Elissa Strauss (courtesy dailymail.co.uk)
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“The vast majority of boys who play with toy guns will never go on to use real ones to harm someone,” Elissa Strauss pronounces at cnn.com. Really? Who knew? But a Mommy blogger writing for an anti-gun rights news org, living in a country where Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a thing, must be very careful about approving any kind of gun. So . . .

Before last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the upswell of gun control activism that followed, concerns about the potential link between toy gun play and gun violence were much easier to set aside. But now, as the culture engages in a deep reckoning with this problem, that muted response feels wrong, if not complicit.

Letting your male children play with guns makes you complicit in the homicidal rage that claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School? Of course not. It makes you feel complicit. And when it comes to guns, it’s all about feelings, right? Because facts suck, especially when they don’t fit your agenda. Which they virtually never do.

A growing number of parents looking to act on their fear of gun violence are wondering whether, in addition to boycotting gun-friendly businesses and protesting NRA-endowed politicians, they should also do something about the ubiquity of guns in their sons’ fantasy lives.

See? Where’s the factual evidence for this “growing number” of parents contemplating some homespun gun confiscation? I reckon Ms. Strauss simply “feels” that it’s true. Which makes it true! For her and . . .

Like many parents, Karina Moltz, a mother of two boys, ages 5 and 7, in Newburyport, Massachusetts, had hoped she could skirt the toy gun issue altogether. She had avoided exposing her sons to guns, and when the subject came up, she explained to them, simply, that she didn’t like guns because they killed people.

Her sons love toy guns. They look for ways to acquire them and seek out shooting games at arcades. And Moltz, who is active with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, doesn’t want to forbid them. Her own mother had a strict no-gun policy when she was child, leaving her well-acquainted with the way parental bans can actually amplify children’s desire for whatever it is they are being denied. So she allows some gun play, both in-person and onscreen, but accompanies it with probing conversations.

Wait. Did I just read that Ms. Moltz’s mom’s strict no guns policy amplified her desire for a gun? That would explain her desire to ban guns.

As for the MDA Mom’s “probing conversations” about guns with her children I wonder if the sprogs in question would describe it that way. Mind you they’re too young to master the word “harangue.”

Brooke Berman, mother of a 7-year-old boy in New York, also struggles with her son’s attraction to guns and has discussed the issue at length with her friends and in therapy. “There was a time when I wouldn’t let him have one, and he would make one out of anything, but now we realize there is a time and place for it,” she said.

“He knows about Parkland. He knows guns kill people. He insists that (his) is not a real gun and he isn’t a real murderer,” she said. “He is very clear that this is playing.”

According to Michael Thompson, a psychologist and co-author of “Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys,” when a child says they understand the distinction between fantasy gun play and real-life gun use, believe them.

“I understand why parents get upset by these games, but it is play, and play does not lead to lethal aggression. Play … is consensual. Aggression is hurtful and produces injury in the person. Play doesn’t produce any of that,” he said.

Is a Mom in therapy the best person to ask about the issue of toy guns for boys? Well at least her seven-year-old son has a firm grip on reality. As does Mr. Thompson.

As for Ms. Strauss, her ultimate “argument” for toy guns for boys is . . . wait for it . . . boys will be boys.

[University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point psychology professor Erica] Weisgram says it’s probably a mix of biological and cultural factors that draw boys to guns. There’s evidence that male hormones are associated with what we think of masculine play, though no study has linked boys directly to toy weapons. There is also evidence that parents are more likely to give boys what we think of as masculine toys, including toy guns, and that children, once aware of gender difference, are more likely to choose toys that are designated for their gender.

If the past is an indication, there will always be some kids — boys and perhaps, one day, more Wonder Woman-inspired girls — who enjoy playing with toy guns. If and when they do, parents might consider responding by first asking them why.

I feel like that’s something of a mistake. Wonder Woman doesn’t use a gun. Wait. It is a mistake. As the Talking Heads pointed out, sometimes facts don’t do what you want them to, no matter how hard you try.

