NOT an Onion Headline: Help Shoot Up Juarez

NOT an Onion Headline: Help Shoot Up Juarez July 26, 2011

Hey kids, have you heard of Ciudad Juárez?  It’s the city just over the border from El Paso, Texas, under siege of horrific violence at the hands of drug lords.  How violent?  Well, glad you asked!  Check out these numbers:

  • 2008 – 1,600 homicides
  • 2009 – 2,600 homicides
  • 2010 – 3,075 homicides

That’s 229 murders per 100,000 residents of Juárez!  This year, Juárez is averaging eight homicides per day!  The Juárez police force is literally under assault!

Well, now you can be part of the action, too, in the new video game, Call Of Juarez: The Cartel.  That’s right!  All the horror of Juárez in the comfort of your living room:

Call of Juarez: The Cartel is the third installment of the Western action shooter video game franchise, Call of Juarez. Call of Juarez: The Cartel includes the same attributes of a great Western shooter, upgraded to reflect modern times. For instance, instead of outlaws and brothels, you’ll find cartel kingpins and strip clubs. But make no mistake, the spirit of the Wild West is still very much alive. You’ll experience the lawlessness of the old country as you fight to take down a powerful drug cartel in a world where every man is out for himself.

***

OK, in all seriousness, this is beyond the pale.  I’ve been to Juárez a few times, back when I worked for YouthWorks.  It is a desperately poor place, full of good people who live in cardboard shanties, all within view of gleaming American skyscrapers.

But YouthWorks and many other mission agencies have had to pull out of Juárez because of the violence.

If you play this video game, you’re part of the problem.

(For that matter, if you smoke a little pot, and it comes from Mexico, you’re part of the problem.)

Join me in asking Amazon to drop this video game from their store (or at least write a bad review).  If you see it advertised on the flat screen TVs at LA Fitness, as I did, complain to the manager.  If you see it at Target or Walmart, ask them to remove it.

And, finally, let these be your lasting images of Juárez.  They were taken by Courtney Perry in February, 2011, during the funeral for six teenagers who were among a group of 16 teenagers gunned down by a drug cartel while they were at a party.  It seems to have been a case of mistaken identity.

copyright Dallas Morning News/Courtney Perry, used by permission, all rights reserved
copyright Dallas Morning News/Courtney Perry, used by permission, all rights reserved
copyright Dallas Morning News/Courtney Perry, used by permission, all rights reserved
copyright Dallas Morning News/Courtney Perry, used by permission, all rights reserved
copyright Dallas Morning News/Courtney Perry, used by permission, all rights reserved
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Seriously??? That’s f-ing outrageous. Signed and shared to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

  • Err, sent, as in sent to Amazon, not signed.

  • Contemplative

    This game is the third in the Call of Juarez series, the first being released in 2006 and has nothing to do with the city of Juarez. Honestly, this game is nothing new. Grand Theft Auto was the pioneer in these kinds of games.

    Are you going to ask Amazon to drop these games too? How about the bestselling Call of Duty with its portrayal of Russians and Arabs as terrorists (and the Middle-East as a hellhole)? Why not petition Amazon as well?

  • Rick

    WOW! I went to high school in El Paso and my parents still live and pastor a church there. They are connected with orphanages and a seminary in Juarez, but they are no longer able to visit.

    Please pray for the people of Juarez. And pray for our culture that glorifies this situation…

  • Tony,
    Now that we live in New Mexico, I have become much more aware of the violence in Juarez. Rotary just started its first Foreign National club in El Paso – a group of Mexican businessmen who can no longer safely operate their businesses in Juarez. They were all Rotarians in Mexico and didn’t want to give up their affiliation. I support your cause that we shouldn’t be glorifying this horror in video games. Sending prayers to all those affected by the violence in Juarez.

  • courtney

    Contemplative:
    “The Cartel is a gunslinging sequel set in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Chihuahua state legislators are trying to get federal authorities to ban the game for its depiction of warfare between the drug cartels of the city. With 6000 drug related deaths in the city in the last two years, Ciudad Juarez is one of the most violent towns in the world. Mexican authorities are worried that a videogame will make things worse.”

    I think the point here is not to see this as the start of something new. Yes, there is a ton of horrible, violent content out there and there has been for some time. But when do we each hit a breaking point and begin taking action and complaining to companies and legislators? Many have already, I know. For me, this game was my tipping point. The question isn’t where do you stop asking for reform–it’s where do you start? I’m starting, because I’d rather actively strive for more peace in society than sit idly by, and therefore be complicit in, its glorification of violence and terror.

