Women decapitated with a shovel. Cops whacked to death with clubs. People shot and set on fire, with racist commentary on welfare reform. Children at the trigger. A group called Mothers Against Violence in America demonstrated those examples in violent video games yesterday to community leaders in Washington State’s Snohomish County, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. “It was shocking. I didn’t realize how graphic things had gotten,” said Everett, Wash., police Officer Aaron De Folo, who worries about children’s being desensitized to violence by the games. “The adrenaline flows, and the blood pumps. You get to live the violence — and then there are no consequences.”
Pamela Eakes, president of the mothers group, and and Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, co-chair a campaign for a “Game Smart Community” targeted at family members who buy violent games for children without checking on content, and at retailers who sell them to youths without checking ages.
The campaign will send letters and stickers to retailers this month. The stickers read: “We I.D. Absolutely no sales of M-Rated games to persons aged 16 and under. No I.D. No game. No kidding.” Ratings, done voluntarily by the gaming industry, mark “M” as mature, for ages 17 and older.
The Post-Intelligencer says the campaign comes after years of frustration with the multibillion-dollar video-game industry’s lax enforcement of its ratings system. Last year, Dickerson sponsored legislation to require retailers to ask for identification when youths check out M-rated games that may show killers urinating on their victims, or mutilating prostitutes. The legislation was stalled by an industry promise to make sure no underage children were buying the games.
The mothers group recently sent children ages 12 to 15 into 17 major retail stores in the area. Fifteen stores sold to the children and teens. “I agreed to withdraw the legislation to give the industry time to keep their promises, but they didn’t keep one of those promises,” Dickerson said. Gov. Gary Locke has signed a bill outlawing sale of cop-killer video games to youths under age 17, but the industry challenged it in federal court. That case may go to the U.S. Supreme Court.