The America of my youth was not as good as the America of today. African Americans had not yet claimed their civil rights. The mafia controlled my native Rhode Island. The encyclopedia was our internet. And so on. But one thing’s for sure: I grew in a gun culture. Even in the liberal bastion that is this country’s smallest state, guns were part of the social fabric. We had toy guns – as seen on TV! All our TV heroes – spies, soldiers and cowboys – used guns. Guns were good! Today . . .
it’s NERF or nothing. Mostly nothing. TV moguls banned toy guns ads decades ago. I haven’t seen boys playing with toy guns on the street since Nixon declared his mother a saint. The idea that you’d carry a gun on the bus to high school for rifle team practice has disappeared along with mood rings and pet rocks. And yet . . .
Call of Duty is bigger than Hollywood. Laser tag emporiums are doing land office business. Paintball fields likewise. TV and movie good guys still shoot bad guys. YouTube has FPSRussia et al. And while NERF guns are to real guns what Pizza Hut is to Pieous, Hasbro sells millions of the dart flingers. So the gun culture exists, it’s just not as unabashedly, unapologetically American as it used to be. Will it ever be again?