The Terrorists at Home
What your television screen is creating may not be your little boy or girl: why video games are desensitizing us all to senseless acts of violence.
You’re either cooking dinner for the family or you’re outside mowing the lawn. It’s a normal day in a normal life, or at least as normal as normal gets while there are terror scandals an ocean away, terror bases in the deserts of the Middle East and nuclear programs running in Iran. Little do you know, your eight year old is upstairs coordinating an attack on Libya using nuclear warheads and soldiers armed with guns illegal to own as a civilian for no apparent reason, neglecting the devastating consequences this action will have on UN relations between the globe and the USA. You know what he or she is interested in? Pixels. Where are the graphics? Does the explosion look real? How much blood is there? In a world where virtual simulations are being used to train our soldiers in the Army, Navy and Marines, is it such a good idea to be furnishing tactical simulations to our children that run through declassified military operations and formations as though they’re crayons and paper? All these are questions we will have to ask ourselves in the coming age of virtual terrorism.
Editor-in-Chief of “US News & World Report, Mortimer B. Zuckerman has defined the goal of Terrorists quite thoroughly in his article, The Tyranny of Imagery in the October 30th, 2006 edition of his publication. In brazen, bold red letters at the center of page one: “Perhaps better than anyone, terrorists understand how pictures of violence amplify their cynical message, paralyzing democracies around the globe,” is the explanation we need in the report regarding whether we accomplished our mission in Iraq or against terror once this war, if ever, comes to an end. “Now players can surprise the enemy for the ultimate advantage in firefights, leading a fire team throughout the entire Normandy campaign. For the first time, players will also be able to lead a bazooka team, order their squad on an MG42, or fire mortar rounds. An enhanced co-op mode (Skirmish) offers players a 12-mission campaign,” is the description available on www.Gameseek.com.uk which describes the Playstation Portable video game, “Brothers in Arms”.
To a parent at Christmas; this is harmless. Who among our generation does not have parents or guardians that watched war movies where soldiers would not bleed when shot? Differences here are noted. First, the level of interaction that your impressionable child has over a virtual character that is made to look exactly like a living human. Second, the realistic gore of violence included in video games that depicts war-like scenarios of mine explosions, rocket explosions, gunfire, wounded comrades, decapitation, dismemberment, organ trauma, etc. Third yet not last is the obvious way in which stimulating visual and audio media affects our immediate, real-life circumstance. Watch “Cold Mountain” again and decide not to feel disheartened at the end. Do not laugh through any of Abbott and Costello’s comedy routines. Do not laugh at Mitch Hedberg or Dane Cook.
Do not laugh at Eddie or Charlie Murphy. In fact, don’t laugh at all. Sickening truth is, your children are doing the laughing for you as they put bullets in each other’s heads without repercussion. What is scarier than that is that simulated military violence is not where it ended. It has come to our streets in the virtual world through games like “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”.