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A Duo's Dynamic Attack On Video Game Violence

The day after, while lunching at Ben's Chili Bowl, Moten and Abraham underscored the point to a group of 17-year-olds -- all San Andreas fans -- as they sat at a corner table sharing chili cheese fries.

"Everybody at one time wanted to be just like Michael Jordan. When they saw Mike on TV all the time, they wanted to be like Mike," Abraham told the boys. "When they play this Grand Theft Auto all day, kids as young as 11 and 12 with no mothers at home with them, they're going to be influenced."

Ronald Moten at a Best Buy, where he led a group of teenagers in a protest against the sale of a video game. (Lauren Victoria Burke For The Washington Post)

_____In Today's Post_____
Seeking New Twists on Violence (The Washington Post, Mar 16, 2005)

Both Moten and Abraham acknowledged, though, that there is no conclusive evidence tying a specific game like Grand Theft Auto to a specific behavior like joyriding.

San Andreas, one of the boys pointed out, is rated M -- it's for adults.

"Don't tell me for a minute that you don't know some 11-year-old playing that game," Moten says. The silence ended the debate.

Rockstar Games, the publisher of Grand Theft Auto, said in a statement: "When it comes to the sale of video games, parents should make entertainment decisions for their children, and adults should make decisions for themselves. The tastes of a few politicians and/or activists should not be imposed on parents, or other adults."

They look somewhat alike, Moten and Abraham, with stout builds and shaved heads. The two are a staple on the streets of Washington: party planners, urban-wear marketers (Moten works closely with the H.O.B.O. Shop, Abraham with the Universal Madness Shop), relentless activists. They are both single fathers, living no more than a 10-minute drive from each other east of the Anacostia River.

There is the duo on the steps of City Hall, asking the D.C. Council to rethink its priorities. ("Let me get this straight: a new baseball stadium before newly renovated schools?" Abraham asks.) There is the duo at the big basketball game between Southeast's Ballou and Anacostia high schools. ("It's the Southeast Cup," Moten says.)

They met a decade ago at the Million Man March. Both are disciples of Al-Malik Farrakhan, the executive director of the D.C. chapter of the national group Cease Fire: Don't Smoke the Brothers and Sisters. Back in the day, both had their own run-ins with the law, most of it drug-related.

"Soon as Jauhar and I met, we started throwing parties together, started doing peer intervention together, started hanging out," Moten says.

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