Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The Boys and I were playing in our yard earlier today. We live on the southeast corner of the block. Kids from the neighborhood roam freely from yard to yard. No fences. That's the way we like it. Sometimes other kids toys get left in this yard or that. Everyone is pretty cool with it.
The older, Philip, picked up someone else's two-handed, pump-action squirt gun. Pointed it two inches from his brother's face and pulled the trigger. I watched it happen but I couldn't get the no out of my mouth fast enough. Patrick was fine. The gun was empty save for a bit of mist.
The image was fairly shocking to me. I took the gun away. Explaining to him that I didn't like guns. He was sorry and wouldn't do it again. Sorry. No gun. Daddy doesn't like guns.
Philip is four. At four he knows what a gun is. Knows what will happen if you pull the trigger. Point. Aim. Shoot. Well, not really.
Last summer we went to the park one day. There was a kid there with plastic numb chucks stuck in his belt. A plastic knife in his pocket. A plastic rifle in his hand. This kid was ready for a Cobra invasion! He was nice enough to share one of his three hand-held weapons with Philip who held it upside-down and backwards.
I was somewhat proud of myself as a parent. He didn't even know what a gun was. Now he does.
See, I think violence is more damaging for a child than sexual subject matter or foul language. I would prefer The Boys watch "Emmanuelle 1: First Contact" than "C.S.I. Anywhere." There is just something off about a culture where children play with authentic replica assault rifles shouting, "I killed you," but the image of a baby breastfeeding on a magazine cover is cause for alarm. Call me crazy.
I understand that kids will be kids. Back in the day we all played "Star Wars." I watched "The A-Team" and "The Dukes Of Hazard." We didn't have "Good Taste." I never shot anyone. Anyone you know of.
How worried should I be about guns? What can a parent do? Am I over-reacting?
I'll go ask Philip, maybe he has some ideas.