In this Sept. 12, 2018, file photo, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks during a news conference at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. Herbert is calling for increased discussions about mental health and violent video games in response to recent mass shootings, and lamenting that President Donald Trump's messaging sometimes distracts from the administration's strong policy. Credit: Rick Bowmer

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“Garbage in, garbage out” is an old computer programming axiom that means you only get out of a computer that you’ve put into it. The human mind is very similar to computers in that what you put into that mind is what you’ll get out of it.

An issue I’ve not heard anyone bring up in regards to the recent escalation of mass shootings is the culture we’re raising our children in. While I agree we shouldn’t be selling military style assault weapons to teenagers, how about we stop and evaluate the “games” we offer to young minds that are still in their formative stages. The video game Grand Theft Auto gives the player points for killing innocent citizens. Many other games are all about killing opponents.

Why does so much childhood entertainment have to be about killing people? Killing people over and over in a game desensitizes the young mind to the tragedy of taking another’s life. Many parents reply, “Well it’s only a game.” While that may be true, what seeds are being planted deep in these not yet fully developed minds?

I believe it is time we do something about feeding these killing games to our young children.  Should we restrict them to people over age 18 or 21, or at least think twice before allowing our young children to play them? Maybe someone can develop games that award points for helping human beings instead of killing them?

Phil Cyr