To the owners of Sugar Sugar
March 19, 2001
We are writing out of the greatest of concern regarding the window display and sale of Warhammer items at your store. In a world rife with violence, we question why you feel this is appropriate. Based on your window display of "all things cool," one can easily conclude that the glorification of war and warriors is indeed cool.
There is an overwhelming body of evidence which shows that repeated exposure to images of violence and militarism tend to make us more violent and, perhaps worse, accepting of, and deadened to, the consequences of that violence. Lt. Dave Grossman of the U.S. Marines (author of "Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill") worries that the preponderance of video games, war toys and other re-creations and celebrations of war are creating a battle-ready generation of killers and of individuals who are willing to accept rampant militarism as a part of our daily life.
You may state that the Warhammer is in fact an educational toy which introduces children to math and science, but this does not in any sense erase the moral issue of what the game represents. Would you feel comfortable with a game of "concentration camp" in which children learned the basics of math and science by figuring out how many victims could be gassed with the right combo of chemical gases? To see war as an entree to learning is to rob our children of the hope they must hold for a peaceful future; it is to teach them about the inevitability of war, that it will always be with us.
To state there is no moral value attached one way or the other to these "games" is to ignore the insidious message they present. We invite you to ask yourselves whether the following Warhammer advertisement is in any way a positive and nurturing message for our children:
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war!
To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruellest and most bloody regime imaginable.
This is the tale of those times.
It is a universe you can live in today - if you dare - for this is a dark and terrible era where you will find little comfort or hope. If you want to take part in the adventure then prepare yourself now.
Forget the power of technology, science and common humanity. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for there is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter and the laughter of thirsting gods.
We do not wish an eternity of carnage and slaughter for our daughter and her generation, nor for anyone.
We appreciate the difficulty of running an independent store when you are up against corporate giants who dominate the market, and as such, we have patronized your business on those occasions when we purchase candy.
However, we will for the time being refrain from purchasing anything at your store, and hope that you will take seriously our concerns and the enclosed materials on war toys.
Hence, we ask that before even more children in our neighbourhood are exposed to this gross celebration of war that the window display be removed and the "games" be sent back to their manufacturer. We would also ask that your store stop selling "warheads," as this insults anyone who has ever been the target of aerial bombardment and, in particular, the use of nuclear weapons. The blithe acceptance of warheads as a fun gum completely ignores the horror visited upon the Japanese bombed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A children's store such as Sugar Sugar would hopefully be a safe place for our children to congregate, to enjoy a sweet, to play a game, to build upon the sense of community you no doubt seek to foster with your store. Unfortunately, it is not a safe place with the games of war stocked on your shelves.
Please remove the war games immediately. If you would like to discuss this further, we can be reached at (416) 651-5800.
Laurel Smith and Matthew Behrens
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