End Of May Morning Ethics Warm-Up: The Games People Play

Good Morning!

1. Too soon? On June 6,  “Active Shooter” will be released. The video game allows players to take part in a simulated school shooting scenario, assuming the role of either the shooter, a SWAT team member, or a student trying to survive. the simulation’s developer is Rival Games, and it be sold on the Steam online store. Naturally, the game is being condemned, and there are even calls to ban it.

I see nothing unethical about the game at all. Depending on how well it is constructed, I can even see some benefits of it. A simulation on-line makes more sense that silly active shooter drills in schools, which only increase student anxiety and create the illusion that such an event is more likely than it is.

Promotion for Active Shooter has a disclaimer stating: “Please do not take any of this seriously. This is only meant to be the simulation and nothing else. If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911 (or applicable). Thank you.” This is a CYA message, of course. The company is considering removing the option of playing the shooter; I think this would be wise.

Yes, of course the game is offensive and upsetting to many, especially those whose family members and friends were involved in these tragedies. They definitely shouldn’t buy the game. But let’s take a poll:

2. Pantsgate. In what must be the longest running stupid legal ethics story ever, the District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility is recommending a 90-day suspension for  former judge Roy Pearson Jr., who sued his dry cleaners for $67 million for allegedly losing his pants in 2005. I wrote about this crazy story on the old Ethics Scoreboard, which is currently off line, but will be back soon, I swear.

Pearson first sought $1,150 as compensation for his lost Hickey-Freeman pants, but when the dry cleaners refused to pay, he escalated his litigation, finally reaching what the board called “the absurd” $67 million  claim. The board, like an earlier hearing committee, found that Pearson  violated ethics rules barring frivolous claims (Rule 3.1) and serious interference with the administration of justice (Rule 8.4). The board disagreed with the hearing committee’s lenient recommendation of a stayed suspension.

Ninety days isn’t enough either. I don’t think someone who would abuse the system like that can be trusted with a law license. He embarrassed the profession; his judgment is warped, and his ethics alarms are busted. I’d kick him out of the D.C. Bar.

Let’s take another poll!

3. A dangerous game. TBS late-night one-note comic (all anti-Trump, all the time) Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump “feckless cunt” last night at the end of her weekly program “Full Frontal.” I assume this was taped before the Roseanne scandal, but one has to wonder if the Left is trying to lose all future elections by not only advocating and enforcing double standards, but rubbing the public’s face in them. Having Joy Reid, of all people, appear on a panel discussing unacceptable conduct by media figures online is another example.  The lack of self-awareness is staggering. Reid’s strategy for avoiding accountability for politically incorrect online activity was to lie about it, and it worked. Roseanne didn’t have the acumen to claim that her Twitter account was hacked.

The Left had a good hand to play against President Trump, and could not be playing it more incompetently. This is pure hubris.

4.  Awwww... Last night, Alan Dershowitz appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show to complain about being struck from his liberal friends’ dinner party lists because he has had the integrity to call out unethical and illegal tactics employed by the Justice Department and FBI against President Trump and his associates. I’m not kidding: this was the announced theme of the segment. The former Harvard law prof. said that he was treated better when he was on the O.J. Simpson defense team. He also told Carlson, “There are no civil libertarians on the Left any more.”

I’ll invite you to dinner, Professor.


39 thoughts on “End Of May Morning Ethics Warm-Up: The Games People Play

  1. I would say it’s MORALLY wrong to make the game, in the sense that it’s using buzz over personal tragedies combined with deliberate provocation to make a profit- if you asked me, in a vacuum, “should they make this game?” I’d say “no, they shouldn’t.” I’d be happy to see enough people ignore it that it’s an irrelevant footnote, like the abysmal “Hatred.”

    That being said, If the developers and customers disagree with me there’s nothing “wrong” in an absolute sense with the game. The emotive logic- that it will somehow train future shooters, that it trivializes tragedy and makes it more likely, or just that hurt feelings should lead to deplatforming- doesn’t float with me a bit.

    • I can’t agree, I’m afraid. It’s just a game, and active shooters are a part of every society, not just ours. Should we despise war games because they depict a battlefield and all the horrors thereof? Is slaughtering electronic soldiers morally superior to trying to stop a shooter who has killed innocent electronic children?

      It’s a game. I still play computer games where starships wipe out hundreds of millions, even billions of fake electronic people. One would think the body count alone would make it a target of pearl-clutchers who find such things evil. To me, it’s just entertainment.

      Now excuse me while I take my superdreadnought screened by a few battlecruisers and reduce my enemy’s planet to a cue-ball.

  2. “silly active shooter drills in schools, which only increase student anxiety and create the illusion that such an event is more likely than it is.”

