Approximately ten years ago I saw TV documentary about the dangers of "look-alike" toy guns — the ones that look like real firearms.
I had them as a child in the 1950s. Mom was opposed to giving kids toy guns, but most boys had them and that was good enough for me.
Mom never adequately explained her opposition, at least as far as I was concerned. She would have had to talk about concepts like "desensitization to violence," "modeling behavior" and "might makes right vs. the pen is mightier than the sword."
But it would have been lost on me. After all, I was a six-year-old and my hero was the Cisco Kid. He had nickel-plated Colt .45s. I had to have them, too.
Dad toed the line — ostensibly — but on Christmas I found them under the tree: two dazzlingly shiny, cap-firing, full-scale Colt revolvers, holsters included, one for each hip.
My brother got a set as well.
"From Grandpa," the card said, in this instance Mom’s dad, a man who had fathered a daughter but no sons. I suspect the method of firearm delivery was a conspiracy between Dad and Grandpa — a "guy thing."
A raging fire-fight ensued for about twenty minutes, followed by a quick draw competition, which dissolved into a series of heated arguments over who got off the first shot. I discovered that a winning strategy was to draw and shoot before my brother said, "Three!"
"You cheated!" he screamed.
"You’re dead," I replied.
"You boys stop it," Mom said, while glowering at Grandpa and Dad.
"They’re just playing," insisted Dad.
The documentary I saw focused on a series of tragic incidents nationwide in which children brandishing look-alike toy guns had been shot by police officers. In each instance, the police officer had reason to believe his own life was in danger. It was appalling to think about how many lives were lost and people scarred as a result.
Many communities have banned the sale of look-alike toy guns. Some toy manufacturers have tried to get around the law by putting a red tip on the gun barrel, but the police and other experts have pointed out that it is difficult-to-impossible to distinguish red from black (for example) in a darkened room.
So, I will be buying back look-alike toy guns. I’ll be at the Sustainability Fair on June 4 at in Port Washington from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. I’ll pay $3.00 a piece as long as the money holds out.
There are three conditions to the sales:
- It must look approximately like a real firearm from a distance of ten feet;
- I will buy it from the child who owns it;
- The child must be accompanied by an adult.
Hope to see you there.