While some of us are reverently hijacking cars and massacring prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto V, real violence continues in the world.

Saturday, Nairobi experienced a startlingly clear strike against non-Muslims.

At Nairobi's Westgate Mall, civilians were held hostage by an estimated 10 to 15 Muslim gunmen by security forces, according to a Fox News report.

The extremist group, identified as al-Shabab, has been reported as a Somalian organization with ties to Al-Qaeda. A hospital manager in the region said that at least 11 have been brought in dead, and The Red Cross confirms that 30 people have perished in the attack.

One survivor detailed the gunman's motives. He explained that the extremists asked shoppers questions then followed up by executing them. It has been surmised by media outlets that some of the questions pertained to religious affiliations.

"I saw a young boy carried out on a shopping cart, it looked like he was about 5 or 6," said Sudjar Singh, a mall employee.

The most haunting story that struck me involved a young man. 18 year-old Kenyan Umar Ahmed actually played dead to avoid being shot.

Ahmed said that one of the gunmen came and looked down at him, then walked away.

What is so harrowing about this attack is its longevity. It has been a stand-off lasting for several days. While no scale of an attack from Muslim extremists have been so organized, police are hardly prepared for any attack such as this. Kenyan forces have a reputation for being underpaid and ill-equipped.

You would not be able to tell the Kenyan police's reputation from Nairobi newspaper headlines. One Kenyan paper's headline read "The Final Assault" on Monday.

The showdown that is currently underway in Kenya does not only threaten those in the country. Since this group has links to Al-Qaeda, is it a threat of global terrorism, which affects us all.

Kenya, although in a strife-ridden country, is a current hub for businesses and embassies; according to a New York Times report, the East African country is an "oasis of prosperity." Many American ties exist within the country.

This attack recalls the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. It could have easily occurred in an American mall, with an American boy faking dead on the ground. And just as America came together when struck by an enemy, Kenya is doing the same.

Let us not forget that President Obama's father was born in Kenya, which might suggest that additional aid will be given to the country of his heritage.

American involvement stirs up some concerning questions. How involved should we become?

This is the question that haunts almost every major catastrophic event abroad. The world seems to look to Uncle Sam for the lead on these events. We are constantly entangled in the affairs of the world, a part of our world power responsibility.

Without such status, we concede to play by someone else's rules on the international stage.

Nairobi's conflict signals that democratic governments still face immediate threat from terrorist groups. More than that, it points to a future where immediate threat is commonplace.

We cannot fail to act accordingly now; playing dead will only work for so long.

Rebecca Butcher is a junior in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at rbutcher@utk.edu.