(NEW YORK) — Don’t get Antwand Pearman wrong. He doesn’t think video games are to blame for tragedies like the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. But he said he does think gamers have a place in mourning of the 20 children and 7 adults who were killed.
Pearman, who is the CEO and Founder of GamerFitNation, is organizing an online cease fire for this coming Friday, Dec. 21. He wants all gamers to put down the controllers and stop firing virtual bullets to honor those who were killed by real bullets last Friday.
“I wanted to make a statement. I wanted gamers to come together to say we don’t accept this. This doesn’t say we blame video games. We just believe this is for us to do to show respect to the victims. It’s a small sacrifice for a day,” Pearman told ABC News.
Pearman and his colleagues are promoting the cease-fire with the Twitter hashtag #osceasefire — on the microblogging service and Facebook. Since putting up the Facebook page over the weekend, he has enlisted more than 600 attendees, all of whom have committed to not play online shooter games for the full day, including popular titles like Call of Duty.
In the aftermath of the tragedy in Connecticut, many have taken to focusing on the enthusiasm that the 20-year-old shooter, Adam Lanza, is reported to have had for violent video games. “The violence in the entertainment culture, particularly with the extraordinary realism to video games and movies now, does cause vulnerable young men, particularly, to be more violent,” Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), said on Fox News on Sunday.
There are, of course, many sides to the gaming violence debate, but Pearman said he feels strongly that while gun laws need to change, games do not.
“You can’t blame a video game for something like that — the real reason is mental health and gun control. He shouldn’t have been able to get the type of assault weapons he had.”
The online cease fire will begin on Friday morning at midnight, local time, and last 24 hours.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ben Westcott, CNN
Sandra Gonzalez, CNN