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Reader One If By Land 1776 writes:

I was in Newtown, Connecticut this weekend visiting family and joined them in watching the annual Newtown Labor Day parade. My nieces (age 6 and 8) go to school at the “other” Sandy Hook Elementary school (there were two). Their school was not (directly) involved in the terrible events that thrust Newtown into the spotlight, and I thank God daily that my nieces escaped the horror of that tragic day…(I even thank Zeus and Poseidon…just to be sure). Unfortunately . . .

My family knows a few of the people who tragically lost a child that day, and they share in their heartache. But despite the terror we ALL felt that day, my family understands that inanimate objects did not cause this tragedy. They understand and acknowledge that the firearms that were used are no more responsible for these events than the automobile that was used to transport “A.L.” to the school that day. That the black AR-15 is no more at fault, than the black Honda Civic. In fact, shortly after Sandy Hook, my brother obtained his concealed carry license and they continue to maintain a firearm in the home for personal protection as they have done for years.

I am told that many of their Newtown neighbors share the same feelings, and I have been asked to speak with several of their Newtown friends and neighbors who are interested in obtaining their CCL. This is prompted in part by the feeling of helplessness caused by this event, partly due to the realization that the police can’t be everywhere all of the time and a clear understanding (now) that we all need to take responsibility for our family’s security…but also prompted by the overreach of their elected officials spurred either by either a knee-jerk reaction to a horrific event or a unique opportunity to exploit a tragedy to further their political agendas. Or both. And they want to push back.

So, this weekend, I joined my family to watch the Newtown Labor Day parade. We set our chairs up along the parade route and settled in to watch the days activities. As I waited for each float to go by, I noticed three young boys playing nearby with some toy firearms apparently purchased from a hawker who came to sell goods at the parade. One had a toy pistol (with requisite orange tip) and two had toy AR-15s (also with requisite orange tips) but, with enhanced “machine gun” sound effects.


They were doing what young boys have done for ages with toy firearms….some kind of game of war or cops and robbers, “shooting” one another (and others) as the parade went by. I watched and watched and no one seemed to give them a second look (or a first look for that matter). They were surrounded by hundreds of other people, and they were playing and “shooting” and no one seemed to mind at all.

Oh, and did I mention that I was sitting directly across the street from a school (which shall remain nameless) while this was going on, and no one seemed notice them playing…no one, except me, that is. For nearly 15 minutes I ceased watching the parade and watched these boys play and observed everyone around them. It was, just as it should be….everyone was watching the parade and these boys were playing, and no one was scared. No one called the police, no one freaked out. It was a parade – kids were playing, and all as right with the world….as it should be.

I thought long and hard whether or not to send this to TTAG as I did not want to draw undue attention to what should be an everyday, normal activity. But I figured I’d send it along because I think it says a lot about the resiliency of the human spirit; the fact that people aren’t as fragile (emotionally or physically) as some try make people out to be, and also because the meme of the anti-gun community can, does and will distort reality so that it’s perceived how they want it perceived. And nowhere is that more evident than how anti-Second Amendment rights advocates use Newtown to leverage their emotional debate.


What I witnessed was a town struck by a terrible tragedy…a town that has mourned (and will not forget) the loss of “their own”, but a town that has also picked itself up by its bootstraps and is well on its way to healing the wounds that they have suffered. What I saw was a town (in the words of President Harding after WWI) that is seeking (and achieving) a “return to normalcy.”

And I guess that was my biggest hesitation to sending this, because I don’t want them to receive undue attention for doing what is perfectly natural, returning to their way of life before Sandy Hook. And that means boys can and should play cops and robbers at the Labor Day parade, across from a school. And nobody should give them a second look because that’s what probably happened before December 14, 2012. It’s perfectly normal again for that to happen on September 1, 2014…and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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  1. Good article Dan. Whether it’s a firearm, knife, bat or vehicle, in the hands of a madman, all are capable of inflicting a lot of serious injury or death…

  2. Americans have always picked up and soldiered on. Thank you for teaching/encouraging those adults that realize only they can protect themselves.

  3. And in most polls, that hideous thug governor Dannel Malloy (D) is losing to Tom Foley (R) by 5 to 8 points. Life may indeed return to normal if that democrat scvmbag is kicked out of office.

