Gamers call for an online cease-fire in wake of Sandy Hook massacre

Consider it a moment of silence.

A group of gamers is asking players of the many nonstop virtual wars of online shooters like Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo to put down their controllers for a day in a moment of gamer solidarity out of respect for the lives lost in Connecticut last week.

The 24-hour Online Cease Fire isn't meant to draw any links between the very real violence of Sandy Hook and the virtual violence of video games, but rather send a message of support from the gaming community, said event organizer Antwand Pearman, editor-in-chief of GamerFitNation.com.

"There's no such thing as world peace," Pearman said. "But at least we as gamers can show respect for the victims of Newtown. It's just a statement. What better statement than to say gamers will put down their virtual weapons in honor of peace.

"A gesture like this shows that you give a damn. I want gamers to unite and show they give a damn."

The Day of Cease Fire for Online Shooters will be on Dec. 21, one week after the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that left 28 dead, 20 of them children.

Pearman's call for one day free of online shooters comes even as some politicians began to call out what they see as the extreme violence in movies, television and video games.

"I hope that the victims of the shooting get that we care, that people care."

Over the weekend, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) took to Fox News Sunday to call for a national commission on violence in the entertainment culture, saying that "it does cause vulnerable young men to be more violent."

"We ought to ask the entertainment community, 'What are you going to do to tone that down?'," he said.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper pointed at the culture of violence and the level of violence in "our media, video games.

"The depiction of assault weapons again and again," he added. "There might well be some direct connection between people who have a mental instability and they go over the edge, they transpose themselves, they become part of one of those video games and perhaps that's why all of these assault weapons are used."

Hickenlooper reiterated the point during a discussion on NPR's Talk of the Nation this afternoon.

David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, took to Twitter yesterday afternoon to decry the advertising of a violent video game during an NFL post-game.

Pearman's call for a temporary in-game cease-fire was inspired by a particular violent movie he saw following the news of the shooting. The onscreen deaths left him emotionally jarred, something that had never happened to him before, he said.

"It was jarring; it really affected me," he said. "I kept thinking about those kids."

As of this writing, the Facebook page for the Day of Cease Fire For Online Shooters shows over 500 people participating. The movement has also found traction on Twitter, where people are pledging to honor the symbolic day of gaming peace.

"I hope that the victims of the shooting get that we care, that people care, that there is another society, another community that cares," Pearman said. "I think that the best thing we can give them is our sympathy."

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