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TTAG reader guy 1 writes:

As I watched A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve, I savored the film’s greatest moment: Ralphie’s joy and wonderment at receiving his Daisy Red Rider Lever action carbine BB Gun. Before that, Ralphie goes to ridiculous lengths to let his parents know his heart’s desire – only to be shut down by his mother with those dreadful words, “you’ll shoot your eye out.” The same words uttered by his homeroom teacher after reading his “what I want for Christmas” essay. While watching these series of events I can’t help but wonder . . .

would Ralphie even be able to write about his desire for having a BB gun if he was a child in a  21st century American school?”

Instead of getting a C+ and a warning from his teacher, Ralphie would be referred to the principal. Even without chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun, his desire for a “violent and dangerous weapon” would fall afoul of the modern public school’s “zero tolerance” policy on firearms. Ralphie would face detention, suspension and/or mandatory psychological counseling.

Any further talk of guns or Heaven forfend “violent” writing would be forever banned. Ralphie’s parents would be notified and warned. His dream of righting wrongs with a gun, his boyhood wonderment and desire to defeat Black-Eyed Bart by force of arms would be crushed. 

In today’s PC-obsessed hoplophobic schools, teachers and administrators regularly punish students who express any interest in anything firearm-related. In a recent case, a school banned a seventh grade student for wearing a Star Wars shirt – with a blaster on it! The reaction was symbolic of the systematic conditioning of young boys to fear and loathe firearms. The idea that boys – and girls – could fill their imaginations by enacting pretend shoot-outs and military conflicts – on school grounds – is beyond the pale.

I don’t see this anti-gun crusade as a violation of childrens’ Second Amendment rights. They are, after all, children. But it certainly runs against the spirit of the First Amendment-protected right to free expression (i.e. without government infringement). Children of all ages should be able to play cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, and war, without being condemned by teachers and administrators hell bent on promoting passivity (masquerading as tolerance).

Ralphie ends up getting  his new BB gun for Christmas. Despite the warnings of lost eyes, Ralph’s father – and mother – indulged their son in a vital right of passage. To deny boys (in particular) the chance to explore the limits of power and morality with pretend guns and, yes, BB guns and firearms too, is to stunt their ability to tell right from wrong. 

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  1. The creation of the beta male continues unabated. Or they would like to believe. My kids learned about the good uses of firearms from me and the message is being passed along to the grandkids.

    Get your kids away from the mass media. Don’t use a tv as a baby sitter and monitor where they visit on the computer.

    I want kids and grandkids that will fight back. Not run for a “safe zone”.

    • Way back when I was about 10 years old and living in southwest Chicago my father gave me a WW II surplus Springfield ’03 training rifle (a dummy, what is now commonly referred to as a “rubber duckie”), complete with a ceramic bayonet. This rifle looked and functioned exactly like an ’03 but had no actual barrel and could not obviously be loaded with any ammunition. I carried that rifle all over the neighborhood for years and played war with all my friends. I even occasionally pointed it out of my bedroom window and played sniper.

      We had a fairly large backyard and often some of the guys would come over with their BB guns and run around the yard assaulting my “fortress”. I had a candle in my upstairs bedroom and as they charged the house I would place a firecracker in the barrel of my ’03, light the fuse, and take a bead on ’em. BANG! Great fun was had by all.

      Back to the 21st century, how long would any kid, or his parents, survive that sort of role playing in any major city, much less Chicago?

      • Growing up in the sub’s west of chicago I too can remember fond memories of playing “war” with my neighbor hood chums…..unfortunately that time is long gone. hell I use to walk all over my town of Elmhurst when i was a kid and i mean kid and i mean ALL OVER ..try that today and news 5 will be trying to interview your parents as they sit in the police station explaining on why there kid should not be put into state custody…

  2. Have watched it a dozen times as it mirrors my childood in Cheyenne. And one Christmas, after all the presents were opened, my Dad said, “I think there is one more behind the couch”.

    Yes!!! A Red Ryder, and a wonderful Christmas I fondly remember- 63 years and dozens of guns ago.

  3. The second amendment does not list an age where the right to keep and bear arms takes effect. If the first amendment applies, so does the second. If we pick and choose which parts of the Constitution to follow, we are no better than the hoplophobic left that want to tear it apart.

