Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism Controversy

February 6, 2009 -

The debate as to whether the upcoming Resident Evil 5 contains racist imagery has raged ever since Capcom released a controversial trailer for the game at E3 2007.

Eurogamer, which has a detailed hands-on preview of RE5, reports that there is additional room for concern over images in the retail version:

There's also the spectre of the old racism debate, hovering the background. That debate is only going to get louder and more urgent once the game is released...

One of the first things you see... is a gang of African men brutally beating something in a sack. Animal or human, it's never revealed, but these... are ordinary Africans... Since the Majini are not undead corpses... it makes the line between the infected monsters and African civilians uncomfortably vague. Where Africans are concerned, the game seems to be suggesting, bloodthirsty savagery just comes with the territory...

Later on, there's a cut-scene of a white blonde woman being dragged off, screaming, by black men... If this has any relevance to the story it's not apparent in the first three chapters, and it plays so blatantly into the old clichés of the dangerous "dark continent" and the primitive lust of its inhabitants that you'd swear the game was written in the 1920s...

 

All it will take is for one mainstream media outlet to show the heroic Chris Redfield stamping on the face of a black woman, splattering her skull, and the controversy over Manhunt 2 will seem quaint by comparison. If we're going to accept this sort of imagery in games then questions are going be asked, these questions will have merit, and we're going to need a more convincing answer than "lol it's just a game."

Resident Evil 5 will be released on March 13th.


Comments

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

Congrats. You have posted so many times as the devil's advocate that I can't even keep track of all your posts. Forgive me for missing one of your multitude of posts saying that RE5 is racist (which it isn't; racism needs intent, and seeing racism where it is not is also a form of racism.)
Brain: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" Pinky: "I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

Racism can be born from ignorance, and many times it starts that way.  Just because there was no intent for Capcom to say anything specifically about Africans, doesn't mean that their images don't support the dated ideas that have been a part of many Western cultures for years, ideas that presently a number of people are trying to work against.  It is just making the long road towards progress harder.

www.20sidedwoman.blogspot.com

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

" Just because there was no intent for Capcom to say anything specifically about Africans, doesn't mean that their images don't support the dated ideas that have been a part of many Western cultures for years, ideas that presently a number of people are trying to work against."

So, by that logic, I can be a racist without even knowing it? Kind of like a "sleeper racist"?

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

Or those feelings that seem inherent in most humans. Humans tend to be pack animals and favor 'their own', in today's society it's OMG Racist, but our society has also encouraged it. now there's a couple guys in my classes of African Decent that I adore they really are as color blind as I myself was till recent issues, like the fact there are other guys/women at that college of African decent that practically spit on me when I walk by because I had the 'misfortune' of being born White -_-; It's such a huge deal anymore that it's fostering the hate the awareness wants to supposedly squash.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

That is horrible what those people are doing to you at. Not all African decent people are like that, but sadly that is what some people are.

They hate not you as a person but they only hate the color of your skin because of what they were brought up believing that all white people are evil.

It is that hate that stems from society from the parents down to the children where it all starts I think.

And also the mainstreem media only focusing on blaming people of a certain color for crimes is not helping too, too many I have seen crimes committed on the news and the reporter says to be on a lookout for a "MAN" of "MIDDLE EASTERN APPEARANCE", there are so many other people from other countries who look like they are from the Middle East. But it does not really make them criminals.

 

TBoneTony

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

First of all, this is the Demo. There is no way of knowing what the storyline elements of these scenes are. They may make perfect sense.

Maybe the thing in the sack is an infected human or animal that the non-infected people are trying to kill? Maybe the blond woman is "patient zero" or thought to be and the people are in a panic. I would expect similar action in a game with white people.

As for the black protagonist being "a shade lighter." Wow, yeah, that's not a racist comment at all. She isn't "black enough" only really dark people are "black enough" to count as black? I think it says something about the critics that they latch onto whether a particular character is "black enough."

Look, I'm not denying that the game is somewhat insensitive. But ya know what...GOOD. The only way we'll get past racism is if we STOP THINKING ABOUT IT every five minutes. At some point it becomes just a "Game set in Africa" (which not for nothing, is a pretty violent place). We need to stop seeing the "racism" boogey-man in every game involving a black person.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

Good to see that someone else figured it out. If people would quit highlighting the fact that there are different skin colors by constantly crying "racism," people would be less inclined to notice and judge people based on skin color. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, really.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

You sir, deserve a cookie. Especially the last bit

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

lol it's just a game.

 

There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

If there's no God, you should be the one worrying.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

Why should I be worrying? Its not like I am going to be going 'oh noes, the flying spaghetti monster is going to eat me, save me jeebus! Oh crap, jeebus doesn't exist!!'

lol at pluto!

 

There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

Oh yay, we've got racism, global warming in the shoutbox and now religion. Now someone say something about Pluto and we can make this board explode.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

Pluto's not a planet...

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

LOL

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

I pretty sure that the Africans in RE5 won't be all be portrayed in a hostile way. Maybe there are survivors, I would'nt know. Were there any survivors in the RE series at all?

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Most survivors died, they usually made the game keep in a way to keep you isolated from receiving help. Of course, some games had help for a while then they either vanish for plot reasons or die.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

except for the main characters (ie those you play as) and maybe one or two others...not really.

If your not a kid, a rookie cop, some type of secret agent, a Redfield, or popular S.T.A.R.S member, your pretty much screwed.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Well you know what? that stuff does happen in Africa (granted, it has the chance to happen in any place).

Making the woman dragged off white may have been a bad move (but it's significance may not be fully explained), but violence against women is very real.  My class of Africa's professor is from Rwanda, and he stated clearly, women aren't treated right.  Those who try to use family planning are often beaten or shunned afterwards.

Africa is an  unstable place.  While the acts depicted in RE5 shouldn't be taken as a blanket statement by anyone, the dictators and many factions have commited serious acts like genocide against other ethnics.

As much as i hate to say it, and wish it weren't true, sometimes africa lives up to these stereotypes, read "They rained fire on us from the sky", all the horrible acts, and the suffering the lost boys had to go through, were due to actions on other africans.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

True, but Far Cry 2 managed to say Africa is a generally f*cked up continent without coming of as racist.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

So, what's your point? That it only ok to display it being a ****ed up continent by words than showing imagery? 


Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Far Cry 2 also used imagery, but not one with racist undertones. They didn't show black men hitting persons they've caught. It didn't show white women being dragged off. It's not about using images, it's about not using the wrong images.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Well, as for the white women dragged away, we still don't know the full context of it.  It could just be a careless mistake of capcom, or it could turn out that she is a major character.

That doesn't make it alright, but it would prove it wasn't put there just for the shock value or something.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

This is what I'm trying to say, more or less. "It's not about the reasons, it's about the image?" If the image is there in a proper context rather than just being stuck in there for the shock value, and that context isn't racist in itself, why is the image racist?
---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.


---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

So, apparently FarCry 2 didn't show horrible  beatings and that suddenly makes it "A-OK?"? You yourself, are the one seeking racism from that post. There are no "wrong" images, just the ones in your head that it isn't suddenly ok for violence to be commited if the person's skin color is a certain way.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

It did show horrible things. Genocide in fact. Why is Far Cry 2 not racist? Because it doesn't use traditional racist imagery like black men dragging away a white woman. Of course Africans can be shown doing horrible things without being racist. This however, is a racist image, and I think Capcom should've thought twice about putting it in.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Just shut up. I'm tired of this "black men dragging away a white woman is racist imagery!" crap. You read into it and try to insinuate that Capcom, who are JAPANESE AND DON'T DEAL WITH THIS PC CRAP, are all burning crosses during lunch breaks. Grow up; it's fine for any combination but that? White dragging away black woman? Black on black? White on white? The IMAGE IS HORRIBLE REGARDLESS OF COLOR.
Brain: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" Pinky: "I think so, Brain, but we're already naked."

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

I'm not saying Capcom is using this as a Klan recruitment tool Burning crosses, that's rich. The fact that they are Japanese might have something to do with this. Now before I get called a racist again, let me clarify. At Kotaku, Brian Ashcraft said something about this (from personal experience). A xenofobic tendency in Japanese culture, maybe because they haven't had much contact with foreigners (besides the US soldiers stationed on the island). That's just the thing, they could have put this in without knowing the implications of it. That's actually scarier than a Japanese game developer burning a cross in his cubicle.

And yes, the image is horrible regardless of color. Yet this particular image was used by the western world to justify segregation and other despicable acts. You can call me being unnerved by that PC, but I don't frikkin' care. I don't like it and I told you why. You can disagree with me but I won't shut up and I won't apologize (And I don't advocate censorship, you are the only one calling for dissent to go away).

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

" That's just the thing, they could have put this in without knowing the implications of it. "

You're saying they're racist without knowing they're racist. Oh delicious irony.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

If they put it in without knowing the implications, how is that worse?

I'm sorry, your logic is making no sense to me. If they used "traditional racist imagery" and did so unintentionally, isn't that "traditional racist imagery" just a tad blanketed? How is it worse if they use what you view as racist imagery without knowing that it's racist imagery? Are there not situations where certain "traditional racist imagery" would fit in context without being racist?
---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.


