Kill the president, win a prize

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

November 22, 1963, will forever be a mournful day in history. Losing a great American hero and president, John F. Kennedy, left a serious imprint on many citizens' hearts. President Kennedy's tragic assassination sent a nation into mourning. President Kennedy's death should not be forgotten, but video game creators from the company Traffic have put a new twist on the tragic event by putting the game titled "JFK Reloaded" on the market.

"JFK Reloaded," a game found on the Internet, allows a player to virtually recreate the shots fired at the president. To win a monetary prize, a person must hit Kennedy, using the same shots fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. "JFK Reloaded" should be banned for the following reasons: The game gives players an opportunity to make John F. Kennedy's death into a virtual game; it promotes the assassination of an American president; and players have the prospect of winning money by recreating the assassination of a political figure.

"JFK Reloaded" gives a variety of people the chance to make the death of President Kennedy into a game. Players start out in the Texas School Book Depository at a sixth-floor window facing the street that Kennedy's vehicle drove on. Virtually recreated, the scene is supposed to mirror where Lee Harvey Oswald sat and fired three shots at the president. Players can earn or lose points based on the accuracy of their shot. Points are deducted if the player shoots Mrs. Kennedy, and points are earned if the player hits the president. According to an article in Newsweek magazine, "Players can see and replay what they've done from a variety of witness locations, like the grassy knoll and the I Zapruder film or review their bullet trajectories." Players are given the opportunity to review their work and better their shots.

Along with making the death of President Kennedy into a sport, an assassination should not be promoted through a virtual game. As the availability of the video game grows, children and young adults receive the chance to play assassin and target an important political figure. Many citizens are outraged by this endorsement of President Kennedy's death, including his family. According to an article found on the CBS news Web site, Sen. Edward Kennedy's spokesman, David Smith, stated, "It's despicable. There's really no further comment." "JFK Reloaded" not only hurts the president's honor, but it also hurts his family. Death in any form is tragic, and putting the death of the president out on the market lacks shrewd judgment.

Of the people that play, the player who receives the most points for making the most accurate shot can win up to $100,000. Paying someone for recreating the death of a political hero lacks moral value. Killing Mrs. Kennedy, a gunshot to the head, and an inaccurate shot are all possible opportunities to have points deducted. When players virtually kill Kennedy by the Oswald theory, they receive the opportunity to earn more money. "...he's offering $100,000 to the first person who uses it to duplicate the shots which killed the president," CBS News correspondent Steve Holt claimed in an article describing the video game. People get paid to kill the president, recreation or not.

Despite the many objections to "JFK Reloaded," one important factor remains. A variety of people get the opportunity to see history from a different point of view. A new generation of people will get to view and learn about a memorable event in nation's history. Kirk Ewing, the manager of Traffic and the creator of "JFK Reloaded," said, "What we are hoping to do is re-ignite people's passion for history ... We think there's a whole generation of people who have no experience of the Kennedy assassination."

I understand that the creator's aim is to spread history to a newer generation, but game creators should seek out a better way of spreading information to the next generation.

Because it virtually gives a player the chance to make John F. Kennedy's death into a game, because it promotes the assassination of an American president, because it allows someone the chance to win money for recreating the assassination of a political figure, the game "JFK Reloaded" should be banned. People should respect the late President Kennedy and his family. I feel that this game crosses a moral boundary, and should be taken off the market.

Kathleen Graham is a student at XXXX.

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