Illinois Rep Becomes 723,556th Lawmaker To Threaten Banning Violent Video Games

Apparently elected officials have nothing more pressing to worry about and have decided to focus on banning video games...again.
Apparently elected officials have nothing more pressing to worry about and have decided to focus on banning video games...again.
Image: Rockstar Games

Another year, another attempt to ban the sale of violent video games. House Bill 3531 is the brainchild of Illinois State representative Marcus Evans, Jr. and is actually an amendment to a statute passed in 2005 that already bans the sale of violent video games to minors. HB3531’s proposed changes would instead ban the sale of “violent” games to buyers of all ages, and change the definition of “violent video game” to include both physical and psychological harm.

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Oh boy.

As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, Representative Evans, alarmed by an uptick in carjackings in his district, decided to take action with an amendment that would make selling video games deemed to be violent illegal and slap “offenders” with a $1000 fine. 

Look, I get it Representative Evans. I’d be mad too if I got merc’d in GTA Online by someone named xXGamerPiss420Xx. But there are better ways to hide your prodigious L than seeking to ban the sale of all violent video games. The link between violent games and actual violence has always been tenuous at best, and even if you did succeed, what would it truly accomplish? Banning games doesn’t address any of the institutional problems that drive people to violent crime. People will still get evicted, go hungry, or freeze to death in their homes. And your constituents in Illinois’ 33rd district, the majority of whom are Black or Latinx and un- or underemployed, will still die of the coronavirus at disproportionately higher rates.

But at least they’ll have a slightly harder time getting their hands on one of the 300,000 iterations of GTA V, right?

The funny thing is your community already has a program in place to attempt to curb carjacking violence. Operation Safe Pump, an initiative that places security guards at gas stations in areas that see frequent carjackings is a thing that exists. You’re already doing something substantive, do more of that and leave video games, one of the salves that’s gotten people through this hellscape of a pandemic, alone. Unless, that is, you wanna march down to Washington DC and break some kneecaps so we can finally get those $2,000 stimulus checks.

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DISCUSSION

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Why tackle the economic and societal hardships that lead to violence when you can blame someone else for it?

Instead of trying to repair the inherent inequities in the system, let’s just blame video games and hope nobody notices how we’re sitting on our hands.

And don’t get me started on the idea of relying on private security manning gas pumps to protect people. I get that the idea is deterrence, but putting more money into companies that provide even less training than the police sure feels like a recipe for disaster.