Who is in charge of teaching a child not to kill?   The government?  Parents?  Society?   Or, perhaps, all three?   When we buy a toy gun for a child and authorize its use, are we promoting the idea of killing?  Are we stimulating the Beast of Terror's itchy finger?   Some lawmakers think so.   Banning toy gun sales is on the move, especially in big cities.   New York City is tossing the question around and may be the first U.S. city to ban toy gun sales.  Is this an act of Vigilance or a movement toward Big Brother taking over our children's citizen management.


Saturday--January 4, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 479
The Day Toy Guns Were Banned From New York City Children

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Jan. 4-- New York City may be the first to ban the sale of toy guns.   Some people are tired of parents teaching their children how to "kill" before they reach pre-school.
        In an article today in the Christian Science Monitor, reporter Ashley Chapman took a look deep into the bowels of the Beast of Terror.   She found a wave of violence surging in a society that puts its children at risk whenever a parent buys a gun for a child, even if that gun is a toy.

         The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that 31,650 imitation guns were seized between January 1985 and September 1980 during crime-related incidents.  In New York City, 1,400 toy guns were used in crimes in 1987, the report noted.
          Federal law prohibits the sale of toy guns unless they are brightly colored or transparent.   But kids, using their creative talents, often spray paint them black so they'll look realistic, turning a toy into what police may assume is a lethal weapon.   The child with such a gun in his or her hand, now becomes a Crime Terrorist, and if at the wrong place at the wrong time, is subject to being "shot."

Children played with guns years ago

         New York City is especially sensitive to shooting the wrong people.    Its police force is under constant attack for trigger happy police who are quick to mistake a movement by a suspect as a threat and open fire.   In the first days of 2003, four suspects were shot and killed by police.  One of them was armed with a BB gun and had it pointed at an undercover cops head when his partner shot him.  Another suspect made a movement the police said was threatening as though going for a weapon, and they opened fire, killing him.
         A few months ago my younger daughter in federal law enforcement told me a harrowing story.  She was on a stake out in a crime-ridden area of New York when she noted a young man walking down the street with a machine gun held at his side.  She and her partner swept down on the gun-toting teenager.   The suspect turned out to be a teenage boy carrying a toy machine gun.   Fortunately, nothing happened but it was a situation where instincts were at play.   The crime-ridden area was known for violence, and suspects with guns often used them without warning. 

Examples of a few of the many toy guns on the market today

         In my own combat experience in Vietnam, I was well aware of what happened when you hesitated and pondered whether someone had a weapon or not.   If you waited too long to "be sure" it could cost you your life, or your fellow Marines' lives.    The age of the bearer of the weapon had little to do with the decision about "kill or be killed."  In Vietnam young children were often used to throw grenades or run at your position with a satchel charge of dynamite on their backs--young suicide bombers.   The age of the enemy had little value, but the intent of the enemy did.

        In "urban combat zones" a pall hangs over all law enforcement to not shoot until they are under lethal threat.  That's a fine, fine line.    Whenever someone in law enforcement would talk to me in awe about my combat experience I would always tell them how more courageous they were than anyone in combat.
       "In combat, you shoot first and ask questions later," I said.   "There's nothing courageous about putting your weapon on full automatic and blasting everything in sight.  But you guys, you cops, you have to measure and decide when to draw your weapon, when to fire.  And you can't fire until you've been threatened, until the last moment.   In my book, it takes a lot more courage to learn how to 'not shoot' than it does to shoot.  Shooting is the easy part, it takes guts to not shoot."

        I meant what I said.   I could not fathom drawing a weapon without the intent to kill, or to hesitate killing.  As a Marine, I was trained to kill, kill, kill.   When in doubt, pull the trigger.   But law enforcement is squeezed into a frustrating box where the suspect's rights supercede the instincts.  While not every case where police draw their weapons and hesitate before shooting is statistically recorded to the public, those few where they do shoot under threats of lethal force are.   When that fine fine line between "kill or be killed" is crossed, the police are put on the hot seat.   They are derided for not controlling their instincts, and sometimes prosecuted.    I would love to see the stats of how often they don't shoot.  

Drawing of a policeman arresting a criminal  made by my six year old grandson

       A toy gun is still a gun.   In my book, there are no toy guns.   All guns are weapons designed to kill, even a water pistol.   As a kid, I grew up with guns.   And when we strapped on our Roy Rogers six shooters, we didn't go out to play tiddlywinks.  We went out to "kill or be killed."
      Of course, we were pretending to kill.   But pretending to kill is still killing.  There just isn't any blood or guts, and whomever you shoot gets a reprieve to play another day.  In real life, the right to play again goes away when the bullet strikes a vital organ.
       Toy guns are Terror Training Tools.
       I never really thought I'd believe that, but I do today.
       Putting a toy gun in a kids hands is like putting a time bomb in it.   You are endorsing the "right to kill" to a child.  You are promoting the child to kill everyone he or she points the weapon at, whether it's a water pistol or a GI-Joe machine gun.

