Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Living in a Post-Respect World

Remember when you were a kid and you were playing ball in the back yard and someone would hit or throw it over the fence into the neighbor's yard?  Someone had to make the "walk of shame" over to the neighbor's house--ring the doorbell--and sheepishly ask permission to get the ball back.  We didn't just go climbing over the fence or open the gate on our own because we were taught to have respect for other people's property and privacy.

Obviously, that respect is not taught to anyone today.  Why else would police departments around the country have to issue repeated request to people playing "Pokémon Go" to not trespass on private property.  At least those of us who needed to get into the neighbor's yard as kids to retrieve a ball were actually getting a real object back--not a pretend animated character on a mobile phone.  Yet, Pokémon players are actually using that excuse to go into people's yards, to hang out around businesses after closing and to go running around in parks after curfew.

I was debating whether or not to even comment on this.  The Pokémon fad is like a Hillary Clinton ethics scandal or a Donald Trump inappropriate comment--there's another one coming next week, so why get worked up about this one?  But then I saw on Twitter that both the National Holocaust Museum and Arlington National Cemetary had to issue statements telling people playing Pokémon Go to stay away.

What person in their right mind thinks that these are proper venues to play games?  There are even screen captures on-line showing people "catching" a Pokémon superimposed over photos of those imprisoned within the death camps!  Never has there been a greater metaphor for the misplaced values of our society than that.

And imagine you are a family of a soldier killed in action visiting your son or daughter's gravesite at Arlington National and groups of people are running through the rows of markers yelling "There's one over here!! There's one over here!!"  Or taking selfies with their "captured Pokémon" in front of John Kennedy's grave and the eternal flame.  Or crossing the rail at the Tomb of the Unknowns so they can "catch them all".

There are parents who say Pokémon Go are getting their kids out of the house more than anything ever has.  And tourism officials think the game will get people to check out new places they never would have considered visiting before.  But my god people, learn some respect before thinking you have a right to go wherever you want to catch cartoons.

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