A new video game called "Active Shooter" is being released on June 6, which allows players to take part in a simulated school shooting scenario.
I beg your pardon?
Assuming the part of either the shooter, SWAT member, or (still being developed) a student trying to survive are all anticipated player options in the product sold by Steam online store.
The game's promotional content says "Pick up your role, gear up and fight or destroy!
"Only in 'Active Shooter', you will be able to pick the role of an Elite S.W.A.T. team member or actual shooter. Depending on your role, your objective might be to protect and extract or hunt and destroy."
During the simulation, players are able to view the tally of casualties among police officers and students.
What are folks saying about it?
The simulation's developer, Rival Games, points to its description in its defense, which labels the product as a "dynamic S.W.A.T. simulator."
But that promotion also comes with a disclaimer stating: "Please do not take any of this seriously. This is only meant to be the simulation and nothing else. If you feel like hurting someone or people around you, please seek help from local psychiatrists or dial 911 (or applicable). Thank you."
Andrew Pollack has been outspoken since the death of his 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, in the Parkland, Florida, mass murder on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He's maintained that changing gun laws is "not achievable," and that more must be done to protect kids at school.
Of the school shooting video game, Pollack said, "The last thing we need is a simulated training on school shootings. Video game designers should think of the influence they hold. This really crosses the line."
The media director for The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Andrew Patrick said, "We're not going to blame the access of video games for gun violence. I don't think this is going to create a school shooter. I think that what really we've seen why these massacres have happened is because someone is able to get an AR-15 pretty easily, or were able to steal their parents' shotgun or revolver and go to a school.
"I think this is more just an ugly sidebar to this epidemic, which is that gun violence — even in its most realest forms — is glorified and continues to get marketed in subsets of the culture."
How about the people behind the product?
"Active Shooter" creator Acid responded to outrage over the game's premise in a blog post that it "does not promote any sort of violence, especially any sort of mass shooting," adding:
"Originally when this game started its course of development, I have (sic) planned on having SWAP only based on game-play. Then I thought about adding more gameplay to it by adding additional roles: of the shooter and the civilian. While I can see people's anger and why this might be a bad idea for the game, I still feel like this topic should be left alone."
The post continued, "I have wrote to Valve regarding this game and waiting for the reply. After receiving such high amount of critics and hate, I will more likely remove the shooters role in this game by the release, unless if it can be kept as it is right now."