As a parent, I’m very familiar with the technique called “redirection,” where you get kids to stop doing something naughty by giving them alternative activities that are okay to do. Well, I think the Mexican government is taking this behavior modification theory a tad bit too far. Check out the news story: “Mexico tries swapping Xboxs for guns in drug fight.”

According to the article, “Police who have raided vice-ridden Mexico City neighborhoods in a push against drug violence hope to take guns off the streets by offering to swap them for computers and Xbox video game consoles.” 

What’s the weapon exchange rate for a computer or an Xbox, you may ask? “In the notorious inner-city barrio of Tepito, which police stormed last month, city police chief Joel Ortega said anyone who turns in a high-caliber weapon like a machine gun will get a computer. Owners can swap smaller guns for cash or Microsoft’s Xbox video game consoles under the plan.”

Do you think that virtual killing and shooting simulations are appealing substitutes for the real deal? Interestingly enough, the program seems to be working. “Organizers say they have 100 computers ready for the first wave of the program, each worth 8,500 pesos ($769) and equipped with software donated by Microsoft. On the first day, Olayo said the city received 17 guns, including 12 from Tepito.”

Someone should send this article to President Bush so that he can negotiate nukes for Windows Vista, and maybe even throw in an iPod with an iTunes gift certificate.