Army Game Protester Did It For The Kids

Last week, GamePolitics brought you the live coverage of a demonstration against the Army Experience centre, a video game recruiting expo in Philadelphia. Seven were arrested. One has now written about it, and why.

Elaine Brower breaks down the group's disagreement and explains the march. Its intent was to deliver a "private criminal complaint," to the AEC's commanding officer, and to the mall owners. The complaint charges both with "endangering the welfare of the child," "criminal solicitation of a minor" and "corruption of a minor," because the AEC "entice[s]kids as young as 13 to not only play violent video games," but allows them access to real war materiel, including weapons.

"I decided that everyone who cared about our youth should be outraged and take action," Brower wrote, adding that the $US12 million, 14,000 square foot pavilion "allow[s]kids to play the most violent video games available." More creepily, she describes "a back room where they can touch and feel weapons created for killing." Now I want to take a shower.

There's a huge play-by-play of what was chanted and said and done, much of it covered before. Brower insists that the seven arrested were wearing "death masks" and "standing peacefully," but not blocking access to the AEC. She alleges a hostile police officer threatened to charge them with an unspecified misdemeanor - probably for being masked in public, which is against the law in many communities unless you're trick-or-treating. It was probably intended to trigger an arrest anyway, which is civil disobedience 101.

In summary, this is why Brower and the other demonstrators are so fired up about video game recruiting, which has more to do with recruiting than games:

What is happening right under our noses is a transformation of the way in which the military plans on re-wiring the brains of kids at a very young and impressionable age to turn them into silent killers. By allowing anyone from the age of 13 to 18 to handle a machine gun, or use games that promote violence, it creates a generation that is wired to kill and think that killing is something that is easy and sanctioned.

This isn't a value judgment at all on the military, the wars it's fighting today, or video games. But it's naive to think only now, in the age of video games, that the military is creating a generation "wired to kill." Visit any boot camp, they've been training young men to kill for more than two centuries. That's sort of the point. And when it comes to indoctrinating an entire generation, the draft has been much more effective than any game.

Criminal Complaint Served and Seven Arrested at the Army Experience centre in Philadelphia Mall [OpEd News via GamePolitics]


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