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The hardscrabble journalists who keep America informed by producing The Today Show — after what must have been an exhaustive search — found a couple of mothers who, in the aftermath of Newtown, decided they just couldn’t live with toy guns in their homes any more. So in an apparent tribute to the fallen of Sandy Hook, they’ve yanked the Nerf guns from their kids’ grubby little hands and tossed them in the garbage like last night’s Tater Tots. One mom they dug up (a former journalist: go figure!) is Anupy Singla of Chicago: “’It was just something that inside me really snapped,’ said Singla, 44, a cookbook author and food writer, and she threw the playthings away. ‘It’s me making a decision that this is not something that’s right in our house. We don’t believe in playing with something that represents something that could be potentially so dangerous.’” Good on you then, Anupy. We know your kids’ analysts will thank you for it some day, too. As for the current crop of child psychologists, though . . .

They’re not sold on the whole plastic gun disarmament thing. And by “plastic guns,” we don’t mean Glocks.

Toy guns are generally favored by boys, and wanting to play with one doesn’t mean a child is or will be violent, (Constance Katz, co-founder of the child and adolescent psychotherapy training program at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology) said.

“Playing with a toy gun is not necessarily a worrisome sign,” Katz said. “The focus should not be on playing with guns, it should be on the total emotional life of the child.”

Katz said she would be concerned if a child plays with a toy gun to the exclusion of all other toys or becomes obsessed with gun play, or if the child shows signs of alienation, withdrawal, depression or a loss of control over aggression, adding: “Those are the real risk factors.”

While throwing out toy guns may make anxious parents feel better, Katz said it’s an ineffective, overly simplistic response.

“It’s not the issue,” she said. “The issue really is the big picture of the child’s adjustment to other people and the world.”

Do tell. So tossing the tots’ toy Tauruses in the trash does absolutely nothing for the rugrats’ budding psyches full of mush, but at least it makes their moms feel like they’re “doing something” in the wake of a tragedy.

Wonder what Anupy’s stance will be when her precious little Singlets go off to play with their friends who have moms like Shelley Dreizen, a former teacher and mother of three from (gasp!) Connecticut.

“I’d rather not make it taboo and forbidden but let him play with certain rules,” Dreizen said of her son, the only one of her kids who’s really interested in toy weapons.

She teaches him to be a good guy who leads people to safety, not a killer, so he’s not getting the message that using a gun is the only to way to get what he wants.

“You don’t let them pretend to shoot everyone in the room because heroes don’t do that,” Dreizen said. “Heroes protect. That’s what I’m teaching my son.”

There are just so many choices to make when you’re raising the next generation.

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  1. Anupy is an idiot. She forgot to get rid of all his toys that are associated with violence, like toy soldiers, transformers, etc. unfortunately her son will probably end up a victim of some type in his later years.
    At least there is a ray of sunshine and happiness in this though, Mrs Dreizen is teaching her son the rights and wrongs from an early age and will hopefully keep up the good work throughout his growing up.

  2. My sister tried this nonsense years ago, all it led to was her sons running around with a dolls legs as gun.

    Shelley Dreizen sounds like a good mother to me. Every son should be so lucky to have a mom that wants her son to be a hero.

    • LOL, doll legs as guns?

      Never underestimate the desire for boys to engage in the kind of imaginative play they want. My mother’s friend hated anything gun related or violence related (like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). But try as she did, the boys ended up building their own “guns” and “swords” out of LEGOS, paper, cardboard, etc.

      Parents who ban their kids from playing with toy guns / weapons without properly explaining their reasons why are just setting up their kids to be the next unfortunate children you hear about on the news who go over to their friends’ house, play with a REAL gun, and then get shot.

    • This. Kids in general, and boys in particular, will repurpose the materials at hand to match what’s going on on their crazy little heads. It takes your average boy about 2 minutes, tops, to build a pistol-shaped object using Lego parts. Watched one of my kids build a Lego rubber-band launcher in under 15 minutes recently.

    • Ha! An acquaintance of mine (so liberal she insisted on buying Citgo gas to support Chavez) banned toy guns from her two boys, then had to ban gun-shaped sticks. She gave up when she realized she couldn’t ban fingers. At the last Halloween party, her youngest son came dressed as a commando with an “Avtomat Kalashnikova, 7.62×39 caliber” (his very accurate description). As we all know, there’s no better way to stoke interest in guns than banning them.

  3. “We don’t believe in playing with something that represents something that could be potentially so dangerous>”

    something, represents, something, could, potentially.


    • Yeah, TTACer, I had the same thought. That’s a lot of subjectivity and ambiguity and projection for one sentence.

      • But she’s a former journalist! She can’t misspeak because she’s more cultured and sophisticated than us gun people.