    • Twitter and Facebook are the assault weapons of the first Amendment. The framers of the Constitution never envisioned people spraying rapid-fire stupdity out over the entire world at the speed of light.

    • ^This!

      There are no age restrictions on the excercising of one’s rights.

      To say that “I don’t see this anti-gun crusade as a violation of childrens’ Second Amendment rights. They are, after all, children.” relegates citizens under the age of 18 as chattel. Property to be kept by their parents. In reality, that is what we are headed for in the very near future. Take the recent example of the 9 year old boy who walked to the park by himself. Some busybody reported it to the police. The police picked up the kid and took him to his mother’s place of work. The mother was chastised for letting her son play unsupervised even though she knew exactly where he was. No laws were broken, but it still wasn’t acceptable.

      Now, with all that being said, I also do not advocate letting kids run free like a pack of free range feral dogs (if you’ve ever seen a group of pre-teen kids playing, you know what I’m talking about). Somewhere in the middle, there is a proper balance of letting children explore, make mistakes, get hurt a little bit and thereby learn from their mistakes. But in today’s bubble wrap world, I no longer know what that is.

    • +1 it will take a generation of the younger ones that were taught and schooled on how to shoot, how to think, how to hunt, how to not be some safe space micro aggression ninny that can’t even change a tire.

      One that can actually get dirty, because his/her Dad and Grandfather did. Nothing came easy. That segment of this countries population give me real hope.

      I know my Son gets it.

  4. Ummm…Ralphie damn near shoots his eye out. Lack of parental supervision. But I get your point. Home school people…

  5. As a private school student, I can’t speak for most, but I often talk to my teachers about our shooting hobbies, and my principal is even letting me take a full week off of school so that I can attend SHOT. So I wouldn’t say all is lost.

  6. I never got a bb gun for christmas or a birthday. My lousy parents gave me a .410 shotgun and told me to go play in the fields and woods with it.

    Oh, the trauma. 🙂

    • Oh man, I earned my strips in the backwoods behind my grandparent’s farm.

      I had an old, solid wood, bolt action, high pressure air rifle, which was more or less a .22, but with air as the propellant. With about ten pumps, you could through and through on a rabbit sized animal. And, I also carried around a full size paratrooper knife with sheathe.

      Sun up to sun down that’s where you’d find me. Well, between chores anyways.

  7. A lot of this has to do with the schools and specific administrators. I have a 9 or 10 yo nephew that lives in CA, near San Bernadino, and he’s gotten nothing more than a mild talking to from his teachers. And I think that’s more a result of his talking when he shouldn’t be than the subject matter.

    He also likes to draw and design weapons and actual tools of war in his notebooks, again without complaint from the administrators or teachers.

    • A lot of this has to do with the schools and specific administrators.

      This has been my experience as well.

      When one of my children was in kindergarten, the class had an assignment to make a poster board showing some aspects of their lives. My child’s poster board included a photo and description of target shooting. (Any kindergarten-age new shooter would be most proud of hitting a clay pigeon with a .22 caliber rifle!) The school called to tell me that they had to cover-up that part of the poster board. After I refreshed their memory about biathlon events in the Olympics, they said that they would allow the depiction without the word “gun” in the description. (My child had written the caption, “Gun Shooting” and the teacher covered that caption with another caption “target shooting”.)

      Fast forward to 8th grade science class. My child wondered about .22 caliber bullets fired out of a handgun versus a rifle. So we made a block of ballistics gel, fired several rounds out of the handgun and the rifle, and measured penetration of each. With that data, my child tabulated penetration depth and stated conclusions based on the measured data. We even took the actual block of ballistics gel with the .22 LR bullets still in the gel to school for display in class … along with photos of my child shooting into the gel block as well as photos of yard stick and measurements. This time, the Middle School couldn’t care less and my child got a nice grade on the project.

      So, I personally experienced basically diametrically opposite responses regarding firearms from the same school district.

      Given that our school district has recently embraced active student response to terrorist/spree-killer drills, I think the tide has turned significantly in our favor. Historically, our school system’s only response and practice for a terrorist/spree-killer was to lock down everything. Now, they teach children about escape as well as where/how to assemble for counter-attack — even including pointing out objects that the children can use as improvised weapons!

