Friday letters: Killing is now entertainment

07/25/2014 12:00 AM

07/24/2014 5:29 PM

Have we come to see mass murder as entertainment? We may be inching in that direction. Whodunit literature long has been a popular venue, as have cop shows on TV, but increasingly we are exposed to acts of war, mass bombings, disaster and murder as the daily stuff of modern life.

Our youth are exposed to extra mayhem. How many players does it take to support the video game industry? Multiply the number of players by the number of hours played; you will get a mind-numbing sum.

Video games challenge the player to maximize some form of mayhem, and that most often involves killing or eliminating people or creatures. The object is to kill more. The things players are challenged to kill are generally evil, but the challenge to kill is not because of their villainy, but to win the game. Killing becomes a competition.

Killing seems to make the player a winner, but can we assume that children make the distinction between fantasy and reality? The line between the real and the virtual is becoming increasingly obscure.

We are scrambling to keep ahead of our runaway technology, and while it might seem unnecessary to teach our children the difference between fantasy and reality, right now that may be one of the only other games in town.

Verne Pulling


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