Pokémon Gone Dark

While the Pokémon GO rage winds its way through more countries (Canada being the latest one to see the game rolled out to its residents), the darker side of Pokémon GO is making its presence known.  While the game itself is quaint, the criminal aspects that some players bring to the game are anything but quaint.

What’s more, many of the criminal aspects that are being brought to the game are blown off by those who seem to be addicted to the game and who seem to be addicted to catching all the Pokémon they possibly can.

Perhaps you think those of us who don’t embrace Pokémon GO are negative nellies who are unable to allow ourselves to flow with the whimsy.  That’s not  it.  It’s because we can see the many inherent dangers into which players are plunged.

One of the two Pokémon GO players arrested in the Toledo Zoo break-in told the media, “It wasn’t the most responsible thing but, hey, gotta catch’em all.”  You read that right.  Twenty-five year old Robin Bartholomy justified the illegal action she and 26-year-old Adrian Crawford were arrested for and charged with was excusable because “hey, [you’ve] gotta catch ’em all.”

Forty-two year old registered sex offender, Randy Zuick, thought it would acceptable for him to play Pokémon GO with a minor in Greenfield (Indiana).    I guess he forgot that he was a registered sex offender … or maybe he didn’t forget and he saw opportunity knocking and no one guarding against people like him.

One mother was devastated to learn that her 2-year-old son’s memorial site was tagged as a PokéStop in the game.  Her son died in 2004, and when she learned that his memorial was being desecrated in this way, she told the media, “It’s very disrespectful. The memorial is on sacred ground, it is at a church and it’s a very inappropriate place for people to be playing video games.  My mum still goes to that church, and it’s a place people can go and remember him in a positive way and in a peaceful way and this game is making it very disrespectful.”

Meanwhile, back in Edmonton (Alberta), the residents in one subdivision are dealing with dozens of people trespassing on their property, leaving unwanted garbage behind, and carrying on at all hours of the night and day.  As with the toddler’s memorial site, the memorials for fallen soldiers are also being disrespected.

Out in Vancouver, Bayshore Tower is also dealing with Pokémon GO players showing up at all hours of the day and night, and disrupting the peaceful enjoyment of the residents who live in the tower.  With up to fifty Pokémon GO players showing up at a time at the tagged PokéStop, residents are being forced to deal with unwanted, unwarranted noise.

As for the East Vancouverite hashtagged #grumpyoldman on social media, he’s not that old (being all of 38) and he’s not that grumpy.  His yard was tagged in the game as Pokémon Gym so he’s dealing with far more Pokémon GO players than anyone ever should!

He’s been accused of hating autistic kids because he dared to put up a sign telling Pokémon players to stay off his property.  Then he found out that  because he suggested on his sign that the age of majority players go the “bar up the street and around the corner” with the added suggestion they “have a beer, and seriously think about [their] life choices” that he was pro-alcoholism.

Social media commenters made him out to be a miserable human being with no sense of whimsy and an even smaller sense of what it takes to be a caring individual.  Except that the yard they were trespassing into is a gated property where the landlord grows vegetables for residents in the building.

Pokémon players were tramping all over the plants (effectively destroying the garden) that he planted and tended, and that fed people he cares about.   No place is safe from Pokémon GO.  Officials at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto stated in a hospital statement released to the media that the game creates safety concerns for young patients admitted to hospital as well as impeding staff who are working.

And finally, there’s outrage at the U.S. Holocaust Museum and at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington (Virginia) and in Auschwitz, and in a great many other places where Pokémon GO players are so disrespectful as to play Pokémon GO.

Say what one will about how ‘fantastic’ and ‘awesome’ the game is, but lurking behind all that lies a darker world that’s larger and more nefarious and more soul-destroying than one can imagine.  Not for all, but certainly for a far larger segment of society than what we should be comfortable with in the first place.

Elyse Bruce

SUGGESTED READING

AUSCHWITZ BANS VISITORS FROM PLAYING POKÉMON GO
http://globalnews.ca/news/2821255/auschwitz-bans-visitors-from-playing-Pokémon-go/

BC MOM DEVASTATED TO LEARN SON’S MEMORIAL SITE USED AS POKÉSTOP
http://globalnews.ca/news/2832757/Pokémon-go-bc-mother-devastated-to-learn-sons-memorial-site-used-as-Pokéstop

DIGITAL AGE MR. McGREGOR CHASES POKÉMON FROM GARDEN
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/Pokémon-go-sign-james-roy-angry-get-out-of-my-yard-stayoffmylawn-grumpyoldman-1.3683504

EDMONTON RESIDENT FRUSTRATED BY POKÉMON GO TRAFFIC
http://globalnews.ca/news/2831696/that-is-ridiculous-edmonton-resident-frustrated-by-Pokémon-go-traffic

POKÉMON GO MEET ENDS IN SEXUAL ASSAULT ARREST
http://globalnews.ca/news/2833370/Pokémon-go-meet-ends-in-sexual-assault-arrest/

REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER ARRESTED AFTER PLAYING POKÉMON GO WITH MINOR
http://globalnews.ca/news/2823342/registered-sex-offender-arrested-after-playing-Pokémon-go-with-minor/

TORONTO’S SICK KIDS HOSPITAL TELLS POKÉMON GO TRAINERS TO PLAY ELSEWHERE
http://globalnews.ca/news/2833650/torontos-sickkids-hospital-tells-Pokémon-go-players-to-play-elsewhere/

TWO POKÉMON GO USERS ARRESTED FOR BREAKING INTO TOLEDO ZOO
http://globalnews.ca/news/2827416/gotta-catchem-all-two-Pokémon-go-users-arrested-for-breaking-into-toledo-zoo/

VANCOUVER MAN’S ANTI-POKÉMON GO RANT GOES VIRAL
http://globalnews.ca/news/2830422/vancouver-mans-anti-Pokémon-go-screed-goes-viral/

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