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  1. My question is where are these boys’ fathers while these dried up harridans are draining the life out of their sons?

    • Clearly, those “boys” are the product of parthenogenesis. Which also explains why they are so fond of footsie pajamas well into their twenties.

  2. This is hilarious. Once again, a bunch of “lemmings” are rushing the proverbial cliff. I say lemmings as I don’t wish to insult sheep as they are useful whereas these individuals their animal analogs (lemmings) aren’t per-se.

    Seriously, the argument boils to “boys will be boys”. This is extremely disingenuous as this same bunch of nutcases argue against that. Especially if they feel that “Male Privilege” has reared up. The amusement that I get from that is beyond description. Anyway, back to a more serious point. There is no factual basis (real or extrapolated) that such games, toys or video games involving violence have any correlation to violent behavior. If anything studies show a lack of real parenting, single-parent homes, social/cultural pressures (looking at NAACP, BLM, Sharpton, NBPP etc) are the major contributing factors in violent behaviors. The more realistic fix to violent behavior in our country is simple.

    1) Punish violent people. Actually penalize not just slap on the wrist. Doesn’t matter if it is 10yr old or 30year old. You murder someone you should be terminated. Period.
    2) Ingrain that there is Evil and Good in the world. Stop this bullshit and fantasy of rainbows and unicorns that they teach. Everyone won’t just get along if you “sympathize, empathize and understand them/their culture”. Seriously, get a grip.
    3) Enforce Laws Universally. We all know that the DOJ isn’t blind in its’ application. Remove the corrupt ones and prosecute and punish them appropriately.
    4) Regarding mass shootings. STOP FUCKING IDOLIZING THE SHOOTER/SCUMBAG!! Treat them as you would trash. Erase their name their accomplishments (if any), make them nothing. Not analyze and critique every damn thing in their life. Like it is some soap opera where we are supposed to feel sorry for the villain. Those scum are trash and should be treated like they are “less-than-human trash”.

  3. The most interesting observation I can think of is the chart of the US homicide rate from the earliest years of the 20’th center to-date. The homicide rate waxes and wanes. Peaks were: just before the repeal of Prohibition; and, 1993.

    Do we imagine that the waxing and waning of the homicide rate bears some correlation to the rate of toy-gun-play by boys over this era? How about a correlation with the rate of gun-ownership by house-hold; or per-capita?

    If there was no corresponding movement in toy-gun-play by boys, nor with availability of real guns then it’s really hard to imagine that modern mothers really have put their finger on the triggering independent variable.

    As a young child I played with toy guns. At 8 or so I turned to playing with un-loaded real guns. At 13 I was off to the woods with my own .22 and a supply of ammo limited only by my pocket-book (at wholesale prices). I sold dynamite as a kid. It never occurred to me to shoot anyone or blow-anyone up.

  4. Personally I think the problem is too much adult intervention in their children’s lives. In some ways kids know a lot of things their parents have forgotten or had “purged” from their consciousness. Kids need a certain amount of structure balanced with a certain amount of time to just do their own thing and learn on their own.

    George Carlin was correct to a point when he said “If you want to know how you can help your children: leave them the fuck alone!”

    Really, Carlin got a lot of things right. Just look at this quote from the 1990’s and think about how true it is today:

    “Next stop, grade school, where [a kid] won’t be allowed to play tag because it encourages victimization and [they] won’t be allowed to play dodgeball because it’s exclusionary and it promotes aggression. Standing around is still OK. Standing around is still permitted but it won’t be for long because sooner or later some kid is going to be standing around and his foot will fall asleep and his parents will sue the school and it will be goodbye fucking standing around.”

  5. When Elmer Fudd shot Daffy Duck in the face with his shotgun and the only result is that Daffy’s face is all blackened except for his eyes, even at 6 years old, I knew it wasn’t real.

    When Moe hit Curly on the head with a hammer, and all I heard was “BONG”, I knew it wasn’t real.

