Monday, December 5, 2011

Guns for Toddlers!

For Halloween 2010, my wife dressed up as Tank Girl (totally hot!), and she had a plastic AK-47 to complete the look. Not that accurate to the comic book, but close enough for a costume party. Well, after Halloween my son started playing with the thing. He liked shooting me and watching me do the “bullet dance” and even started doing it himself when we shot him with it.

Yeah, we’re sick, I know. I can almost hear the heart attacks of Bleeding Heart Liberals out there. *cackling with glee*

A few weeks ago my wife took him outside to play in the apartment complex’s playground on one of the last “nice” days of the season. While there, he was apparently running around shooting the other kids with a Nerf gun. “PEW-PEW-PEW!!” Makes my heart swell with pride.

For Christmas last year, my wife got me a kick-ass Nerf machine gun. Unfortunately, there are inherent problems. I can totally see my son riddling his sister and the cats with Nerf darts. And those darts would end up chewed on by those cats, and pieces of them everywhere. So, I have yet to actually unpack the darts, and may never do so (as an aside, the gun will someday make a fine sci-fi soldier prop).

This is the exact one I got.

So, there seems to be two schools of thought on the whole “toy gun” issue. One is that they will trivialize guns, making them into nothing but playthings for kids, should they get ahold of a real one. My issue with that is when it happens, it can usually be traced to being the parents’ fault for not clarifying the difference between “reality” and “fantasy.” Which is the main problem, IMHO. Columbine, for instance; those kids killed because they played DOOM, right? No, they killed because they were mentally troubled kids whose parents were passively neglecting them (YMMV...this is not a political debate).

As you can imagine, I’m on the other side of the fence. Toy guns are fine, and are a long-time tradition for little boys (and probably for little girls sometimes). Since my 3-year old will probably never see a real-life gun until he is MUCH older (as in he’s an adult), chances are by the time he does, he will have learned to respect the weapon for what it is. In the meantime, it’s just playtime and make-believe. And it’s not like I encourage him to kill things. Hell, he throws things at his sister and the cats already, for which he is scolded and punished on a regular basis. However, despite the violent nature of his antics, I know that at the core, he’s just playing (you can see it in his face when he’s serious…just like me).

So, what it all this about? It’s about Christmas, and my idea for a present. I’m thinking of getting him some kind of toddler-sized rifle. Something bizarre-looking, that bears little to no resemblance to anything real. Nerf is GREAT for that sort of thing. Or maybe something like this…
After all, it is about time to start educating him on Star Wars.


bowiefan said...

well, for the sake of practicality, you know in preparation for the zombie-pocolypse, it's okay.

Paul R. McNamee said...

When my kids are old enough, I'll be going for ray guns and blasters, for sure!

Tom Doolan said...

"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."

And my kids will know that Han shot first.

Charles Gramlich said...

I played toy guns with Josh when he was young. I also had real guns and when he was old enough I showed him very clearly how to use them and he knew clearly the difference between fantasy and reality where guns are concerned. I also 'never' left a loaded gun around where he could get it when he was young. I kept them locked up, or kept the ammunition locked up.

Keith said...

I may be misremembering this, but wasn't there at least one study that found children who weren't allowed to play with toy guns would use sticks and other things as guns. At least until they got caught...

My take on the whole whether kids should be exposed to guns is that if they grow up around them, like my brothers and I did, _and_ are taught proper gun safety, they will be fine. It's when guns are "evil" that they become a forbidden fruit, so to speak, and problems occur.

And I can speak from experience that the Nerf machine gun is totally cool. Although my son and the kid down the street (both age 9) have opted to not use the darts when they're hunting zombies. Imaginary bullets are faster to reload.