Monday, December 26, 2005

Don't Get: Guns as Toys

Us WASPs had a big week this week. We celebrated the birth of our savior by giving lots of gifts to each other. We don't have enough electrons here to discuss the commercialism of Christmas (Christmercialism?) so I won't get into that whole scene but it was through this transaction of gift-giving that my five year-old son ended up with his first gun - two guns actually. Yep, five years old and the proud owner of two guns. Along with his remote controlled Jeep Grand Cherokee, some Lego stuff (how rich is THAT guy?) and a nifty telescope, Jack received a dart gun and some other plastic contraption with all kind of sounds and noises and a laser sight! Yes, these guns have orange tips on them so the cops don't think they're real, but it just doesn't taste right for a kid to receive a gun as a toy.

I live in the beautiful state of Michigan where hunting is pretty serious business. Every year on November 15, all kinds of folks head out into the woods to shoot deer. The preparation for this day begins immediately following the last day of the previous year's season and involves lots of camo, pick-up trucks and guns. I have no problem at all with this activity but, in case you hadn't guessed by now, I'm more into blogs than guns. I'm not into it but, if you are, by all means enjoy your time sitting in the woods. As a matter of fact, I'll be glad to eat some of the venison that you bring into work or family gatherings.

I have plenty of friends and family who participate in the whole November 15 ritual. I've shared my feelings about guns with a few of them and they assure me that they teach their kids to treat guns with the utmost respect. Always assume the gun is loaded, they say. You're darned right, you better be afraid/respectful of a gun! Gun as hunting implement, I get.

And as much as I know that I would totally curl up in the fetal position if I was ever sent off to fight in a war someplace, I also get the idea of gun as diplomat. My brother-in-law did more than his share of time in Iraq and I really respect him for doing his thing over there. I haven't quizzed him too much about what went on but I don't think he was in the fetal position. It's hard to spread democracy with your head between your knees. Crap goes on in the world that requires the diplomacy that only an M-16 can bring and I'm cool with OTHER people taking care of business. I think that George has a hard time admitting he was wrong or even adjusting the game plan but now that we're messing around over there, I'm behind the guys 100%. George didn't get my vote in either election, but whatever...

But hunting and war are different than toys under the Christmas tree. Jack now jumps out from behind the recliner and shoots. He crawls on his 5 year-old stomach under the kitchen table and shoots. He sneaks up on stuff and shoots it. I guess my concern is that if would ever somehow get a real gun in his hands, he wouldn't be able to separate the pretend shooting from the real thing. Believe me, he gets an earful from me if he points the gun at a person and I'm happy to say that he's learned that lesson mighty quick! Suffice to say that Jack isn't copying this behavior from me and believe it or not, I'm not dumb enough to think that I can shelter him from all this stuff. For that matter, I didn't just throw the guns in the garbage either. I think the jury is still out on whether completely hiding guns from a kid is better than having them around the house, so I guess the best thing I can do is to not promote it but also not treat guns like they're completely forbidden. This is really testing my parenting skills!

Don't worry, this is NOT the place where I get on my soapbox and prattle on about violence on TV or XBox games and try to blame society for somehow teaching my kid how to "cover" his buddy. All of that is true, but this isn't the place where I will be doing that. (How is it that so many of us aren't active gun users but we "know" so much about guns?) I'm not necessarily a big fan of Michael Moore, but I AM necessarily not a big fan of Charlton Heston.

So you see, I don't really have a problem with guns, per se. I have a problem with a gun as a toy. It just doesn't make sense! In what way is a gun a toy? Toy = Legos. Toy = Skateboard. Toy = Train Set. Toy does not = Gun. How is shooting a gun something that I would want my little kid to think is fun? Guns are very powerful and demand the respect that my hunter friends say they have. Legos only hurt when you step on them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What I would like to see is more info on mule deer hunting and mule deer hunting. Any post you make on mule deer hunting in the future will be well received.