Lawmaker wants to ban Grand Theft Auto because of Chicago carjackings

An Illinois politician wants to ban Grand Theft Auto, claiming that the game has influenced the recent surge of carjackings in Chicago.

Illinois state representative Marcus Evans called for a ban on Grand Theft Auto in his state. ABC 7 Chicago reports that Evans said that the video game series has emboldened the recent carjackers by desensitizing people to violence.

“Grand Theft Auto and other violent video games are getting in the minds of our young people and perpetuating the normalcy of carjacking,” Evans said at the press conference. “Carjacking is not normal and carjacking must stop.”

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“While our industry understands and shares the concerns about what has been happening in Chicago, there simply is no evidence of a link between interactive entertainment and real-world violence,” an Electronic Software Association (ESA) representative wrote to GamesIndustry.biz. “We believe the solution to this complex problem resides in examining thoroughly the actual factors that drive such behaviors rather than erroneously ascribing blame to video games based solely upon speculation.”

This sentiment, of course, is nothing new. American politicians on both sides of the aisle have long blamed video games for contributing to violent acts such as mass shootings.

After the tragic Columbine High School shooting in 1999, the country was thrown into a moral panic when investigators discovered that the shooters enjoyed playing Doom and Counter-Strike. President Bill Clinton commissioned an investigation studying the possible link between video games and mass shootings.

The study, which was released in 2004, concluded that only 12 percent of mass shooters demonstrated an interest in video games. Rather, the most common type of violent media they enjoyed was their own — 37 percent produced poems, essays and journal logs with graphic content.

In the wake of the Parkland shooting in 2018, then-President Donald Trump and Kentucky governor Matt Bevin both insisted that video games and mental illness were the two major factors behind the attack.

There is still no solid evidence that video games and real acts of violence are connected, even after decades of research.

This isn’t to say that video games are free from critique or problems. There are real ethical discussions to be had regarding the effect of loot boxes on children and video game addiction.

However, games continue to be scapegoated for violent crimes that are more conclusively linked to complex factors such as government policies, poverty and racism.

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If you liked this piece, check out this list of relaxing video games you can play which are very much non-violent.

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