Monday, July 21, 2008

Toy Guns

I will preface this by saying that I completely realize that people have differing and very strong beliefs about gun control. Personally, I see both sides of the issue and to be honest don’t entirely fall on one side or the other. This post isn’t really about gun control though because I really don’t care what side of the issue anyone falls on. However, it has been bugging me a lot lately that gun play with children is so prevalent. I realize it’s been that way for virtually ever. Kids have played Cowboys and Indians and Cops and Robbers since the beginning of time, I am sure. I’m still uncomfortable with it.

We don’t have a gun, either real or fake, in our home. My husband had a rifle, which when we had children, I insisted he keep it in a storage unit. He never shoots and hasn’t for probably 10 years. My three-year-old doesn’t even know what a gun is. It’s not even in her vocabulary. If you put one in her hand she wouldn’t know what to do with it. My parents have a huge super soaker gun that was one of my brothers when he was a kid. My daughter calls it a saxophone and pretends to play music out of it. That’s just fine with us. I am really uncomfortable with the idea of my kids playing with guns. I don’t like them and I like even less that such a deadly weapon is treated as a toy.

It becomes difficult though when you go to gatherings with friends or family where their children play with guns and run around shooting each other, exclaiming, "You’re dead." How do you shield your child from that without appearing rude, judgmental, or superior? It is, afterall, their home and their decision. But at the same time it is not something I want my kid participating in or even being exposed to.

I can’t help but wonder that with all of this exposure if there is a relationship between that and why kids these days seem to have a difficult time deciphering between what is real and what is not. They seem to be desensitized to violence. Parents can claim all they want that they teach their children the difference. But it must be acknowledged that the more the lines are blurred the sense of respect and healthy sense of fear or danger that that type of weapon should elicit lessens or becomes non-existent.

I guess I don’t understand that in a society that is already so violent why we would want to encourage our children to play violent games with violent weapons. I’m all about your second amendment right to bear arms. I don’t have any moral objection to adults, who have been properly trained and licensed and who have a healthy respect for the killing power of guns, to own guns. I do object to my children playing with guns, though. Many critics say that guns aren’t illegal or that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But let’s be honest. When kids play with guns what are they pretending to do? Kill each other. Is that a game I really want my children playing? Is that something that I want them to take lightly? Kids, especially as young as mine, do not understand the permanence of death. By playing these types of games doesn’t it just reinforce the type of behavior we later spend our time trying to reverse? Violence, lack of sympathy, inability to cope with or understand death are prevalent in our teenage and young adult communities. Do they acquire these deficits as kids? What do you think? Do you let your children play with toy guns? Are you bothered with all of the violent games and toys that seem to be on the market?

1 comment:

Gena B. said...

dlMy husband was a big hunter. Still is so our daughter is around guns a lot. She has been taught to respect the power of weapons. I don't encourage her to play with toy guns. She doesn't own one, but my husbands side of the family and all the cousins that is all they play with. It's hard.
BTW, I started reading your blog a few days ago and couldn't stop. I love it! Your honesty and candor is refreshing. Hope you don't mind all my comments!