  4. Go ahead, you colossal idiot. Throw away your kid’s toy guns. He’ll just get a stick and do the same thing. Or a broom. Or a shoe. Or his hand. For the most part, the playtime of young children is almost entirely based in and on their own imagination. That’s why a toy is just a toy, but the box it came in can be a car, or a boat, or a rocket ship, or a fort, or a house, or…

  5. Despite all the science that tells pretend violence is normal and healthy for kids, the ‘do something even if it’s wrong crowd’ will be picketing Toy-R-Us to get all the pop-guns removed in the near future. If they aren’t already.

    In the meantime, the kids one actually has to worry about are the ones that torture and kill animals. Scientifically proven to have a good chance at attaining murderer status, they get ignored and never touched by our nearly non-extant mental health system. Until they show up on the news with a trail of bodies.

  6. I have a couple of chef’s knives that are potentially dangerous in my children’s hands. Did she get rid of all those sharp dangerous objects in her kitchen?

  7. Best experiment I heard of that is relevant to this discussion. The European Beaver (no seriously) was trapped and killed to extinction in the wild 300 years ago. Breeding in zoos kept a small population alive. In the 20th century a few were reintroduced to the wild. Although these animals for generations didnt build dams, guess what? They immediately set out building dams. End of story.

    People are wired to use weapons. We carried something in our hands for a million years on the African veldt.

    • People are wired for self preservation and so are those Beavers. Thus, why, self defense is a God given right via pistol or any other means.

  8. I admittedly had an issue with toy guns in the house. It’s from my upbringing, if the kids are old enough for the toy, they’re old enough for the real thing.

    My kids have real tools, real(ish) pots and pans, etc. One of my biggest fears is the one time I leave a gun somewhere within reach and they would think it was a toy.

    I underestimated my kid’s intelligence. They know the difference between their nerf guns (that I now allow in the house) and my pistol. I showed my pistol to them, I cleaned my pistol around them, and soon I’ll show them the same lesson my grandfather showed me about the power of firearms (the ever-entertaining watermelon demonstration). They get it, and more importantly, if they were over someone else’s house and those folks weren’t quite as responsible with their firearms, I know my kids would be safe.

    • It’s almost never too early to expose them, I believe. I was sitting on my dads lap in the duck blind when I was 3. Grew up with unlocked shotguns in his bedroom closet. Maybe not the best idea, but I can tell you that I was NEVER even tempted to play with them. I didn’t even think about them really. I had seen them in action and was aware of their purpose. Plus, I was shooting them myself (under supervision of course) by the time I was 8 or 9. There was never any mystery or confusion. They were just part of life.

  9. When I was quite small, many decades ago, I lobbied hard for a complete army combat set for Christmas. I got it, it included a Tommy Gun (age showing here), a Luger, canteen, plastic steel pot, and I don’t know what all. What I did with it, in my mind, was slaughter “bad guys.” Nazis and Nips (the latter of which my father had considerable real experience of). I don’t know about today’s youth of American, but I imagine this was what most kids playing with toy guns did in those days. I don’t see how fantasizing defending freedom and liberty against tyranny is a bad thing for a child.

    And yes, in the absence of a real toy gun, any stick or other suitable object could be pressed into service. A child’s imagination knows no bounds.

    • My own toys were often fashioned or crafted by the design of a child’s mind. When studying the American Revolution, a crude but passable flintlock was made of a tree branch. After Star Wars came out, I had already learned how to utilize a jigsaw and sand paper.
      A young mind needs more than good intention and luck for guidance.
      I had Marines to show me the truth. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for being there.

  10. Can’t we just pretend to give up our guns & mags? They live in their pretend safe zones, I’m thinking they won’t know the difference. Yeah, anupy, get your child started on that safe zone mentality, it worked out great for 20 kids so far. BTW, a CT attorney is trying to sue for 100 mil alleging incompetance by the state. I don’t know what his angle is though, Randy

  11. what she going to do when the kid uses his thumb and 1st finger???cut them off…glue them together?? THIS LADY IS NUTS

  12. Seems like a good thread to ask the TTAG community:
    Anyone teach some version of the 4 rules when your kids are playing with toy projectile anything– Nerf, cap guns, water pistols for examples? My daughter has a water pistol and she’s already learning trigger discipline before she ever handles a real firearm.

    • I don’t have kids, but I think you have to take age and activity and intelligence into account. How do you teach the four rules with a squirt gun when the entire point is to point it at someone for fun and games? You don’t do target practice with a nerf gun. I suppose you could line up a bunch of empty cans and knock them down, but that seems kinda boring and not well suited for a kid trying to have fun. They’re designed for battle. You and your buddy each have one, and first one to get hit loses.

      You teach them the difference between toys and the real thing, I guess.

      • I didn’t mean all four rules at once– i wasnt clear on my prior post. Just trying to see if anyone was trying to introduce good habits along with playtime.

    • I’m trying with my 11 year old cousin and his BB/airsoft guns. It’s not getting thru. Nor is clip vs magazine.

