Peace Group Protests Follow America’s Army Exhibit

Last week GamePolitics reported on a peace group’s protest that forced changes to the America’s Army exhibit at Wisconsin’s Summerfest.

Huntsville, Alabama’s WAFF-48 now reports that a similar protest is planned at an Air Show in Duluth, Minnesota. Michele Naar-Obed of a group called Loaves and Fishes criticized the game, in which players seated in a Humvee shoot at virtual enemy combatants:

I’m very upset over this. I think this is just insane that they would use this kind of venue to train our youth to kill people.

An Army recruiter dismissed the criticism, however. SFC John Haymond told WAFF:

It’s kind of curious that some people would object to a virtual army experience game when the central draw to the Duluth Air Show is the Blue Angels who are flying F-18 Super Hornet strike aircraft, which last time I checked, was a military weapon.

Haymond added that no one under 17 is permitted into the exhibit. The air show is setting up a separate area for protesters of the game.

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  1. oto kirlama says:

    I’m all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there’s one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what’s stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

    But majority araba kiralama of their outrage araç kiralama stems from what it could DO TO children, not the content itself.  Talk to one of these people and you’ll find they don’t think any books kiralık araba should be banned from children.  Mention American Psycho and they talk about kiralık araç the redeeming value of using imagination to construct a story.  Reading, no matter what the content, is largely viewed as a consequenceless activity for people of any age.  The reason why I mention American Psycho is because of the content itself.  Gaming never has and likely never will have any scenes where someone has sex with a severed head.  Not gonna happen.  Yet despite this, they’ll fight tooth and nail to protect their children from two boys kissing in Bully but whatever they read is harmless… yeah.

    The entire arguement is kiralık oto based upon a social normality inflicted by luddites who can’t figure out the controls for Halo so it’s frightening and terrifying and obviously the cause of youth violence on the rise even though, in reality, it’s in decline (which is actually a HUGE suprise given minibüs kiralama the economies status).  In  a perfect world, we would have parents that actually parent.  The idea of sales restrictions on media on oto kiralama any form to accomidate parental unwillingness to get involved with their child’s life is the real problem to me.  Here I am, 32 years old, and being held up at a self-scan rent a car needing to show ID before I can buy a $10 M rated game all because Soccer Momthra can’t be bothered to look at the crap Billy Genericallystupidson does in his free time.  It’s too hard for her, so I have to suffer?

  2. Anonymous says:

    for one, they use my money to make that "game"

    and two, they try to let kids as young as 13 play it.  I have photos of signs on their front door.  13!!!!

    now that is an effort up for a fight from me!  Anyone know which civilian agency runs it?

  3. AndersonConnor ( User Karma: 0 ) says:



    Thank you for your incredibly insightful comment.  It brings me cause to wonder if perhaps we have crossed paths professionally, because you are so dead on.  This has been a PR failure of enormous magnitude.  Incidentally, this program has an interesting PR background, where the Ad agency in charge has actually sought to alienate partners from the start.  Watching this asset stumble and crumble through 2009 will be chronicled day by day through my organization,

    The final straw for me was the Ft. Bragg video that came out just as the company I worked indirectly with was negotiating the next year’s contract with NASCAR and Army driver, Mark Martin. I began in this industry at entry level just months before 9/11, and after the attacks was extremely proud of what I did, helping show race fans all of the fascinating things the Army was doing for us. Over my seven years closely around the effort, I talked to hundreds if not thousands of soldiers. And more soldiers than not shared their feelings with me that the Army was giving them a raw deal. A soldier’s oath is to defend the Constitution, not obey the President. Ft. Bragg is real. Walter Reed is real. Corporate profiteering is real. And what we, the American people, have done to the Iraqis is real. Your leaders are lying to you. Support IVAW. Support soldiers with something other than magnetic ribbons on your car. Get them out before the next one is killed.  Never forget that both the Army and the Ad agency leading the effort sought to bring this experience to kids as young as 13.  And only AFTER the people stood up, did things start to (sort of) shape up.  The magnifying glass they will get in 2009 will be a whole new level of scrutiny.

