Senator Lanza Condemns Outrageous Exploitation Of Virginia Tech Massacre

Andrew J Lanza

May 17, 2007

A new online video game called ‘V-Tech Rampage’ has recently been released and is modeled after the tragic events that occurred at Virginia Tech University in April. The goal of the game is to carry out the events of the day, killing students and then yourself.

"This video game is a blatant disregard and lack of respect for the victims, their families, the faculty and the students at Virginia Tech University," said Senator Andrew Lanza (Staten Island).

The game is rated Mature on the website, but because it can be downloaded onto a personal computer, it can be accessed by anyone. Moreover because the present rating system on video games is voluntary, there is nothing to prevent this and other inappropriately violent games from being sold to children. "This sick and twisted game which exploits the tragic events at Virginia Tech University further underscores the need to crack down on violent video games, and reduce children’s exposure to violent and inappropriate materials within these games," said Senator Lanza. "Although this is an on-line game, I sincerely hope that the video game industry, wholesalers, retailers and web sites refrain from advertising, selling or facilitating this game, or any game which exploits such a devastating tragedy," said Senator Lanza."

Senator Lanza is Chairman of the Senate Task Force on Youth Violence and the Entertainment Industry. He will be exploring measures in the Senate to fight the escalating levels of violence and inappropriate materials in video games including:

Advisory Council: The legislation will establish a new Advisory Council on Media, Entertainment Software and Youth Violence, which will review and make recommendations on the effectiveness of the current Entertainment Software Ratings Boards (ESRB) ratings system in keeping violent video games out of the hands of youth. The panel, which will include parents, educators, experts in child psychology, child welfare advocates, concerned citizens and industry representatives, will also develop policies relating to public education and advocacy against youth violence, examine efforts being undertaken in other states, and develop recommendations for additional ways of regulating the exposure of youth to these games.

Rating System Labeling Requirement:

Under current State law, there is no requirement that retailers place labels on video games sold in New York. To address this shortcoming, the legislation to be advanced in the Senate would establish a new requirement that every video game sold in New York by a retailer or over the Internet, whether new or for resale, must have a clearly displayed rating indication on the game cover or elsewhere (such as on the website). Individuals who violate these provisions will face fines and penalties.

Parent-Teacher Anti-Violence Awareness Program:

The legislation would also establish a new Parent-Teacher Anti-Violence Awareness Program, which will empower parents and teachers to work with students and children on issues related to violence in video games. The program will also seek to increase awareness of the ratings system on games, and the importance of appropriate paternal supervision. The Anti-Violence Program would funded through fines on retailers who violate the new labeling law.

Senator Lanza said, "As the Chairman of the Senate Task Force on Youth Violence and the Entertainment Industry, I will be reviewing a broad spectrum of issues related to video violence, with a particular focus on additional steps that can be taken to curb children’s access and exposure to such materials."