My friends and I watched a lot of Cowboy Television shows years ago

      Anyone who has ever played with toy guns as a kid knows what I'm talking about.   When you aim at your "buddy" or "friend" through the sights, the Beast of Terror rises from his lair.  Deep in your primal brainstem, drool oozes out the corners of your lips as you squeeze the trigger and "pretend" to kill your best buddy, or the guy down the street.  There's this kind of gritty satisfaction that you've performed some act of "authority," some dominance over another by erasing their existence, if only in your mind.   For a brief, flashing second you become God Almighty, Mr. Powerful, able to snuff life with a single squeeze of the trigger.
       "Bang!  Bang! You're dead!"
       Those four words ring now with glee as I think about the countless hours I spent as child playing Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers, Soldiers and War.    Learning to "kill" with toy guns made it easier for me later in life to be prepared to kill real human beings with real bullets.   It inured me to life's value, and helped me step over the bodies of women and children and old men without vomiting, or throwing down my weapon and saying "I've had enough of killing."
       So I'm against toy guns.

Examples of toy guns available when I was a kid

      But I'm not sure I'm for what Bill Wren, deputy chief of staff for the Brooklyn Councilman Al Vann is after.  Wren is a co-author of the bill to ban the sale of toy guns in New York City.  If it passes, it will be the first in the nation to blanket the sale of all toy guns.
       Other cities are working on the same problem in a variety of ways.  Baltimore just passed a law that makes it a misdemeanor to sell a BB gun to a minor.   Chicago recently introduced a bill to ban toy-pellet guns.  Wall-Mart raised its  age restriction for air-powered paint guns.  Carrollton, Texas banned the use of replica guns.   And, in Sherman Oaks, California, Farideh Kioumehr, founder of the Anti-Violence Campaign in Sherman Oaks, urges children to turn in toy guns and use them to make art.  The program, Replacing Violence with Art, reports CS Monitor reporter Chapman, has collected more than 20,000 toy guns.
        Wren's and Vann's bill banning toy gun sales in New York City would blanket all toy gun sales.   The bill covers anything that can "reasonably be perceived to be an actual firearm."
         When I read that, I wondered if that meant banning a child's index finger and thumb, the most often-used weapon of "killing imagination."   The "Bang! Bang! You're Dead!" cry is most often issued by just pointing at someone.

Several years ago, this spokesman for the NYPD warned against toy guns

        My wrestling match with the City Council isn't the intent of the bill, but the target of it.   The "victim" of the bill is the retailer.   That's what bothers me the most.   It's like we're spanking the wrong person.  The retailer is only the middleman, not the source.   Punishing a store owner is like urinating in the wind.
         If the bill were a true bill, one that was aimed at the source of the problem, it would indict the parents of the child, the child's guardians, his or her grand parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, for allowing the child to have a toy gun, or for "contributing to the delinquency of a minor," as laws are constructed for those who buy a child booze or cigarettes.
         It's pretty hard for a child to have a toy gun without endorsement by the parents or guardians.   It's pretty hard for a mom or dad or grandparent to not notice his or her genetic pool playing "kill or be killed," or "Bang! Bang! You're Dead!"
        That's my problem.
        The one(s) who should be penalized are the Mothers, Fathers and Guardians of Terrorism, the ones who allow a child to feed upon his or her Beast of Terror by endorsement or neglect.
        All child-protection laws in my book should serve the penalty back upon the parent.   It should be a crime for a parent to allow a child to play with toy guns.   While that is a total violation of all the Constitutional Rights of an individual to live in a "free society," it also imposes upon a parent a societal duty that transcends individual rights--and that is the safety of the children, and the children's children's children.
        Children are put in parents' trust and protection.   Parents are the responsible the "liable party" as far as I'm concerned.  A law that prosecutes a retailer is an impotent law.  Its a faddic communion with nothing.  It's a road without an end.   It's political masturbation.
        The Beast of Terror grows within all children.  It's part of human nature.  But its growth can be stunted.  Its thirst to expose its violence can be tamed and curbed.   A child can learn to manage violence through martial arts, an excellent tool to provide a child with self-protection as well as mental and spiritual power.    Every child should know how to protect himself or herself.

Vigilant Parent with child at Karate class - managing violence through mental and spiritual self-protection

       But the issue with the toy guns goes to the heart of Vigilance.
        Vigilance is about teaching a child Courage, Conviction and Right Actions--none of which are part of a gun.   A gun is about Terrorism, or, anti-Terrorism.   It is either used as a weapon to "kill" or one to be used to "kill the killer."   It is a Beast of Terror weapon, used by the Beast or against the Beast.
          Guns feed on Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.   They breed these poisons in a child for they suggest by their nature that "killing" is okay.

Killing is not okay

           By themselves, they are bad examples to a child.
           But a parent can tell a child what guns are for--and why, in some cases, they are needed.
           And, why a child doesn't need a gun, and why a child doesn't need to play, "Bang! Bang! You're Dead!"
           That is Vigilance training. 
           Terrorism training is buying a child a gun, or, allowing a child to play with guns, or, not caring if a child does.   Putting or allowing a gun, toy or not, to rest in a child's hands is teaching a child to take life indiscriminately.  It is a crime against the child's innocence, and one that only the parent, not society, is ultimately responsible to and for.
            I would like to see a bill passed by a city where it makes it a crime for a parent to allow a child to play with guns, having the same effect as buying a child liquor or cigarettes.  
           Only when society turns its penalties on the parents will our children be safe.  If parents are not responsible to their Duty of Vigilance, then society has a duty to impose that duty upon them.
           Penalizing the retailer for the parents Complacency is not the right approach.
           Taking the Pledge of Vigilance is.



 There is a mandatory need for Vigilant parents' Right Action to prevent toy guns from becoming real!


Jan 3--North Korea's NY Deli Solution

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**The answer to  the above question "Can you tell which guns are real and which one is a toy":   #4 is real