Like most earnest and well-educated parents I decided that when I had children we would be “gun-free”. No shooting toys period.* (Except water guns because those aren’t about killing, they’re about laughing. And Nerf guns because, well, I don’t know. They’re just different.)
I’ve always preferred my boys to pretend to kill and maim each via hand-to-hand combat. You should be able to look someone in the eyes while you hurt them. Thus swords and knives were always fully acceptable. Bows and arrows are OK too. (Yes, I am aware that it’s possible to shoot someone with a pistol while staring at them. And it’s possible to kill someone with an arrow from really far away. We thoughtful parents don’t operate in grey areas, OK?)
My husband is a gentle soul who doesn’t care much for roughhousing or video games so York and Finn were raised in a kindly manner and were always fine with the no-gun rule. Violence is just not something they were really exposed to. They didn’t even try to make guns out of Legos or toast. I patted myself on the back for being an exemplary mother.
Everything was smooth sailing until Finn turned eight. Grandpa was in town and took Finn shopping for his birthday. They got back from the toy store with seven guns and a machete.
I may be a pacifist but I am not a meanie. The guns stayed and things have gone downhill ever since.
This year York and Finn will find these airsoft beauties under the Christmas tree (they’ll love you forever, Grandpa!):
The slogan for this Thompson M1A1 is “the gun that changed the world.” Yep, tell that to the Indians.
*For about the first three days of parenthood I actually thought it would be possible for our children to be raised with only wooden toys. The naïveté of new parents is so hilarious. We did manage to stay Barbie-free until about three years ago, though.