Warning: Pokemon GO is a Death Sentence if you are a Black Man.
Omari Akil
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I currently work in the field of armed security and personal protection services… Since the release of this game we have been getting streams of calls of “suspicious persons” in people’s yards and even in restricted areas (like around electrical substations, water towers, government buildings, dams, and waste facilities) because these “gyms” and “Poke-stops” are luring people into locations they should not be. This is due to the geo-mapping used by another game previously released by the same company that allowed users to photograph and upload points of interest. Some of these locations either no longer exist or now exist on private/restricted access property.

I do not believe that this is being intentionally used to target the minority community for unlawful arrests but it certainly is creating a public nuisance in general, not so much the game, but a lack of common sense of some younger gamers. Besides, if the geo-mapped game indicates it is okay some may think that there will be no consequence or that jumping that fence is a part of the challenge/reward scenario of the game. People have literally fallen off cliffs, been mired in quicksand, stuck in treetops, and lost in mine shafts.

We have also had an increase in the Lee Co. FL, area in phone thefts and violence associated with the game because of criminals targeting players by waiting in obscure locations where these points of interest, gyms, and rare game spawns exist. People know that some Pokemon only spawn at specific hours (i.e. 2am-4am) in specific locations (like a wooded area in a park). This gives robbers, gangs, and pedophiles an awesome opportunity to strike helpless, usually unarmed, teen players at certain locations, and guarantees at very least a nice new smart phone. I have heard of a few minority players being arrested for trespassing and being shot at (by gun carrying home owners — who honestly suspect the players of being thieves) after hearing them say things like “did you get anything?” Obviously referring to catching a Pokemon or receiving rewards from points of interest.

To be completely honest, on the first day or two that the game was out, I first heard of it while detaining three trespassers [who happened to be white college kids] for being in a restricted, posted, fenced off area, at 3:12am. While I was restraining the persons one told me, “I know this is going to sound really crazy, but we are actually playing a game and are searching for a rare Pokemon on Pokemon-Go, all the kids at FGCU are doing it.” I told them, “You realize that you were spotted on electronic surveillance and set off a trespass system, then I find you creeping around shining your phone’s flashlights around in the bushes at 3 in the morning — You have any idea how suspicious and criminal you look to others?” I gave them the benefit of the doubt since it was either the truth, or the most entertaining BS story I ever got while detaining a trespassers. I played Pokemon on Gameboy back in my High School/College years, in the 90’s, and I know that some only appear at 4am and we used to set alarms and wake up in rotations trying to “catch ’em all.” I escorted the students off property and let them go advising them not to enter posted restricted areas again while playing. This was a Florida Power and Light electrical substation. Not only is it a restricted area with armed security but the risk of death by electrocution is also a factor. Ironically over the course of the last few weeks, we have had numerous people jumping the fence into the substation. They are now having barbed wire installed on the fences with more consistent posted “restricted area” signs on the fences and upgrading the night vision camera system to a more modern HD system to help prevent this.

In relation to the original poster’s commentary I can see the worry posed in the comment being a reality. As a black teen you have to consider things differently. Although MOST white people or police aren’t racists or ignorantly afraid of black people — MANY are! It is not a matter of coming across someone that is intentionally looking to snuff out a few black teens (as many people reading this kind of rhetoric think) but the fact that their lives are dependent on encountering those WITHOUT that ignorance and fear each time and THAT is a gamble. Keep in mind, it only takes one time to cross paths with one ignorant or fearful person and it could quite literally be their funeral. You could encounter the best police officer/security guard/CW permit holder in the world! They could be the coolest person otherwise in any other given circumstance, but catch them in the right conditions where they are in a dark alley, alone, and suddenly have a few unfamiliar black teens rolling up on them and they honestly feel their life is in danger because of an irrational fear — it only takes one lapse in judgement that could equal their lives. When you are born into a group that is stereotyped as being thugs and criminals, usually wrongfully, then you are at a higher risk than someone that is not in the same associated stereotype.

The day before yesterday, I was called to investigate two reports of alleged sexual harassment by strange black or Hispanic men in a predominantly white gated community. When I arrived on the scene I found the three young men, in their early twenties, walking around in a group with their cell phones out playing Pokemon-Go. When I talked to them, they were very well spoken and turned out they go to FSU not far from the community. They were being accused of making sexually harassing comments to a 12 and 14 year old girl and then following/stalking a 40 something woman. When I talked to the kids they just seemed like nerds of the darker skinned variety, one Haitian and two Hispanic or possibly Pacific Islander. I highly doubt they did what they were being accused of and I informed them of the accusations and they told me that there were several Poke-stops throughout the community and 4 monument/point of interest locations (wooden bridge, two fountains, and the cabanas at the edge of an endless pool overlooking the Caloosahatchee River/Gulf of Mexico) as well as the private clubhouse gym being an in game gym. They explained that they have the opportunity to visit each one every twenty minutes for eggs, which are some kind of power-up in the game (forgive me I do not play the game so I may be off on terms and game concepts) and other prizes. This keeps them walking around in loops and looking like they are searching in bushes, near cars, and around the corners of buildings (which IS behavior that reasonably appears to be consistent with drug dealers and thieves).

