Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bang! Bang! You're Dead!!

Couple of days ago, Croila posted about her son being given a toy gun. It seems there are an appreciable number of parents who are concerned about their offspring running about with plastic gun-shaped toys. I remember quite clearly my little brother and his cronies with cap-guns and plastic rifles &etc.

The comments she got pretty much summed up what a lot of parents find out - you just can NOT keep the gun away from the boy. If you won't get them a waterpistol, or a cap gun, or a battery-powered noisy machinegun, they will turn a stick, or a cardboard tube - or even just their FINGERS into a gun.

I suspect this is some kind of testosterone-based thing, probably ingrained into genetic memory. What did kids do before there were guns? Pieces of wood as swords, no doubt. Before that? Probably tree limbs as clubs. Since we come from a common "hunter/gatherer" past, I suspect that this "survival skill" of learning how to kill things is something males are genetically programmed to do.

I do know that my little brother and his friends were fiends for guns when they were small. They were also fiends for Tonka Trucks. They also loved the 3 Stooges, and once all gathered underneath one of my Dad's big old wool army-surplus blankets and marched around the neighborhood chanting "Hey, Hey, get out of our way, we just got back from the USA".

I have no idea why.

I do know that of the 6 boys next door (Gah, Mrs. Murphy was ALWAYS pregnant...) and the 2 from down the street that I have some knowledge of, none of his friends became either a truck driver or a mass-murderer. In fact, the little bro is St. Paul the Lutheran Minister. The only person to whom he has indicated he wishes to do bodily harm is, in fact, Senator Clinton from NY - but I suspect that he's just yapping out his ass on that.

So... My advice to parents with concerns about their kids and toy guns is "take a deep breath, count to 10, try to teach them about the REALITY of gun safety and use if appropriate, then let it go - this too shall pass."




pissed off patricia said...

I played with toy guns as a little girl and now I don't want the real ones in my house or anywhere near me. Maybe it's different with girls.

Peacechick Mary said...

I know, I too hated to have guns around, but I didn't make a fuss and they are all harmless - male still, but harmless as far as bang, bang shoot.

Anonymous said...

When I raised my children they never had anything resembling a toy gun. It was simply something I refused to allow in my house. I've never given a toy gun as a present either. Not even a water pistol.

I'm not so sure that my kids understood at the time, but neither of them will have a gun in the house now that they are grown. Maybe I did some good?

John Good said...

It's definately a guy thing. My dad worked in law enforcement, and Mom would never let him keep his sidearm in the house.

I'm the only male in my household. I keep guns; but the revolvers are locked in a safe, and the semi-autos and their clips are kept far apart. My kids aren't even aware of them.

betmo said...

i played cowboys and indians and cops and robbers with my male cousins when i was a kid. i don't think it is a little kid thing. i think it is an american little kid thing. it is socialized behavior. bad or good? no- not every kid grows up to kill people or what not. but it does beg some thought about our culture and what it is and has evolved to.

Davo said...

having been brought up as a singular person on a farm, i played with REAL guns .. until i shot a sparrow in the belly with a slug gun, held that tiny fluffed, flusted body in my hand, took it home, extracted the slug, kept that sparrow warm and alive until, after three days - it died.

Have never used, nor advocated the use of "arms" since. The only "arms" that have needed since age 13 are the ones hanging from shoulders. (but then, i live, and have "grown up" in an entirely different "culture".)