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Letter: Violent video games shouldn't be in library

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 10:08 a.m. CDT

To the Editor: Do you remember how vulnerable we felt hearing about the murder of 26 children and teachers at Sandy Hook? The Elmhurst Police Department immediately dispatched armed officers to our schools to calm parents' safety concerns for their children. Later that night, President Obama denounced the tide of escalating violence and challenged us to take action when he said, "If there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try."

This is when a group of concerned citizens took action on "one thing" we believe will reduce violence and improve public safety – the violent video games carried by our library. The Elmhurst Public Library carries 129 of these games, including six of the 10 most-violent games.

We do not believe it is sufficient to select video games based upon popularity. We asked the library to implement improved evaluation procedures for violent video games to ensure thoughtful selection decisions. We presented research to support our request and had the support of numerous citizens and several aldermen.

At the April board meeting, the library rejected our request and then modified its policy to prevent anyone from pursuing the matter for three years. The very next day, Obama called it a shameful day in Washington when the U.S. Senate rejected improved background checks on gun sales. We believe it was a shameful day in Elmhurst when our library rejected improved "background checks" on violent video games.

Library Director Mary Beth Campe said she hasn't seen public support to judge violent video games differently. Will you take a minute to send an email to eplboard@elmhurst.org expressing your support for improved evaluation procedures for violent video games, and "cc:" ElmConcernedCitizens@gmail.com?

Please do this "one thing" to help prevent violence in our community. Thank you!

Jim Schuetz Elmhurst

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