Burning Video Games Is a Really Bad Idea

If anything, they help us deal with violent urges, Liel Leibovitz argues

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 9, 2013 8:00 AM CST

(Newser) – The Newtown shooting has America understandably on edge. "But are we really hoping to purge our collective soul by demolishing copies of Halo 4?" asks Liel Leibovitz at the New Republic. The town of Southington, Conn., originally planned to do just that on Saturday, though the event has since been canceled. Past cultural bête noires—from comic books to gangsta rap to television—have seen similar burnings, but video games are a unique case. They're not consumed, they're played. "The digital violence we witness on-screen comes from our own hands," Leibovitz writes.

That may sound scary, but as all gamers know, the experience "has more to do with our thumbs than it does with our minds," resembling contact sports more than watching TV. What's more, it's "not fundamentally different than what previous generations have done, when sticks served as swords or hands as pistols." It's play. Then, as ever, it helps people deal with intense experience in a safe, sublimated way. "By confiscating and burning their games, parents risk extinguishing a critical outlet—and creating the very problem they were trying to avoid," he writes. Click for Leibovitz's full column.

Jack Schooner, 16, looks at Grand Theft Auto video game at GameStop in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, June 27, 2011.
Jack Schooner, 16, looks at Grand Theft Auto video game at GameStop in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, June 27, 2011.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
In this June 24, 2011 photo, Grand Theft Auto video game on PlayStation 3 is displayed at Best Buy in Mountain View, Calif.
In this June 24, 2011 photo, Grand Theft Auto video game on PlayStation 3 is displayed at Best Buy in Mountain View, Calif.   (AP Photo/Pakuma)
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