So It appears the US army wont be carrying this game on any of there bases neither will Gamestop be selling it. When Karen Meredith, a Gold Star mother whose son was killed in action in Iraq, appeared on Fox Newsand described Medal of Honor as “disrespectful” and called for it to be pulled off of shelves, I thought it would be the last I’d hear of either Ms. Meredith or her cause. It was not really “news”, as it had been known for quite a while that the game would use Operation Enduring Freedom as its subject matter, so it went without saying that roughly half the participants in any given multiplayer match would be controlling antagonist character models, or in this case the Taliban. I thought Ms. Meredith’s interview was just Fox News reporting on a non-story to rile up its audience, and something that would disappear overnight for all the brevity it lacked. I was wrong. Yesterday the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) announced it would not be stocking the game on any Army or Air Force base and that, at the request of the AAFES, Gamestop would be doing the same. The AAFES’s Commander Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella said the game was banned due to, “well-documented reports of depictions of Taliban fighters engaging American troops” in the game and, “out of respect to those we serve.” I asked Ms. Meredith, who seems to be the genesis of these events, for her thoughts on her victory. Ms. Meredith’s response was in keeping with her Fox News interview. Despite having, as she puts it, “learned more about the gaming industry in the past two weeks than anyone should ever know” Ms. Meredith’s position has not changed. She maintains that: Medal of Honor disrespects the troops and the families that have been left behind, and is also a concern to Blue Star families whose loved ones are or will be in harm’s way in Afghanistan and who will be the virtual targets of this game. On the question of the game’s ban from military bases, Ms. Meredith expressed predictable support. She, “applauds the actions of Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, who seems to ‘understand the sensitivity to the life and death scenarios this product presents as entertainment’, a sensitivity not shown by EA or gamers themselves.” Ms. Meredith also had took some unsolicited shots at EA as well, calling them: A bunch of wanna be members of the military, who see war as a very profitable game for them and one to be “played” from the comfort and safety of someone’s home. Faced with real military service, I’m not sure how many of them have the fortitude or courage to serve, let alone survive a combat situation. For someone whose argument is based in an appeal for empathy Ms Meredith makes no effort to hide her prejudice against video games. Some of this can be understood, if not forgiven, once it is realized that her opinions have earned her a disproportionate amount of hate from our community over the last few weeks. Although, that does not explain what is meant by her charge that EA is, “a bunch of wanna be members of the military.” Also, I’m not sure how EA’s staff’s ability to survive a combat situation has any relationship to the question at hand. While this victory is probably more than she could have ever hoped for, Ms. Meredith aspires towards still greater goals. On her blog, Gold Star Mom Speaks Out, Ms. Meredith states her position, “I am not advocating for a ban of this game, First Amendment and all, I would be satisfied if MOH is pulled.” While this may sound better than an outright ban, in practice, there is no difference. Medal of Honor could not be made if it were not allowed to be sold. What she’s advocating would have a chilling effect on games development. If there’s anything offensive about her point of view, it is this. So what did we learn from this story? Video games are all too often still seen as potentially coercive and somehow more deserving of censorship than other forms of expression. As games target themselves towards more adult audience and attempt to negotiate more mature content these stories are going to become more frequent. Those of you who are upstanding members of society must heed this lesson. Make your gaming habits known to your co-workers, acquaintances, family and, most challengingly, prospective girlfriends. If Ms. Meredith and those like her knew a few normal adults who gamed opinions might begin to change.