Earlier this week I was invited by a fellow journalist to participate in the "Day Of Cease Fire For Online Shooters" event on Facebook. The event is described,
NOTE -WE ARE NOT BLAMING VIDEO GAMES!
GamerFitNation Inc's CEO Antwand Pearman is calling for a "DAY OF CEASE FIRE" on all online shooters on Friday, December 21st, 2012. We ask for Gamers to show their support for the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy that took place in a Connecticut's Sandy Hook elementary school Friday, December 14, 2012.
Post on this Event Page that you will "Cease Fire" For the day. 26 people were shot dead, 20 of them were young children. We are not asking for money, but if you feel the need to donate I'm sure there are places that will be made available for you.
We are simply making a statement that we as Gamers are not going to sit back and ignore the lives that were lost. Instead we will embace the families with our love and support. So if you are an owner of a website I ask that you post to your readers that you will join us in our "DAY OF CEASE FIRE FOR ONLINE SHOOTERS" I ask you all to please share and I thank you for reading. This starts Thursday night, Friday morning at 12am and will in Friday night, Saturday morning at 12am.
Spelling mistakes aside, it is clear that Antwand Pearman, CEO of GamerFitNation, has very noble intentions. Of course, we are all saddened by what happened in Connecticut with the innocent children and school officials, and the natural reaction is to want to do something to show your support and respect. Immediately I was both surprised and concerned at the potential outcome of this event, however.
We have talked several times about the intersection between videogames and the law. Most famously is the California case and subsequent Supreme Court loss that cost the state $1.8 million. More recently was the federal bill to label all non-Early Childhood games, including Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster, as violent.
Clearly, the government is trying to get involved in gaming regulation. Even with the disclaimer, this event still screams blame. Apparently, my fears were correct, as the National Rifle Association (NRA) big boss openly blamed videogames for what happened. Now, armed with endorsements from the NRA and gamers themselves, or so the reports will read, the government will have all it needs to mount a campaign against videogames.
Now, of course, I understand the noble and respectful place this event comes from, and I suspect anyone who has read this far will, as well. That, however, will not prevent the inevitable spin that we, as gamers, recognize that playing videogames causes violence in real life. If videogames truly influenced real life behavior on that level, I would have a SERIOUS mushroom problem today.