  13. And, for Xmas all my nieces and nephews recieved new nurf guns and/or airsoft pistols depending on their age and we had a blast playing nurf force-on-force in the snow the next day — and schockingly some of them are high honor students and none have issues with either being bullied or being the bully at school.

    For heaven sake, its not the plastic toy its how these kids are raised!

    (and this uncle is starting to accept that pink camo will be worn by the girls; tactical advantage be damned 🙂 )

  14. My parents banned any gun–real or toy–from the house when I was a child. We see how well that worked out… To borrow a line from the Bible (sort of), “train up a child in the way that he should go, and in the end, he’ll run away from it as quickly as he can.”

    • Got that right..
      No booze, or cigarettes in my house. No guns either, although I learned to shoot early age 8 at a great summer camp. Parents were very liberal. joined the IDF, I am conservative, and love guns.. yup worked out perfect!! 🙂

  15. I think by taking away all the toy guns or sheltering them from gun culture, their curiosity for guns still exists and becomes greater. In my opinion, if you introduce them early to guns and safety it removes the curiosity thus making them more aware of their potential.

    I introduce my kids to .22 rifles and pistols at an early age so they could get first hand experiences about guns. They see they dangers and are less prone to being careless around them. If they were to only hear that guns can destroy things without first hand seeing it, they would be left to their imagination. Start ’em early and start ’em right.

  16. “We don’t believe in playing with something that represents something that could be potentially so dangerous”

    No toy cars either.

  17. Shows how the left wants to brainwash kids. Lets all buy our kids some toy cap guns and give the liberals a BIG raspberry!

  18. “We don’t believe in playing with something that represents something that could be potentially so dangerous.’”

    I wonder how many times in her cookbooks she uses the word ‘something’ in the same sentence? Kitchen cooking knives are dangerous they must be banned or something.

  19. I like how people want to “do something” for the kids at Sandy Hook. It’s like “doing something” by participating in a charity walk or “raising awareness” for “social justice” or “wise policy decisions” or the “greater good.”

    What I’ve learned in these last weeks is that leftists are lazy except when it comes to avoiding responsibility. Rather than stand up for themselves and take the responsibility of protecting themselves and their families, they’d rather just disarm YOU. Rather than donating their own money to charity, they’d rather have YOU sign the form on the office refrigerator for their 5k and have YOU donate YOUR money. But hey, they walked 5k on a Saturday (like they would have done anyway,) but they “did something.”. Rather than volunteer and teach a kid to read or feed the poor, they’ll just instead be very generous with YOUR tax dollars. It’s quite a boost to their self esteem, though!

    This whole guns-should-only-be-had-by-police-and-military-and-men-in-government-approved-uniforms is really just saying “I’m not willing to take responsibility for myself, so I want the government to do it for me.” Making fun of “gun nuts” is the same as when they made fun of nerds in school. They can no more stand the strong and independent anymore than they could the kids that were smarter than them.

    Their hatred of firearms is rooted in laziness and envy.

  20. boys like guns, girls like dolls. if you give a girl guns she’ll have the momma gun, the poppa gun, and the baby gun. if you give a boy dolls he’ll bend it over and use it as a gun. this is how it is, end of story, and if you can’t accept it then don’t have kids. next thing you know this woman will have her son wearing dresses, or if she succeeds in training the warrior spirit out of him, he’ll choose to wear them himself.

  21. My own son turns to manhood (age 18) come early January. His whole point of becoming a “man” is to stand in front of those who cannot. When he was just a small boy, we, (he and I) stood toe to toe with drawn swords and we argued the purpose of being in conflict. Impressed upon the lad was the simple, yet all too easy to understand virtue, those who can do. He is our future, and he knows it well.
    Fear is a troublesome master, and our counterparts would do well to understand that. My son, young as he is, a man in training, knows more of being than most. What have you, gentle reader, wrought that would argue?

    • The other side, no, he did not have toy guns as a child. His first gun was an 1851 Colt reproduction to carry in the mountains of Northern California. He did so with aplomb. The boy has since been trained on a multitude of weapons and knows the purpose without pause. I trust him to stand to while I sleep. As he does in return. Is that not the point of raising a child?

  22. Did she toss all the violent video games, music, movies, etc out with the nerf guns? Cancel cable TV and the Netflix subscription? Block out the evening news ?

    Then I guess her little ones will continue to receive the kind of programming all the other kids get, only now guns are forbidden fruit and even more fascinating As Seen on TV.

  23. I just put together my kids’ Nerf Stampede FULL-AUTO HIGH CAPACITY machine gun. It is truly AWESOME. The best part is that the controls and operation are surprisingly similar to an AR or HK sub gun. The selector switch uses the HK markings, the magazine release is identical to a Remington 597’s, and the kids have learned to clear jams when they overload the magazine. The best accessory is the bipod stored in the foregrip — identical to ones you can get for your AR.

    Maybe the real reason Ms. Singla hates these toys is their authenticity. Who knows? Her kids may one day write for TTAG.

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