it's meaningful."
The only question is: why offer up incentives for having parents bring in violent media to be destroyed? Doesn't that undermine the very message that Erardi claims the movement is trying to make?