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Cop-Killer Game Elicits Reactions From Law Enforcement

**Please go to the www.nleomf.com and sign the petition to ban a game that advocates shooting police officers and other violence. 

Posted: February 10th, 2006 10:52 AM EDT

The video game 25 to Life by Eidos allows players to assume the roles of criminals who blast their enemies – both police and bystanders. While titles like Bonanza Bros. and Grand Theft Auto have depicted unlawful activity in years past, the new release ups the anti-authority quotient by rewarding the killing of police en masse.

The Epoch Times has reported that “in one 38-second sequence of game play, seven officers are shot and killed—roughly one police officer every five seconds.”

The game also allows players to play as the cops, and to target criminals with equal brutality.

Nonetheless, law enforcement agencies and advocates have taken notice, although the degree of their reactions has varied.

Highly vocal have been the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) -- a nonprofit organization representing the nation's 15 largest law enforcement organizations. Its chairman, Craig W. Floyd, released a statement saying, "It is absolutely unconscionable that game makers are enabling young people — or anyone — to dramatize shooting and killing as a form of entertainment while officers and innocent people are dying in real-life on our streets every day. We're encouraging parents, caregivers and everyone who is concerned about both law enforcement officers and children to ensure this game never makes it into the homes or hands of impressionable young people."

In contrast, the Fraternal Order of Police has neglected to vocally channel heated rhetoric toward the game title. In an interview with Officer.Com, the FOP’s Executive Director, Jim Pasco, argued that largely vocalized protests toward a single game miss the big picture. Although his organization officially objects to and lobbies against violent and unlawful depictions in video games, he argued, “Boycotting is a tactic employed, not a strategy.”

Another law enforcement representation organization, The International Union of Police Associations, has taken a far more explicit approach. The organization devotes space on its website's front page to press a boycott. Writes Vice President Dennis Slocumb, “Our jobs, our lives and our families are very real and we should not sit in silence like stoic masochists while video games trivialize any part of whom we are or what we do… The International Union of Police Associations (I.U.P.A) calls upon all of its members to sign the petition on the NLEOMF web page protesting the sales of “25 to Life”.’

The controversy behind the game made national headlines in January when Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) told New York retailers not to stock the game or sell it, and called for Sony and Microsoft to cut ties with Eidos. “Little Johnny should be learning how to read, not how to kill cops," Schumer said. "The bottom line is that games that are aimed and marketed at kids shouldn't desensitize them to death and destruction."

Such anguish is no doubt shared by individuals outside the law enforcement profession also. A recent New York Sun article showed other New York City officials pressuring retailers not to distribute the game. A report from NBC4i of Columbus, Ohio described a group of officers' widows circulating an online petition against the game.

Vocal critics of 25 to Life may be drawing attention to the game unnecessarily. The game itself has received poor reviews from critics at USA TODAY, Scripps Howard News Service, and The London Free Press in Canada.

Ironically, the game’s writer acknowledged having moral issues with his game. According to The London Free Press, he came to the conclusion that his game wasn't meant to promote guns or violence, but was rather intended to hold a mirror up to the world.

**Please go to the www.nleomf.com and sign the petition to ban a game that advocates shooting police officers and other violence.