December 22, 2010


Dominic joined dozens of children yesterday at the annual Toy Gun Bash in the gymnasium of Pleasant View Elementary School. There, they lined up to toss their toy guns, from dainty purple water guns to camouflage-painted pistols, inside the Bash-O-Matic, a large black, foam creature with churning metal teeth and the shape of a cockroach spliced with a frog.

Prodded by Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, who wore a fuzzy Santa hat, the children stared curiously as the Bash-O-Matic mashed up their guns and digested them into a plastic bin near its tail. . . . Some children were not thrilled with the trade.

Malik Hall, a round-eyed second-grader, looked apprehensive as he stood in line with his favorite toy, a thick, blue gun with plastic sword underneath the muzzle. The 8-year-old was furious when his mother, Amanda, told him he would have to give it up. Yesterday morning, he tried to hide it under his pillow, she said.

“I’m worried,’’ she said. “He might cry.’’ . . . Diane Levin, professor of education at Wheelock College, said police and parents coming together to destroy toy guns sends a powerful message to children.

Pathetic. (Via SayUncle, who observes: “Indoctrination starts early, I guess. Teaching kids their things are bad. Evil totems that must be destroyed. Deodands.”) Really, if you had put this scene into a dystopian novel about lefty silliness, it would have seemed too heavy-handed.

UPDATE: Reader Eric Hardie emails: “I’ll be offsetting this trend by giving my little girl one of these for Christmas… What would we do without Amazon?” What, indeed? I love that it’s pink. I had one of those when I was a kid, but it wasn’t pink — which in my case is just as well. . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Rachel Pereira writes that she bought her first gun today: “A Springfield Armory XDM 40 in a fashionable shade of green.”

MORE: Reader Ben White writes: “I think Taranto had the best line about this a couple days ago: ‘Nothing says Christmas like taking away a child’s treasured toy and destroying it.'” Monstrous behavior, by monstrous people.

And reader Allen S. Thorpe emails: “They unwittingly created the perfect image to remember of ‘our’ federal government: ‘a large black, . . . creature with churning metal teeth and the shape of a cockroach spliced with a frog” there to take away your property.'” Well, it’s the Rhode Island state government, in the person of its risible Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, who’s behind this, not the federal government. But if the shoe fits . . . .

MORE STILL: SayUncle emails: “I should point out that my girl has a real gun, one that you’ve shot.” Yes, I have. I prefer something more muscular, but I’m secure enough in my masculinity to shoot a pink AR-15. And this is why I’m not worried about America, long-term. There are the people traumatizing their kids by grinding up their toy guns in a hideous monster, and there are the people teaching their daughters to shoot. I know who I’m betting on, long-term.

STILL MORE: Reader Rob Robertson: “A recent NPR .. yes, N-P-R … piece. Photo makes the click worth it.” Heh.

EVEN MORE: Another reader emails: “Loved your NPR link (pretty high on the list of things I never thought I’d say!) This must be the year for first bucks. Attached photo is my daughter with her 1st buck, taken 3 weeks ago. Deer season is father/daughter time in our family.”

Also, reader Don Harris writes:

Those people have no shame. I just cannot fathom what sort of brain would come up with that one.

I taught my children how to handle firearms just like my Dad taught me 54 years ago when I was 10 yrs old. I’m happy that my first grandchild also learned to shoot when she turned 13 a few years ago. She doesn’t care much for hunting but she does enjoy shooting.

Here she is with a M1895 Nagant (loaded with .32 S&W Longs) the day her Dad & I took her to a public range to learn how to shoot. We didn’t get a pic of her with the Colt Police Positive .38 Special which she really enjoyed and was quite good at.

That’s a nice revolver. And reader David Wharton writes:

Thought you might enjoy this photo of my son teaching his little sister how to safely use a CZ-75B semi-automatic pistol. He is a third-year cadet at West Point (the gun was his 21st birthday present); she just turned 17 yesterday.

There really are two cultures, and not just as C.P. Snow was describing.

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