Thursday, March 14, 2013

toy guns

on the one hand, i'm against toy guns.

you know, in a knee-jerk kind of way. because i've been a pacifist since before i knew what a pacifist was.

but here's a thing: sometimes a gun is a legitimate tool. i live where people actually eat meat they catch themselves. sure, we can go to the grocery store for that. but if you eat meat and you can catch it wild and you like that sort of thing, why on earth would you not?

and heaven forfend that big epidemic should arrive or the power grid go down or something. i am not a doomsday prepper, but it's conceivable that things could get shut down for a number of days in a row.

and some lawlessness might ensue.

and here's another thing: kids engage in a thing called mastery play. no, go look it up yourself. i'm sick.

i recall that as a child i did not approve of playing war games because those involved shooting people. but i remember having imaginary guns. and i remember that in my imaginary games i was prepared to defend myself if i had been attacked by imaginary people. and that i hunted imaginary meat to feed my imaginary pioneer family because there's no imaginary store sometimes.

my childhood games also involved knowing which plants i could eat if i had to and how to find water and read a map.

my concept of mastery in this world means knowing i could build a fire and keep myself and my companions alive in an emergency.

you know, because i grew up in a regular suburban neighborhood where so often you are left to the elements.

anyway, i don't fault any kid who picks up an imaginary firearm, especially if she's a kid who grows up in an environment where there are real firearms. heck, i hope that if a kid is in a place where people have firearms that they take a lot of imaginary target practice and real safety instruction including some no-nonsense age-appropriate talk about some real and scary things that happen when people mistake toys for real. or the other way around.

but here's some legislation we need: no cute or decorative colored firearms. no darling little patterns. it should be illegal to manufacture or distribute firearms that look like toys.

go ahead, google "pink gun".

i only did because i was thinking about the idea of my general disapproval of toy guns but then i was thinking of circumstances in which i might approve of them and why and it came down to safety.

it would be possible, i thought, for a kid not to be properly instructed and to make a very bad mistake.

and that, really, is the bottom line because even if i'm all pacifist and everything i don't have a right to demand that of my neighbors or their children and what constitutes appropriate play with toy guns is really up to individual families once we have the safety basics covered.

you might similarly demand that your chainsaw-loving toddler or your little one who is fascinated with flames or electrical cords only use these things with adult supervision and only appropriately in play, but there's no accounting for mistakes or other people's stupidity or even that terrible moment when you realize your kid is smarter and more mobile than you thought, or when he just doesn't follow the rules.

 so i was thinking about that and i happened to google "pink gun".  you know,  to see if there was anything about this idea that firearms made to look like toys was even a thing.

sadly, it is.


Kristin @ Going Country said...

I strenuously object to toy guns. I will not have them. If people give them to my sons as gifts (which has already happened), they disappear mysteriously.

We have real guns for many valid reasons. Real guns kill living things, including people. My sons must know the difference between toys and deadly tools. I can't keep them from pretending every blessed object in the universe is a weapon, but I can make sure they know the consequences of using a real weapon. And keep them from pointing everything at me and pretending to shoot, because that ENRAGES ME.

flask said...


i was kind of thinking that was probably your position.

i can't say i disagree. not even a little bit.

as someone without children i have the luxury of thinking in general principle instead of necessarily going to practical application.

it turns out it is rather a larger continuum from "how i would like things done" to "what is completely undacceptable" than i expected.

you fall very far to the "how i would like things done" side of it.


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