      • Foley will not save our gun rights, but Malloy will do his best to create more draconian gun control laws that do nothing. Worse than guns, Malloy has killed the state economy by following the Obama agenda. All the ratings agencies and the WaPo fact checker have said that Malloy just uses accounting tricks and tax give away as economic policy. 49% of the state says they would move if they could. Businesses are slowly moving out. We will like NJ be paying out more in pensions and social programs than the state takes in. As Obama has screwed the US economy, Malloy has done so for CT. He screwed the city of Stamford when he was mayor, and the state allowed him to make the same mistakes at the state level.

        There are still rumors he his looking at a job in the Clinton White House so he can screw things up at the National Level too.

      • Foley couldn’t do anything to repeal it without flips of both houses. At least he won’t push for more laws, and if the courts strike down the current law, I doubt he will try to replace it.

        • Sounds like a sensible strategy to me. Vote out a few more democrats and he might even have a shot at it.

      • Folks in CT screw themselves because they don’t vote and they let the liberals run things. They have the numbers, they just don’t show up when it counts. So I really don’t care about them. One nice potential positive, though, is that a Malloy loss this year would derail his presidential aspirations.

      • I would not be deluded into thinking Foley wouldn’t have done the exact same thing Malloy did nor would I think he wouldn’t do the same thing in the future in the opportunity or political need arose.

        But as South Park has so nicely illustrated, our choices here and almost everywhere else are Giant D*uche or Sh!t Sandwich.

        You loose either way; you just loose a little bit less with one over the other.

    • If a cop on his/her own saw the kid, it could have been a much different story, including the kid being shot to death along with multiple bystanders (because cops tend to be terrible shots).

  4. Honestly, I disagree with the author, I don’t think kids should play with toys that resemble real guns. If someone is going to sell fake guns to kids, they should look like fake plastic guns (ie. transparent plastic, or bright colors), and if you play airsoft (something which is apparently becoming more popular) with realistic looking guns, it should be done somewhere isolated, away from regular society. Maybe no one panicked because they were young kids, maybe no one panicked because the tips were painted orange, but I could just as well paint the tip of my real gun orange, or add a orange plastic bit, and run around and shoot people (or hand it to some kid and have him run around with it). Sure, we are familiar with guns, but that doesn’t mean that I will recognize every gun out there, or be able to tell that it’s a toy gun without getting really up close to it. Even real guns sometimes look like toy guns, so when someone runs around with something that resembles a gun, it should be taken seriously.
    There was recently someone in my neighborhood who went out on random nights and shot off blanks (one of the spent blanks, like this, was found outside, close to my house ). It really sounded like someone was shooting at someone outside. He is very lucky that I or some other armed citizen was not out at the time he was “pretend shooting” at things/people with his replica(or possibly real) gun, regardless of whether he really was a threat. I heard someone once say “Perception is reality,” and while that’s not completely true, if someone perceives you as a “real” threat = you can get “real” dead.

    • Most people think normally when it comes to toys.
      Kids play with toys. Kids are holding deformed looking toy guns with orange tips that have a crappy speaker inside that makes a bang noise. They don’t immediately assume that anything gun shaped is a gun.

      From experience, most people who play airsoft either do so in the woods or at professional facilities. They don’t want to get yelled at by the neighbors for filling their yard with plastic pellets.

    • Move to California. Our legislature just passed a bill to do exactly what you suggest with Airsoft guns. No telling if the Guv will sign it, but we’ll know either way by the end of the month. And since open carry is banned, they are the only “guns” you’ll see, so you won’t get confused.

      • Thanks, but I think I’d rather stay here in Florida, where we can have “real” magazines. “Our legislature just passed a bill to do exactly what you suggest with Airsoft guns. “ Oh, so you guys do have some sense and logic over there – well, good for you!

      • almost forgot to add:

        “…since open carry is banned, they are the only “guns” you’ll see, so you won’t get confused.”

        Not true. What, do you think that will stop someone from illegally carrying around guns in the open? I guess you must think “No Guns Allowed” signs will stop people set on ignoring them or breaking the law as well.

    • There should be a law, amirite!?

      Having pearls re-strung is expensive, don’t clutch too tight…

  5. Why do I think Shannon will get her panties in a bunch over this? Is it because her (approx.) 15 yr old stepson is a big chubby sissified punk afraid of his own shadow? Yep

  6. Ya know, at some point the wussification and political correctness of young boys with toy guns has to be called on.
    I’m in my 40’s , drank from garden hoses, played war, rode my BMX bike with no helmet, loved a ride to the soda shop in the back of a pickup, played tackle back yard football with no padding (broken nose to boot), played with lawn darts. Yes, 2lb hurled pointy things lobbed at eachother toward the target that would have impaled us if directly hit,…. Jesus H. Christ Pyle,…. This country is out of phase!!

