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Your thoughts on guns, please... - Page 4

post #61 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingmommyhood View Post
Do you ask them if they own guns before you enter their home? Just kidding. That's interesting to me though, I guess I've never heard such a strong stance on it. What is your reasoning if you don't mind me asking?
Occasionally, yes. But usually I know the people pretty well before we are in their homes and I know what their values are.

I think personal gun ownership is one of the single worst things about the US, with no redeeming value. Guns are for killing. We don't kill and we don't want our kids around people who would have guns in their homes. We don't live in an area where anyone needs to hunt, nor are there good places to hunt that aren't dangerously close to people, so the hunting argument is irrelevant to me.

I have two relatives who were killed via guns, guns that were supposedly stored safely, and owned by people who were NRA certified, blah, blah, blah. One of these relatives was a small child, killed by accident on Christmas day. The parents of the person who killed the child would have spouted exactly the same pro-gun, safe gun, stuff I've read here.
post #62 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
In our family, the basic human right to self-defense is sacred. Firearms can be used in self-defense as well as for hunting or sports shooting, so for us, they are indeed a tool that can be intentionally used to kill someone who poses a deadly threat. We feel it's just as important to acknowledge this aspect of gun ownership as it is to emphasize their other uses and reasons for ownership. Defensive lethal force carries with it many heavy responsibilities, legal and moral, and we want to emphasize to our children, over and over and over again, that a gun should only be used to harm another human being if one's life is truly in danger.

I guess I could hypocritically pretend that we only own guns for hunting and sports shooting--and those are indeed our main uses for them--but it isn't entirely true. In the interest of full disclosure, we believe in the right to self-defense and we're prepared to defend ourselves if someone is foolish enough to attack our family. I realize not all families share that value, but it's one we hold dear (as do most of the gun-owning families we know) and plan to pass down to our children. So for us, pretend gun play that involved killing "bad guys" or monsters or whatever would not be a problem, because that is in fact one very solid reason to own guns in the first place.
We own a .45, it's not for hunting. It's for defense.
post #63 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
Perhaps it's cultural and rather than innate, in which case I think it is valuable to discuss whether it is something we may want to change in our culture.
I think this is an interesting, and valid question. We used to live in Germany and we had many German friends with boys in the toddler - young child age that played with dd a lot. It was once brought up that the boys, in general, don't engage in gun play, even the American/other country expat boys living there. Guns are not part of pop culture there (for example, it's not part of TV shows), so at a young age a child has no knowledge that guns exist and is not going to, of his own accord, conceive of the concept of "firearm" and make-believe with it.

FTR - we are a no-weapons household, including toy versions, but my father is a life-long NRA member so I was not raised that way. Dd has never asked about nor pretended to play guns, but I would, in fact, intervene and forbid the game of killing if it happened.
post #64 of 163
Personally, I'm very very anti-gun. We don't own any toy guns. However, my ds does point his fingers like a gun and pretend to play "bad guys" with his friends and occasionally his sister. I have the same rule as some of the PPs- don't shoot anyone who doesn't want to be shot.

I know my ds has never seen anything more violent than the original Superman movie from 1977 so I don't even think he knows that real guns shoot bullets or what would happen with those. I overhear them playing saying the guns are freeze guns or shooting firebombs or whatever. And it's usually all the kids against invisible bad guys.

Though it does make me squirm a little I understand that he's just play acting, I remember my brothers doing it when they were young and they are not violent people at all. Nor do I think it's any more real acting than my dd carrying her dolls around by their hair. Pretty sure that won't carry over to adulthood.
post #65 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post

We have guns. Several. I honestly couldn't tell you how many, exactly... probably 7-10, a couple of those being just bb guns.
I am really hoping, though it's probably not true judging from the rest of your post, that these "probably 7-10" guns are toys.