  • Randall Williams

    Of all the things to get upset about? So how is the weather up there on your high horse, doctor?

  • I was in Juarez in 2001 for a college mission trip. We worked in the slums all week, and it was difficult. We were building a block home 200 yards from the U.S. border. Some people were literally living in cardboard houses, and in the distance you could see the “bright lights” of El Paso. One evening, we went into town, and our guide talked to us about how bad things were there. I see it has only gotten worse.

  • Gail

    There are plenty of video games with shooting action that are NOT specific places where people we know live (and die). I don’t think it’s riding a high horse to not like a game maker to make the murder your friends have to fear daily the subject of a game. Hey, when is the game where you’re a firefighter trying to rescue people from one of the Twin Towers before the building falls coming out? No one’s talking about outlawing the Juarez game. We’re just urging folks not to buy it and urging merchants not to sell it and urging all to see the residents of Juarez as they see their friends, family and neighbors. I just don’t think many of us would want to see a game made about the deaths of our friends and family, would we?

  • Tony,

    I tend to agree with Contemplative on this one. It is disturbing that the video game makers have simply exploited an unbelievably tragic situation/environment (which, as Contemplative also pointed out, is nothing new). I think I know where you’re coming from, but I wonder if you’d say more about how playing this game is part of the problem. Seems like it’s a big leap from that point to “smoking a little pot,” which is certainly a more direct correlation.

  • Erik Leafblad

    Yeah, Dr. Jones get off that high horse. I mean, come on, it’s just the glorification of extreme violence, bringing a little entertainment value to a place where real people are dying on a daily basis. Seriously, why don’t you get upset at something truly horrific, like the fact that people have the audacity to wish me well at Christmas by saying Happy Hollidays?! I mean, those are the real bastards we should rail against.

  • Mick

    Or we could make marijuana legal to grow and use in the U.S. The problem would be solved within a 3 months.

  • I’m with Contemplative, who happens to have a grasp of the research into violent video games. There isn’t a problem here unless you ignore what we know about reality and gaming and then choose to make one.

    If you don’t approve of the game, don’t play (or let your kids play). Calling for a protest is completely unnecessary.

  • Chuck

    The companies are making a lot of money and they will sell ten games for every person who protests, so they don’t care. And the legislators who might try to regulate them got their heads handed to them by the Supreme Court last month so guess what folks–ain’t nothing you can do to stop them.

  • Ms. Jean

    Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction: the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will real eternal life. Galatians 6: 7 & 8
    Do we really want to train young minds to kill and find pleasure in it? We live in El Paso and a young man from Juarez lives with us because his life was threatened in Juarez. It’s not a game, it’s real and it’s tragic and we deal with it daily. Don’t mock us by making it a game.

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  • Yeah, while my lip curls at the thought of the game, any time spent protesting the game could be more constructively spent trying to directly help the people of Juarez. It’s not that the game isn’t awful, but its awfulness, however deliberately crafted, is an offshoot or symptom.

  • Korey

    Brgulker, I’m willing to say it impacts no one to violence. But it’s still detestable. I completely support the legality of the product, but I also completely support financial coercion to undermine manufacturers of products I don’t like. Some products I don’t like for myself, but don’t mind for others. Some I don’t like for myself, and tolerate for others or ignore. Some I don’t like and would actively participate in eliminating them legally without resort to restrictions on speech.

    Message has been sent to Amazon.

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  • Karen

    Redbox video rental kiosk recently started renting video games. They have only a few titles for rent, but this is one of them. It’s rated M. Thanks for the review. My 13 yr old asked me about it, now I can say No in an educated manner.

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  • james

    i don’t see anymore wrong with the video game than perhaps name an action movie hero form the 80s who did some vigilante heroics in some jungle….
    ok you’ve seen some rough shit over in mexico, and its a damn shame that John Rambo picked apart Cubans and Commies rather than machine gunning hispanics, but here’s a vigilante gunslinger who’s a little too Eastwood for your liking….
    “ask yourself this; do you feel lucky….punk? well, do you?”
    It’s a lot better than the rpg franchises serving as promotional pieces for US armed forces recruiting, where you get to pretend to be an enlisted soldier working protection detail for blackwater killing faceless “insurgents” protecting their homeland from an invasion force (if the Afghanis could shout “Wolverines” ala cold war era movie ‘Red Dawn”….)….

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