News & Politics

The Real Target of New York's Attempt to Ban 'Assault-Style' Nerf Guns Is Masculinity

The Real Target of New York's Attempt to Ban 'Assault-Style' Nerf Guns Is Masculinity
Aaron Holmes via Pixabay

It isn’t just the Second Amendment under assault in blue America; the crazed anti-gun nuts want to take away your Nerf guns too! Leave it to New York to start this idiotic idea. The Empire State Consumer Project is part of a nationwide group that lobbies lawmakers for consumer safety, research, and education. The NY faction has decided that this year, the biggest threat to consumers is “assault-style” Nerf guns that shoot foam darts and contribute to much family fun (in my house anyway).

The board put out a letter to Hasbro, scolding them for these “assault weapons” of “mass destruction” that are marketed toward children. I’m not kidding.

As the holidays approach, we are reminded of our mission to protect the safety of children. As we watch holiday toy commercials, we see the Nerf Ultra One and other extreme Nerf machine guns for children and are reminded of mass shootings that have devastated American children and families for decades now. In these times, the TV ad for this product plays like a Saturday Night Live parody, except that it is not at all funny. Toy guns are one thing, but these emblems of mass destruction take them to the next, horrifying level.

The commercial is dumb, but it’s not advocating for violence, since Nerf guns can’t hurt anyone. But the busybodies at the Empire State Consumer Project want to make sure your kid is only having leftist-approved fun and that means… nothing boys naturally like.

“How does promoting play with huge automatic weapons create joy, creativity and connection around the world, and across generations, and make the world a better place for children?” the letter continues. I don’t know, maybe by creating family togetherness that isn’t centered around electronics. Our family has had some of the greatest laughs together hiding out from one another and trying to strategize how to finally “get Dad!” How is that any different from water balloon fights? People have a natural inclination to fight and compete and win. But it’s deeper than that. I believe this is more of the left’s war on boys and masculinity.

An Obituary for the Boy Scouts of America

“In one of the most creative industries on earth, how does one of the country’s largest toy producers fall so short in coming up with innovative toys that spark the peace-filled imaginations of children?” This might be one of the funniest lines in the letter. Have they met any children? Peace-filled? Sorry, but you have to teach children peace. It definitely does not come as naturally as war. It’s why I insisted my children watch Mister Rogers as their main staple of entertainment as little ones. Peace is something that must be constantly sought and practiced. War is natural.
One of Mister Rogers’s greatest gifts to children was his ability to name their feelings of frustration and anger while giving them tools to defuse them through breathing, playing, and song. We use his advice here every day. “What do you do when you feel so mad you could bite?” he sang. One of his suggestions was rounding up friends for a physical game of tag. I bet he would have thought Nerf guns were a fun form of this game.
Physical activity is proven to defuse aggression, which is why he insisted that doing something physical would alleviate those mad feelings, like pounding clay or kneading dough. Chasing your friends and playing war would do the same thing. Playing war is a natural and important exercise, especially for boys. Author and philosopher Ivan Throne wrote an excellent essay on it that deserves to be read in its entirety.

Do young boys today lead raiding forays into adjacent properties with the goal of instantly gunning down surprised and chagrined friends, teaching them to pay attention to the quiet footfall of the hunter behind them?

They can’t.

They are mercilessly indoctrinated into the foul dogma that their happy aggression is toxic, ugly, dangerous, threatening, extremist, and destructive to tolerance and peace…

Today children are taught that safety can be enforced. They are instructed that hurt feelings are a crime, and that they are only ever a word or micro expression away from triggering injury. Sticks and stones are terrorist acts, and words not only hurt but char the very psyche of eternally powerless victims.

What disgusting, contemptible degradation of the noble nature of boyhood!

The left doesn’t understand human nature at all. Human beings don’t naturally cling to peace. And if children’s natural inclinations are not allowed to be explored in healthy ways, especially where boys are concerned, it will come out in very unhealthy ways as we see constantly. Throne writes about a time when there were no school shootings but much more violent play. Is there a connection? I don’t doubt it.

We learned that fist-sized clumps of sun-dried mud would explode with satisfying fragments when hurled against a tree or a wall, simulating the burst of a fragmentation grenade. Soft fine ashes, secured from a neighbor’s iron fireplace door on the outside of her chimney, could be kept in a 30mm film canister and would generate a deeply satisfying cloud of smoke to mask an exit as you retreated through the thick greenery of Long Island…And we learned. We learned to use teamwork, to flank the unwary. We learned that moving fire beat fortified loners. We learned that it was good to run in the daylight, to take advantage of the dusk, to be dirty and tired and sweaty and happy in contest with each other. In the simple abandon of childhood we bonded over the smell of cordite, the yells of dispute over who missed and who didn’t.

Today, those games are criminalized.

Put a cap gun to your friend’s head and blow his imaginary brains out and soon after aggrieved and horrified parents will send militarized police to your home to confiscate your toys, arrest you, assign Social Services investigators to your parents and characterize you as a threatening violent risk even as they drug you into stupefied compliance with the dictates of a petulant and humorless public school bureaucrat who marks your file for life.

The weakness of so many young men of today is in part attributable to this.

How do they release the exuberance of boyhood? With simulated beachheads and desperate last stands of glory?

They don’t.

They are muzzled, drugged, whipped, chastened, beaten, shackled, humiliated, and excoriated for being what they are.

Then everyone cries on TV when one of those boys takes a real gun and explodes. What exactly does the left think is going to happen when natural aggression is reviled, boys are called “toxic,” expected to act like girls, sit like girls, play like girls, not fight with their fists, and there are no outlets for their natural exuberance anymore? If people were serious about reducing school shootings they would bring back the schoolyard fight or install boxing rings in schools where kids can work out their problems with gloves on just like my friends used to do at a Catholic school with an ex-boxer priest. Male aggression is real and it needs an outlet or it will become dangerous. You can’t suppress it. It needs to be acted out often and in safe ways.

There is nothing good that can come from the constant assault on boyhood. This whiny letter to Hasbro demanding they remove the only play weapons of war left on the shelves is yet another example of it. If the nincompoops who wrote it manage to get their ideas in front of New York lawmakers, it’s almost a certainty they’ll outlaw the toys. Albany lawmakers have nothing better to do than make everything from plastic bags to large sodas illegal in New York (except tearing full-term babies to pieces. They have lots of tolerance for violence and murder within the womb).

My suggestion is to go out immediately and buy as many Nerf guns as you can before they gone.

Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter