Glasgow calls for boycott of violent video games
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY firstname.lastname@example.org October 17, 2013 5:38PM
Updated: November 21, 2013 6:33AM
While the violence-laden video game Grand Theft Auto Five has been flying off store shelves, Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow has stepped up his campaign denouncing such games.
Glasgow is urging parents not to buy it and suggests they ask stores to stop selling media that glorify violence.
Glasgow met with nearly 50 Mokena Junior High School parents Thursday morning and showed them a six-minute clip of Grand Theft Auto Five, which was released last month and surpassed $1 billion in sales in the first three days.
Many parents looked away or covered their eyes as the character blew the heads off of innocent women and police officers, killed a dog, and ran over others with a car.
“Violence is the No. 1-selling entertainment that we have,” Glasgow said, citing not just video games but movies and prime-time TV shows. “Our culture embraces violence. We have to say, ‘We don’t want it anymore.’ ”
Glasgow does not plan to battle the gaming industry over First Amendment rights — that fight already has been lost in the U.S. Supreme Court, he said. Instead, he is calling for an economic boycott and asking parents to be vigilant about what their kids are watching.
The violence-begets-violence drum is one he has beaten for years, but in order to keep up with the ever-evolving and ever-more-realistic and violent games, the father of five is taking it up a notch and creating his own video.
Glasgow plans to partner with Governors State University’s production department to create a 15- to 20-minute professional video to distribute to schools and other groups and make it available on websites in an effort to educate the public about this “God-awful violence,” he said.
He cited the cases of Keith Randulich, the Mokena teen who fatally stabbed his little sister in 2009; Steven Kazmierczak, who killed five people at Northern Illinois University; and Adam Lanza, who killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. All of them were into violent video games, he said.
“The cause and effect is clear,” Glasgow said. Violent entertainment “desensitized” them, he said.
Many games, such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty and Dead Space 3, promote the “joy of killing” and reward the gamer for killing, he said.
“The bottom line is TV, movies and games have pushed the envelope gradually. If you do not come together and stop it and get mad, they will cross the line into an area where they can do whatever they want. When (murder) becomes a sport, we will really be in a scary place,” he said.
These games are not only “incredibly dangerous to play” but are counterproductive to the normal development of an adolescent, he said. “It makes you less empathetic and more prone to violence.”
Parents need to look behind the rating labels on these games and movies, know exactly what their kids are watching, and go to the stores and ask them not to sell the games, he said.
For movie descriptions, he referred parents to kidsinmind.com.
“The key is, you cannot parent if you do not pay attention. You have to be vigilant like you have never been in your lives,” Glasgow said.
He hopes police, women and other special-interest groups will take a stand as well.
“It can work. We can make a difference,” he said.
Mokena School District 159 Supt. Mario Castillo said he wanted Glasgow to visit the school to “create parental awareness of the video games that kids are playing.”
As they left, parents asked for an evening session with elementary school parents.
“We control every aspect of our children’s lives to save their lives and get them to adulthood with some kind of moral code. If you let them play these video games, it negates all of that,” Glasgow said. “Kids playing these games today are the parents of tomorrow. What will their kids be like?”