  8. Oh come on now. My daughter took pictures of our last duck hunt to school for show, and tell. My dangerously black SBE was in the picture, as was a pile of dead ducks. She also took a picture of her shooting a camo’d M4 with a silencer, and me and the Mrs. didn’t get called into school. And yeah, she has made the honor roll all 6 weeks to date.

  9. I’m surprised the whole movie isn’t recut and redubbed so Ralphie is saying “Easy Bake Oven” instead of “Red Ryder BB Gun.”

  10. “Randy laid there like a slug, it was his only defense”. My favorite line from the movie. I remember taking my bb gun to school for show and tell….early 70’s, but still….nobody freaked out…

  11. I don’t think it’s fair to assume all public schools and teachers would react this way.

    My kids just recently, and for the first time, started attenting a small town public school. We recently moved, and the kids had to leave their private Christian academy, which is all they’ve ever known school wise.

    For Thanksgiving, my first grader put on his school “thankful project” that he was thankful for God, Jesus, America, family, and guns, as well as other things.

    He recieved an A on the assignment and I didn’t get a call from the school to hurry down for my re-education training.

  12. I think some of this stupidness can work in our favor.

    Tell a 12 year old boy he cant have something fun or cool, and I’ll give you one guess what the thing he will crave most is.

    Stupid teachers are just making guns cooler.

  13. Ever notice that the “training” for a “mass shooter” in schools is being treated essentially the same as when the govt used to play the nuclear strike footage and then proceed to instruct kids to hide under their desks?

    The clear difference being you can’t really do anything too effective if you’re the target of a nuclear strike (except go to a fallout shelter), but there are quite a few options and sensible steps you can take to mitigate a mass shooter (especially if it’s just one person).

    One requires running and seeking shelter (if available) and the other requires fast action. Fast action isn’t in the repertoire of the beta male / female.

  14. I asked for, and got, a Daisy BB gun for Christmas and so did my best friend across the street. We would go to an open area in my neighborhood and plink at any targets we could find, for hours. I learned basic marksmanship and gun safety from that while having a great time being a kid. No one ever got hurt, no property got destroyed and neither of us turned into criminals.

    No doubt doubt if that happened today, I would have been expelled from school, removed from my home by social services and put in the foster care system and my parents would have done time for child abuse. I feel sorry for kids today.

  15. As a senior in high school, I compete on our State Rifle and Pistol team. Everyone on the team has nice polo shirts with “XXXX State Rifle and Pistol Team” written on it. No pictures of firearms.
    Recently I was told I cannot wear the shit to school because it has the words “rifle and pistol” on it.

  16. Yesterday morning my 4 year old opened up his red rider. The look of pure joy on his face was enough to warm the heart of anyone. By noon him and I had already shot through the first jar of 500 bbs. It’s a great teaching tool, and fun to boot.

  17. I got my first BB gun when I was 5. It was a daisy Golden Eagle. I still have it. I recently bought a Benjamin Discovery PCP .22 pellet rifle. It’s just as much fun as my original. Fitted with a TKO silencer it’s neborhood frendly and shoots a pellet at 25 foot pounds. I also traded some old ammo for an eotec rimfire sight for it. Awsome silent tree rat and rabbit killer. Air guns are still fun!! Get one. You can get some trigger time 24/7 with real power. Hell they even are legal for hunting deer here in alabama in +.357 caliber.

  18. Let’s see, Christmas 2013 I gave my granddaughter (Alaina) a Savage Rascal, June 2014 I gave her father (my son) a Beretta CPX-4, This Christmas I gave her younger sister (Aubree) a Henry Youth bolt action and her mother (Cami) a Browning semiauto 20ga. My wife is so pissed. Alaina killed her first wild boar this past month with her father’s Remington 597. Out of my three children, one family will carry the torch. I’m satisfied.

  19. I remember when I got my red Ryder BB gun. I was about 4 years old and I think it was my birthday. I still have that and I still think it’s fun to shoot.

  20. Just as left-wing media coverage of every shooting has led to the false belief that “gun violence” is growing uncontrollably, so has right-wing media coverage of every hoplophobic school incident led to the false belief that anything gun-related is forbidden in schools.

    I have a whole shelf of gun books and magazines in my high school classroom for “free reading” time. Whenever a student (most often a young man) tells me he doesn’t like to read I’ll toss him a copy of “Recoil” magazine.

    No problem.


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