As most of you know, I am a fan. But, anyway, about a week or so back Vlad sent me a news article about a program where a community group buys back guns from the public…..but not real guns, and not from adults (a common program around the US actually-done by law enforcement), but toy guns from kids…they trade the toy guns for pizza and such. You know, NERF guns and squirt guns and so on… because apparently even fake, neon yellow and purple toy guns are dangerous business….
Now, sure enough, I know folk who do not let their kids play with toy guns, or swords or any such thing for that matter. No plastic green army men, no nerf sword and shield, no violent toys at all. I suppose that is their right as parents, but hey, I buy into the forbidden fruit theory with kids and I reckon those kids who aren’t allowed those things at home jump at the chance to play with such things at their friends houses! And I remember when there was a huge move, back in the day, to make toy guns look less realistic after some kid got shot buy the cops for brandishing one of them old skool water Uzi squirt guns- which you know, looked really REAL. I actually don’t think changing the colors was a bad idea really. I also know even replica/stunt / paint/ airsoft/ guns which do LOOK real often have a bright orange cap on em to distinguish them from the real deal…. (heh, ask Bullet Tooth Tony about that, he has a great speech on it), and frankly, all these little safety things that determine fake gun from real gun are good IMHO…
The idea that merely playing with squirt guns, ect., deadens kids to the realities of violence and gets them used to holding firearms? Humm. Kinda a stretch I think. I can tell ya, all I gotta do is look out my front window to see a ton of happy, well adjusted kids, from super girly girls to rolly polly little wanna be tough guys runnin’ though the hose and having epic squirt gun fights and tossing water ballons (those are next I bet, they get kids used to chuckin’ grenades!) and having a great old time in the dead of summer heat and I really, really doubt ANY of them will ever actually SHOOT someone with a real gun. And these kids? They are not uber yuppie kids of peaceniks either. Plenty of gun owners in my neighborhood. Hunters. A couple cops. Military folk. All sorts of adults who have guns. And you know what?
I am willing to bet cash money that ALL OF THEM encourage gun safety and the proper use of firearms and have been over the dangers and realities of guns – real ones- with their children 100 times and see that they keep the real guns safe. And if their kids are old enough/interested in shooting? I bet these gun owning parents see that their children know all the safety rules and are taught properly in secure locations and all that stuff that goes with being a safe, cautious, educated, and responsible Gun Owner. Which is how ALL gun owners SHOULD be. And THAT is what people and communities should be doing- IMHO- when it comes to educating kids about guns.
Hell, when I was 12 or so, I went hunting for the first time. My family had educated me about gun safety and the proper way to use, load, hold, carry, and care for the rifle I was loaned for the hunting trip. I also got to see, up close and personal, what a gun can do when it meets a deer. And that was MORE than enough to show me the truly lethal nature of the weapons we were using. I never assumed for a second a human would fare any better than that deer did. I also worked, for a time, in my late teens, in a morgue. I got to see what guns can do to humans there too….and thusly, while I do like my guns, I have an ultimate respect for them and what they can do. Now I may just be a hick and all, but that sure as shit taught me to respect and fear guns more than trading out a water pistol for a pizza and a new shirt. I grew up around guns- not in a gansta laden neighborhood- but rather with a family and circle of friends full of hunters and law enforcement folk (well, okay, and few who had been on the wrong side of law enforcement) and WWII, Korea and Vietnam Vets and well, people who used but respected guns. The respect part is the key part I reckon…and the part that should be taught. THAT is what seems to be lacking when it comes to teaching kids about guns…and taking away toys that can provide a kid with hours of fun and recreation is NEVER gonna teach them anything about the realities of firearms and the respect they are due.
As for people, kids, so on, becoming deadened to the realities of violence? Well, that is a whole different post, and it’s in the works….