You Can’t Do This Anymore – Kids And Toy Guns

Something You Won’t See Anymore. What Happened To Kids Playing With Toy Guns?

Boy, has America changed In 67 years.

In 1951 a Cleveland Plain Dealer photographer captured young Rickey Harbold of Cleveland, OH pointing his toy gun out of the car window.

If your child were to do this today, the adult driving the car would probably be arrested or possibly shot at by the police.

When I was a kid most children played with toy guns. All kinds of toy guns: water pistols, cap guns and clicking toy guns. Many looked very real, and for most kids the more realistic the better. Kids played many games with guns, cops and robbers, war and the now politically incorrect cowboys and Indians.

Those days are gone. Something has gone very wrong in society. I am lamenting for today’s kids and teens glued to their screens playing for hours in their virtual world. Many times kids are using weapons in video and online games that simulate far more violence than the toy weapons that were played with from the 1900s through the 1980s.

When toy guns became verboten I cannot pinpoint, but it was probably sometime in the late 1980s with the addition of bright orange tips to the muzzles. It then became impossible to find a real looking toy gun for good reason. Kids (and adults) were being shot with alarming frequency for pointing realistic looking toy guns at law enforcement.

Years ago it was rare that anyone took out their anger on the general populace and committed mass shootings. Now it has become commonplace, especially among disgruntled and disturbed teens,

My friends and I watched a lot of cartoons growing up. We read a lot of violent comic books. We saw a lot of violent movies. We saw Yosemite Sam shoot his gun hundreds of times. We saw Dirty Harry asking the criminal, “Ah ah, I know what you’re thinking ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well this being a 44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, you’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well do you…punk?” Then Harry pulls the trigger.

We saw TV shows, many in perpetual reruns, with abundant guns and violence; Superman, Bonanza, The Rifleman, S.W.A.T., The Untuchables, The F.B.I., Hawaii Five-O, Mannix, Wanted Dead or Alive; heck even in Charlie’s Angels the ladies pulled their guns out of their purses every now and then! Media shaped our youth and childhood.

Yet somehow all that TV and movie violence didn’t translate to very many mass shootings in the 1970s. Why? Maybe there was a clear line delineating between fantasy and reality or right and wrong.

I’m not going to suggest a cause or a solution to youth violence or mass shootings. But all this online connectivity and the fraying of real life in-person socialization, cannot be having a good long term effect on humanity.

I’m just sorry that kids today can’t play with toy guns – instead of shooting people with real ones.

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2 thoughts on “You Can’t Do This Anymore – Kids And Toy Guns

  1. Mary Ann

    One sentence in your article wasn’t exactly accurate:
    “If your child were to do this today, the adult driving the car would probably be arrested or possibly shot at by the police.”

    Negative. The CHILD would probably be shot, especially if that child were a POC. If the adult in the car were also a POC, they would likely be filled with bullet holes, too, but that’s not my main point here. The little child would almost certainly be murdered in cold blood if he were a POC. We have seen it happen over and over. Recall 12 year old Tamir Rice, for instance. He was playing innocently with a toy gun in a public park near his home, with his sister there with him – just as this article describes. Yet video of the incident showed the little boy was shot dead within TWO SECONDS of a pair of police officers driving up next to the child in the park. The shooting officer didn’t even get out of his vehicle before shooting the little boy; and he did so right in front of Tamir’s sister.

    There was NO medical assistance given to this dying little boy by the police before any EMTs arrived to try to save the child, either. Not only that, Tamir’s 14 year old sister was tackled by the police as she ran to help her brother, put into handcuffs, and forced to sit in the back of the police car as her brother bled on the ground with no first aid being offered to him. AND the mother stated that SHE was told she was going to be arrested if she didn’t CALM DOWN after she was told her 12 year old son was SHOT DOWN by cops like he was some wild dog. Really? It’s acceptable to order a parent to calm down if you shoot her child down in broad daylight while he was playing? What insanity is this?

    There was clear video evidence proving the child had no time to react to anything a cop may have said to him, even if Tamir had HEARD the policeman speak to him as the car was arriving. After a biased investigation [according to uninterested parties, it was biased strongly towards the shooting cop’s favor] there was NO action taken against the murderous cop or his accomplice, the car’s driver. THIS is why there were/still are protests for years after this event [and so many more like it], why football players kneel in protest during the National Anthem, and mainly, why little kids don’t own toy guns any more. No mother wants to go through what Tamir Rice’s mother was forced to live through, ever.

  2. Gaius Julius Drusus Germanicaus

    I think it is somewhat frightening that certain codes of conduct in society are “actively” frowned upon due to PC and other factors. A gun exists, or it dosen’t. There are no half measures. It is a tool, it is a weapon, it is a source of mechanical awe, but not a toy. A fake gun for training purposes absolutely, for playing no. I wont mention my opinion on how our ailing society has reached this point, for it is a topic wrought with unspeakable truths whose honest mention will lead to destruction.(The original intent of PC?) As probably one of the most vehement supporters of unfettered firearms ownership, I think toy guns should be eliminated.

    Proper understanding and conduct with firearms cannot be achieved with toy guns. It is not, and never was a game. Our society, due to our beautiful Constitution, has led to the most free society in the history of the world. One result of that freedom has been the manufacture of toy guns which are much too realistic. Now realistic toy gun+ likely irresponsible conduct with them+ a frightened, desensitized society is much too dangerous an act in a society where slow pensive thought is passe, and a quick yes/no response is the standard. It can only lead to additional stress to citizens, and police alike..which in moment of quick decision lead to tragedy. This all being said, coupled with the ever increasing violent tendencies of “children” and violent video games masquerading as entertainment…we have a new incendiary atmosphere which is an avenue for the ever expanding ranks of troubled youth… to create death and mayhem. I do believe a gun in every holster, like a watch on every wrist.

    There are many problems in society which will only be solved with logical, intelligent, non-PC debate and discussion. Each and every toy gun which may have once existed as stable element from the periodic table, now exposed to plethora of societal maladies is a potential danger which should be eliminated as part of a meaningful solution to one of today’s problems. To accentuate my point, the photo in your article shows a young man with a revolver. With years of meaningful experience on the topic of firearms, I honestly do not know if that is a Colt SA , a replica, or a toy. A young , inexperienced armed citizen or police officer will not either. With the the total lack of fact based common sense in the average modern man…this may lead to a tragedy of the first order. My stance on toy guns is diametrically opposed to my stance on authentic firearms. Their once questionable purpose in yesteryear, is without question presently. Remove them from the world.


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