Pokemon Go makes American society go off the deep end

America has found its latest excuse to misbehave and completely take leave of its senses. In less than a week, I think I’ve heard more about Pokemon Go than about the presidential elections.

First came the flurry of Facebook posts as some of my friends practically squealed with delight about the game that’s helping to resurrect the challenge of collecting pocket monsters. The ones who grew up collecting the cards and watching the cartoon were eager to try out the new phone app and collect Pokemon all over the place.

Pokemon Go image
Pokemon Go, a phone app from Nintendo that allows folks to capture pocket monsters, is the latest craze for America, but are people going too far when they try to “catch them all”? (Photo by Richard Vogel/The Associated Press)

Then came the bad news.

  • Reports popped up about players playing the game all over the place. By all over the place, I mean the Holocaust Museum, Arlington Cemetery, even the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Exactly what makes people think that tromping over gravestones to play a game is fun? What motivates folks to consider a place where people were imprisoned, tortured and murdered to be an appropriate site for an arcade?
  • People are so fixated on playing the game that they’re not paying attention to the environment around them. This is fine if you’re sitting at home and not noticing your wife is running the vacuum in the same room, but if you’re walking down a sidewalk or along a country road, not noticing other people or vehicles in your path is dangerous. Is it really worth physical injury or even death just to bag a Charmander?
  • Questions are popping up as to whether coding the game is exposing the information on your cell phone to hackers or others who intend to cause harm because the game requests full access to people’s Google accounts. There’s already a call from U.S. Sen. Al Franken for Nintendo to give an accounting about what’s at risk when people play the game.
  • As if there’s not enough danger surrounding this game, there are reports of teenagers in Missouri using this game to lure people someplace and then robbing them. The game sends people all over the place to find animated monsters, but some unfortunate souls are finding real monsters instead. Swell.

With all of this evidence, it seems like Pokemon Go has become the latest craze that turns ordinarily rational people into total twits. America is already a particularly narcissistic and self-entitled society with our selfies and other outlets where the goal is to feel good, but this latest method continues to perpetuate the myth that, in life, it’s all about you and only you.

I don’t think it’s a problem to have releases, things you can do to lower the pressures of your life. I have plenty of them and have to resort to them often in order to cope with the crap that this world lobs at you. However, they’re releases that are not infringing on other people. When I relax, I’m not doing tromping the flowers at gravesites or stopping traffic to do it. Common sense is at an all-time low, and the Pokemon Go craze is showing that we haven’t hit bottom yet.

Play your games. Just don’t turn your brain off when you do.

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