Thanks to a phone call campaign coordinated by Peace Action Wisconsin, a virtual urban warfare game that allowed Summerfest goers as young as 13 to climb into a Humvee simulator and fire machine guns at life-size people displayed on a computer screenhas been shut down by Summerfest officials. Obviously I’m glad the folks from Summerfest came down on the right side of this situation, because it seems a little odd to allow a 13 year old to be able to jump into a Humvee and simulate shooting a killing people, given the fact that a video game of that nature would surely be restricted to Mature audiences due to the violence, blood, and gore that I’m sure were a part of the simulator.
Putting aside the issue of letting 13 year olds take part in such a violent simulation, I just think it’s hypocritical to attempt to glorify war when war is often far from being glorious. Though I’ve not personally had any experience serving in combat, I’ve read enough accounts to know it doesn’t seem glorious at all. Bert over at folkbum summed it up best when discussing Chuck Sykes’ reaction to the situation:
Shorter Sykes #2: This virtual war game, where kids as young as 13 suit up and ride a humvee to shoot with automatic weapons at images of “the enemy”, is good because it teaches this country the realities of war.
My question #2.a: How would you or I know the reality of war, since we have never come close to experiencing it?
My question #2.b: If it is important that the citizenry know more of the reality of war (I agree, by the way) since we are fighting two at the moment, did you ever criticize the White House policy to forbid images of our dead soldiers’ caskets? Did you ever applaud reporters for showing death on either side during these wars, or did you instead support more news about privates handing out candy to children?
As I said, kudos to Summerfest for doing the right thing.