I’m fairly certain that when that noted folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith wrote that song, teaching your children about guns was hardly what they had in mind. But bear with me for a moment and let me take you down the road on a train of thought that I think might bear examination . . .
How do kids learn? Up until they go off to school, the answer is,” from their families.” You can throw in the one-eyed monster, TV, or as it is in many American homes, “the electronic baby-sitter.” Once school starts, a parent’s influence diminishes, as teachers and peer groups influence increases. But the media, in the form of TV, music, movies, and video games, provides a constant leitmotif of influence, a subtle subtext and context to just about everything your kids do and think. And there’s the problem.
Have you watched TV with your kid lately? I mean, not just had the news on over dinner, but really watched what they watch with a critical eye (in other words, with your undivided – not undevoted – attention)? I think you’ll be unpleasantly surprised to discover that the values they teach on Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, MTV, Cartoon Network and NatGeo (not to mention Lifetime, and the other EstrogenFest channels) are as far from your values as, say, Michelle Bachman’s are from Michelle Obama’s.
You see, while we’re all off earning our daily bread and bringing home the bacon, pop culture is taking up the slack, busy indoctrinating our next generation with their values. Don’t believe me? Here’s a for-instance. I have a 13-year-old daughter. Do you have any idea how flippin’ difficult it is to find clothing that doesn’t make her look like some tramped-up PopTart she sees on TV? And forget the clothing, look at the role models. Most kids that come up through the Disney feeder system of shows can’t wait to loose the Chains that Walt Forged, take off (most of) their clothes and try to get everyone to forget what a cute and precocious kid they were.
I get it. They don’t wanna be typecast as a child star, when they’re too old to play a teen. But a lot of these kids crack under the pressure, and end up partying hearty, finding that Coke isn’t just for drinking any more. I can’t tell you the number of starlets (Miley Cyrus springs to mind) who went from a “goody-two-shoes, squeaky-clean, Good Housekeeping-approved” image to one that says “next-year’s washed-up coke whore” all over it. But the influence of pop culture does not end with the stars of High School Musical sexting their naughty bits to Anthony Weiner. It’s far more pervasive, and infinitely more insidious. Especially when it comes to guns.
Hollywood has had a hard-on for Leftist causes since the end of WWII. You wanna hear some has-been get lionized, bring up the “Hollywood Blacklist” and watch how fast people that weren’t even born then jump to the defense of those “courageous individuals who would not rat out the Red-leaning fellow-travelers they knew and loved. The most dangerous place to be in Hollywood is between some noted Progressive like Sean Penn, Danny Glover, or Rosie O’Donnell and a microphone, the minute some cause celebre is announced. Hell, it’s like the running of the bulls in Spain. (Pardon me while I reflect on the image of a bunch of Hollywood types, racing through the streets of Burbank, toward a presser microphone. It is to laugh.)
Movies, TV shows, and video games that seem innocuous enough oft times carry with them sensibilities and subtextual messages that indoctrinate our kids before they (or you) even know what hit them. When was the last time you saw a show, ANY show, where a CEO of a large corporation was one of the good guys? If they portray the military in a positive light, it’s usually only because they are rebelling against the military-industrial complex, thwarting the will of some general who’s in the pocket of that movie’s equivalent of Halliburton. And don’t get me started on animated fare.
Did you catch Happy Feet? Ostensibly the story of a family of penguins, the flick’s main baddie was – wait for it – all of mankind, because we’re causing global warming that is destroying their habitat in Antartica. (Um…as it turns out, not so much. Seems the sun is going into a dormant, sans-Sun spot period, which many meteorologists predict will bring on another mini-ice age within the next decade. So if you’ve still got your Hummer, smoke ’em if you got ’em.)