When you can't tell how many you have, how are you supposed to tell when one goes missing? The idea that someone has several guns in the house, but doesn't know how many they actually have is just frightening.
post #66 of 163
peainthepod, thank you for the great links and helpful advice.
We are not a gun family either but we live in a big hunting state and this being America, I know that my son will be exposed to the gun culture one way or another. So with that in mind, I would like my son to really be gun aware and gun educated.
So far the only thing that I have told him to do when he sees a gun is to stop, don't touch and tell an adult. I ask him to do this with all types of guns, whether they look like toys or not.
post #67 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
I'm sorry you are offended but I disagree that it is a ridiculous question.
I am genuinely curious as to why one kind of play is considered okay and another is not and why parents make that distinction.
I wasn't offended, I was just having a WTF? moment from reading your question. I'm glad some others answered it though. And I don't "make that distinction", which is why I didn't care for the question. My son (9 y/o) has played plenty of pretend shooting games, whether pretending to shoot a gun or bow, has had a million pretend sword fights to the death (and took a bit of fencing), has pretend pulled a pretend pin out of a pretend grenade with his teeth, but never, ever have those other play scenarios ever come up. Have they come up with any of your kids?

So it's not like I'm saying one is OK while the other isn't.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaJunkie View Post
Okay, I'll go ahead and go into detail with the whole "if you allow gun play, do you allow pretend spousal abuse?" thing.

I don't micromanage my kids' play. They play with guns sometimes, swords others. Mostly they play other types of things. I have never shown them "this is how you play with guns, this is how you play with swords, this is how you play house". So pretend spousal abuse isn't an issue. My kids are naturally inclined toward pretend play that involves a certain level of violence. Mostly where they team up against an invisible "bad guy/force/monster". They have not been naturally inclined toward pretending to beat a spouse for having the pretend dinner late. They also are not naturally inclined toward re-enacting racist scenarios. So it simply isn't an issue. You can say "Well what if they DID?", but it's a what-if that is simply ridiculous.
post #68 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpybear View Post
peainthepod, thank you for the great links and helpful advice.
We are not a gun family either but we live in a big hunting state and this being America, I know that my son will be exposed to the gun culture one way or another. So with that in mind, I would like my son to really be gun aware and gun educated.
So far the only thing that I have told him to do when he sees a gun is to stop, don't touch and tell an adult. I ask him to do this with all types of guns, whether they look like toys or not.
Happy to help, mama. And IMHO that's the best advice any parent can give to a child regarding guns. The place to fire a gun is in a controlled setting (firing range), with the right protective equipment, and with the proper precautions in place. Even children who are safe and experienced shooters shouldn't be encouraged to handle found guns without first telling a responsible adult.

I believe the current estimate is that nearly 50% of American households own at least one firearm. Whatever your feelings about private gun ownership, guns are here to stay and teaching children basic gun safety can only help protect them from unnecessary tragedies.
post #69 of 163
While we're talking culture, and how swords are cultured and guns are not, let's be open about the sword culture, shall we?

Nobility or at the very least upper class people were the ones that had swords. Or those who were in service to the above. So if you're going to get persnickety, you also should be honest about the fact that they were not only weapons, but part of a whole culture of the elite that regularly preyed upon those "lesser" and thought nothing of it. And samurai were killing machines. I guess we in the west might pretty it up a bit, with the noble warrior bit--but even the samurai themselves acknowledged that fact (and attempted noble warriordom). To be samurai was to serve your (wealthy, noble) master absolutely, and to commit suicide if you ever failed or if you displeased him and he asked it of you.

Yes, with the advent of "cultured" sport fencing has become a sport for the masses (sort of) but it's fairly recent that the rabble (like women) were even allowed to compete internationally on certain weapons, ect. And let's not forget, target shooting is an olympic (and national) sport that IMO gets just as much press and popular attention as fencing (i.e. Not Much).

To me, knights and samurai are frankly not very romantic. They are about as romantic in practice as a wild west vigilante mob. In real life, there was nothing much pretty about any of them. But for play purposes, which are based on fantasy, folktale, and cleaned up stereotypes, playing ninja/samurai/knight/swashbuckler/pirate/wild west sherriff, ect. are great fun--and would be very Not Fun if people played them with full knowledge of reality. IMO.