    The meme floating around that my generation identifies with is, summary:

    “Seeing “Stop, Drop, and Roll” posters all over elementary school led me to believe that catching fire would be a much more frequent problem in life”

    About a decade ago, one of the Call of Duty series (I think it was Call of Duty), featured a mass shooting at an airport where you, the protagonist, trying to infiltrate a terror cell was compelled to join a terror event where a team of baddies rolled through a terminal with machine guns mowing down civilians.

    That raised a similar stink.

    My gut notion is that creating a game with such scenario is not inherently unethical, but just barely toes the line on consideration of others. So, from a civility aspect, it probably fails, as Luke notes above. That being said, if it received NO publicity (other than it’s own marketing) and remained in the realm of the producers and those who would actually play it, it would be a brief and easy to ignore episode.

    • You need another option in the poll:

      The game becomes ethical if you add one more role to the game that activates within 5 minutes of the first shot:

      Political junkie who immediately takes to twitter to push pointless gun control or the counterpart political junkie who immediately reminds us that gun control won’t work.

  3. “Some people use the [word] ‘immoral’ when they really mean ‘distasteful’ — I think a lot of heterosexuals, especially men, find the idea of homosexual sex to be … well … gross, and they lump it in with immorality. And then there are the concerns that adult gay men tend to be attracted to very young, post-pubescent types, bringing them ‘into the lifestyle’ in a way that many people consider to be immoral. Ditto with gay rights groups that seek to organize very young, impressionable teens who may have an inclination that they are gay.” – Reid

    “I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things because they are completely alien to me. But I can definitely understand based on things I have tweeted and have written in the past why some people don’t believe me.” – Also Reid, after her Russian Hacker theory was proven to be a lie.

    ““Everyone of us will walk in [Reid’s] shoes some day [sic] – filled with remorse and regret over something we have said or done, but I predict that few will do so this eloquently,” – Nicole Wallace

    “Big Love to [Reid] AND her brave panel for taking this issue head on and moving our understanding of LGBTQ issues forward,”-Ali Velshi

    “Brains, guts, heart and soul – beloved Joy Reid has always been a treasured and brilliant colleague, but I’ve never been prouder to work with her than I am now.” Rachel *hack, ptooey* Maddow, who is hereby ethically estopped from ever bitching about homophobia again, ever. Fuck you, Rachel.

  4. Number of people I’ve killed in video games over 30+ years: Hundreds of thousands

    Number of people I’ve killed in real life over that same time period: Zero


      • A pittance.

        90’s classic: Master of Orion.

        When comes time to blitzkrieg across one civilization’s expanse of planets, a well coordinated surface bombardment of 20 or so planets (easily several billion people each), followed by the ground assault (which would consume the full surviving population of the target planet and a roughly equal number of the invaders – varies based on tech level)… I mean one game could, in your quest for domination of the galaxy and endless hordes of loyal citizens, net you easily 100 billion on your count.

        • Love that game. They have a new version out, and one day I may play it, but the old one was so cool. I still MoO occasionally.

        • One of my all time favorite games, along with the Civilization series. MOO2 is also an excellent game, although I think it put more emphasis on retail slaughter than the wholesale.

          For that matter, I can’t think of how many hundreds or thousands of different games have been produced for WWII and the Civil War. And, generally speaking, it tends to be the most fun to play the Germans. Why? Nothing to do with the undisputed evils of their regime or the war crimes they committed. The simple fact is that for a great deal of the war the Germans were the ones on the offensive and generally the attackers are more fun to play than the defenders.

          All that said, these are just games. I may enjoy replaying Robert E. Lee to see if I can do better than he, but that doesn’t mean I favor slavery or that I am a racist. If I want to play Ulysses Grant that doesn’t mean I’m an abolitionist. They are just games and humans love to play games.

          • I love the Close Combat series, specifically “A Bridge Too Far”.

            The Germans have the better crew served machine gun, so it’s way easier to build a winning tactic around them.

            The problem with the Close Combat series is it was inaccurate in available strategies and tactics and the individual soldiers wouldn’t behave realistically in certain situations which was bound to get them killed. And damaged buildings had some really weird effects on the behavior of soldiers taking cover, combined with obscuring the view of soldiers in an annoying fashion as well.

            But I think it was a really well thought out game otherwise.

          • Civ III drove me bonkers.

            My Abrams tank divisions should NOT lose to spearmen and archers. But every single time, the dice rolls in favor of the VERY VERY low tech enemies on defense when high tech attacks.

    • In Rome Total War, and to a degree in Medieval Total War, when you occupy a new province, especially where the culture is averse to yours, from the 3 occupation methods available, decimating the population is usually effective to quell resistance for a generation or so.

      Those two games can rack up a pretty solid mega-death count.

      How many times have you sunk a cruiser or carrier in the classic game Battleship? I mean all those servicemen count also.

