Teach your children well

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I worked in the computer industry for too long, in a variety capacities.

Most every year I would head to San Francisco to the MacWorld trade show to learn of the latest gadgets my customers might want.

The last year I attended as my interest in the technology sector continued to wane, I witnessed something that I think is at the heart of what happened last week in a small school back east.

As I walked the many aisles of Moscone Hall visiting vendors, I was stopped by a horde of people that had spilled out into the aisle from within one company’s display area, or “booth”. Unable to easily walk through the densely packed, all male road-block, I stopped to see what they were all looking at.

Besides the throng of men and boys of all ages staring towards the presenter, the overwhelming sense was the very loud sound of gunshots and squealing tires.

The company was selling video games. First-person-shooter video games that enable the “player” to assume the role of an assassin and venture out into the virtual world created within the confines of the flat screen, and shoot people.

As the assistant was effortlessly blasting, running, blasting and reloading a variety of weapons, the speaker was extolling the virtues of this new version of a very popular game.

This new version had a faster processor, more memory, more weapons and a brand new graphics engine. This graphics engine could render scenes quicker and so realisticly he said, you’d be pulled right into the environment and forget where you were.

The line that sticks with me to this day, as his assistant, the assassin, shot person after person on-screen, the line that reverberated in my mind today as I watched coho spawning, coho soon to be dead after using their last bit of energy to create and deposit the next generation of a species likely to soon go extinct in California, delivered with such pride and enthusiasm, you’d have thought he was explaining a cure for cancer, so proud of his new and improved graphics engine – “Look at that blood! It’s so realistic.”


If you have children, please regularly spend time with them away from anything that requires electricity or batteries or has a screen.

And now that you have read this, turn off your computer, send some love, strength  and compassion to those grieving families back east, hug your children and take them outside somewhere to look at the stars, smell a damp bay tree, listen to a free flowing river, or a croaking frog or the wings of an owl overhead.