If your kids play pirate with a sword, do you explain to them that real pirates kill often kill everyone on the ship to take it in, kidnap people for ransom, often rape the female passengers/crew, and were historically used to commit terrorist acts against other countries' ships and crew as well as civilians and native people? I sure as hell hope not. There is a time and place to discuss real history too, but I don't think a kid who's playing needs an adult lecture about history and the adult's projection of their own knowledge into the child's play.
post #70 of 163
Thread Starter 
Leaning your way, as always, Tigerchild. Thanks so much for the input.

In my (admittedly anecdotal) experience, most kids do not play "hunting". My son plays it because we have talked about it, and he also plays skeet shooting (I throw a ball for him to aim at) and wears pretend safety glasses and ear muffs. Most kids who I've seen play guns are playing shooting each other.

It icks me out, but I think I'm leaning towards not forbidding pretend play between consenting parties. I suppose my other option is to move to Antarctica where there are no guns, but this seems like an unlikely (and cold) possibility. Don't think we'll be having any toy guns though.

I'm open to more input if anyone has any to offer.
post #71 of 163
I live in Texas. Most people have guns here I think. I have never asked but have wanted to. In reality, you just need to decide if you can trust the family. A gun in the house is less dangerous than a pool in the backyard. Sad, but true.
post #72 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinYay View Post
Kids, even the most gently raised kids, play WEIRD THINGS.

This past weekend we were at a friend's house, and their two little girls (5 and 3) played in the most embarrassing, hilarious way. There was a lot of "Nooooo! Don't beat me and lock me in a closet!" and "You're punished! Go eat all the frog eyeballs!" The oldest girl was WAY big into abandonment and depervation- "Please, Mommy (to the pretend-mommy), please can't I just have 1 kitty? You took all my kitties and threw them in the trash! I just want one little kitty!" (She was so cute.)

I promise you these children have never been forced to eat eyeballs or sit in a closet and they aren't being deprived of a thing- kids just play weird. Play is how they make sense of the world. Play is how they express themselves. Play is extremely important, but I think we get stuck on play = modeling known behavior/ practicing future behavior.

Nurtureshock has some really awesome stuff about play. For example, when kids play house, they're not pretending to be their own mom and dad- they're pretending to be a generic, very gender-role-stereotyped version of parents, regardless of what they see at home.

My own mom was VERY AP, anti-tv, and anti-gun, but we have a home movie of when I was about 5, shooting a Lego "gun" I'd made.

"Erin, no guns. You know that."
"Mom, it's not a gun! It's a fairy dust thrower! I'm killing you with fairy dust!"

Kids are weird, and do weird things, regardless of what's been modeled or the ideals we'd like to instill in them.
I just gotta say, I love this post. Especially "I'm killing you with fairy dust!"
post #73 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
I am really hoping, though it's probably not true judging from the rest of your post, that these "probably 7-10" guns are toys.

When you can't tell how many you have, how are you supposed to tell when one goes missing? The idea that someone has several guns in the house, but doesn't know how many they actually have is just frightening.
My BIL has hundreds of guns in a room with a steel door and two main locks. It's his collection. I don't think he could tell you how many. He's always buying and selling them.

Quote:
In the interest of full disclosure, we believe in the right to self-defense and we're prepared to defend ourselves if someone is foolish enough to attack our family.
Is it self-defense, or revenge? Because the safest home is one without guns at all, because most injuries and accidents are from your own guns. Most people never get to shoot at an intruder.
post #74 of 163
The 7-10 guns are not mine. One or two might technically be mine, but I haven't shot them in a couple years. They're locked up in a gun cabinet and its not like any of them are handguns, they're all shotguns/rifles/bb-guns. *I* wouldn't know if one was missing but dad and/or dh would.

