Bang Bang, You’re …………..

Shortly after my son was born, I issued a polite request to all friends and relatives that, whatever toys and gifts anyone may wish to buy for him, I didn’t want him to have guns. To me, the equation was a simple one – if nobody can prove to me that toy guns are NOT harmful, why should I take the risk with the wellbeing of my child? I came to this position having grown up in a home where there were guns around (my father was in the army).

That sad part of the story is that whatever wishes I had expressed fell on deaf ears, were ignored and my son was given toy guns. It was frustrating to learn that even as his parent I didn’t have the right to express such wishes, or would be treated as a fussy freak for expressing such a wish. The fact is that sometimes we get glimpses that reveal to us just what a cynical world we live in. When I learn that American companies that manufacture guns have invested in and been directly engaged in the production of violent video games in which guns play a prominent part (wow, the ultimate in product placement). Then, I can’t help suspecting that those same vested interests have worked tirelessly, long before the rise of computer games to make enough adults believe that there was no harm in guns being an active part of children’s play.

I can’t help seeing the irony now, as people especially in the US grapple with the full horrors of the Newtown massacre of innocent children that people are openly willing to question whether it’s such a good idea to place replica guns in to the hands of children with young impressionable minds. On this, see this article from Today.com . Reading the article, I still felt queasy at the thought that the writers were so desperate to not lose their gun-crazy readers so went out of their way to make it ‘balanced’ by highlighting the views of some people who didn’t feel toy guns cause harm (i.e. the sane people in the world must prove they DO cause harm, rather than requiring them to prove they DO NOT cause harm).

On the basis that we couldn’t necessarily PROVE they don’t do harm, here are a few new toy ideas those people might like to get their heads around;

a) The build your own abattoir kit, complete with electric stun prod to blast teddy’s brains, followed by the rotating saw to slice off his head and cut him in to pieces (not recommended for those who might be susceptible to inhaled teddy fluff),

b) The 9/11 Game – Fill the tall towers with thousands of little lifelike people, pull back the model airplanes, aim them at the buildings and see how much damage you can cause. The advanced, more expensive version comes with smoke pellets and a superstructure that can be melted to give that authentic collapsing appearance.

c) Child Soldier – the genuine replica of a child, approx 10 years of age, with interchangeable bandanas and a nice big gun. Collect enough of hem and you can send away for a model tin-pot dictator with transcripts of his brainwashing speeches in 25 different languages.

If these are in poor taste, before anyone would like to complain, perhaps they can provide the rational explanation as to why these would be wrong, but the guns are right. Quite frankly, I think they will have a hard job.

(For the record, I also have an objection to the portrayal of children in camouflage fatigues with guns as part of ‘performances’ in schools, masquerading as learning history – in which, of course, they will always be ‘the good guys’ (ours), wiping out ‘the bad guys’ (theirs) in the cause of justice and right. To me, this is not just unnecessary, but it also perpetuates the very prejudices that caused the bloodshed in the first place).

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