Whenever you happen to be reading this article, unless it is in a time capsule opened in a lovely utopian future, there are probably at least two headlines from the week involving a child being shot or shooting someone else. I'm writing this after a 12-year-old brandished an airsoft gun with the orange "fake gun" marker removed, and was shot dead by police. Then a toddler shot his mom in the head with a real gun he found under the couch. So why, I wonder, are parents totally OK with all the toy guns and other terrifying fake weapons still being marketed for kids?
If older kids want to start training up for the army, play video games or go hunting, and adults want to play war games, be my guest - if you can manage to keep those things out of reach of the little ones (apparently, that's difficult). But the ultra-realistic items below are just a small example of how we're sending small children the f-ed up message that guns are toys.
Combat Force Semi 45 Mm Automatic Beretta Pistol Toy Gun with Sound and Blow
How cool, this "full size" gun, which looks remarkably real, also gives you a "blowback" effect when you shoot it. Because heaven forbid the kids would have to imagine that part.
32" AK47 SWAT Team Assault Rifle Machine Gun Toy with Light Scope & Shooting Sounds
People love this one for the realistic sound it makes, and the way it vibrates when fired, and yet it's still lightweight for the little ones. Sample review: "When my son sat on Santa's lap and asked for an AK47, my first thought was, wow, do they even make them?" My first thought would be, "Why does he know what that even is?"
Special Forces 10 Figures & Vehicle Set
(Image: Toys R Us)
Oh, perhaps kids know what an AK47 is because action figures like these are supposedly for ages 3 to 8. Just take a minute to look at how detailed all these weapons are. Is it wrong that I wish these figures came with a set of innocent bystanders and body bags?
Lot of 4 Kids Toy B/o Grenades for Pretend Play
"Simulates a real grenade." In that it blows people up, or what?
The Beast Or Buddy Shooting Gallery
(Image: Hammacher Schlemmer)
This is my absolute favorite of the group, because it's about hunting, not warfare, but the name of the game focuses on not accidentally shooting your "buddies." Insert tasteful Dick Cheney/Arizona firing range joke here.
People rationalize buying their kids toy weapons with comments on how kids will invent guns out of sticks even if you don't buy them --- it's just in their nature. Hmm, it's also in their nature to bite each other and not use toilets. Let them use their imaginations all they want. We have the power to buy them something else.