If you grew up in the early to late 60s you remember watching Vic Morrow in the great series Combat. You were so taken by the his performance that if you were a normal kid, you wanted to be Sergeant Saunders. And you got the chance to do it too. The toy stores were stocked to the rafters with Saunders trademarked camouflaged helmet, Thompson Sub Machine Gun and hand grenades. The gun had a pull back knob that was quite realistic and the gun made quite a racket when it was shot. The grenades were equipped with the old style cap explosives that also made quite a bang when the grenade hit the ground correctly.
Taking your equipment, you and your friends made off for the nearest woods or mazed area. You took turns hunting each other down. Because nobody really got shot, you were pretty much on the honor system when someone snuck up behind you, started shooting and said, “you’re dead”. You were always tempted to say, “I’m just wounded” and walk off to the aid station for a brief timeout until you were “healed” and ready to get back in the game. Nobody really died and the games went on forever until you simply got tired of playing or your mother called you in for dinner. It was all pretty harmless fun.
But, it’s 40 years later and parents are wondering if they should let their kids play war games. They’re afraid that if their kids play with guns they will grow up to play with real guns. We have become so politically correct that it has gotten to the point where you can’t even find guns in a toy store anymore. Those days are long gone. So if a kid wants to play army, he better have a very good imagination.
The question is, is this right? Certainly not every kid who played with guns grew up to become a killer. An associate of mine had not only a Saunders Tommy Gun, but also a German Luger, an M1 rifle, a Colt 45 and quite a few hand grenades. He says he had to have several when attacking those German bunkers. Today, this kid who lived to play army, is a successful Internet marketer and has never held a real gun a day in his life.
The truth is, it doesn’t take a toy gun to turn a kid bad. If somebody is destined to turn to a life of crime, he’s going to do it with or without having played with toy guns. So the question of whether or not kids should be allowed to play war games is one that has to be answered by each individual parent. Parents should make informed decisions about everything they allow or don’t allow their children to do. There is an old saying that says guns don’t kill, people kill. That was true in the 1960s and it is true today as well.
Certainly toy guns don’t kill anybody.