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Stick Guns And Small Boys: A Moral Battle

May 17, 2008
When I was a little boy I used to play with a whole range of toy guns. Some had caps, which made a satisfying 'crack' as they exploded, whilst others were no more than a couple of twigs tied together with a bit of string. I had long rifles, short pistols and gunslinger style revolvers. I used to shoot at the tree, my sister and various imaginary evil villains. Despite what the media would have us believe, I seem to have turned out all right, and during the whole course of my adult life I have never owned a gun, never shot anyone, and I can't honestly say I have ever felt any special desire to be violent towards anyone. Except the occasional politician, but I believe they don't count.

There has been so much talk over the years about boys and guns, and whether it is right, or wrong. Seeing a couple of small boys playing together, making rattling noises and keeling over before arguing about who shot whom first does tend to raise a few eyebrows, and almost everyone has a view on whether it should be allowed or not.

With gun crime on the increase, and more and more news stories about young people being victims of gun crime it is easy to draw a direct line between the desire to play with guns to the desire to use real weapons against other human beings. Yet, sometimes the obvious comparisons or conclusions aren't necessarily the right ones, and jumping to conclusions in this way is likely to cause more harm than good.

There has never been any formal study to demonstrate whether a fascination for toy guns as a child leads directly to a tendency towards violent crime as an adult, or whether being subject to a denial of to access to toy guns as a child is likely to result in a god fearing, morally upstanding individual who would never dream of harming anyone.

Certainly there are enough people who would testify that they played with guns as a child, but have never harmed anyone as an adult to suggest that a blanket rule is unsafe. You might as well argue that having blue curtains as a boy will result in a propensity for violence as an adult, or that owning a toy train set as a boy will encourage you towards gang membership later in life.

One thing that is certain is that young boys do like playing with toy guns - they always have it seems, and that the games they play are usually with other children, with defined rules and agreements, teams and fair play, with heaps of imagination and a large helping of physical activity. Interestingly, it is these very aspects of play which are encouraged by those who say that children do not play enough these days, and that television is taking over.

It often seems that a far greater danger than children playing together with stick guns is those same children growing larger and more idle whilst spoon fed the products of the imaginations of the generation before them, who used to run around playing together to conquer new worlds, armed only with stick guns and a group of friends.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about kids toys, dolls, and video games. You will find the best marketplace for kids toys, dolls, and used video games at these sites for kids toys, toy guns, boys' toys, dolls, and used video games.
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