Friday, January 26, 2007

Some Thoughts on Kids and Guns

When I was a kid, there were guns in school. They were brought in for gun safety classes, hunter safety classes (the whole school having an assembly for the instruction) and in high school they were brought in for history reports in class and such things. Heck, a friend of mine and I were asked by the school principal to bring our guns to school and kill groundhogs who were digging dens next to the building foundation. We got them all. We also carried our guns to school in our cars so we could go hunting directly after school. Nary a problem I could see after attending schools in 3 different states. Of course we boys all carried knives as well... Nowadays we see guns differently.

"Ninth-Grader Arrested, Accused Of Having Gun In School", "Police: 5-Year-Old Brings Gun To School", and "Teen Accused Of Having Gun At School"All these incidents are of course viewed with at least some degree of dread. High school kids obviously want to slaughter fellow students (not perhaps defend themselves from bullies or "gangsta" elements in their schools) and who can see any good in a 5 year old having access to a gun (and what sort of disciplinary action would be effective in this instance?). We are never shown photos such as the young lady with the big bear I posted earlier or kids participating in marksmanship competition or kids happily and safely shooting with their parents. Oh, we've come quite a way since this young man proudly posed for the photo. That photo could have been of me or any of my friends albeit about 50 years later. Of course this is a uniquely, it seems, American point of view. Overseas, things are different.

Children are posed with guns as propaganda for a point of view which idolizes death. Perhaps you notice a common characteristic or two in this photo. Images like this have become almost iconic representations of children with firearms. That most folks associate such images with the idea of children and guns (unless they are rural Americans) says a lot for the pervasive power of the press. No doubt these images influence other firearms regulatory decisions. Based more on emotion than logic, I often wonder just how much influence these impressions exert.

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