Fighting back with video games

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By Carlos Macias

By Carlos Macias

Trade in your machine guns for digital artillery!

Last March, Mexican police put forth a plan to battle crime in Mexico City by allowing residents to bring in guns for cash, PCs, or Xboxs. The barrio of Tepito was to be the initial test to see if the plan is successful.

When video games are thought to cause violence, this is a refreshing take against it. Instead of causing real-life violence, you can take it online where shoot-outs are acceptable.

Members of the Tepito community were encouraged to bring in their guns of varying shapes and sizes. Bigger guns netted you a computer and smaller weapons would be traded for cash or an Xbox donated by Microsoft. Police efforts that day brought in almost 30 guns.

This plan seems to be a perfect way to get kids off the streets and playing cops and robbers inside the house instead. To us, it might seem ridiculous to think of trading in a gun for computers, as it is in Mexico. Guns are easier, and cheaper, to come by than even six-year-old technology in the poverty stricken country.

Thirty trade-in guns are very few in a country where more than 2,000 murders have taken place. Regardless, the police have taken a step in the right direction to offer technology otherwise too expensive for citizens.

Mexico’s economy, like many poor countries, is divided by the very rich and the very poor. There is no middle class. The people that would most benefit from this would be poverty-stricken people who can only survive through violence. Guns give them the power to rob people and in some cases even kill them.

Video games can be a big draw for many gun-toting citizens, because if they are already accustomed to violence, this will just be a change in arena.

Xbox is old news here with talk of fancy future-proof systems like the PlayStation 3 and waggle-friendly Wii, but in Mexico that technology is state of the art.

Just as people are stuck on the popular shooter Halo 2 in America, Mexicans have just started to notice and grow a strong video game fan base.

Most Americans have a home computer, but in Mexico very few do. It’s very evident since every town and neighborhood has many Internet Cafes, while in America they are uncommon. A personal computer would be incredibly beneficial to any family. It would certainly open up new opportunities if taken advantage of.

Florida lawyer, Jack Thomson, has field days with video game violence-related cases. It would be funny to see if he can find a way to spin this new plan. Hopefully, the amount of guns received serve to follow up with more campaigns of this sort in Mexico, encouraging anti-violence.

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