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EDITORIAL: Trying to cash in on pain and suffering

The bounds of civil society seem to shift like the sand these days. But that’s no excuse for the unconscionable.

An online gaming platform announced Wednesday that it will pull a new video game, “Active Shooter,” which allows players to pretend to kill students on a simulated school campus. The move came amid public uproar following news of the game’s proposed release next week.

Words can’t describe the evil, greed and aggressive idiocy at work here. Yes, the First Amendment protects such “expression.” But what about decency and humanity? Didn’t anyone involved with this project consider the callous heartlessness of dancing on the graves of innocent children? That alone speaks volumes.

A spokesman for Valve Corp., which runs the digital storefront — known as Steam — that planned to offer the game, issued a tepid statement this week, pointing fingers at an outfit called Revived Games, which developed this sick concept. The company said “the game’s developer and publisher had been banned from Steam last fall,” CNN reported, because he had a history of abusing customers, manipulating online reviews and copyright infringement.

“We are not going to do business with people who act like this toward our customers or Valve,” the spokesman said.

Note there was no mention about the content of “Active Shooter.” Perhaps it’s time Valve held some internal conversations about the company’s judgment.

There are plenty of video games that involve gratuitous violence and killing. That’s part of the fantasy experience. But those behind “Active Shooter” are trying to cash in on horrific tragedy and the overwhelming pain suffered by the survivors and families of actual school massacres. It doesn’t just cross a line. It leaps over it with evil intent.

What does it say about the health of American society that seemingly every other week a troubled teenager decides to go on a killing spree at his school? What does it say about those behind a business enterprise who think it’s appropriate to make a game out of such senseless destruction?

Kudos to those who rose up in protest of this atrocity — including relatives of recent school shooting victims in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Texas. As the 18th-century statesman Edmund Burke once noted, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

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