news\ Dec 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Should the U.S. ban GTA 5? This Senator thinks so


Everytime there's a national tragedy involving an act of violence, video games are somehow brought into the picture. In light of the recent Sandy Hook tragedy, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin is calling for the possible banning of violent video games — specifically, Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto series.

"This is bigger than just guns. We're talking about how we deal with mental illness, how we protect our children. How do we change this culture of violence?" asked Manchin during an interview with MSNBC (via DailyKos).

Part of this culture includes violent video games, games like GTAGrand Theft Auto always seems to make headlines when these type of events happen because of its adult nature and violent themes. The franchise is known for its over-the-top violence in which players can steal cars, beat hookers, and freely open gunfire among random citizens in the game.

"How do we even glorify some of this violence that we promote? And we sell games, encouraging this," Manchin argued. "Look at Grand Theft Auto, put out by Rockstar Games in New York City and see what it promotes."

I'm not going to beat around the bush here, GTA does promote violence. It does promote criminal activity. But should it be responsible for the tragedy in which 20+ innocent children were viciously gunned down? Absolutely not.

"Shouldn’t that be looked into and maybe be banned?" asked Manchin. To put it simply, GTA or any violent video game for that matter, should not be banned. Blaming video games for violence is just as silly as when people like Manchin blamed music for the same acts of violence that occurred decades ago. It's silly to point the finger at video games and say that is leading to an increase violence in America.

At the same time, is it really wrong to ask that we take a look at the American culture and what we've become? I'm definitely not agreeing with Manchin, but at the same time I don't think it's a bad idea to explore every avenue. 

Grand Theft Auto 5 should not be banned. Nor should guns. Nobody deserves the blame, but Adam Peter Lanza. Even then, I think we as a society need to step back and re-evaluate how we deal with mental illnesses.

A lot of people are going to look at the one simple quote Manchin said, and the reference of possibly banning GTA 5 from releasing here, and simply write off everything he's saying. I know gamers are going to jump down his throat for even mentioning the idea that games have some sort of impact on youth violence, but I urge everyone to look at the bigger picture.

The fact is, Grand Theft Auto 5 will not be banned. Nor should it. But I do think there is some validity in Manchin's words that we, as a society, need to look at the bigger picture and explore every aspect of our community — games, music, television, and gun control ALL INCLUDED.


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