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Today is Monday, the first school day since the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed so many young lives last week. Like millions of other American parents, I sent my kids off to school today knowing that the difficult family discussions we had over the weekend will continue in the classroom, as educators and students address yet another tragic outburst of violence in our schools. Today, the first of many funerals will take place in Newtown, after a weekend of vigils and mourning. President Obama visited Newtown on Sunday, speaking before an auditorium of grieving parents. “We can’t accept events like this as routine,” he said, “These tragedies must end, and to end them, we must change.”
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There are violent video games and then there is The Darkness II, a first-person shooter whose cast of thugs graphically shoot, stab and maim innocent bystanders — all in the game’s first five minutes. The game’s makers said the violence is cathartic, like Greek tragedy, but does that make it okay?
“We really feel like for The Darkness, you have to make the players care about the character’s plight, give them these kind of emotional highs — which are different from the violence — that makes the violence feel cathartic,” [Sheldon Carter, creative director on The Darkness II at developer Digital Extremes,] explained. “That’s what we’re hoping for. You have these tender scenes and you have these scenes where people you care about are torn from you. So when you are doing this violence, you can relate to it. You can be like, ‘I would do this, for what these people did.’ ”
Chicago imposed a curfew on its youngest residents to help save them from street violence. As of last night, children must be inside by 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The existing curfew for 12-to-16-year-olds is 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Last school year, 27 children were killed due to violence and another 256 students were shot.
Cities with curfews have seen a 10 percent drop in the number of children arrested, Emanuel said. Three years after San Antonio enacted a curfew, the instances of young people becoming victims dropped 84 percent, his office said.
“While the government can do its part, we need parents to do theirs,” Emanuel said. “We need parents to help make sure their children are home safe where they belong.”
Curfew violators are subject to a fine of up to $500. Three offenses in a 12-month period could mean a fine of up to $1,500.
Certainly the books we give children to read — or read to them when they are younger — contain no shortage of gore,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote. “Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed … And Hansel and Gretel kill their captor by baking her in an oven.