A few weeks ago while taking a walk i happened upon four youngsters ranging in age from about 6 to 10/11. In the front yard of where they ‘played’ was an Obama sign. A flag waved patriotically from their front porch.
The oldest boy barking orders was obviously in charge, he and another boy had toy handguns. The youngest boy was kind of on his own, digging around in the dirt with his gun. The oldest of the boys had his gun in the back of a boy who was kneeling on the ground.
I was kind of watching them, kind of looking skyward at the lovely fall foliage, when i heard him tell the boys that they we’re going to kill civilians. In my shock of hearing this statement from a child, i slowed my pace a little to try listen to what he was going to say next (they were seemingly oblivious to my presence). He told the boys that on the first shot, we’ll tell them ‘we’re sorry’, apologize for doing it. He proceeded to tell them what would happen after the second and third shots, but i couldn’t quite hear what he was saying; he’d become quieter in his delivery of how to kill civilians.
Videos geared towards impressionable children teach them to be violent, to love war and hate humanity. By design, of course. A few days ago while logging into my myspace account at work, this advertisement popped up on the screen. I’d never gotten it before or since, but it’s exactly the stuff i’m talking about.
In May of 2002, the United States Army invaded E3, the annual video game convention held in Los Angeles. At the city’s Convention Center, young game enthusiasts mixed with camouflaged soldiers, Humvees and a small tank parked near the entrance. Thundering helicopter sound effects drew the curious to the Army’s interactive display, where a giant video screen flashed the words “Empower yourself. Defend America … You will be a soldier.”(1)
The Army was unveiling its latest recruitment tool, the “America’s Army” video game, free to download online or pick up at a recruiting station, and now available for purchase on the Xbox, PlayStation, cell phones and Gameboy game consoles. Since its release, the “game” has gone on to attain enormous popularity with over 30,000 players everyday, more than nine million registered users, and version 3.0 set for launch in September. “America’s Army” simulates the Army experience, immersing players in basic training before they can go on to play specialized combat roles. Most of the gameplay takes place in cyberspace where virtual Mideast cities, hospitals and oil rigs serve as backdrops for players to obliterate each other. As a “first person shooter,” the game allows players to “see what a soldier sees” in real combat situations – peek around corners, take fine aim, chose weapons that replicate those actually used by the US Army.
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America’s Army Video Game – There are 9,442,212 registered players to date.