    Anderson Connor

  4. CPU says:

    The military, like you, has the right to freedom of speech. And they use that freedom to recruit people throught their TV ads and through their games. And as you said anyone who played the game and thought that if they joined the military that they would do exactly what they did in the game then they are idiots. However the military is free to create a game for the sole purpose of recruitment just as you are free to create a game for whatever reason you have. It is just like a much longer TV commercial. Now I understand that the military isn’t for everyone and that people should be able to make an intelligent choice about joining or not. Playing a videogame or watching a TV commercial should not be what you base your choice on. Those are there to raise awareness that the military is welcoming recruits and that they need recruits. Also, TV, internet and, videogames are the popular media today and in order to be known you have to advertise on whatever media is popular. So, without advertising on those media, please wengler, tell me how the military is to "snow people into joining".

  5. Anonymous says:

    See, I was behind this sort of protest when it was at a music festival. It was kinda out of place with the theme of the joint to have this kinda thing up. But at an airshow? People common they’er showcasing million dollar machines meant to kill and you’re bitching about a fake gun mowing down fake people? Someone can’t see the forest through the trees…..

  6. TheTrueMrJack says:

    “I’m very upset over this. I think this is just insane that they would use this kind of venue to train our youth to kill people.”

    If this is true, I’m the best goddamn medic out there. I heal like a motherfucker. (anyone else remeber that hellish medic training in AA?)

  7. wengler says:

    I am going to comment on the actual booth rather than anything else. If you don’t think people have the right to protest the military because the military protects this country(the modern military is geared to protect the outer empire but I digress), then there are certainly other countries you can go to that frown upon protest. Saying you can’t protest the military because the military protects your right to protest is a straw man and a false tautology that would involve some other outside coercive force intervening and pushing you not to protest…but anyways…this booth is not a great thing for the military to have.

    You ever see those commercials that the military puts out and they say you will learn all these great skills and do all sorts of help in your community…and then you join up and you end up on a 15 month tour of Iraq? This game, simulation or whatever is some actual approximation of sitting on the .50 caliber in the HUMV but in the end it is just a stupid game. If it helps recruit people who like that game, and say oh boy I’m going to be doing this exact same thing in Iraq, then they are idiots. I agree its better than the digging latrines and burning shit simulator but still I gotta think the military has enough money to find a better way to snow people into joining. And before someone gets on my ass about disparaging the military, anyone who has been in the military knows that its not for everyone and there are lots of people that have bad experiences. And oh yeah recruiters lie their asses off to get you to sign on the dotted line.

    Once again I don’t worry about people who play this game, I worry about the people that who play this and then want to join the Army. This is a PR epic fail and a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

  8. JimK says:

    @Tom:  Good luck, keep your head down, your pwder dry and watch your six.

    And THANK YOU.  You don’t have to serve, but you chose to, so thank you.

  9. GryphonOsiris says:

    You know, if these people are so angry that kids are playing a virtual game in the safety of their own homes where they shoot pixelated sprites on screen with no real world effect, then perhaps they’d be happier if their kids moved to Central Africa where they can shoot real people with real guns in a real war and run the risk of getting shot themselves.

    You know, cause killing fictional characters on screen is just wrong, but killing uneducated farmers who have been conscripted by force to fight for a warlord has been the popular rage since Somalia. [/sarcasm]

    Seriously, these people should know that there are better things to protest about than a video, I mean it’s not like anyone has ruined their careers with this… oh wait, forgot about he-who-must-not-be-named has ruined his life trying to pursue the video games = violence line.

  10. Tom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    When I say that I understand where they’re coming from I mean that I understand why they are protesting.  If you are anti-military and part of a social activist group then it’s your responsibility to protest the military.  That has nothing to do with arguments about whether they are right or wrong – personally, I think that their view is shortsighted, naive and unrealistic – but it has everything to do with standing up for ideals.

    The problem that they run across – and you seem to stumble on as well – is one of balance.  Yes, I think that everyone can imagine a peaceful world being a Good Thing but it’s naive to assume that merely disolving our military will further that goal.  At the same time, it’s similarly naive to suggest that the only reason we have freedoms is because of our military.  The military defends our rights, certainly, but those rights are also defended by legions of civilians.  Maybe not in as visceral a way, but in a very real way.  Suggesting otherwise is as foolish as saying that our lifestyle can exist without the military.

    I look at it like this: those people protesting is an expression of the freedoms that the military defends.  It may be frustrating but there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the sounds of peaceful protesters getting their message out is much sweeter then the silence of an oppressed society going about its business uninterupted.