But nowhere do kids get more one-sided messages than in the realm of guns. Strike that. Schizophrenic messages. “Guns are Evil,” is pretty much a given, in kids fare. But then as long as guns are used, albeit reluctantly, by the hero who’s had his ecological-consciousness raised, to stop the evil corporations, stop the bad guys, and stop the violence. Um. Yeah. Right. Whatever. I’m still waiting for the wet dream story arc of Progressives, which would be where the mission of the good guy is to stop some military contractor from polluting the land while they make a super-weapon gun who’s ammo kills the condors that ingest the lead, defoliate the forests with the toxic gasses from the cartridges, and fouls the water from the spent (non-reusable), large-caliber, rim-fire cartridges. What? On tope of all your evil deeds, you don’t recycle your brass?! THE HORROR!
In a very real way, this is the McDonald’s Strategy, writ large. No, not the Supreme Court decision. The OTHER McDonald’s. The one with the burgers. Ever eat at a McDonald’s? I knew an ad agency owner in Shreveport who had the McDonald’s account. He said, “you know, you can always count on McDonald’s to have a consistently mediocre product.” And he was right. You never get a bad meal at a McDonalds. But you never get a good one, either.
So how do they stay in business? Simple. Ronald McDonald. Ray Kroc & Co. learned years ago, that if you get ’em when they’re kids, you’ve got ’em for life. Those kids that eat Happy Meals grow up. And even though they know that if you eat the cardboard container it doubles the nutritional value, they will take their kids to Mickey D’s for the same marginally-edible food they enjoyed as kids, because it’s the least-objectionable-choice. Get ’em while they’re young, and you’ll have ’em forever. The media figured this out a long time ago. And it’s why you need to be aware of what the one-eyed monster is shoving down your kids’ all-too-willing throats.
So, what’s the answer? Well, until Andrew Brietbart’s and Glenn Beck’s right-leaning media empires branch out into kids programming, there is only one answer. Spend more time with your kids. It’s up to you to not only teach them right from wrong, but how to think. My dad did this with me. I’m doing it with my daughter. When she brings home some BS from school (last year it was all about the glories of recycling…we had an extensive discussion about why using less is always better for the environment than recycling), we talk about it. We look stuff up. And we spend time together, so I can try and counter the effects of media indoctrination.
In fact, we did something today. I took her to the range. Several years back, my ex and I bought her a Ruger 10/22. (Self defense seems to be one of the few things we always agreed on.) And we taught her how to shoot responsibly. We follow ALL the safety rules. She’s not allowed access to the weapon without me there. She’s been taught range safety (and on occasion points out when other shooters are behaving badly). And she has a healthy respect for her gun and for mine. Best part is, she likes it.
She really likes it. And she’s getting to be a pretty good shot. Now her form is still off. (Working on it.) And she shoots too fast. (Working on that, too.) But the important parts are that she’s safety-conscious, and she has developed a lot of self-confidence with the gun. Oh, sure, we have some work still to do. She’s a little scared of my handguns, and doesn’t like to shoot them. That will come in time. But the fact that she’s not afraid of guns in general and enjoys shooting (especially that feeling of accomplishment when she hits the bullseye), is huge.
And lemme tell you, when she’s watching some show that starts in with the messaging from Messrs. Bloomberg and Brady, she needs no prompting. She once said, “I’ll bet they wouldn’t know one end of a rifle from another, and they’ve never even shot an AirSoft gun.” And you know, I think she’s right.
One last note. Yes, in the video above, she IS shooting her Ruger with an optional 30-round magazine. And it’s kinda funny. Without prompting, she looked at me and said, “Dad, this gun is a LOT more fun to shoot with a magazine I don’t have to reload every ten seconds. Why do those Congressmen want to ban these? Don’t they understand how useful they are?” And I have to tell her that no, they don’t. They only see things from the perspective that all guns are bad, and anything that makes a gun easier to use is even worse.
So, hey. You wanna do something for your country? You wanna support the right to bear arms? Do you wanna help save the planet? Well go home, hug your kid, and take them with you to the range next time. The child’s mind you influence today will make a world of difference tomorrow.