MELROSE (CBS) – Melrose Mayor Robert Dolan is starting an anti-violence initiative in his city.
Starting February 1st, families can go to the DPW yard and throw away anything they would like to remove from their homes, including violent video games.
In return, families can get a coupon the city is creating with help from the Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re very excited about this, that might give them a free ice cream, a night of no homework, a gift certificate to a local store, that a child may want,” Dolan explained.
Dolan says children often have trouble distinguishing games from reality. He says when his Veteran’s Affairs employees visit schools, the first question many students ask is if their experience was like the video game Black Ops.
“Black Ops is not what happens in Afghanistan and Iraq. People lose their limbs; people lose their lives; people suffer. You don’t get a reset. You don’t get a reset in life. That desensitization of life, of the realities and horrors of war, the horrors of mass murder or violence, needs to be explained to these children,” he said.
The goal, he says, is for families to make their own informed decisions in their own homes.
“This is not a judgment on video games and movies, we do not want to have a public burning of video games, we want parents to make their own decision in their own homes with good information,” Dolan said. “What we’re trying to do is first and foremost educate parents.”
Dolan says everyone knows that something is broken.
“It’s hard to bring up kids in this era of violent video games, violent movies, and violent toys,” he said.
The initiative includes a forum with child development specialists to educate parents, and an opportunity for them to take action.
The Melrose Clergy Association is also holding a weekend full of sermons talking about violence in society in how we can change ourselves.
“We might not be able to change gun laws in Melrose, we may not be able to change how everyone thinks, and we know if we were to take away all of these things, there would still be bad people doing bad things,” he said. “But in our small nook, which is Melrose, we can foster some discussion and some action in our violent society, because we know something is broken. ”