What’s Wrong With Us?

What’s wrong in America? Try this:

There’s a new video game called “Active Shooter.” It allows participants to pretend they are armed assailants who have invaded schools. I’m not certain how score is kept. Perhaps by the number of children “shot.”

When word about the game surfaced, backlash was angry and substantial. A retailer specializing in video games, Steam, said it would not carry “Active Shooter.”

But the game may yet see the light of day. Its 21-year-old developer, Anton Makarevskiy, from Moscow, told PC Magazine he may release “Active Shooter.”

Makarevskiy defended the game, pointing out it also allows players to assume the roles of SWAT officers sent to neutralize an attacker.

“It’s not promoting violence, definitely no,” Makarevskiy insisted.

Whether “Active Shooter” encourages violence isn’t really the primary issue — though it is a concern.

It’s no surprise that someone developed such a game. There already is an assortment of video products that allow players to kill police officers and innocent bystanders. “Grand Theft Auto,” anyone? In some versions of that one, players can choose to use chainsaws instead of guns to murder officers.

If, while playing “Grand Theft Auto,” you notice a woman that, for some reason, you don’t like, you can stomp her to death.

About 35 million people have paid for copies of “Grand Theft Auto,” netting the producer $2 billion.

Another game is “25 to Life,” in which players can pretend they’re gangsters killing police officers. Checked your teenager’s PlayStation lately?

Then there’s “Thrill Kill,” developed in 1998 but never released officially. This being the online age, copies are not hard to find.

“Thrill Kill” was viewed as a big advance because it allows four people to play simultaneously. Murder by dismemberment is one feature. Score is kept via a “kill meter.”

Despite Makarevskiy’s claim — shared by many other people — there is concern about the effect of violent video games on young people. The American Psychological Association has stated that “research has demonstrated an association between violent video game use and both increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive affect, aggressive cognitions and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy, and moral engagement …”

Only an idiot would argue no one can be spurred to violence by a video game. Pair two already troubled online players against each other, throw in a little taunting, then wait for the gunfire.

Even that isn’t the most troubling aspect of games like “Active Shooter” and “Grand Theft Auto.”

What ought to be most worrisome is that millions of people find the games appealing in the first place.

I’ve said many times that I have the solution to America’s problem with illegal immigrants. There are about 12.5 million of them in our country.

What do we do about that? Inform their home governments we’ll be happy to keep the illegal immigrants — providing we get to ship 12.5 million U.S. citizens to their countries.

A list of those to whom “Grand Theft Auto” has been sold would come in handy …

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.


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