Tag Archive: National Rifle Association


Exactly 279 days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre one can still purchase and play the video game, Kindergarten Killers.

Just this week, we learned that DC Navy Shipyard sniper, Aaron Alexis, played Call of Duty and Zombie video games up to 16-hours a day. That fits the classic definition of an obsession.

The media is starting to become vigilant about the impact of particular video games, just as it has frequently critiqued the reported 300 million firearms in this country, suggesting both are the telltale signs of a violent society.

It seems that the right is protecting the $11.7 billion (US) firearms and ammunition industry, and the left is shielding the $68 billion (worldwide) interactive entertainment industry.

One hides behind the Second Amendment (Right to Bear Arms) of the United States Constitution. The other points to the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

The question that needs to be asked as one tragedy follows another horrific event, is this really a mutually exclusive exercise?

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Before Almost DailyBrett says anything further on this question, let me first state that I support background checks, limitations on detachable magazines, and registration of any-and-all firearms. I have never cared for guns, and I doubt that I ever will.

When I was the press secretary for former California Governor George Deukmejian, I was proud to be a small, vocal part of the effort that led to California banning assault weapons. As the governor said at the time, he saw absolutely no reason why someone needs an AK-47, AR-10 or M-16 assault weapon to simply go hunting.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) under the direction of Wayne LaPierre vehemently and vocally disagreed with our decision. The NRA was wrong then. It is wrong now.

Let me also go on the record that I rarely play video games, albeit I was attempting to play bass and sing last Saturday night for an after dinner game of Rock Band. When my daughter was young, I would join her for a round of Croc, ending up in the hot lava every time.

More to the point, I am supportive of the First Amendment but recognize there are limits. Yelling “Fire” in a crowded theatre is the oft-repeated limitation to the constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech.

Should the government come down on the video game (interactive entertainment) industry to ban violent video games? My libertarian tendencies tend to not want to encourage even more government incursion into free markets.

Having said that, I agree with Ohio State Professor of Communications Brad Bushman when he stated that, “These games aren’t harmless.”

During the course of my career I have served two nationwide trade associations, first as the Vice President of Public Affairs for the American Forest Resource Alliance (AFRA) and later as the Director of Communications for the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

These two trade associations, trees and chips, and many others just like them represent entire industries and the companies that are association members. Most are located in Washington, D.C. and represent (e.g., lobby) the points of view of their members. The NRA is a lobbying organization. Ditto for the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) under Michael Gallagher.

The NRA has adopted a stance of precluding any camel from sticking its nose under the gun industry and ammunition tent. It even points to the interactive entertainment industry to deflect blame from guns.

The Entertainment Software Association may actually benefit from having such a high-impact enemy in the form of LaPierre and the NRA, but it still has a problem. Are game developers and manufacturers turning a blind eye on the Adam Lanza’s (Newtown killer) and Aaron Alexis’ of the world, who were obsessed with these games and guns?

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What about violent movies? One could reply that movies are passive, while game players are active in their use of simulated weapons. Killing “people” becomes somehow, enjoyable.

The interactive entertainment industry has an ongoing public relations issue that most likely will intensify with each shooting in which the sniper was spurred on by gratuitous violence video games. Yes, there is a correlation and more to the PR point: There is a definitive and growing public perception of these over-the-top violent games.

Will hiding behind the First Amendment solve the problem? After all, the executive branch, Congress and the courts won’t impede the First Amendment rights of those who concoct and develop Kindergarten Killers. Right?

Do they (video game developers) want to wait and find out?

Almost DailyBrett embraces the notion of “Manage or Be Managed.”

It is time for the ESA to set standards for its members about violent content, clearly recognizing when a game goes too far. Merely, putting ratings on the side of the game is obviously not enough. Video games can obviously be addictive. What can be done about that? Is there a role here for social marketing?

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The industry needs to take a proactive stance to not only protect its collective livelihood, but also to do the right thing in the face of these senseless killings. Something was clearly wrong with Aaron Alexis as evidenced by him playing video games for 16-hours a clip, and then heading out to the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. heavily armed.

Could video games have contributed to this tragedy? That seems obvious.

The industry has the opportunity to self-regulate or manage itself. The NRA is beyond that, and has adopted a confrontational point of no return.