    We all know movies, TV shows and video games aren’t real.

    But there is a difference between the way politicians, celebrities, sports stars and adults in general treat each other, speak to one another and talk about each other today than when I was growing up. Maybe that’s something that has changed. Because there were semi automatic rifles with detachable magazines more than a 100 years ago. There were machine guns and gang violence was still rarer then.

    • Gang violence was NOT rarer 100 years ago than it is now. Violence with guns was, because guns were much more expensive than than now(adjusted for inflation). The major players in the gangs had guns and the girlfriend held them. They used razors, ice picks, stabbing knives and many people were murdered. It was much easier to get rid of a body then, people didn’t care about strangers, drifters, etc and the police departments had more important people to please.

  6. When I was a boy (I think I can remember that far back) my father made sure I had toy guns. He gave me a WW II surplus Springfield ’03 training rifle (a dummy model without an actual barrel), complete with a plastic bayonet. My uncle gave me a replica Thompson sub-machine gun, and for Christmas 1964 I got a Crossman BB pistol.

    In the summer, when I was bored, I discovered that the fake barrel on the Springfield was exactly the same caliber as a standard firecracker. I would sit in my second story bedroom window, slip the firecracker into the barrel, and pick out Nazi targets (sometimes Japs) in the empty field across the railroad tracks behind our house. I had a votive candle on the dresser with which I would light the firecracker fuse, then take aim and “POW”, dead bad guy. I never missed. Them were the days, in suburban Chicago, no less.

    Bottom line – we were never visited by police, or SWAT (not a thing in the ’60s) nor were any of our neighbors ever concerned, and to date I have not ever had any inclination to actually murder anyone, even though I could make a long list of people who might be candidates.

    Perhaps the point is that my games always involved shooting virtual ACTUAL bad guys, not just people who annoyed me.

  7. My mother was rabidly antigun. Strangely conservative about most everything else, she simply personally disliked firearms, and absolutely forbade them in our house. If we even had toy guns, or attempted to sneak them in… she would find them, destroy them (in a very animated fashion…), and punish us. Even forging a gun-like weapon from Legos was verboten.

    However, academic history was encouraged. And since so much of history is war, a subject where guns feature prominently, those evil killing machines entered my seedy little childhood mind. On my 18th birthday, I walked into a Woolworth’s department store, picked the coolest gun on the rack– a black pistol gripped Mossy 500. And I have been a shooter for 27 years now, ever since… ultimately even moving to Arizona and residing here for the last 22 years.

    My sister, a VA physician who lives in the Bay Area, shares the same “no guns no way no how” mentality as my mother once did. She has three children also, with her oldest son developing that healthy fascination with firearms… not quite a teen yet. My nephew loves to talk them with me, and loves to see the real deal in action on YouTube (e.g., eyes wide at Hickok45)… and wants so bad to see my modest tools. When he’s old enough for scuba gear, I reckon….

    But he is almost certainly destined to be a shooter. And my sister knows likely knows this, and is powerless to stop it… outside of supporting more gun control in a futile attempt to change what America is. (I respect the parenting boundaries, and I’m sure she she appreciates my wearing gun shirts every day I spend in Stalinist California.)

    Nothing sells ideas and widgets like taboos and prohibition.

    And when he catches the bug, and discovers the hot mess that is Commiefornia, look out… that kid is gonna have three safes bigger than any one I’ve ever owned. Particularly since he won’t be inheriting some cool sunken treasure if he elects to reside in California… this is gonna be interesting.

    Like Dickie V says, “It’s awwwwwesome, baby!”

    He asked me over Christmas, “Uncle Mort, next time we go camping, can you bring a gun?” Oh boy, it’s gonna blow his mind to find out that I’ve never been camping in my adult life without one… can’t wait….

    Be safe.