Otherwise... can I just say a *HUGE* "YEAH THAT!!" to Tigerlily?? I mean, really. Swords were a much less democratic devise for 'self defense' than guns are. We romantasize them today, true. But when they were actually used it was not in a romantic way - they were used exclusively for killing people. Mostly the elite killed the poor. So how on earth is/was that any better than a gun? Which you can at least use to hunt for your food!!
post #75 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
Most people never get to shoot at an intruder.
But the ones that do are grateful to have had that opportunity... and to be alive to tell about it.
post #76 of 163
Yes, but guns are used to kill people now, often many people at a time - something swords do not do. When was the last time you heard someone go on a sword spree? That might be part of the reason for the ick factor with guns and people - as opposed to swords.
post #77 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
While we're talking culture, and how swords are cultured and guns are not, let's be open about the sword culture, shall we?

Nobility or at the very least upper class people were the ones that had swords. Or those who were in service to the above. So if you're going to get persnickety, you also should be honest about the fact that they were not only weapons, but part of a whole culture of the elite that regularly preyed upon those "lesser" and thought nothing of it. And samurai were killing machines. I guess we in the west might pretty it up a bit, with the noble warrior bit--but even the samurai themselves acknowledged that fact (and attempted noble warriordom). To be samurai was to serve your (wealthy, noble) master absolutely, and to commit suicide if you ever failed or if you displeased him and he asked it of you.

Yes, with the advent of "cultured" sport fencing has become a sport for the masses (sort of) but it's fairly recent that the rabble (like women) were even allowed to compete internationally on certain weapons, ect. And let's not forget, target shooting is an olympic (and national) sport that IMO gets just as much press and popular attention as fencing (i.e. Not Much).

To me, knights and samurai are frankly not very romantic. They are about as romantic in practice as a wild west vigilante mob. In real life, there was nothing much pretty about any of them. But for play purposes, which are based on fantasy, folktale, and cleaned up stereotypes, playing ninja/samurai/knight/swashbuckler/pirate/wild west sherriff, ect. are great fun--and would be very Not Fun if people played them with full knowledge of reality. IMO.

If your kids play pirate with a sword, do you explain to them that real pirates kill often kill everyone on the ship to take it in, kidnap people for ransom, often rape the female passengers/crew, and were historically used to commit terrorist acts against other countries' ships and crew as well as civilians and native people? I sure as hell hope not. There is a time and place to discuss real history too, but I don't think a kid who's playing needs an adult lecture about history and the adult's projection of their own knowledge into the child's play.
I agree with some of what you write here.
The difference for me is that the vast majority of sword play for my kids is either in the imaginative realm (they have their own wizard world) or in the historical context. And no they don't have the full historical perspective because they are not yet old enough to understand it. However their play is not violent.
In contrast, guns are the current killing machine - they are in the here and now. They can require little skill to be used. They are completely glorified in American culture. The majority of gun play I have witnessed (not by my kids) is not creative or imaginative. It's of the "bang you're dead" sort with little 'story' behind it. The play IS the killing - the blowing away of someone with no interaction, no reason - reflecting some of the tv/games/news we see too much of. It's beyond chilling to me.

NeedleintheHay - no my kids don't play racist, sexist or homophobic games but we have certainly seen that sort of thing on the playground, sometimes with violence attached to the play. And most parents seem horrified and jump in to stop it or redirect it. And yet gun play is given a complete pass. I agree with Velochic that there is a cultural and a modelling aspect at play here.
post #78 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I've never had a problem with my kids playing with toy guns. DS1 had a moderate arsenal (was way more into swords and such, though) as a child. The only real rule I ever had was that he wasn't to "shoot" at anybody who didn't want to be "shot" at, as I know some people are really bothered by that. Other than that, it was pretty much free play, to the best of my recollection (he's 17, and those days seem like a lifetime ago). I've honestly never understood why people object to toy guns, so I can't really give you any 'counters".


