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Ken Leighton 2:37 p.m., Jan. 28
"Yet another fool Darwined out of the gene pool!" --A co-worker from Securitas, upon my telling him about a cop shooting a kid who was pointing a toy pistol at him, from 2008.
Let me start off by saying that, as a genre of toys, toy weaponry has always been a part of a small boy's growing-up process. From the time where medevial lads fashioned wooden swords and envisioned themselves as Saint George giving the dragon a dirt nap, to the "NERF" rapid-firing foam dart guns that seem two steps away from being standard issue to a soldier? Such items, when used correctly, provided hours of pure pleasure to any small boy with a big imgination.
I, myself, owned several toy weapons. Two of my favorites were a Daisy bolt-action "clicker" rifle modeled on the Winchester Model 70, and a Marx Toys replica of a 1928-A1 Thompson sub-machine gun with a clicker in the magazine. My chums and I often "did battle" with the imgined "forces of evil" in our Imperial Beach neighborhood. I often got the role of sniper, due to my bolt-action weapon.
My dad thought it was all harmless fun. However, he stressed basic weapons safety as part of my owning my toy weapons. Having did two tours in the 'Nam, he was a real stickler about such things--for he saw what horseplay with loaded cartridge weapons often did to those stupid enough to do it.
His rules were: 01) NEVER point your weapon at an adult, especially a police officer; or at ANY total stranger.
02) Trreat ANY firearm (even toy ones) as if they are loaded with live ammo.
03) Unless you want your weapons confiscated...you WILL FOLLOW those two rules!
Click over to yesterday. I was cooking my dinner on the grill (chicken legs w/seasoned salt) when two of the complex's munchkins started coming down my apartment row. One was armed with a unloaded Super Soaker, the other a toy pistol. I do not know what they were playing, and just kept an eye on my chicken.
The one with the pistol raised his weapon, aimed it at me, and went "POW! POW! POW!"
I looked at the fellow (about ten years old), and told him that he was never to aim his weapon at me ever again. He started to get a bit mouthy, but I told him again that he was not to aim his weapon at me, and that the next offense will result in a talking to about weapons safety, and me possibly going to the manager about the incident.
No, I was not happy about the whole shebang. I detest having to do something that the kid-in-question's parents should have done. However, I also do not like having even a toy gun pointed at my face and getting shot (even in imagination). Frankly, if the little squirt tried it with a SD Sheriff's Officer--well, it would have gone much worse for the tyke, even if the officer did not draw his sidearm.
This is why I implore to you parents out there that if you are going to buy Junior or Precious a toy firearm, you need to spell out the two basic rules of Toy Gun Safety, and enforce them. The consequences of not doing so can be far worse than the tyke getting a mild chewing out from a neighbor that he pointed his "piece" at.
Whether or not you do buy such a toy for your kids--that's your choice. Mike it a wise one. --LPR