from the pr-is-a-skill dept
But if you thought that kind of PR mistake was the zenith for the NRA with regards to their anti-video game stance, prepare yourselves for liftoff, because the NRA has released several shooting games, the latest of which is targeted at elementary-aged school children.
There have been a lot of people blaming violent video games for gun violence in America, especially in the wake of the tragic Newtown, Connecticut shootings. Chief among them, of course, was the National Rifle Association. In his comments after the shootings, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre blamed several video games that featured guns, like Bulletstorm and Splatterhouse, but left off titles like NRA: Varmint Hunter and NRA: Gun Club. He also failed to mention the new NRA branded iOS game which must have been in development at the time, NRA: Practice Range. The new game is recommended for ages four and up, probably because they don't want kids younger than four to see how much fun super-cool guns can be.Now, in the interest of being fair here, there's an obvious difference in content between games like Bulletstorm and Practice Range or Varmint Hunter. The NRA isn't putting out games in which human being are shot. But that's a rather weak distinction to draw when you've spoken out so radioactively against violence in gaming. The simple glorification of guns for 4 years olds is probably not the best move PR-wise in the current atmosphere, but even having an NRA sponsored game for shooting animals raises questions. The line on shooting living things is crossed and it would be quite easy to point to harming animals as a predictive sign of criminality, violence and sociopathy. Why is the NRA providing a gaming avenue for such behavior while decrying other/more violent games for providing a gaming avenue for that same behavior?
It should be pointed out that, true to their words, the NRA is littering these games with gun safety tips, but from the standpoint of public relations that doesn't really soften how dumb a move this is. To be clear, I don't think the stupidity is in releasing these games. I'm fine with them. The problem is when you seek to deflect criticism for gun violence by pointing to games, all while you're also releasing shooting games, you lose a great deal of credibility. But when you put forth a game that gives you "one minute to fire off as many rounds as possible" and aims it, by their own words, at children as young as four years old, you just look like jackasses.