  8. I had a twin holster cap gun set and rode my horse playing cowboy holy smokes did I get bucked off when I shot the cap gun by her head . My son’s always got to play with toy guns, they ain’t killed nobody yet. I had to tone down the sword fighting tho when the youngest got his finger broke. After my first wife died and we kinda got over it all hell broke loose. We’d have nightly fights after dishes n floors were swept. My oldest boy got me down,I kinda let him, then the youngest ran up and kicked me in the nose, blood was rolling, Ty was dancing around real happy, ” I broke daddies nose I broke daddies nose”. … Wish I could turn back the clock a bit, them was good times.Well except the part about my kids bawling for mom at night, that sucked

  9. I was shooting almost from the time I was big enough to hold a rifle. My toy-box functioned as the neighborhood arsenal for our perpetual after-school war-games. There were some kids who’s parents were anti-gun but since I had all manner spares, I just loaned ’em one of mine and it was game on! Those were Halycon days. Kids who don’t get to do this are missing some of the great pleasures of childhood. But then, neither do they get to leave home at mid-morning with instructions to be home by supper-time.

  10. I made a petition on Moveon.org that has made them upset. I posted a pro-2nd Amendment petition on their site. Please go to link and endorse it if you fell like it after you read it. They want to take it down as they state at the top of it, but that would infringe on our 1st Amendment rights. Copy the link and send to friends also if you feel like it.

    Are there any other online petitions we could start to help us out with pro-2nd Amendment.


    • Ha! Poke ’em right in the eye!

      I don’t have a moveon.org account or any desire to sign up, but I clicked the “if you think we should support this petition” link.

    • Dude, I started to then chickened out, Paranoid, I don’t wear this double layered tin foil hat for nothing, they’re out to get me don’t ch know.

  11. The Whitehouse.gov petition web site has a lot of pro-2nd Amendment petitions that need people to view and sign if possible. Please help save our 2nd Amendment rights. Look at these and decide which to sign. There are too many to link here.

    A lot of anti-2nd Amendment petitions are post there also.


  12. We weren’t allowed toy guns as kids. So, we made our own out of Lego blocks, twigs,etc. Now, we’re grown up, and my brother and I own dozens of guns, including NFA stuff. Based on a sample of 2, 18 years of draconian toy gun banning gives you a good perspective on the 2A, real bans (and their effectiveness), and creates PoTG.

  13. I was and am anti-war, the type where our country bullies another. I raised my kids the same way, but I did buy them BB guns and set up a range in the back yard. It took them a while to understand this, I wouldn’t allow paint ball guns.
    It is very hard to explain to a kid that guns are tools and that shooting at people is wrong.
    Talking about bad guys and good guys means someone has to make a decision, and I feel that many kids could have a problem figuring out who was doing things bad enough that they needed shooting, so I just figure that if they wanted to, they could join the military and let them tell them.
    My parents would not allow firearms, but I got good advice from my father about them. Since we lived in the city, with no where to shoot them and they felt it was dangerous with kids in the house – I disagree, of course, but I do agree that a firearm is a responsibility. Using it for protection can and will change your life.

  14. We didn’t have any money for toy guns. So my older brothers, the neighborhood kids, and I all fashioned guns out of sticks and small pieces of lumber to go play war. Same technique as for our swords ans spears.

    Those are some of my earliest lifetime memories. Totally natural and normal. Yet, I’ve never had any desire or interest to go commit a spree shooting.

  15. I hate it when people online go toward looks and faces for answers – that stated I am going to delve into it 🙂

    This woman’s grin is scary! Legit, I don’t know if we should give her more xanax or take it away. She is one helping of chardonnay away from tears and beating kids w/ coat hangers. I don’t want her kids to have guns because she may find them !

    People around America are worried about guns while women like this exist AND reproduce. Look closely and you will see a purple hue to her eyes. And she is not alone. She was in “therapy” with presumably others like her. Strategy session to open up a bunch of candy shops around the nation? Nightmare fuel of the strongest kind.

    “Why so serious”! Cuz “womyn” like this exist and walk among us.

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