As parent to a two-year-old, I very often find myself at random toy shops—by random I mean ‘non-branded’, the equivalent of the local kirana store. And more often than not, the category of ‘toys’ that is most prominently displayed is guns. I suspect this is also the category that sells the highest.
Now, even if the most revered expert comes and gives me bunkum about guns as toys that enhance the play experience, I am very likely to burst out laughing at his/her face and walk out on him/her without uttering a single word.
You see, the gun worshipper will never be convinced that there is a fundamental skew in the idea that guns act as symbols of power and authority—and that, placed in the hands of a child, are harmless. Hawkered as symbols of authority that are also a means of entertainment, how can one expect little kids to resist the package? Forget about blaming them for getting the most mixed-up notions in their mind.
Of course, there is a psychological impact. How is it normal that a five-year-old approaches a play victim with a swagger and a smirk, and screams out ‘Bang! Bang! You are dead! Hahaha!’
Instead of engaging in fruitless debates over the sense and sensibility of holding the gun, may we not stop giving it any importance? Live as if guns do not exist? No, it is not in the least about shielding our babies from reality. Are guns our reality? For ordinary individuals like us—who are mainly bothered about living a dignified life—guns belong to a faraway land that we would never ever want to go to. Do you and I want to be backslapping buddies with that guy who can randomly take out his mean weapon from his pocket and shoot somebody out of sheer rage?
When did that guy learn to handle his gun? When and how did he get the idea that he could rule the world with the power of the gun? Isn’t it that our children learn from us, the cues that we leave all around us, and the ideas that we have perpetrated over generations?
So, what if we stop buying guns? What if we do not play games where killing and stamping out the enemy’s life are considered heroic and even essential to win? Can we not at all plant the seed of this ‘can kill, must kill’ culture (sic)?
Who stands to lose? Not the children, certainly. If there’s any one party that would like to keep stoking the fires, it has to be the toy-gun manufacturers (more of a mafia, one should say).
Does it make sense to you that the toy gun is not an object that instils a sense of inner peace within the person handling it? The child does not hold the gun to his chest or cheek, happy in the knowledge of a silent companionship. He shoots, shouts, and looks out for victims.
It really is that simple. The child does not need guns to be entertained or engaged. One does not need complicated, misleading research (very likely planted by interested lobbies) to tell us otherwise.