I miss the toys of my youth. When I was a kid, it was cool to fantasize and role-play in games that involved guns. Cops ‘n Robbers. Cowboys n’ Indians. Good guys versus Bad guys. We had imaginations, and we knew what to do with them. We could use anything from fingers and sticks to full-blown, accurate-down-to-the-handgrips toys for weapons. Nobody got hurt (well, not from flying lead at least). And if sociologists weren’t so busy trying to get us all to listen to Dr. Spock, they’d tell us something like we were “learning valuable lessons in socialization skills and interpersonal communications” – what our parents would call “morality” and “fair play.”

Yup. Because games like that have rules. Win or lose, you gotta play by the rules, or you face being ostracized by the group if you don’t. Cheaters never win – and eventually don’t get to even play, as the Law of the Playground put great stock in fairness.

Would that it were like that today.

In the ’60s, we had regular battles between good and bad guys. We each took turns on either side. It was serious fun, but nobody took their roles too seriously. We played. We laughed. And we learned a thing or two about playing fair. Sure, there were (toy) guns involved. But that clearly did not warp us. My generation did not grow up to be a bunch of homicidal maniacs.

Then the do-gooders, peddlers of psycho-babble, Progressives, and control freaks got together and decided that if guns were bad, toy guns were worse. cap guns are all but a thing of the past.

Most “gun-like” toys have been emasculated down to either water guns or Nerf guns. Stop, or I’ll throw closed-cell foam projectiles at you!

It makes you wonder if the ObamaNation that wants to hand out medals to our troops for showing restraint and NOT shooting anybody might move to the next logical step and replace the M-16s and M-4s with Nerf guns – just to be sure that we show the Islamic Terrorists Religious Freedom Fighters that we’re a kinder and gentler enemy.

Another point of interest: did you ever ponder that Mattel and their brethren did not make weapons for bad guys back in the day?

The set pictured above was designed to be used for the “Cops” side of the Cops ‘n Robbers game. That implies that (just like in real life) a gun is not inherently “good” or “evil” – it’s just a tool. It’s the guy behind the trigger that determines how it’s used.

Since there were no weapons made for bad guys, kids had to take the good guys weapons and use them for bad guy defense (or offense). Gee…that’s just like today, where weapons owned by law-abiding citizens are stolen and used by bad guys. Imagine that.

Today, of course, most kids would rather park their butts on a couch and play video games than get out in the neighborhood and interact with each other. So what has replaced “Cops ‘n Robbers”?

Um…how about Grand Theft Auto and other video games like it, where you play a car thief, and score points by killing innocent bystanders, jacking their cars, and generally behaving like an out-of-control sociopath. Nice. And now the Tipper Gores of the world decry electronic violence, and wonder why the world is a more violent place.

Seems that by taking toy guns out of the hands of babes, the violence remains – but is no longer self-regulated by all that Law of the Playground/learn to get along or you don’t get to play/socialization stuff. Isolate kids to where they learn their life lessons from an LCD screen, and they are liable to end up as desensitized to violence as those baby monkeys did when they were nursed by a stuffed toy and a bottle, instead of a real, live mom.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that toy guns and role playing are a healthy part of growing up. Sadly, that’s not the way the Progressives see things. And our country is the worse for it.

If we could, I dunno, get our kids off their PCs and Wiis and kick their butts outside, hand ’em a toy gun and tell them to go play, I think the world would be a little better off. Rather than see little soulless sociopaths with dead eyes shooting electronic cops, some music to my ears would be to hear kids outside, playing with cap guns, saying things like “Bang, bang! You’re dead! I quit.”

3 Responses to My How Times Have Changed Dept: Mattel TommyBurst Machine Gun

  1. Grand Theft Auto came out in 1997, so if it was going to create an army of sociopaths they are already out there. It was also hardly the first popular violent video game to exist.

    I don’t think video games are going to create violent menaces to society any more than a playground game of “Cops n Robbers” will. Any studies that say otherwise almost certainly have an agenda behind them.

    And I wouldn’t knock nerf guns, some of them are pretty cool.

    • I'm not blaming Grand Theft Auto for creating violent sociopaths. (Although I'd argue your contention that any studies that contend that video games encourage violent behavior must have an agenda behind them is overreaching in the extreme, and exhibits your own bias.) What I am saying, however, is that kids need socialization with other kids. If their playtime is spent exclusively in front of a computer and not playing with other kids, the results won't be pretty.

  2. Most of the kids are playing with other kids, online.

    But I take your point: get off of my lawn before I cap yo' ass.

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