On Youth and Violence

Running at the gym after work I got the pleasure to see something on some random news hour from a US station. In it they featured some Society Against Violence (or something like that) who banded together with police to alert people about the dangers of ….. Video Games. They had some poster child for being kicked out of even the geekiest D&D circles standing at a podium in front of a bunch of cops and concerned looking mothers saying how “this game, if you can even call it that…” is violent and awful and horrible and will turn your kids into killers because it gives you points for killing cops and doing other horrible violent acts. Also it mentiones the recent sting operations that have allowed people below the approved age to buy “M” rated games at stores (duh).

I think even the local Vancouver media has mentioned this, I remember a picture on the front page of The Province that was a screenshot from the game.

To give a short aside, I started playing violent evil first person shooters around 1991 when Wolf3d came out, and continued through Doom I/II, Quake I/II/III and so on, and I’m not a killer. In fact, I think that anyone who thinks it’s a good idea (or cool, or fun) to kill anyone, much less cops, has serious mental problems and their video game playing habits most likely have nothing to do with anything.

Anyway, it struck me as completely ironic that people are talking about the dangers of these video games when we have just finished, or hell, are still in the midst of, a war, or combat operations, or non-major combat operations, whatever W wants to call it. Weeks of reports from reporters embedded in platoons of people whose job was to go and kill other people, grainy green night vision shots of soldiers firing automatic weapons into the darkness, or of tanks rolling through city streets, or burnt out hulks of tanks. Hell at one point the “news” stations were parading the images of the dead sons of Saddam across their screens.

Maybe they should clean their own house before going after video games. At least video games aren’t the real life violence that they are exposed to by the news every day.

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