Article written by

2 Responses

  1. Walnut Hulls
    Walnut Hulls June 16, 2014 at 7:27 pm | | Reply

    I grew up playing pretend guns. We mostly had to make our own out of sticks, because I’m pretty sure my parents wouldn’t buy toy guns for us. We also made swords, bows & arrows (privet for the bow for strength; forsythia for the arrows for lightness), and adapted shields from trash can lids.

    But my parents talked about guns. As tools, really. The never point it at something unless you mean to shoot it, kind of thing. So the lessons about safe handling of tools which were drilled into us (oops, sorry for the pun) reinforced those more abstract messages about guns. You ALWAYS leave the rake tines down, carry the axe facing out so you can’t fall on it, assume the power is connected to a power tool, push wood into a bandsaw (which we also didn’t own) with another piece of wood, and so on. Oh, and I carried a pocket knife to school which would get me suspended these days (and lovingly oiled and sharpened it), but I thought of it as a tool.

    So I think your point about the attitudes towards violence in schools is well taken. It’s not about the tool used for the violence, something that gets lost in a lot of zero tolerance rhetoric about weaponry in schools. There is verbal violence, and physical violence that does not include obvious weapons.

    Disregarding bullying only reinforces the idea that you have to (physically) stand up for yourself (another trope that’s reinforced socially). Kids aren’t stupid. If they have tools available to them (e.g. guns) why wouldn’t they use them in order to strike back?

    But there’s the other thing, the problem of toddlers picking up guns and shooting people without even realizing what they’re doing. Again, I wouldn’t leave a sharp blade or a plugged in drill in reach of a toddler, especially one who’d played with a toy knife or drill and thought they knew how to use it.

Please comment politely with a regular pseudonym or real name.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: