Pokemon fever is sweeping the nation and the wildly popular mobile phone game “Pokemon Go” has men, women, and children of all ages searching their neighborhoods high and low for the elusive mythical creatures they can collect and use to battle against one another in the digital world. The game requires players to visit local landmarks and community centers to stock up on supplies for their never ending quest to “catch ’em all.” The nature of the game forces people to leave their homes and wander their communities in search of “Pokestops” and “gyms” where players can communicate and battle. Unfortunately, some of these Pokestops have been placed in inappropriate places, causing players to loiter and congregate in places they don’t belong.
One such place is Veterans Memorial Park in Winona, Minnesota. A Pokestop located at a Vietnam War memorial in the park caused a profanity-laden showdown between Vietnam veterans protecting the honor of their fallen brothers-in-arms and a bunch of Poke-punks chasing imaginary creatures. Bruce Reed, a well-known Winona veteran and chairman of the Veterans Memorial Park committee, is seen confronting the young punks in a emotionally-driven rage after they set up hammocks and tents at a memorial dedicated to veterans. Insults were hurled back and forth from both sides; the kids arguing that they should be allowed to lounge around the monuments to the people that died for their freedom and Reed screaming out in frustration:
“It’s not a (expletive) campground, these are like (expletive) gravestones right there.”
Veterans Memorial Park isn’t the only area that has been disturbed by Pokemon Go players, Arlington National Cemetery and the 9/11 Memorial Museum both were forced to create anti-Pokemon Go policies to prevent players from running rampant throughout the respective facilities.
Reed stated he was charged with disorderly conduct and destruction of property after destroying at least one tent, which is seen in the video at approximately the 2:4o mark. Local media reports that the city council will be holding a vote to ban recreational activities, including Pokémon Go, at the park following a surge of visitors being driven by the game marking the area as a ‘gym’. Pokémon Go fans are fighting back, they have started a online petition to lobby against the ban.