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Jewish World Review
May 18, 2013/ 10 Sivan 5773
The Guns Are Toys; The Principal Is a Danger
A school in Hayward, Calif., is offering a "toy gun buyback" to its students, modeled on the buybacks of real guns at real police stations. Though I don't have a big opinion about the idea on the one hand, sometimes people mistake toy guns for real ones, which is tragic; on the other hand, laws based on one-in-a-million odds are usually overreaching I am appalled by the reasoning of the principal:
"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."
Talk about absolute blather. Is there any proof of this whatsoever? How about the fact that millions upon millions of kids have played with toy guns for generations without growing up desensitized to what a real gun is? By the principal's logic, my husband should be a heartless murderer; he played with toy revolvers as a kid, as did his brother. Yet they both seem very aware of the difference between a toy gun and a Colt 45 unless that's the beer. Either way, they also know the difference between beer and guns. And they don't even mix them!
The principal's statement irks me because he's making up a reason to be yet more terrified about our kids: how endangered they are now, how dangerous they'll become. Can't win. Everything is just danger on a stick.
One onlooker commented, "Does a Pop-Tart shaped like a gun count?" That person was referring, of course, to the recent case of a kid who faced disciplinary action for biting his pastry into what he said was the shape of a mountain, but school administrators contended it was the shape of a gun and therefore, somehow goodness knows how dangerous. Considering how afraid we are of everything having to do with kids (another boy was suspended for mentioning the word "gun" as in, "I wish I had a gun so I could save people"), a Pop-Tart gun buyback is not beyond possibility.
Please note that this is not a column about gun control. It's really not, even at the fringes. It's about following the thought train of that principal: If a child plays with a gun, he will grow up cavalier about (or, worse, enamored of) real firepower. That opinion is as scary as any weapon I can think of, because it's power coupled with psychobabble.
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