Video games, and the GTA franchise in particular, are no stranger to controversy from clout-chasing politicians who are afraid of change. Once again, the art form is being dragged through the mud by one Marcus Evans Jr - A member of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Marcus states he was contacted by Early Walker (Early Walker, maybe, but he’s definitely late in the common sense area), pioneer of “Operation Safe Pump” - A campaign started to combat a recent increase of car stealing, also known as ‘grand theft auto’ in the area. (Although, this campaign name more sounds like it was made to promote condoms than anything else)

Apparently, Marcus wasn’t the only person Walker contacted, either. He had been in touch with multiple state legislators requesting they campaign to ban the sale of GTA V because he noticed players can steal cars in the game. (Has nobody ever told him about correlation and causation?)

Walker states “When you compare the two, you see harsh similarities as it relates to these car jackings.” - The ridiculous reality of this is Walker is blaming a seven-and-a-half-year-old game, which is a part of a twenty-year-old franchise, for a recent rise in crimes. The strings tying the two together are thinner than those of any of the previous attempts to have the series banned, which were all thrown out of court, too.

But it doesn’t end there, Marcus Evans and Early Walker’s proposed bill would change the definition of a violent video game. The new definition would be a game where players “Control a character within the video game that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human violence in which the player kills or otherwise causes serious physical or psychological harm to another human or animal.” - The ridiculous scope of this statement could lead to games as tame as Minecraft, Overwatch, or even Smash Bros being outlawed.

And as always, they leave out other forms of art. Films, television, books, theatre, paintings and music are ignored for the realm of media these politicians are too old or incompetent to understand. To them, games can’t be an escape from a harsh reality (That they had a hand in creating), they can’t be intense and emotional narrative tales, they can’t be a way for friends to socialise safely during Covid-times. They only see them as mindless, criminal-indoctrination machines.

Naturally, neither of these men bring up an ever-growing class divide in the middle of a global pandemic in which hundreds of thousands of Americans are dying, and being forced to spend thousands on healthcare. Clearly, people who can’t afford their basic needs are being inspired by a game on a console they can definitely afford. - But these rich, upper class people aren’t ready to have that conversation, are they?

What do you think about this bill? If you live in the USA, you can Tweet your opinions to Marcus @Repevans33 as protest.

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