The land formerly known as Great Britain has done its level best for the past generation or so to outlaw and demonize virtually all firearms use by commoners. Not that the effort seems to be having much effect on the UK’s criminal class, who still manage to get their hands on guns in the island nation. Be that as it may, any depiction of weapons — ballistic or pointed — brings swift condemnation and expressions of outrage among a population of subjects conditioned to reject the very concept of armed self defense.
So you can imagine the hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing that ensued when photos were published yesterday showing little Prince George — third in line for the British throne — playing with a plastic toy gun while his mother looked on…smiling.
Inexplicably, some observers were OK with it.
Full post live on the blog covering Kate’s afternoon at polo with her little ones! George played cowboy with a toy gun and handcuffs, and Kate climbed the helter-skelter! https://t.co/XSx5bCaqNY #princegeorge #princesscharlotte #katemiddleton pic.twitter.com/wpywTJcBXM
— HRH Kate Middleton (@princesskate_GB) June 10, 2018
But that didn’t stop hordes of alarmed Brits from expressing their horror at the images.
— Daisy (@fitzharding) June 11, 2018
The incendiary snaps provoked this navel-gazer — Should Children Be Allowed to Play With Toy Guns? Experts Weign-In Following Outrage Over Prince George Photographs . . .
SPOILER ALERT: Despite the torqued panties among the British populace at the sight of a happy child playing with a toy gun, the “experts” The Independent talked to were…fine with it.
“I understand why gun play worries parents, however research shows that any aggression demonstrated while engaging in ‘war play’ is not carried over into real life. ie: kids who play with guns become no more violent than those who don’t,” Sarah Ockwell-Smith, parenting expert and author of The Gentle Discipline Book told The Independent.
“Pretend play is an important way for children to make sense of the world; in an age where guns are becoming more prevalent, gun-play helps them to process what they may see on the news, or indeed be subject to in real-life in a safe way.
“That said, even if parents restrict gun-toys, it incredibly likely that children will fashion their own, from a stick for instance. For this reason, combined with the evidence, I see no issue with letting children play with guns and happily allowed my own children to do so.”
Parenting coach Bea Marshall agrees, adding: “In my experience of raising my own sons, and also working with families around the world, one thing I have learned is that many children will find a way to create a gun no matter how hard you try to keep guns out of their world. Sticks, lego, wooden spoons and more are often turned into a gun and the intention behind it is completely innocent.
“As guns are a very real aspect of the world we live in today, whether the military, online gaming, movies or sport, I encourage parents to be part of their child’s exploration of guns.
But those considered opinions did nothing to quell the social media outrage.
It’s not a joke some people lose their lives because their children thought they played with a toy and it was a real gun !! pic.twitter.com/IBJqQrXnef
— Just Juliette (@RoyalDetective8) June 10, 2018
— dave4000 (@dave40003) June 11, 2018
And the vapors at those disturbing images extended to this side of the Atlantic, too.
Here’s why the sight of #PrinceGeorge playing with a toy gun is triggering for some of us. Black mothers in the US have to teach their sons not to play with anything (a toy gun, a cell phone, etc.) a policeman could claim looked like a real gun. Their lives depend on it.
— Deesa Roberts (@DeesaRoberts) June 10, 2018
And so it goes.