Friday, January 18

I Almost Sent A Pretend Gun To School

pretend gun jax
I'd say it's mostly good that I have made it a point to protect my kids from the scary news of mass shootings at schools, murders in Jacksonville, and guns in general. But there's a negative, I suppose, if you're naive when it comes to guns. I've been there more than once in my life, and I almost sent my daughter down that road because of my own naivety.

For me, it all started when I was a boy in the 80s. Star Wars, The A-Team, and plenty more. I had toy guns. I was a boy, and my parents went along with it. Eventually, my grandma on the farm got me a BB gun for my birthday at Shopko. That was so cool, but I lived in the city. Luckily, I had a large, wooded, fenced-in back yard (for the city). So I'd get a soda can and shoot it to death once in a while. I didn't have any desire to hunt or own a real gun, but I did have more fun with the BB gun than with the pretend ones. It was a fairly weak gun, but my friend killed some birds with it. I never wanted to kill anything with the gun, but I did once. I was twirling it around like I was Chuck Connors, with the gun in one arm, as a bird flew by in my yard. I shot at the moving object, barely aiming, and the BB went right through the bird's eye. I felt awful, and the gun was basically put away for good at that point.

When my grandpa, an avid hunter, passed away, I inherited several guns in disrepair. The idea of them was pretty cool, but I had no interest in shooting them. I just had them because they were my grandpa's. When I was in high school, the neighbor girls across the street wanted to shoot a video about the war in Bosnia, and they asked if my friend and I would help out. No lie, we brought my real guns out and acted out a scene right there in the middle of 93rd Street in Milwaukee. I think my dad called us idiots later and said the neighbors could have called the police on us. To me, the guns were just toys for us to pretend we were soldiers. We had no bullets, and we weren't going to shoot at anything.

A couple of years later, I remember taking one of the guns (an 1873 Winchester) into a gun shop in West Allis. When I walked in with the gun (and no case), the employees went all nuts on me. They told me I could be arrested and they could get in trouble. I still didn't get it, I guess.

Even when I was teaching, a kid asked if he could bring a paintball gun in for his demonstration speech. This was before most of the mass shootings, but I was perfectly fine with it, as long as he got permission from the principal, which he did. And it was a decent speech.

So my daughter asked my tonight for the pretend gun for a school project tomorrow, and you'd think all my experiences and all the news would have meant I would have known what to say. Instead, I told her I'd have to move the car to get to the costume and prop container in the garage. Keep in mind that this gun looks real, albeit a real-looking gun from the late 1700s that I bought in Colonial Williamsburg back before I even had a BB gun.

Ten minutes after she went back to bed, and just as I was about to write myself a reminder note, I remembered all the mass shootings, code red drills, and general fear that we live with because of real guns and real bullets. Obviously, I wish we could go back to a time when you could play with guns and bring them to school without a worry. I'm pretty sure I took that same fake gun my daughter wanted for a project to school when I did a presentation on the American Revolution. No one cared. But that's not where we are. I recently had to give my kids the advice to run away if a friend or a friend's little brother pulls out a gun when they're at someone's house, (after two kids got shot by friends in two weeks).

I suppose I haven't totally learned my lesson about guns because I've never had a gun pulled on me. Never owned a real, firing gun. Never wanted to use a gun to kill another human or even animal. Maybe living in ignorance is worse than living in fear, but I'm probably stuck here. I just wish my kids could live in a world where taking fake guns to school was not a problem, but we're not going back to that time without a flux capacitor.
Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
McNewsy - Creative Writing
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Brave New Church - Church Website Design
Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
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Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
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