I feel that some of these in game things being on posted private property, in gated communities, and restricted areas is a very poor judgement on the game developers part and there should be a system for players to be able to report these things to the developers. “Do not go to the Yellow Gym in Fort Myers FL off Luckett Road to level your Pikachu or Zapdos because this is a restricted access electric substation and armed security will chase you down, draw firearms on you, detain you, trespass you, and turn you over to State Police custody due to reported NSA/DHS terror threat levels!”

Kind of seems an important coding implementation.

Back to the OP’s story, I can see, and support the OP in their comment — this can be a dangerous thing (particularly) for those with darker complexions being that there is a lot of unreasonable fear in the air regarding black people. Particularly after the riots and shootings that have occurred being overly sensationalized into infamy by the media. Considering how many stories are spun in a way that make the blacks look bad whether they are the suspect or victim. The media will spin a story and overly exaggerate the innocence of an alleged black victim (i.e Trayvon Martin/Kevin Brown) then they counter-sensationalize the outcome that the alleged victim has a criminal past and may have been in the commission of a crime when the situation occurred. This sets the black community up for outrage and outcry then makes them look like they were liars “crying wolf” (when they were lied to like the rest of us) in the non black communities (the fact that we relate to the idea of black community and non black community as though they are not just “our community,” like there is an imaginary line drawn around the Martin Luther King Blvd’s of the US is evidence of the problem — the fact that almost every MLK Blvd is in a lower income “black community” furthers this concept). If it is a black suspect to a crime they overly exaggerate the heinousness of the act without having all the facts. Later it may turn out far less interesting and instead of apologizing and openly withdrawing a story they will just drop it and issue the retraction on unarchived, but publicly accessible websites (that doesn’t show up in search engines, i.e. FOX, CNN, MSNBC News sites with their secret “public” retractions and non publicized retractions). Then there are the ones that are just swept under the rug (Walter Scott/Sam DuBose) when the black “suspect” was killed in an act of negligence or due to not following standard operational procedures. It is usually covered up due to some Governor, Senator, or other politician not wanting to respond to questions and the possibility of smearing their reputation. In these two cases the officers claimed to be in fear of their lives but it is clear that they created the situations that placed themselves into the “fear of death” circumstances and/or exaggerated the reason behind it.

Which if that flies for you — then when any of us want to justify a murder just stand in a crosswalk and when a car zooms past open fire! Placing yourself in a dangerous situation intentionally is not proper causation for use of lethal force.

Americans in general need to stop giving into the scam, demanding better from the media outlets and government, and stop feeding into the racist inclinations through “silent consent.” Not having an opinion on the problem and socially avoiding it inadvertently contribute to the symptoms of the issue. The black community is the “flavor of the day,” but allowing illegal atrocities to be overlooked because “I am not in the black community,” isn’t good practice. Many people, like Catholics, LGBTs, immigrants, the disabled, and anti-Nazi voters didn’t stand united against the Nazis (who were vastly outnumbered by citizens) when they were rounding up the Jews, because they weren’t Jews or in the “Jewish community” — we see where that got them later on in the tale. Ask a holocaust surviving Jew or German citizen why BLM is important if you need some perspective.

Just for the record, I am a white 1st generation American born citizen (to Scottish and German naturalized immigrant parents), I am a USMC OIF/OEF veteran, a licensed LEO, CO, Private Investigator, and Supervising SEO Regional Manager for SWFL that works on DHS/FEMA/UN contracts in the US and Haiti. (I am above and beyond informed) I am also a registered, card carrying Republican (although I would have voted Sanders this election — because the other two are just so remarkably horrible). I am an ordained Christian minister (with a BA in Biblical Christian Theology and AA in Hermeneutics and Apologetics), Certified Pastoral Counselor, psychologist, married father of two, and a rabid 2nd amendment (and any American Constitutional or Civil Liberties) rights advocate. Above all I am not PC and will offend people — a right I fought for and will enjoy. I am a stereotypical enemy of the BLM movement.

YET… I consider myself a friend and ally of BLM and any minority, religious, or social group living in a disenfranchised state in this nation (as should any red-blooded American) and am a political activist. Our American rights and liberties are what our vets are fighting for everyday, we’d be kind to remind ourselves of this once in a while. These are not partial to any one group or majority but are supposed to be in place for the benefit of all — however they DO NOT benefit and protect all EQUALLY which shows that we do have a very real problem… and that makes me sick.

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