    Personally I’ve bounced back and forth on the "earning citizenship" issue.  At the moment I’m in favor of citizenship by birth but that could just be my argumentative side taking up the opposing position 🙂  The problem with "earning" citizenship is that the method of achieving that milestone is set by the very establishment you’re looking to enter.  That’s fine if you’re of the opinion that the government is fundamentally good (or, at least, fundamentally looking out for the interests of the people) but if that assumption is wrong or becomes wrong in the future then you are, if you’ll excuse the language, in a world of shit.  If you take a more cynical tack and say that any power system has as it’s primary goal the perpetuation of its existence then it’s in the best interest of a citizenry to open that power system up to as many people as possible.  Having citizenship as a birthright is, in effect, a safety feature against a more centralized, totalitarian government.

    And just to give you an idea where I’m coming from, I’m a 28 year old college graduate with a degree in Journalism and time spent working as a reporter who is currently preparing to ship off to basic training – so I’m not anti military 🙂

  11. Joker ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Sorry Tom but I call herring on the issue of understanding thier POV, cause it stinks.  The ONLY reason they have the right and ability to make these moronic gestures is BECAUSE the US has a strong military.  It’s the GI in uniform that preserves thier rights to free speech and assembly.  Not the press, not your elected official, not the protester.  Unfortunately the US military supports and defends the Constitution for people that often do not appreciate its merits and it’s the military that enables them to live under the umbrella that is safety/security. 

    Would you believe that there are members of the San Francisco city council that are on record saying that they see no reason for the US to have a military?  How does one even respond to such idiocy?

    The fact that citizenship for those born here is taken for granted and needs to be looked at.  While the movie "Starship Troopers" was a bit goofy, the underlying theme that citizenship is something to be earned is, in my opinion, a worthy idea.  You want the right to vote?  Perform public service for a period of time.  Want to become part of your law making body?  Perform public service.  Note that I’m not saying that military service is the sole means of public service.  Police, fire, rescue, etc would all qualify. 

    Anyway, rant over.  Your mileage may vary.  🙂


  12. Tom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I can understand where the protestors are coming from.  If they’re an anti-war and anti-military activism group then it would be irresponsible of them to not protest something like this.  At the same time, I wish some of the idealistic peaceniks had more appreciation of reality.

    First, the unfortunate truth is that peace for the sake of peace hasn’t historically been a part of human nature.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  The circumstances of our world and our nature requires a military.

    Second, an all volunteer military needs to be able to recruit and needs to embrace new technology.  As has been mentioned before, you’re not going to find someone who has no interest in enlisting suddenly feeling inspired to sign the next 8 years of their life away because of a cool videogame.

    Finally, they’re sensationalizing.  Of course the military isn’t using that venue to "teach our youth to kill."  A five minute stint in a virtual Hummer isn’t going to "teach" people anything more about using a gun then would playing Time Crisis.  The implications that it would be <i>possible</i> to teach people to kill in that circumstance and that that was the intention of the recruiters are both sensational claims.

  13. Krono says:

    I’m very upset over this. I think this is just insane that they would use this kind of venue to train our youth to kill people.

    So the fact that the venue is an Air Show staring the Blue Angels doesn’t bother you? Also, the fact that the recruiting game/simulation is barred to those that aren’t eligible to be recruited escapes you?

    Really, they aren’t teaching anyone to kill with these recruiting stations. That’s what various courses at boot camp are for. What these simulators are for is to arouse the interest of potential recruits, and get them considering to join up.


  14. Jabrwock says:

    It’s kind of curious that some people would object to a virtual army experience game when the central draw to the Duluth Air Show is the Blue Angels who are flying F-18 Super Hornet strike aircraft, which last time I checked, was a military weapon.

    Shhhhh! Protestors don’t appreciate irony.

    Remember the kids protesting Bully, signing a song about wanting to beat you up behind the bleachers?

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  15. eston says:

    I think it’s hilarious that the organizers set up a specific area for protesters. That means most people will probably just avoid that area altogether.

  16. DeusPayne ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Mmm… protesting for the sake of protesting. "I stop protesting at 5… do we get overtime if we go past 5?"

    It’s one thing to protest the Army’s use of this as a recruiting tool in venues designed for children, and it’s annother entire thing to protest it at an Air Show. If you don’t want your kids exposed to the military, perhaps you shouldn’t bring them to the military.