---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism ...

Does the Demo say that the woman workin with Chris is -FROM- Africa? cuz guess what...your mannerisms and stuff change depending on a person's upbringing...that's the first issue, the second issue...I saw the game having an African Gorilla warfare group kinda feel to them...thus they're gonna be angry they're gonna be mean...and odds are they're gonna attack anyone really, would it be less of an issue if they were dragging a black woman off? So they chose a white woman...those are there too ya know...African isn't 100% Dark skinned...

Why not instead of finding all the friggan faults that are imaginarily in the game or really there...we dunno what the -Japanese- Developers are thinking...and it's their choice to do what they want with -their- story...anyways why not...just...enjoy the story.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

If it's on this side of the fence, it's censorship....if it's on that side of the fence, it's racism.  You can't win either way.

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

I don't think anyone (reasonably) is going to call for the game to be censored. It doesn't change the fact that it can be presenting racism images and messages, even unintentionally. I completely oppose censorship, but people and companies need to take responsibility for the thoughts and images they put out.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Thank you for that.  That is the best middle ground anyone can think up at this point.

www.20sidedwoman.blogspot.com

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Well put. I couldn't have said it better.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

You can say it's racist and not ban it.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Yes, you can say it is racist and not ban it.  At least in America, RE5 is protected by Freedom of Speech.  The only thing that can override that freedom of speech is if said speech proves to be a clear and present danger, such as shouting "fire" in a crowded room when there is no fire. 

And I think people are confusing "racist" with "upsetting" imagery.  The former implies Capcom harbors hate towards a particular race and intended to express that hate.  The latter is a side effect of a viewer's experiences and mindset.  Capcom is not inciting racial violence, so to imply it should be banned or censored is absurd. 

Plenty of art and media contains upsetting imagery.  They are all protected.  If you don't like it, don't buy it.  Vote with your dollars.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Sigh...Let's use our intelligence.

Resident Evil is set in Africa.

In Africa, there are AFRICANS.

And people who come visit Africa USUALLY AREN'T AFRICANS.

I know that "lol it's just a game" isn't a good answer, but just look at where the setting is. If RE5 was set in brazil, guess what, THERE ARE GOING TO BE BRAZILIANS THERE. If it was set in Alaska, guess what? THERE ARE GOING TO BE ALASKANS/ESKIMOS THERE.

Let's not forget that the partner of Chris is black, (she has a british accent as well) So would'nt that downplay the racist accusations?

The movie "Hotel Rwanda" also had Africans killing everyone including visitors. Has anyone cried barbarianism then?

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Hotel Rwanda was based off a true story though.  This still has the stigma of being a game. I appauld the efforts of all the debaters here and I too will recognize that if you make a game set in a forgein country, you'll need forgien enemies.

Here's a better question. What does this make us look like? Africa is a pressure cooker of desease, warfare, and humanity. It does make for an intresting setting, but when you see playing a game like this, what does that say to the rest of the world. Sure there's a lot of games where you kill people of african decsent and where you play in hotzones of the world, but I feel nothing good coming from this. Capcom, the industry, and even GamePolitics should go to the media and try to defend this game in their own way.

But at the end of the game, it's still tasteless, y'know. What is a 'groundbreaking idea' and where do we draw the line at a subject that should be treaded lightly, or even shouldn't be used at all? A game is a game the same way the comic book is a comic book. Try as it might, but it will never reach the respect of movie. We want to throw a message into our games so we can say "hey look, we can be arsty and political too!" but people don't see it that way. Those comic book wars from yesteryear, what does it matter now? Sure, we can now get away with more, but the comic book is still something associated with nerd culture. Pop culture only comes into play when it comes to Superman, Batman, or some other big superhero.

In closing, until we can all play the game itself, this was a bad idea. Until the gameplay and story shows us how lightly Capcom has treaded, we can't say much. If you're just killing African peasants with mind controlling bugs, fine. If it shows the Africans beating white people, okay. But if there's something that goes to far, like a image of Chris curb stomping an african child while eating a cheesburger and wearing blackface (or some of the sort), the gaming community would have to take action.

In our world, tounge in cheek is commonplace. In the pop world, it's something only Primetime can get away with.

I'm an attention whore. So visit my DevaintArt and feed my ego. Feed the whore. http://keaton2008.deviantart.com/

I'm an attention whore. So visit my DevaintArt and feed my ego. Feed the whore. http://keaton2008.deviantart.com/

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Isn't the whole point of Resident Evil that a virus is spreading throughout the whole world or something?  I've only played the fourth one so I'm sort of out of the loop of the whole serie's story but isn't that what is basically is?

