Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion: On Toy Guns

by Paul Big Bear
Dear Friends,
       I am speaking to the males today but I would like the ladies to read this too please. How many of us couldn’t wait for Christmas morning to see what Santa left under our tree as we dreamt of finding; the double holster and gun set of the Lone Ranger, or the six inch barrel six gun of Matt Dillon, maybe the ring lever action rifle of the rifleman, perhaps the sawed of rifle of the Rebel, whatever you dreamed of you hoped Santa left plenty of caps too. Yes guns were a big part of our lives, while the girls had dolls, tea sets, easy bake ovens, and diaries with lock and key, we wanted to emulate our heroes from the big and small screens. Tom Mix, Gene Autry, John Wayne, Clint Walker, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, and all the other gun toting men who represented the definition of a man, mine were tall, strong, honest, said yes Ma’am and no Sir. They would take a job and stick to it until it was completed no matter the task, their word was their bond. When it came to a fight they always stood for doing the right thing, they fought a clean fight, and never backed away especially when they were protecting those who needed their help. We had fun running and hiding as we shot our cap guns, sometimes at each other as we took turns being the good or bad guy; we even walked out in the street and drew on each other then argued who was faster. Most of the time was spent killing off bad guys only we could see.
      All this prepared us for when we were old enough to own B.B. Guns and finally our dream come true, a 22 caliber rifle. We took our 22’s to school and scouts where we were taught the proper use of a firearm. How to load it, clean it, fire it with accuracy, and always with safety and respect. My sons had cap guns, water pistols, but soon preferred the new fangled guns that instead of caps had batteries and fired a laser light. I remember when my youngest found a set of these under the tree, his face lit up and he spent the day shooting the target that made an electronic bang when you hit the right spot. The set also came with a vest that, like the target would let you know it had been hit. That night I laid the vest over my son with his weapon next to him as he slept in his bed, then I shot the vest from the hallway and shouted “Got ya.” We spent the next hour running through the house setting our vests off and laughing. We had fun with our learning weapons, learning to use them safely for good, protecting lives, upholding the law, always with safety and doing right our priority.
     What happened? Suddenly you became shunned by society and looked upon as someone evil if you gave a young boy a cap pistol, today try to find a cap pistol. Video games that allow a youngster to do battle with any weapon the game allows racking up points for destroying and killing, but why? What is the reason for using a gun? More it made the too often graphically displayed killing and destruction fun. The persona taken on for these gun sprees never say “Yes Ma’am” or “No Sir” they don’t ask why they are taking a gun and aiming it at and shooting the enemy that is guilty of nothing more than being there for you to kill. Movies that send mixed messages about war and fighting the war on drugs, and heroes that just don’t have the admirable qualities my heroes had. Oh Santa leaves stuff under the tree but the choices are getting slim as guns are a no no; Mr. Potato head and Dr. Seuss are no longer politically correct. Women are now as tough as the men in a fist fight or a gun battle. Now under the tree we find video games, cell phones, computers, but no role models.
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