    This post reminded me of a time when Band Aids were worn as trophies. A few stitches here and there were signs of toughness. We didn’t digress into participation trophies or consoling when we lost and needed counseling.

    My now 19 year old son got what I did. Pull weeds by hand, a work ethic, rewarded for good deeds and
    punished for screwing up. Never abusive but able to find out for himself what it means to be a responsible member if rhe community. Not some wussified shelter in place wait on the authorities or .gov to show up and rescue them. Screw that.
    Sorry rant off.
    Good post I agree with the perspective of the author.

    • That America still exists, far from the judgmental eyes of journalists and hand-wringing “parent bloggers” who brag about tutus on their boys and crew cuts on their girls. No Band-Aids for our boys. A trickle of blood streaming from the knee is the badge of honor for them.

    • Honestly, the lawn darts really weren’t such a good idea. Nothing wrong with scrapes, bruises and a few broken bones, but a lawn dart really could phuck you up.

      • I’m not sure riding around with a helmet is a good idea either… brain damage is not a badge of honor.

        • When I was your age, bicycle helmets were unheard of! Even motorcycle helmets are superfluous, if you actually know how to operate the motorcycle properly.

      • My brother and I made up a lawn dart game the was more interesting. You had to throw the lawn dart over the telephone wire and if your opponent grabbed it out of the air you had -2 points. Was a pretty fun game and no one got hurt.

    • Lawn darts! Forgot all about those, i think they are a felony now here in california. Along with spud guns.

      • Jarts.
        When I was a kid, I decided to make my own arrow. I sharpened a dowel in an electric pencil sharpener and glued paper feathers to the other end. A friend of mine was at the bottom of a hill trying to catch the arrow as I threw it from the top of the hill. He caught it once…without using his hands. He didn’t even cry…until he saw the blood dripping out of his forehead. I pulled the arrow out of his head (just stuck in the skin) and went inside to make myself a fried bologna sandwich.

    • When I saw the first photo I thought ‘oh crap, some open-carrier has stepped in it again’ because it was blurred enough that all I saw was the finger on the trigger…

    • I don’t have problems with orange tipped guns in general. But if you let your kids play with them, wouldn’t this be a good time to start teaching them that trigger discipline?

  7. The author says that no one seemed to notice or care, and yet he noticed. I think a lot of other people did too, and many of them probably felt it was in very bad taste for parents to allow their kids to play with toy AR-15s during that particular event. It’s not about whether it should be permitted by law; rather it’s about demonstrating common sense and class, and the parents of those boys (if they knew their sons had their toys) failed in that regard. Thank goodness Open Carry Texas didn’t show up with ARs.

    • Bill, I’m disappointed. You mentioned Open Carry Texas but forgot to specifically complain about the “Chipotle Ninjas”. You should perhaps reference the “Kroger Ninja” and the “Target® Ninjas” next time as well for extra bonus points.

  8. I was born in 1950. We had toy guns that would make Shannon Watts poop her panties. We played “gun games” every Saturday, Kids’ TV shows were violent. We took our toy guns everywhere and played “gun games”. None of the parents ever cared that we “played guns” all the time, except if we did something stupid, like climb a tree we shouldn’t have and fell out.

    When we got our first .22LR rifles, our Dad taught us how to shoot them safely, handle them safely, clean them safely and emphasized the difference between our “toys” and the “real deal” in no uncertain terms.

    I think all that “playing guns” inf my childhood helped me clearly see the difference between “fantasy” and “reality”. As an adult gun owner, it made me keenly aware of the awesome power to maim and kill guns can be used for. It also made me keenly aware, as a responsible adult, of the awesome responsibility placed on me as a gun owner never to put my guns to that use unless there is no other choice.

    I suppose some of the screwy schemes being concocted to make toy guns look like non-lethal toys is intended to reinforce the “toy” aspect of the toy guns, but I think actually knowing the difference has to do with what is in the mind of the owner/user, and,once again *sigh*, has nothing to do with the object (toy gun) itself. This seems such a difficult lesson for many people nowadays to learn…..

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