State removes violent games from rest stops
Something didn’t feel right to Andrew and Tracey Hyams when they entered the rest stop in Charlton on the Massachusetts Turnpike on Christmas Eve with their 12-year-old son and saw another boy absorbed in an arcade game.
The youth was firing a machine gun replica at the screen, licking off simulated rounds with a rapid-fire rat-tat-tat that reverberated off the walls. “You could even hear it in the bathroom,” Andrew Hyams, 58, of Newton, said in a telephone interview Thursday.
Because the plaza is close to Newtown, Conn., Hyams said, a relative of one of the school shooting victims could have walked in and seen a player firing away, 10 days after the massacre that took the lives of 20 first-graders and six adults.
“People have the freedom to have whatever video games in their own homes that they want,” Hyams said. “We were struck by walking into a [state-owned] rest stop within an hour’s drive of Newtown and seeing and hearing a life-sized, mounted machine gun on a video game.”
The couple felt that such games had no place in public rest stops, and the state Department of Transportation agreed. After receiving an e-mail from the Hyams, the Massachusetts agency removed nine violent games from service plazas in Charlton, Ludlow, Lee, and Beverly.
The state removed violent games from Beverly and other rest stops, leaving games intended to challenge driving skills.
Transportation Secretary Richard Davey said removing the games made sense in light of the Newtown tragedy.
“Bottom line is I think there isn’t a person who doesn’t believe that there isn’t too much violence in our society, and games can glorify that,” Davey said. “A video game in a public space could be used by anybody of any age.