I don’t know exactly why the idea that a school is promoting a “toy gun exchange” bothers me. Perhaps it’s because it plays into the false meme that guns are bad, bad, bad and that children shouldn’t be playing with toy guns. Perhaps it’s the insufferable moralists who actually think that a kid trading in a toy gun is going to curb violence, or make the kid a better human being.
How many generations of boys grew up fighting outlaws or indians, or played “soldier” in the backyard?? Were they any more or less violent than this generation? How did it happen all of a sudden that toy guns promote violence, or are somehow bad for kids?
A school in Hayward, CA thinks it’s a grand idea:
Strobridge ï»¿Elementary Principal Charles Hill maintains that children who play with toy guns may not take real guns seriously.
“Playing with toys guns, saying ‘I’m going to shoot you,’ desensitizes them, so as they get older, it’s easier for them to use a real gun,” Hill said.
Huh? This horse’s ass is a principal? That statement brings to mind the song “Little Known Facts” that Lucy sings to her little brother Linus in the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown:
D’you see this tree?
It is a fir tree.
It’s called a fir tree
Because it gives us fur
And it also gives us wool
In the winter time
This is an elm tree
It’s very little
But it will grow up
Into a giant tree
You can tell how old it is
By counting its leaves
Where’s old Lucy when we need her.
Enter Schroeder, the rationalist. Or, in this case, a gun rights advocate:
A gun rights advocate questioned the idea that playing with toy guns desensitizes children to real weapons.
“Having a group of children playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians is a normal part of growing up,” said Yih-Chau Chang, spokesman for Responsible Citizens of California, a group whose goal is to educate the public about the facts behind gun rights.
“While the intentions are obviously good on the part of the school administration, this doesn’t really educate children about guns or gun safety,” he said. “Guns are used in crimes, but they are more often used in defensive ways which prevent violent crime from occurring in the first place.”
Chang also questioned whether toys can look like real weapons.
“Toy manufacturers are forced to paint guns in bright colors, usually orange or yellow, that make it virtually impossible for an officer to mistake it for a real gun,” Chang said.
Not half as sexy as guns “desensitizing” kids so that when they grow up they want to shoot policemen, but it has the virtue of at least being rational.
I suppose I shouldn’t be so hard on the school administration. They’re going to have a gun safety lesson as well as a fire safety lesson in conjunction with the toy gun exchange which is information most kids could use. But it’s attitudes like the one held by that principal — glorying in their own ignorance and being so smug in their supposed moral superiority — that really gets to me.