Saturday, October 25, 2008
Metrorail riders who have passed through Metro Center over the past several weeks may have noticed signs throughout the station advertising a video game called "Fallout 3." A heavily armored enemy soldier appears in the foreground of the ads, and the background includes images of seemingly war-ravaged national landmarks.
In one ad, the Washington Monument and the American flags surrounding it stand ravaged, as if hit by missiles. In another, the Capitol dome is partially caved in, while the rest of the building and the city behind it lie in ruins.
The people of our city do not need a daily reminder that Washington is a prime target for an attack. We do not need a daily reminder of what our worst fears look like. Since any First Amendment objection would be irrelevant (the ads do not present a true viewpoint or political message and would therefore not be protected), there is no reason for these ads to be part of our daily panorama.
The ads should be removed, and the appropriate office at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority should be directed to exercise better judgment regarding what can be displayed in our transportation system.