  17. GryphonOsiris says:

    Actually Joker, my grandfather, USN Seabee retired, would have read them the riot act for anti-military statements, of course he was a Seabee in the pacific theater is some of the worse spots of the war. I’m just glad he didn’t live to see the protestors in Berkeley and the SF city counsol removing the JROTC from the school program.


    BTW, to hell with Starship Troopers the movie, try the book instead. The logic and rational behind citizen ship is service (that is always miserable), cannot be denied for any reason, and shows that the person is willing to show self sacrafice for the group as a whole, not as an individual.

  18. Anonymous says:

    "I’m very upset over this. I think this is just insane that they would use this kind of venue to train our youth to kill people."

    Should we be training our armies to harvest wheat?  They’re soldiers, they are supposed to be trained to kill.  I don’t think anyone will play a game and decide to join the army.  More likely to join a clan.

  19. Belgarion89 says:

    Kinda reminds me of this one segment on The Daily Show.  Rob Riggle (a former Marine) was dressed up like a hippie to interview a bunch of people protesting a recruiter in California.  Every so often, he’d get angered by something the dumb hippie would say and have to leave the room and shout "Grrr…Hippies!"  I’m sure SFC Haymond is feeling the same thing.

  20. GryphonOsiris says:

    I agree. Having played AA, and fired an M-16 I’ll tell you that they leave a few details out on how to operate the weapon. The funny part is that I have an Army buddy who has an M9 Barreta, however, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to pull back the slide on it, even though I’ve played hours upon hours of AA. Training my pale Irish… heritage, it’s funny that the people making these complaints are those who 1) don’t play the games, 2) have no history of police or Military service, 3) make claims about learning how to use a weapon from a game, with no facts to back it up.

    It would be like saying because you play Diablo you know how to cast "Magic Missile" or duel wield a Qatar. Or that playing Ace Combat makes you a qualified pilot.


    And by the way, hippies are so much more likely to get violent than a well trained and diciplined soldier or police officer, as hippies think they fall under the catagory of "their s*** don’t stink."

  21. Tom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I agree with you 100% about mice and keyboards not training people to shoot, but the set up being protested used mock rifles fired from a HMV at full-size virtual targets.  It’s actually a pretty cool rig they set up.

  22. kurisu7885 (can't log in) says:

    "I’m very upset over this. I think this is just insane that they would use this kind of venue to train our youth to kill people."

    *facepalm* A keyboard and mouse DOES NOT "train" you to handle a goddamned weapon!!!!!! Jeez!!!

    "The air show is setting up a separate area for protesters of the game."

    THis time, I have no complaint against this.

    "Can’t wait to see a fight break out between some martial artists and some hippies."

    Same. Wanna bet the hippies would make the first violent swing?

  23. Shay Guy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Proof that I’ve been reading too much fan fiction and/or TV Tropes lately: when I saw "WAFF," my first thought was "Warm And Fuzzy Feeling."


  24. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    I’m kinda offended that these assholes were bitching about a goddamn military training simulator instead of the actual war (not saying I’m for or against, just saying it would be more productive to their cause). Also, the military has said that they use the games to train cooperation, not to kill. They learn that from instructors and books. Books. Where else did you think they were getting all that knowledge before games?

    Oh, and if you’re so worried about kids knowing how to defend themselves, try and ban karate classes too. Can’t wait to see a fight break out between some martial artists and some hippies.

    -If shit and bricks were candy and tits, we’d all be livin’ large. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard Medical School researchers Larry Kutner and Cheryl Olson

  25. Ace ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’d think they’d rather kids play a virtual simulation of being in the army as opposed to actually being there in a hostile situation.

    Doesn’t sound like they thought this all the way through.

  26. PGraves says:

    It’s unfortunate that people feel the need to protest something like this, especially at a largely military event.  I’m also getting a little tired of the "video games are training our young to kill" mantra.  I have been playing games for decades as well as having served in the infantry for 9 years.  I’ve never killed anyone.  My parents took responsibility to raise me properly, and made sure I knew what personal and social accountablility are.  If only more folks would do the same instead of just throwing out blame and ill-informed opinion. 

  27. Ben Zupan says:

    It’s amazing what the army uses the America’s Army game for. One use, and one I really enjoyed testing out at AUSA in 2006, was the virtual shoot house where you use a dummy rifle fitted with a laser to shoot virtual targets in the game. No need to actually build a shoot house, no expenditure of ammo, and little to no environmental impact.

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