Hypocritical Outrage at the “Active Shooter” Game

“Active Shooter” is a video game created by Acid Publishing Group that aims to create a game where the player simulates a school shooting. The player also has the option of playing as the police officer who arrives on the scene to stop it. When the game was announced there was a public outrage that called on the Valve corporation to ban it from their service. Eventually, after having been placed under enough pressure, Steam decided it would not carry the game.

Parents of victims of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida were particularly outraged by the game, having been the victims of such an event. The game is being labelled as being in “bad taste” because it uses a scenario in which many people have actually lost their lives. The outrage is totally understandable given the sensitive nature of the subject matter.

Video games and violence have always been connected in one form or another, but this game seems to stand out as not so much a creator of violence, but one that seems to mock it. Accordingly, Steam decided to remove the game because: “It was a troll, designed to do nothing but generate outrage and cause conflict through its existence,” said Doug Lombardi, a Valve spokesman.

It reminds me of another game that received similar criticism, yet to a lesser degree, Hatred. I’ll go on the record as saying that I enjoy the game and find it’s the over-the-top edginess to be quite funny. That game was an even greater simulation of a mass shooting than “Active Shooter” is. The increased sensitivity over the latter game is because it takes place in a school and the victims are children.

Despite the outrage demonstrated towards the game, I see a terrible hypocrisy. Steam, and the video game industry, in general, are filled with games that simulate war. I don’t even have to mention the popularity of the Call of Duty games which are among the most popular. Are we to believe that war is not a sensitive issue? Tens of millions have been killed by the actions of the US military alone, yet there is no outrage of the portrayal of their deaths in video games? How can the world’s empire receive a pass from all the crimes it has committed?

Simple: because those lives, the lives of the global proletariat don’t matter, because they were killed for the economic benefit of the same people protesting the game.

What those who are opposed to the release of “Active Shooter” are really angry about, is not the loss of life that occurs in the game – but rather the loss of life that personally offends them. If this was really about the killing, they’d be opposed to all games in which the player is a killer. In fact, they might even just be opposed to the killing the US government does. But they’re not, they’re only angry about the one that offends them, not the subject of killing in general. This is selective outrage.

This demonstrates quite adequately the mentality of not just Americans, but of first world people in general. They are ill concerned with the real world deaths of those for their empire and benefit, but outraged at anything that affects them – or offends them.