Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Boys and Guns

On Monday I went shopping. Okay, sounds like a confession coming. I was shopping for my 5 year-old son's birthday. Of course, being the dad that I am and knowing my boy, I set out in search of a gun. I don't think he is ready for a high-powered rifle. However, I did want to get him a gun that was solidly built, made noise, and preferably used real gunpowder. Wow, was I in for a surprise!

As I was strolling the isles of Toys R Us I was reminiscing the days of my youth when a cap gun was all a boy needed to by happy. If I wasn't shooting at birds or cats with the noisy projectile-less weapon, I was smashing whole rolls of those red caps with a brick. After the smashing I would unroll the coil to see if there might be one or two small packets of gunpowder that were missed that I could set off with the corner of the brick.

I revisited the isles where I thought the guns and caps should be and found nothing but Nerf weapons. I traveled on to Target hoping to find another selection weapons. To my horror, only Nerf. Don't get me wrong, I like Nerf dart guns as much as the next guy but I wanted noise and gunpowder not fluffy whistling Styrofoam. I do have to give the Nerf gun makers credit though. Where they lack in noise and fire they make up for it with sheer volume of ammunition. Some of those guns have the option to fire one or thirty darts at a time. You can even buy darts by the hundreds!

I went to the local gun store to see if by chance they had any toy guns. I mean, why not start them early and keep a customer for life. However, they only had a toy crossbow. I finally found a gun at local store that has nearly everything. Even though it was made in China, I bought it. I asked about caps but they were out so I had to find those elsewhere.

Maybe this post is just a rant but I think it says something about our country. I believe the proper use and respect for guns has been destroyed by those anti-gun advocates that equate guns with violence. The result has been that we now have two extremes: hardcore destruction of life with guns by those who have grown up to see them only as a means for destroying human life and: super soft "weapons" made of cheap plastic that are thrown in the toy box a few days after opening hardly to be used again*.

Guns, and other weapons, are as much a part of a boy's life now as they were hundreds or even thousands of years ago. You should have seen the look in my boys' eyes as they exclaimed after receiving their first caps, "do you smell that, it's gun powder, I love the smell of gunpowder." If you don't give the boy a weapon and instruct him how to use it, he'll make his own and train himself and usually not in a good way.

My boys are instructed to not even point a toy gun (the ones that actually launch things) at another person and we are getting ready for training on a real gun (BB, then 22 and 410). I only wish that there were "real" toy guns that had the weight that they used to and used caps rather than electronics. If you are in the market for some great toy caps guns, many of which are USA made, check this page out that I recently found - http://www.toyguntown.com

* The dart guns have been recommissioned to shoot crayons.

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