I’m a bit miffed, I’m not gonna lie. Not for myself mind you, but for a little four-year-old boy who has the distinct misfortune of residing with a mom who fears guns. Allow me to explain; in this morning’s Washington Post “On Parenting” there’s a piece by Zsofia McMullen. The title of the piece is: “My four year old loves toy guns and I don’t know how to parent that.”
In it, she describes in great detail, her son’s infatuation with gun play and pretend violence. The piece starts out innocuously enough, with a detailed description of the little boy’s imaginative play centered on action figures most of whom are the archetypal hero, policemen, soldiers and the like. They vanquish dragons, dispatch pirates and rescue the princess all while brandishing swords and guns, sometimes on horseback, other times driving motorized vehicles with zeal.
Sounds like fun right? Any mother of boys and sometimes a tomboyish girl can recall the sounds of explosions voiced in the tiny inimitable tones of a child’s voice. I enjoyed hearing my son set up battlefields of Legos and watching the good guys victor over the bad. But clearly, I don’t have a strong enough fear of violence or guns!
Pretty early on in Zsofia’s musings she delineates her separation from anything having to do with guns. She’s only ever heard of one person actually owning a gun while she was growing up. She never actually saw it. And other such nonsense. Then she married into a gun owning family and was exposed to the horror of seeing firearms casually placed out in the open and no one passed out or spontaneously combusted.
"In fact, I never saw a gun until I met my father-in-law a few years ago. He lives on a farm in central Pennsylvania, and the cabinet next to his bed is filled with shotguns. He uses them to hunt and to shoot sick animals or unwelcome groundhogs. One time when we were visiting, he left his shotgun casually leaning against a car we wanted to drive. Seeing my husband pick up and move the gun made me queasy and uncomfortable. What if it goes off? Do guns do that, just by accident?"