One would think the ESA does not want to follow in the NRA’s footsteps.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10314585/Aaron-Alexis-Washington-navy-yard-gunman-obsessed-with-violent-video-games.html

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/09/dont-blame-violent-video-games-mondays-mass-shooting/69499/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/18/opinion/bushman-video-games/?hpt=hp_t2

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2012/12/21/kindergarten_killers_nra_s_wayne_lapierre_blames_violent_video_games_for.html

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2012/12/so-who-made-kindergarten-killer-anyway/

http://www.igda.org/

http://www.theesa.com/about/leadership.asp

http://vgsales.wikia.com/wiki/Video_game_industry

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/19/seven-facts-about-the-u-s-gun-industry/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/28/us/connecticut-shooting-documents/index.html

http://www.meetthenra.org/nra-member/wayne-lapierre

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/manage-or-be-managed/

 

 

“Made damn sure that Pilate washed his hands and sealed his fate … (bin Laden would have used his signature Kalashnikov).”

Watching Bill O’Reilly’s interview with ABC religion commentator Father Edward L. Beck last Wednesday just days after the Navy Seals sealed the fate of Osama bin Laden, my parochial school experiences came roaring back at me…and not in a good way.

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Beck with his sanctimonious and holier-than-thou-art attitude reminded this product of 12 years of Catholic school of how obstinate the nuns and the priests were to any and all new game-changing information that flew in the face of their entrenched orthodoxy. Certainly, it is important to have core values that should stand the test of time…but there are circumstances that can alter the philosophical and political landscape and can alter it rapidly. The shooting of bin Laden is a perfect example.

Father Beck has a problem with Americans publicly celebrating the victory of good over evil in the form of the ultimate demise of bin Laden.

O’REILLY: “Was bin Laden evil?”

BECK: “That’s not for me to judge. His actions were certainly were evil –“

O’REILLY: “Not for you to judge?”

BECK: “His actions certainly were evil and they caused a lot of harm and disruption.”

O’REILLY:” So you can’t as a human being make a determination on good and evil? You cannot do that?”

BECK: “No, I think that’s up God to ultimately decide who’s evil.”

Sorry Father Beck, but you just reminded me why I am a fallen Catholic. I paid my dues and have the scars to prove it listening to people just like you, who are just better than me. If I didn’t believe that, I would just ask you…You would tell me, wouldn’t you? Sure you would.

In my humble opinion, a game changer is one of those few-and-far-between moments that you remember where you were, and what you were doing when you heard the news. I remember where I was when JFK was assassinated, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, when the airplanes hit the World Trade Center and Pentagon and last week when the news flashed that the Navy Seals had taken out bin Laden. These were all game changers in my life.

Another game changer (at least a political game changer) involving a Kalashnikov occurred on a Stockton (CA) school ground back in 1987. A man by the name of Patrick Purdy had a fully loaded Chinese-made AK-47 in his hands. Within minutes he fired at least 106 bullets, killing five school children, and wounding one teacher and 29 other students. He then killed himself.

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A game changer for California, wouldn’t you agree? I was serving as California Governor George Deukmejian’s press secretary. The former attorney general-then governor asked the state Legislature to fast track him legislation banning assault weapons, such as a Kalashnikov, in California. The Republican governor told the media that “I see no reason why anyone needs an assault weapon.”

The reaction from the National Rifle Association was predictable as it was doctrinaire. A camel’s nose was sniffing around the edges of the Second Amendment tent. This Patrick Purdy case was being used as the backdrop to ban sacred assault weapons. For some reason, the NRA leadership and its disciples couldn’t see that Purdy and his deplorable actions were a game changer. Orthodoxy yesterday. Orthodoxy today. Orthodoxy forever.

Yes, yes there are more differences than similarities between the Catholic Church and the National Rifle Association. I get that. But what I don’t get is when a game changer occurs, some individuals and some groups will systematically refuse to consider that their world just changed. The death of bin Laden and the Purdy outrage are just two examples.

In politics many cower in the face of the label of being a flip-flopper, but there comes a time when reality simply changes. And are you thoughtful and flexible or close minded, stubborn and unyielding? Alas, I know where Father Beck and the NRA fit in this equation.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,151105,00.html

http://thepassionists.org/whats_new/tag/bill-oreilly/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AK-47

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