  5. Virtually every overreaction from the denizens of the left is due its recognition of the noted flaw more deeply within themselves. Once the left declared themselves victims of Trump or Trump because of Russia or Hillary as an unelectable monstrosity, they were off the chain and free to do whatever to whomever they wished. It continues to this day. All you have to be is on their side, and you’re good.

  6. Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Roseanne, and did not watch the new show. I abhor Samantha Bee, haven’t watched her show, or any show she produces.

    Roseanne’s tweet was awful. I don’t know if she intended to be racist or not. Let’s say she wasn’t being racist. Even at that, it was mean and a cheap shot, while perhaps intending to be funny.

    Samantha Bee not only degraded someone for posting a sweet picture, she did it because she doesn’t agree with their politics. Further, it wasn’t an off the cuff uncensored tweet, it was part of a taped show, where it was not only rehearsed and recorded, but reviewed and edited before airing. But good old Samantha has the right views, so she’s funny. Of course she’s sorry now that AutoTrader suspended sponsorship.

    Free speech ensures they both have the right to say (or type) stupid things. The American public has a duty to ensure they feel the consequences when they exercise those rights in a way we should not tolerate. Roseanne was immediately fired, but she’s long been on the wrong side. Samantha Bee remains employed. Here’s hoping that wrong is righted as well.

  7. Stop worrying about a silly video game and wise up to the Reality that 90% of school shootings are FBI hoaxes/black ops.

  8. Alan Dershowitz is, as ever, pretty stupid for somebody so smart. I see a civil libertarian on the left when I look in the mirror. Or perhaps I don’t really exist… but such speculations would take me a little further down the road to philosophical Taoism than I choose to travel this evening.

  9. 1. About that “Active Shooter” game: If I had time, I would wait for David Hogg and some of the other Khardashianated “survivors” of the Parkland school shooting (I mean, of course, the “survivors” who are yelling for “common sense” laws about guns – that is, of course, for all liberties currently protected by the Second Amendment to be criminalized) to speak up about whether the game should be on the market, or should be sold only with the role of shooter deleted, etc. (Maybe they have already spoken; I wouldn’t know; I am not paying attention to them or their propagandahacksphere enablers and promoters.) I will be surprised if no lawsuits are filed upon introduction of the game into the market.

    • ”I would wait for David Hogg”

      Jeepers lucky, I’m hoping you won’t…um…shoot the messenger, but:

      Li’L Davie is licking his wounds after getting summarily bitchslapped by the Publix CEO, who responded to his Million $ shake-down attempt with a hearty, long-overdue, and well-earned–FUCK OFF!!!


      Him pounding his little fists and that vein popping out on his little forehead because he didn’t get what he wanted, excuse me, wasn’t given that to which he felt entitled?


      Perfection is not a human attribute. That said, I can’t help thinking that in a perfect world, I wouldn’t be (muffled chortle) enjoying this so much.

      • Thanks, Paul – I did see an article about the “die-in.” But I must have seen it in a pro-Hogg, anti-gun medium. I don’t recall seeing any mention of the Publix response. Hmmmm. My guess is that Publix will resume its political donations at some point; it will be worth watching out to observe their chosen beneficiaries. Hogg’s pigs need to be overwhelmed with counter-demonstrators, wherever his merry Marxist band shows up. I would never shoot a messenger (unless the messenger was trying to shoot me first). But it’s established American street law that out-shouting an advocate or advocacy group would have a similar “messenger-shooting” effect.

  10. Last night, Alan Dershowitz appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show to complain about being struck from his liberal friends’ dinner party lists because he has had the integrity to call out unethical and illegal tactics employed by the Justice Department and FBI against President Trump and his associates. I’m not kidding: this was the announced theme of the segment. The former Harvard law prof. said that he was treated better when he was on the O.J. Simpson defense team. He also told Carlson, “There are no civil libertarians on the Left any more.”

    I’ll invite you to dinner, Professor.

    His friends need to realize that we need to protect the rights of the unpopular to protect the rights of us all.

    Imagine, if you, will that Omar Mateen survived. He would like today be on trial for treason and fifty counts of murder. It would be in such trials that we must be ever more vigilant in safeguarding his rights. It would hacve been tempting to violate his rights just to get an easy conviction and death sentence.

    But doing so would have done far more damage to the U.S. than the Pulse Nightclub massacre.

    • ”Alan Dershowitz appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show to complain about being struck from his liberal friends’ dinner party lists”

      Dershowitz should channel his inner Groucho: I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member

  11. Based on further thought, and knowing this debate has already been had, the reference to WW2 wargames put it into perspective. No, playing the Germans in a WW2 game doesn’t make you a secret nazi sympathizer any more than playing the school shooter makes you a secret school shooter sympathizer.

    So I changed my vote to “it’s just a game”. And like all games, it isn’t the game that is inherently wrong.

  12. #2 I gave him the 90 days (with at least two roomies). Jail time is worth more than a suspension and I’m not sure disbarment is on the table. even if it is . . . .

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