Bang, Bang — You’re Dead

By Blaney Pridgen

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.

I abhor violent video games.  A huge industry supplies them for our children and adults, who are still mostly children.  They become addicted to them.  They play them all day and into the night through the mysteries of social networking.  I hate using the word “social” in this regard.  There is nothing social about these games.  They are antisocial in their glorification of killing humans and other life forms with lasers and automatic weapons.  Nothing good can come of this other than keeping their users (who are being used) off the streets. 

But wait a minute.  Before the advent of violent video games, kids played war in the woods.  I did.  I had toy guns for every era of violence in the 19th and 20thCenturies.  In my childhood arsenal, I had plastic swords, shields, and pirate guns.  So did my buddies.  And we had every kind of toy soldier, cowboy, Indian, and spaceman to set up imaginary battles to the death.  Remember also cops and robbers.  A gang of us neighborhood boys developed an elaborate war game using red clay dirt clods.  We established forts in the woods and collected piles and buckets of clods to hurl at each other.  An exploding clod left a streak or splatter to show a wound.  Our grieving mothers washed away our wounds with Tide and Cheer.

Then came the childhood leagues and legions of football which sophisticated our violent gaming.  This time our parents cheered from the stands all the way through high school.  The girls got in on it with their violent cheers: “Hit ‘em a lick, Hit ‘em a lick…harder, harder.”  There is something about spousal abuse in this, but I won’t go there.

We might also remember the BB and pellet guns.  I even had a pellet pistol.  Birds and squirrels became the enemies.  Some of us got into fishing and real hunting.  Gutting life forms became normal weekend activities.  Owning, cherishing, and toting guns became a manly right ordained by the Constitution if not also by God.  Even the retired cheerleaders stuffed them in the conceal pouch of pink purses.  You never know who might need shooting.

While we are reflecting, let’s remember the war movies, westerns, and crime series we so dearly love.  We are grown up now, but we still like seeing a dirt clod getting hurled at the bad guy.  I do.

Perhaps I should back off of my abhorrence of violent video games.  Maybe I should tolerate them or, better yet, ignore them.  Anyhow, don’t we need to be on alert and ready for the bad guy?  Childhood games instill that in us.  No one wants to be the loser when lives are at stake.  Maybe we all ought to join a militia, but haven’t we already?

Speaking of bad guys, China and Russia are once again receiving our ingrained violent projections.  Cyber warfare has temporarily caught us relatively unprepared.  That’s the cyber space where video games get played.  We may need a special forces and S.W.A.T. teams of hackers to “hit ‘em a lick harder.”  As to China, I modestly propose that we quit buying their stuff and shun stores that sell it, all of it, all of the time.  By now, that is probably impossible, but think about it.  More about this later.  In the meantime, play away.  Imaginary kills are better than real ones.  By the way, Walmart and Amazon have good prices on PlayStations and gaming chairs.  Check out where they are made.