Missing nuclear warheads. Dwindling oil reserves. Deadly viruses. High School Musical 2.
Just the mere mention of these terrifying subjects sends chills up anyone's spine. But nothing seems to strike more fear into the hearts of America than those three little words. Kids with guns. The horror associated with that phrase has gotten so out of hand that most people today, especially parents, would rather pretend the issue doesn't exist rather than face, and attempt to solve, it. Which is a shame, because that's one of the main reasons that it IS an issue. Luckily you've got me to sort things out for you, so shut up and listen.
First of all, let me make it clear that I am not about to launch into another episode of "the gun debate." My opinions on that are simple: if the people of a country are unarmed, then in that country freedom does not exist. I believe that owning a weapon is a basic human right. But that's not what this is about. Because people on both sides of the political spectrum still often share that overwhelming, irrational fear of kids with guns. Why?
Most people would be able to answer this easily enough. They'd rattle off the basic list: Columbine. Jonesboro. Thruston. Virginia Tech. And many others where some kid snapped and started wasting his classmates, and often himself. But I've got my own list, and it's much longer. Oswald. McVeigh. The Unabomber. The DC sniper. Son of Sam. And about a million other terrorists, mobsters, robbers, serial killers, and assorted adult lunatics who've used guns to kill people throughout history. And their body count goes WAY beyond that of kids. So why is is that people still seem more sickened by a child with a gun than an adult, even if the adult killed far more people?
I think the answer has something to do with that age-old belief about the "innocence of children." When people see kids, they want to lose themselves in that pleasent nostalgic feeling of the first day of kindergarten, playing baseball in the park on long summer days, their first kiss, all those "classic" childhood memories from the "good ol' days." Not packing heat in case the classmate with the trenchcoat goes postal during fourth period, or if that gang on the corner is going to try and rob you again on your way home. They want to rest assured that the child's world is a safe, happy place full of fun and security. Well I hate to break it to you but that's bullshit.
The plain and simple fact is that the world is NOT always a safe place. Danger doesn't give a fuck whether you're 15 or 50, it'll kill you just the same. Parents feel that it's their responsability to make sure their kid is out of harm's way, which is of course true. But amid the fearmongering of the media, this noble goal gets warped into the belief that even the slightest exposure of a child to the "real world" of violence and fear means that they are a bad parent. Not only is this ridiculous, it's downright dangerous.
Here's a little allegory for you all to chew on: In fourth grade, little Billy asks his Mom where babies come from. She immediately panics, not wanting to picture her sweet little son getting down and dirty with the girls, and quickly recites some useless crap from a medical textbook that gives him no real helpful information, and forbids him from talking about it again. So he goes back to his playing, and for the next seven years he sees people getting fucked up the ass, cheating on their wives, not using protection, on TV. When he's 15, he and his girlfriend decide to get busy. He has no idea how to put on a condom, and they both die of AIDS.
When most parents hear a story like this, they shake their heads and say "how horrible, they must be terrible parents." Nothing wrong with that. But now take a look at this:
In fourth grade, little Billy asks his mom how guns work. She immediately panics, not wanting to picture her sweet little son wielding a deadly weapon, and recites some useless crap from a Popular Mechanics magazine that gives him no real helpful information, and forbids him from having any toy guns in the house. So he goes back to his playing, and for the next seven years he sees heroes shooting people in the head, blasting bad guys in slo-mo, twirling their pistols while riding off into the sunset, on TV. When he's 15, he and his friends decide to go hunting. He has no idea how to safely handle a gun and ends up shooting his best friend by accident.
The funny thing is, the parents in story #2 are probably the same ones who were appalled by the actions of the parents in story #1. The kind of parents who consider themselves good, progressive, liberal mothers and fathers who solemnly vow to prepare their kids for sexuality better than their families did to them. But when it comes to guns, they still would rather go into denial and set their kids up to fall.
The stupidity and sheer hypocrisy of this makes me sick! I want to throw something at the TV whenever I see this bullshit, parents freaking out after a school shooting because their son was found with a water pistol in his pocket. They go insane, throwing rationality out the window as they jump on the "zero tolerance" bandwagon and fast-forward parts of movies that have a gun in them. Soon, their kids are so brainwashed that they recoil in fear when they see a hunter drive by with a rifle in his car. They swear that they will never, ever own a gun.
And then what happens? They get molested by the friendly town priest. They get kidnapped. A bitter, tortured classmate guns them down in the school library. Kids get exploited, killed, abducted, and harmed in a million different ways and the parents go berserk every time, blaming drugs, the media, video games, everybody but themselves who left their kids utterly defenseless against the world because they would rather lose themselves in nostalgic, innocent fantasy. They say that the idea of kids defending themselves with guns is terrible, that they don't have the self control or restraint to use a gun responsibly. After all, that's what police are for. We all know how much restraint police have. In fact, some cops are so restrained that at Columbine they surrounded the building and then just sat there, listening to the shooters taunting and executing kids without ever attempting to stop them, as part of their "emergency containment" policy.
To all you parents out there, I don't know how to make this any clearer. The world is a dangerous place for anyone, but especially for kids. Even YOUR kids. The authorities won't always be there to protect them, and neither will you. If you don't teach them how to protect themselves, they're as good as dead already. Arming kids doesn't solve the real problem about violence in society, but you have no right to turn your kids' playground into some psycho's shooting gallery while you wait for someone to fix the world. And don't give me that bullshit about how kids don't know how to handle a firearm responsably, because they WOULD know if you spent half the time you did screaming about violence in the media, actually TEACHING them what they needed to know! It would be easy for me to rant on and on about the ageist tyranny of the government not letting minors buy weapons, but the sad fact is that even if that law were changed the kids would still be sitting ducks, because of you. Don't make the same mistake the Puritan, anti-sex families did. Don't endanger your sons and daughters for the sake of your own selfish fantasy. Pull your heads out of the sand and show them how to stand up for themselves. If you don't, you are killing your kids. And if that offends you, I really don't give a shit.