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A Duo's Dynamic Attack On Video Game Violence

Peaceoholics, which they started in November, was born out of an almost decade-long partnership. It's garnered support from community activists, Hollywood stars such as D.C. native Big G (aka Ralph Glover of the HBO show "The Wire") and religious figures such as the Rev. Anthony Motley, who runs the Bellevue Resource Center.

Moten and Abraham run a lunch program at three D.C. high schools: Anacostia, Ballou and Eastern. They lead a community intervention program at Barry Farms and Condon Terrace, both public housing complexes in Southeast Washington. They head to Oak Hill, a juvenile detention center, at least four evenings a week.

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)

Now add going after violent video games to that list. Initially, San Andreas is the target. Later this year, they plan to go after Fear & Respect, created by Hollywood director John Singleton and starring a virtual Snoop Dogg. ("We're going to go after Singleton even harder," Moten says. "He's been sucked into this thing where money is more important than the welfare of his brothers.")

Tony Stover, one of the teenagers Moten and Abraham mentor, was at Bellevue, talking about how much he likes San Andreas. But he was also at Best Buy, carrying a poster.

"I don't play San Andreas no more," is all he would say, which, coming from a 17-year-old who shares two PlayStation2's with his five brothers, is saying a lot.

Peaceoholics is launching an all-out attack. On Feb. 3, it mailed letters to 11 stores in the Washington area -- Best Buy, Blockbuster, Target and Wal-Mart, among others -- demanding that they stop selling San Andreas in 30 days. The group didn't hear back, so it sent another round of letters: two of them were hand-carried, the rest were sent by certified mail.

Best Buy, Blockbuster and Wal-Mart declined to comment to The Washington Post. Target issued a statement, saying that the ratings system ought to be sufficient protection: "Target has an aggressive video game education program to inform our guests about the rating and labeling systems for video games."

That's not enough for Moten and Abraham. They've started boycotting individual stores -- Best Buy came first, with Blockbuster, Target and Wal-Mart soon to follow, they say. On March 29, during spring break, they plan to take a busload of teenagers ("about 45 kids and 10 chaperons," Abraham says) to Manhattan -- the headquarters of Rockstar Games and its parent company, Take-Two Interactive -- to picket.

Together. In white T-shirts with the big personal X.

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