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Following a rise in the number of carjackings in Chicago, Illinois lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban the sale of Grand Theft Auto V and other violent video games. No, I don't really get it either.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that South Side Democratic state representative Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. wants to amend a 2012 law preventing certain video games from being sold to minors. Last Friday, he pushed for an amendment to this law that would outright ban the sale of video games depicting "psychological harm," including "motor vehicle theft with a driver or passenger present" to anyone.
"The bill would prohibit the sale of some of these games that promote the activities that we're suffering from in our communities." Evans explained.
Evans was contacted last month by Early Walker, who started a campaign called Operation Safe Pump in an effort to prevent carjackings at places like shopping centres and gas stations. Operation Safe Pump works with the Kates Detective and Security Agency in areas with high numbers of carjackings to position guards around these high-risk areas and dissuade criminal activity.
Walker explained that he'd gotten in touch with a number of state legislators in an effort to ban GTA V after he noticed similarities between local carjackings and actions players can take in the Rockstar Games title. Specifically that you nick NPC cars in the GTA V, I guess.
"I feel like this game has become a huge issue in this spectrum," Walker said. "When you compare the two, you see harsh similarities as it relates to these carjackings."
The proposed bill also changes the definition of a "violent video game" to one in which players "control a character within the video game that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human violence in which the player kills or otherwise causes serious physical or psychological harm to another human or an animal." That's a considerable widening of the net, and one that's unlikely to be successful.
This whole thing is, of course, ridiculous. Banning games like GTA V is likely to have little to no effect on the amount of carjackings in the city, in much the same way that lashing out against first-person shooters in the wake of tragic mass shootings across the country is utterly pointless.
I'd probably argue that the reason behind this spate of carjackings has a little more to do with the fact that the gulf between the rich and the poor in America has never been wider, and a catastrophic pandemic has left millions unemployed with zero support. Considering that, these crimes probably have less to do with the fact that people like to unwind with a video game from time to time... But go off, Illinois. Maybe you can try and ban Tekken next to stop those pesky street brawls.
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