T should put the brakes on violent video game ads
By Michele McPhee/ The Beat
Boston Herald Police Bureau Chief
Monday, November 20, 2006 - Updated: 06:59 PM EST
In the video game Vice City Stories, players can kill a
prostitute after having sex with her.
Nice, especially given the rise in sexual assaults in the
city, with 266 rapes or attempted rapes reported to Boston
police so far this year.
Grand Theft Auto players start the game as lowly street thugs
whose mission is to become a crime kingpin, shooting cops on
their bloody rise.
Terrific, considering that more than a dozen Boston police
officers have been confronted by armed suspects in recent
Yet advertisements for these RockStar video games are
plastered across MBTA trains at a time when 336 people have
been shot in the city - many of them teenagers - and 67 people
have been murdered.
Hey, I am all for First Amendment rights, but does the city
really want teens staring at advertisements for video games
that promote spilling innocent blood? The answer is no.
Some of these same teens are posting videos of themselves
pulling out guns and threatening rival gang members in city
housing developments on Youtube.com.
City Councilor Mike Ross - along with nearly two dozen
healthcare experts, youth advocates, street workers,
ministers, child psychiatrists and even teens - have penned a
letter to MBTA General Manager Dan Grabauskas urging him to
pull the ads.
The letter will be delivered to Grabauskas this morning.
“At a time of escalating concerns about youth violence in the
Boston area it is unconscionable that the MBTA would feature
advertising for a violent video game,” the letter reads. “It
is both cynical and irresponsible for the MBTA to advertise
violent video games. As you are surely aware, shootings are up
21 percent and homicides are up 12 percent over last year’s
already high levels.
“Promoting such violent video games undermines the MBTA’s own
efforts to address youth violence, such as its special bus
that memorializes young victims of violence.”
The letter will be delivered on the same day that Sen. Jarrett
Barrios holds an oversight meeting on gun violence and youth
at the State House.
Today’s day-long event will feature law enforcement from the
city and the state, gun control advocates and others involved
in trying to stem the increasing flow of bullets.
Finally, a concerted effort to address the staggering gun
violence, a full year after Boston recorded its bloodiest in
more than a decade, with 75 people shot dead. It comes 11
months after those gruesome crime statistics continued to
This year, the city has already marked 67 murders, including
the shooting death of 17-year-old Hakeem Horton, gunned down
on a street corner in Roxbury the very same night many of
today’s panelists at the State House were being voted into
Another 337 Bostonians - that’s right, 337 - have been hit by
bullets from the start of the year until Nov. 12. During the
entire year of 2005, 317 were shot. Just a year earlier, that
number was 236. Clearly, we have a gun violence problem.
The question MBTA officials have to ask themselves today is
whether any of these kids learned how to shoot playing violent
This article is copyrighted material, the use of
which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We
are making such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic,
democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this
constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided
for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without
profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes. For more
information go to:
you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your
own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the