A few weeks ago, tech blog Gizmodo broke a story about a training program designed by Homeland Security and the US Army. It’s designed to train teachers and law enforcement on how to react during a school shooting. The problem is it’s a computer simulation, so a number of media outlets, including Gizmodo, who should know better, refer to the training program as a video game.
Of course, this has led to some controversy as some people have been outraged by the training program, including the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund. Vickie Soto was a teacher killed at Sandy Hook, who some nutbag conspiracy theorists claim never existed.
We condemn this in the strongest way possible. To use a video game to simulate a school shooting is disgusting. Why does this world keep inflicting painful memories on us?
— Team Vicki Soto (@TeamVickiSoto) January 3, 2018
A spokesperson for the charity added: “Vicki would not have wanted, nor would she have had, a gun in her classroom with children around. You cannot justify this to us. It is a reliving how Vicki died over and over again.”
With all due respect, the training program is not a ‘video game’ just because it runs on computers. The program hasn’t even been released yet and will only be available to schools and law enforcement. It can’t be played on Xbox or PlayStation. You can’t pick it up at WalMart or GameStop. You can’t download it from Steam. Most importantly, it can’t be used by the idiot columbiners who get a sick thrill from school shootings.
This is a tool to better prepare school staff and law enforcement in the event a school shooting happens. It’s not a trivialization of past school shootings but the realization of the unfortunate world we live in. When people ask why aren’t our schools better prepared for these situations we can’t respond with ‘because some people got offended’.