A virus turning everyone into a zombie regardless of race, ethnicity, or residency in the world?  

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

No, not really. The virus is contained in a few places. Raccoon city was infected and destroyed. Another virus was brought to Spain, where a lot of people died but it didn't spread. And now someone brought it to Africa.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

In spain it wasn't a virus it was a parasyte.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

The movie Degeneration insinuates that the problem now is that someone's selling the Virus to people in countries to upset order and stuff.


Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

That someone happens to be a man with nice shades, if you catch my drift.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

In the first chapters of Resident Evil during the 1990s, the Umbrella Corp had begun to get very dangerous with its use of viruses and B.O.W.s. Starting with the outbreaks in the Arkley Moutains, the virus eventually became unleased through a failed attempt to steal a varriant of the g-virus. Raccoon city was overrunned and nuked after the goverment could no longer contain the outbreak. After those events, more and more evidence was brought agsints umbrella and eventually crushed the company in court. However with Umbrella dead, there was still tons of virals and B.O.WS to be sold stolen from the  corpse of the company. Some time later, a new set of B.O.W had emerged and has begun apearing across the globe in small outbreaks. These are not zombies, these are a new form, it doesn't have a general name only known as las plagus, and something eles (in resident evil 5). It is a parasite, that in my theroy kills the hosts and takes complete control of it, making seem real, continuing to function like a normal human but much more deadlier and dangerous. Since we don't have specif name for the parassite itself, I'm going to call it P.O.W, parsetic organic weapon.

Yes, I am a resident evil freak.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

I think that the not-zombies in the game are alive, however they seem to be a different variation of the las plagas because in resi 4 they are controlled by that staff thing, they don't act human they are under another's control, while in this game they seem to be humans simple driven crazy because the first cut-scene is an execution and a rally they use megaphones and crossbows stuff that humans might do.  What i'm trying to say is that i don't think husks controlled by an unthinking parasite would/could hold public executions, I believe that if they were parasite controlled dead husks then they would act like the old resi zombie and just attack you with no social structure or organisation.

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

There have always been motherf*ckers, there will always be motherf*ckers, but what we can't do is let them control our motherf*cking lives. -John Oliver, December 1st, 2008

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

RE5 has P.O.Ws turning people into monsters?! But we have come such a long way trying to set them free! P.O.Ws need a Jessie Jackson to combat this bigotry. John McCain to the rescue.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

She is a lighter shade of black than the enemies, don't you wonder what message that sends? Also, she has an lara croft like English accent, while the enemies speak with another African accent. In Hotel Rwanda, there are Africans saving other Africans. In Far cry 2 you also kill Africans, but you don't find any mobs of Africans draggin white women into alleys. This game has imagery that is just wrong.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

" She is a lighter shade of black than the enemies, don't you wonder what message that sends? Also, she has an lara croft like English accent, while the enemies speak with another African accent. "

...that she probably had mixed parents? The accent implies she is from a colonized country, which makes that implication even more realistic. Do you see something uncommon or unrealistic about that?

If she was super a dark 100% African woman with a wonky, indecipherable accent (like most of the voice actors in Far Cry 2) you would hear complaints about that also. Possibly from black americans about the fact that she isn't decended from an ex-slave or some other BS. Even Barack Obama got some of that early on in his campaign.

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

Question:  If the Africans were dragging a Chinese woman instead of a Caucasian woman, would it be any more/less racist??

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: Resident Evil 5 Imagery May Generate Renewed Racism

And this matters because?...

 
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Matthew WilsonSF have to build upwards they have natural growth limits. they can not grow outwards. ps growing outwards is terable just look at Orlando or Austin for that.04/16/2014 - 4:15pm
ZippyDSMleeIf they built upward then it would becoem like every other place making it worthless, if they don't build upward they will price people out making it worthless, what they need to do is a mix of things not just one exstreme or another.04/16/2014 - 4:00pm
Matthew Wilsonyou know the problem in SF was not the free market going wrong right? it was government distortion. by not allowing tall buildings to be build they limited supply. that is not free market.04/16/2014 - 3:48pm
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NeenekoTrue, and overdone stagnation is a problem. It is a tricky balance. It does not help that when it does work, no one notices. Most people here have benifited from rent controls and not even realized it.04/16/2014 - 9:23am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/04/15/riaa_files_civil_suit_against_megaupload04/16/2014 - 8:48am
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ConsterTo be fair, there's so little left of the middle class that those numbers are skewing.04/16/2014 - 7:42am
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SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
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