Interview: Isaiah TriForce Johnson Calls Shenanigans On The NRA

The pro-gamer speaks out on video game scapegoating.

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Complex Original

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Last Friday, the nation waited on its seat edge for the National Rifle Association’s press conference to hear their statement on the Sandy Hook tragedy. When Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre specifically called out Bullet Storm, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse as the source of gun violence, it was recognized by the informed as an appalling move to deter attention from the highly controversial gun control issue. Although the the general public nodded their heads in agreement, gamers respond directly to the V.P. of the NRA with a war cry of defiance.

That same weekend, gamers engaged in a number of activities to voice their anti-violence sentiments and show support for the families affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. Gaming journalist, Antwand Pearman, recently spoke on his Operation Cease Fire movement where he urged gamers to take a day off from shooting games. Now, four-time Guiness World Record holder and founder of the pro-gaming team, Empire Arcadia Isaiah TriForce Johnson is doing his part in speaking out against the unfair scapegoating of video games and the people who play them.

In response to Wayne LaPierre playing the “violent games” card, Triforce posted a video on Twitter of Bugs Bunny proclaiming, “of course you know, this means war.” This isn’t the first time Johnson has responded to claims of video game poisoning after the shooting occurred. When Fox News painted video games as a culprit , he circulated a graphic via social media with the message, “I hope you are smart enough to get this.” The graphic showed two 8-bit video game characters standing in between text reading, “Gamers save children and princesses, they don’t kill them”.

We spoke to TriForce to get his thoughts on the NRA’s statement and his Gamers Against Violence movement. Here’s what he had to say.

What’s your objective and do you really think you can win against the NRA?
Alone? No. Together with other gamers and organizations that can help us, perhaps. The key is to use the very same tool they attacked us with; the media. The objective wouldn’t be to shift the blame on them. All that would do is create a cycle that would then distract us from the point. The objective would be to inform them about our culture; “Gaming”. This way they can be better educated on who they are targeting to blame and reduce the silliness that somehow escapes their mouth.

In the past you’ve done a similar initiative called “Gamers Against Violence,” and it caught the interest of many industry entities including the ECA (Entertainment Consumers Association). What was the purpose and outcome of it?
I created the Gamers Against Violence initiative to bring gamers together from around the world, raise awareness, and support the families who have lost loved ones through mass violence. It's an initiative that was aimed to show how productive and constructive gamers can be to society. Can you imagine if every gamer in the world was to take one Saturday off a year to just play video games for charity and raise money for families affected by such tragic events in life? Nothing we do will bring back the lives that were taken but it is a step forward towards helping. All I can do now is reach out to gamers and unite with them to stand up for ourselves and our rights. We didn’t do anything to cause what happened but we can do something to help resolve it without placing blame on any one entity.

An article about you and Antwand Pearman was published that seemed to pit you two against each other. Can you speak on that?
It’s unfortunate that there is some confusion that came from that. I’ve gotten some feedback from people who think I’m against Antwand. I’m a gamer and so is he; I’m not going to turn my back on him because I did not agree with how he executed his intentions. The intention was a good but my “concern” was that the media could take the “Cease Fire” event out of context and use it against us. Nonsense like making this a TriForce vs. Antwand is what the media would love to use to not only entertain the masses but distract us from the matter at hand. Antwand is one of the many gamers that I will reach out to and unite with to move forward on the whole Gamers Against Violence initiative.

You can follow Tamika "REDinFamy" Moultrie on Twitter @REDinfamy

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