By Christopher Toothaker, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CARACAS, Venezuela - Shouts of "Kill him! Kill him!" ring out as the preteens train their virtual assault rifles on the last remaining terrorist and spray him with bullets. Blood splatters. The enemy collapses. And they cheerfully wrap up another game of "Counter-Strike."
The most popular video games among kids often imitate life outside this Internet cafe in San Augustin - one of the many crime-ridden slums in Venezuela's capital, where residents say too many of the young players easily trade joysticks for guns.
In a bid to curb that trend, Venezuela's National Assembly is on track to prohibit violent video games and toys. The proposed legislation, which received initial approval in September, is expected to get a final vote in the coming weeks.
As manager of the cafe in San Augustin, Jenny Rangel struggles with a moral dilemma as she stands beneath a "Scarface" movie poster and watches the virtual shoot-'em-up. Like many of her neighbours, Rangel rushes home at nightfall before gunshots begin echoing through the barrio.
"The message for them is that you must shoot and kill," Rangel said.
Across town from San Augustin, shopping mall arcades are packed with children and teenagers from mostly middle-class and wealthy families who wait in line to play "Dark Silhouette" - featuring a life-size assault rifle that players use to gun down opponents. (...)