Kids, Guns, Shootings, Federal Law and Responsibility

toy gunI originally wrote this as a Facebook post in response to a link to an article about the 13-year old who was shot in California while carrying a replica assault weapon. A few people wanted to share what I wrote, but Facebook is all sorts of glitchy and some of of the shares didn’t include the original link, so my commentary seems to be missing something. I’ve added a couple of thoughts and links here, and hope this makes it easier for people to understand.

This kind of stuff really, really bothers me; but not for the initial reasons a lot of people think.

I do not own a gun. I know plenty of people who do. They have the right to own guns, and they do so responsibly.

Take a close look at the gun in this picture. It’s a screen shot of what you see on Facebook when this news article from Fox is shared. This gun looks very, very real – and it’s the gun the 13 year old boy who was shot in California was holding when he was killed.  It’s a replica. I’m not sure how “replicas” are considered, but it is federal law that “toy” guns have red or orange tips. This allows law enforcement to identify them as toys. There are even some cities where there is legislation that a toy gun can’t look like a real gun at all, which is why you see such odd shapes and colors.

California deputies shoot, kill 13-year-old carrying replica assault weapon.  Click the image to see the full article.

California deputies shoot, kill 13-year-old carrying replica assault weapon. Click the image to see the full article.

I’m not going to delve into the psychology behind whether or not children should be allowed to play with toy guns, or play shooting games. What I do want to say is this -if your child has toy guns, you need to talk to your child about guns and responsibility. Period. End of statement. RESPONSIBILITY.

Your child needs to know that guns are serious shit; and that there are a lot of hurtful things happening in the world behind guns. He needs to know that a toy may be a toy to him, but may look very real to someone else. He needs to know that if a cop tells him to drop his gun, toy or not, he needs to do so – no questions asked.

In terms of self defense, Grandmaster Forrest G. Blair teaches us that people (especially boys) between the ages of 12 and 25 (and we actually now consider a broader window) are the most dangerous people on the planet. They don’t mean to be, but those unchecked sociopathic tendencies need to be monitored and taught out of them. They need to learn the video game world isn’t real, that violence isn’t the answer. There are dozens, hundreds of documented cases of children mimicking the things they’ve played (shooting games, especially).

If you watch the news, you just saw this week’s shooting in Nevada. That was a TWELVE YEAR OLD. Age does not equate to blind innocence, and it’s unfair of us to expect law enforcement to conduct and an age survey while staring down the barrel of a gun.

A side note here – shooting simulation technologies (edited from my original “shooting games”) were originally invented as training tools for the military and law enforcement. They then evolved into the “games” your kids now play. Ever wonder why kids this age are so damn good at shooting when they get real guns in their hands?

Finally, (really this time), people always say, “he’s so young, the cop should have shot him in the arm or leg.” Screw that. Science and research prove that those who are in stressful situations lose their fine motor skills as their heart rates rise. They can’t see (they get tunnel vision); they can’t hear (things go quiet). That includes those officers and military members who are putting their lives on the line daily. They’re taught to aim for mass – for targets they can hit; and they should. They are taught to shoot to kill, because if they don’t, innocent bystanders may be killed. 

The kid from California should not be dead; but the cops who shot him should not be punished, either, and hopefully they won’t be. They’re going to have to deal with the fact they shot a “harmless” 13 year old boy for the rest of their lives. But who is going to stand up for them and ask WHY he had a gun that looked real in his hand and WHY, for the love of God, he didn’t put it down when he was told to?

Please, talk to your children about when it is and is not appropriate to use or handle weapons of any kind – INCLUDING THEIR TOY WEAPONS. This is happening more and more frequently, and it could be avoided if children (especially preteens and teens) knew what they were really dealing with.

This isn’t about your 2nd amendment rights. This isn’t about gun control or whether or not you should be allowed to own a gun or defend yourself. This is about responsibility – and responsibility starts in your home.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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