Sunday November 29th, 2015 2:30PM

Arcade video shooting games pulled after massacres

By The Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) -- It was 10 days after a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown, Conn., when Tracey Abrams and her family came upon a teenager firing a lifelike toy rifle on a video game at a Massachusetts highway rest stop.

As Hyams, her husband and their 12-year-old son walked by, they could hear the rat-a-tat-tat of gunfire coming from the arcade game.

"We looked at each other and said, `Did you see that? How inappropriate,'" Hyams said.

She sent an email to Massachusetts transportation officials, asking them to remove the game. About a week later, they got a response - the state pulled not just that game, but eight others at rest areas along the Massachusetts Turnpike.

In Yonkers, N.Y., a moviegoer got similar action this month after he complained about a video shooting game in the lobby of the Showcase cinema complex there. National Amusements Inc. removed the game and replaced it with a Pac Man game.

In both cases, owners of the games said they were trying to be sensitive in the wake of the horrific Newtown massacre.

An executive with National Amusements, based in Norwood, Mass., said the theater chain plans to review its theaters to determine whether additional games should also be removed.

"We are going to meet with our vendor who supplies the games, and we're going to review it on a case-by-case basis," said Steve Horton, vice president of operations for National Amusements, a Norwood, Mass., company that operates more than 1,500 movie screens around the world.

Sara Lavoie, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, said Hyams noted in her email that Newtown is about an hour away from the rest area in Charlton where her family saw the shooting game on Christmas Eve, 10 days after the school shooting.

"We thought, `Yeah, we agree with you. We will ask that all of the video games be replaced with more passive video games,'" Lavoie said.

Simon Kubiak, a founding member of the National Video Game Association LLC, an association of video gamers, said he sees the pulling of the arcade games as an overreaction.

"There are billions of copies of games out there, and the incidence of mass shootings hasn't increased. I don't think there's any correlation between the video game industry and the movie industry and mass shootings," he said.

"It's a terrible event, no doubt, but I think the powers that be need to address underlying problems and not cast blame on the video gaming industry."

Richard Reitnauer, the Yonkers moviegoer, said he first noticed the game after seven people were shot to death in July in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. He didn't complain then, but when he noticed the game again days after the Newtown shooting, he called National Amusement's headquarters and asked if the company would remove it.

"I told him that I felt it was inappropriate game in an inappropriate place within view. You can hardly walk into this large theater lobby without your eyes drifting over to the game area. I told him that in the context of the shootings, this was kind of like the last straw. Society needs to become more sensitive," Reitnauer said.

When Reitnauer heard back from the company two weeks later, he was told the game had been removed.

"I feel it was a good gesture for the theater to take the guns out, and if everybody across America decided to take a small step, we just might start getting at some solutions."
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
NSA reportedly intercepts computer deliveries
A German magazine has lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacker unit, revealing how American spies intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijacked Microsoft's bug report system to spy on their targets.
12:31PM ( 1 year ago )
Rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel
Rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday, causing no injuries but sparking an Israeli reprisal shelling in a rare flare-up between the two countries.
12:26PM ( 1 year ago )
Standoff at Planned Parenthood ends with suspect's arrest; 3 killed, 9 wounded
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A gunman who opened fire inside a Planned Parenthood clinic was arrested Friday after engaging in gun battles with authorities during an hourslong standoff that killed t...
1:13AM ( 1 day ago )
White House undergoes Thanksgiving Day lockdown after man draped in American flag jumps fence
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving.The man was immediately appre...
10:11PM ( 2 days ago )
Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe' during White House ceremony
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama spared two turkeys named for one of the nation's most admired presidents, continuing a White House tradition that provides a refreshing sense of amusement and...
9:18PM ( 3 days ago )
The Latest: UN Security Council strongly condemns 'horrifying' attack in Mali, urges probe
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The latest on the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako. (All times local):___4:55 a.m.The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the horrifying terrorist attack" at the...
10:58PM ( 1 week ago )
World leaders vow vigorous response to Paris terror spree, but little indication of next steps
ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the Islamic State group's terror spree in Paris as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday, with President Barack Obama call...
2:14PM ( 2 weeks ago )