My ex-H (my boys' dad) lost one of his best friends at age 13 to a gun accident. The boy was showing his dad's gun to a couple of friends and it went off and killed him. My ex still carries the clipping of the obituary in his wallet and it's been more than 20 years. So, our kids have been warned about the dangers of real guns. We also had friends who were hunters when we lived in Virginia. The guns were kept in a safe, and their son could bring down a deer by the time he was 8 or 9, so he would talk about shooting every so often.

IME, forbidding things makes them more attractive. And, IME, kids who want to "play guns" will just make them out of something else...their fingers, or a branch, or a carrot.

My kids had toy guns, knives, maces, swords....and they have also played lots of video games that have violence in them (not at age 3, but probably as early as age 10 for my younger one). We talk about stuff. They know the difference between make-believe and reality. They are kind, gentle people.
post #79 of 163
Karen, it was not so long ago that there were several national stories in the news with people who decapitated others with swords and long knives--one in a university building, one in full view of others on a bus. Seattle has had several instances of mentally ill persons menacing others with a sword. (Granted, in one case where it looked like the sword wielder was going to do more than that, he was shot.) I have personally been threatened with both edged (including axes, swords, and knives) and projectile weapons (including a bow, but yes, firearms too) doing work with mental health agencies and going on (escorted thank god) child removals (nowadays it seems like the police do a lot of the removals, or so I have heard, I've been out of the workforce for 10 years now). In other areas of the world, I can guaratee you that there have been a few people maimed and/or killed by machete today.

Swords and sword-like weapons are lauded in our culture too, especially as it fuses with others. Lightsabers, ninjas (extremely innacurately portrayed, if I might dump out another pet peeve here), and pirates come to mind. You can even buy Hot Pink Jolly Roger paper plates for your glitter pirate birthday party and pink plastic swords too, for goodness sake.

Are you saying that play is only creative to you if it as a prolonged death scene that involves prolonged self defense before the inevitable? Most play sword fights (including lightsabers) I have seen do involve someone/something dying at the end, generally after many slashes and strikes. The kids might have more time to negotiate, I guess. I'm not really sure my adult mind really is more comfortable with death by sword. Decapitation seems rather painful considering that most people can't do it cleanly, and a piercing wound is immensely painful no matter by what implement. And since you mentioned fencing, you know that from the sport perspective, the results at the higher levels happen in "bang you're dead" speed many times.

The children who playfight gun battles are exploring many of the same themes. If they want to be correct, they probably should recreate a prolonged death scene and self-defense--because guns do not kill people as fast as many people imagine unless it's a very lucky shot, and it's often an agonzing, frightening death. I imagine the people through the ages (up to and including WWII and beyond) who have faced being attacked by swords found the experience frightening and painful as well. In addition, it's often not the death itself is the point of either "gun fights" or "sword fights" (often prettied up to "swordplay," but let's be real here), but the chase (which can also feel really icky to us adults, for understandable reasons).

Again, I support any parent who wishes to restrict whatever play they wish to. It's not silly at all to be concerned about societal and peer influences over your kids when it comes to condoning violence; nor is it silly at all to be very careful about safety.

However, what I DO think is a little silly is romanticization of swords over guns. Look at this this way. Put the most bluntly, rifles and shotguns do and always have had hunting applications. Pistols less so, but you could I suppose. But it is not general practice to run down a deer or a rabbit with a sword or chuck your saber into the air to bring down a goose for dinner. So which one is the one that is "only used for killing?" If having any sporty application removes the "only used for killing" label, then you must remove it from guns as well as swords. I choose to categorize created weapons (vs. anything you pick up can be used as a weapon in some context) as...weapons. What people do with them (collection, sport, hunting/slaughter for food, murder) is another issue. But kids often explore death in their play. So I don't really think of murderous/abuse themed children's play as indication of future problems necessarily--but they are uncomfortable for adults to witness sometimes.
post #80 of 163
It isn't actually the case that it doesn't take much skill to use a gun. Pistol shooting in particular is difficult.
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