A Presentation by Danielle Shimotakahara, age 13
to Coos County Commissioners, North Bend, Oregon

Danielle Shimotakahara, age 13.
Opinion letter for guest editorial

August 1, 2000

In April of 1999, I started working on the "Cool No- Violence Peace
Project". I have been trying to reduce or eliminate the exposure of
young children to violent blood splattering video games in public
places. I know that violent video games are only one part of a larger
problem that causes children to think and act violently, but I think
they are a big part because kids spend so much time interacting with
these so called "games".

What I really want is for the project to make a difference by reducing violence
in society and maybe saving somebody's life. I want people to speak up
any time they see a little kid using a blood splatterer. Children need
to be taught respect for life, not how to kill.  I am very thankful for
the  awards that I received. The project is a lot of work. It is not
easy and it is going to continue for a long time. The petition that I
designed asks businesses to voluntarily remove these blood splatterers
from places where kids hang out. It also asks that the ratings of the
Entertainment Software Ratings Board be enforced if businesses refuse to
remove them. It is still circulating and has the names of children on it
as young as 5. One mother signed it for her 14-month-old son.  It is not
a valid petition, but it is our voice as youth and children.

A whole lot of good things have happened because of the petition, the
media coverage, the magazine articles and the educational presentations.
 Lots of people now know about interactive video game violence and its
harmful effect upon children.  Lt. Col. Grossman, who is an expert on
the subject, spoke at every middle school in Coos County. Fewer kids are
playing these violent "murder simulators" either at home or in public
places. Adults now pay more attention to what their kids are doing. Many
businesses have removed their violent machines so that kids cannot see
or "use" them. I really want to thank those businesses. Some of those
include Dave's Pizza who led the way, SkateWave, Pony Village Cinemas,
and Fiddlesticks. I think that they are setting a good example for
others to follow.

I still see businesses that have these blood splatterers right beside
sports game. Little kids can still see the blood splattering and bodies
exploding even if they are not "using" them. Some machines in some
places are right in front of where you sit to eat. Some parents still
give their little kids money to "use" them. I have seen kids as young as
three using these murder simulators. They stand on chairs or footstools.

I would like to ask the businesses that still have these machines to
follow the guidelines of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. The
ESRB rates many of these "murder simulators". T means 13 and up. M means
17 and up. I would like to ask them to move them to a place where only
people of that age can use them. Personally, I don't think " murder
simulators" are good for anyone to use. Studies show that they increase
aggressive behavior in the people who use them, no matter how old they
are, but I know it is harder to tell adults that things are bad for
them. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of
Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the American
Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry issued a statement on July
26, 2000 that agrees with my position. Mayor Brad Peterson of
Indianapolis signed into law an ordinance in that city on July 17 to
restrict access of children to violent and sexually explicit video
games. I would like the city councils to take the same action in Coos
One of the greatest things about this project is the $25,000 donation
that was part of the award that I won through Prudential and the
National Association of Secondary School Principals.  The KIDS In
Distressed Situations  (KIDS) organization is in charge of that. They
have worked with Harper-Collins Publishing to get half of that amount
donated in the form of books to give to children in Coos County. The
other half is going to be in the form of clothing for needy children.

I have designed a logo for businesses that remove their violent
machines to put on their windows. It lets people know that business does
not have violent machines in an area where there are young children. It
is a Cool -No-Violence sticker. Businesses can get this sticker by
calling 541- 756-6959 or writing to me at 2289 Meade Avenue in North
Bend, 97459.

 The petition and the bibliography can also be obtained from the North
Bend United Methodist Youth Group. They are also selling t-shirts and
buttons with the logo. The proceeds, after expenses will go to support
community projects that the youth group does to help needy people.

I have been invited to speak to a number of organizations over the next
few months. I will be a guest speaker with the President of the American
Medical Association at one function. An on-line magazine called DoZine
in New York City is posting the petition and information on the project
so that other kids can start the same project in their areas.
Next year, many kids and adults will be needed to testify at the
hearings at the State Capitol in support of the bill that is being
written by Senator Tarno and Rep. Messerle. Church members and kids from
many schools will be organizing buses to go there. The Oregon PTA, the
Oregon Medical Association, the Oregon State Police Association and the
Oregon Medical Association Alliance all might be interested in
supporting this bill. Coos Bay City Council already passed a resolution
supporting restriction of access by young children to violent video
games in public places. It is not an ordinance.

The General Conference of Global Methodist Churches also passed the
resolution that I submitted to them. They did this in May 2000 at their
conference in Cleveland, Ohio.  All Methodist Churches all over the
world now support this stand to prevent access of young children to
"murder simulators". It is their official policy. This means that 26
Million people indirectly signed the petition. There are already over
6000 other names on the petition. That makes 26,006,000 people.

I will be speaking to schools next fall about this project.
Kids/youth/adults who want to organize and support this project and do
presentations and go to the hearings should also call or write to me.
Lots of organizers are needed at each school or church.
What I really want from all this work is for parents, kids, businesses and
everybody else to use their common sense, read a book or some articles
on the subject and learn about exactly what these " murder simulators"
are teaching to the kids who use them.  I think they teach
desensitization, operant and classical conditioning, role modeling and
how to kill. That is what Col. Grossman, Gloria DeGaetano, David White,
the Lion and the Lamb Project and a whole lot of other educators and
psychologists have discovered.

I think it is time to end the feeding of this kind of violence to
children. Kids need to play games that really are games, not murder
simulators that teach them how to kill. Please support the Oregon bill
next year.

Danielle Shimotakahara, Age 13

Oregon Prudential Spirit of the Community 2000 Honoree National
Prudential Spirit of the Community 2000 Honoree Millennium Dreamer
People to People Sports Ambassador to Holland,  Haarlem Soccer Cup,

Please do not print my address. Some people are very angry with me.

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Last update:  16 Oct 2000