There’s going to be a toy gun turn in at the East Providence, Rhode Island City Hall's annual tree lighting celebration today, December 11th. Anyone who turns in a toy gun will be rewarded with a bag of cotton candy in return. What are the reasons for this? Maybe this is to desensitize children to future gun buy backs, or even seizures by the Government, and program them that they are a good thing.
It's sponsored by the “East Providence Prevention Coalition.” While it’s not clear from the name of the group what the Coalition coalesced to prevent in East Providence, it appears from their website that they focus on substance abuse and violence prevention. Perhaps with an open ended name like that, they are more free to “prevent” other new things that they decide should be “prevented” in East Providence too, such as the possession and ownership of toy guns there, without being locked in to just drug abuse and violence prevention.
In conjunction with this silly effort, we are reminded of the “Women’s temperance League” and their attempts to rid America of the evils of John Barleycorn. They too might decide that Prohibition should be reinstituted, or that nail clippers are too dangerous to possess, or that dodge ball should be ended in public schools, if it’s still allowed there. The Coalition could have already pressured the schools to end it, and have chalked it up as a violence preventing victory. The list of possibilities is endless. They wouldn’t even have to add anything to their name.
One can’t be anything but skeptical that a toy gun “buy back” will affect substance abuse, let alone prevent present or future violence. Wait, I take that back. A kid shot me with a rubber band gun once when I was 9 or 10. It did hurt, but I never turned to preteen, teen, or adult violence, or a life of crime because I had toy guns myself. I can’t think of a single person who did. Can you? This is political correctness gone amok. What do you suppose he feels about a toy gun cut from wood on a band saw? They can make a mean working rubber band gun.
The local Police Chief supports the “buy back” program and believes the toy gun turn in has gained popularity in the last ten years. Toy gun turn ins became law in South America when dictator Hugo Chavez’s Venezuelan government banned toy guns earlier this year. However, here in Rhode Island, the Chief is the area’s layman toy expert, self appointed child psychologist, and guardian of what is good and evil in toys. Santa Claus he’s not. He believes that raising a child who has a toy gun or two conditions the kid to enjoy the toy gun since, in his learned mind, and opinion as a town official, there are better toys to own. Call him the New England’s toy gun enforcer. We don’t know if he has any children that he has taken toy guns from.
He believes that the more real a toy gun looks, the more someone will enjoy it. He is concerned that there are some toy guns that look real, and police sometimes mistake them for the real thing. He also is concerned that some have been reported to have been used in commission of crimes.
So, what he’s doing is creating two classes of toy guns, real looking ones, and cheap looking Chinese toy factory models containing lead paint. This is just like the Bradys do when they classify some guns as “sporting” and other guns as having no “sporting purposes” like the cosmetically evil black rifles.
Maybe they could give a bag of cotton candy for a cheesy Chinese toy gun, and add a box of Cracker Jacks for a more realistic looking toy gun. Maybe they could give a movie ticket for a working Nerf gun or working marshmallow shooting gun. My grandson has one of those Nerf guns, and he’s a crack shot with it. He would never turn it in during a “buy back.” Not in a million years. Not even for a Transformer or a Bakugan. Not even for a box of them. Maybe the Chief is after Nerf guns because he heard the University of Colorado banned them this week. They were used in “Zombies versus Humans” games on campus. It's a good thing that the “East Providence Prevention Coalition” doesn't know about that game. It sounds kind of violent, doesn't it?
A real live policeman will be present if someone comes to turn in a BB gun or a real gun. No amnesty has been promised for these two types of guns, but maybe the Chief will promise not to spank kids who turn in their toys Friday, that is, if they do it peacefully. What did little Ralph's Mom in the movie say about the Red Ryder BB gun he wanted? "You can't have one, It'll put your eye out."
If and when it comes to registration and a total ban of all toy guns, what does the Chief propose to do with the rebellious children who will not register theirs or won’t turn them in? From their cold, dead hands, perhaps?