Nowadays, many folks are afraid to give their kids toy guns to play with. They don’t want to encourage violence. But I’m not a violent guy and playing with toy guns was half my childhood. Of course, I didn’t have many ‘actual’ toy guns. I had pretend toy guns. Other than a cap revolver that was part of a cowboy outfit, the only toy guns I had were ones I either found or made myself from items around the farm. I had a piece of fence post that looked a little like a tommy gun, and a long, straight piece of limb from a Chinaberry tree that I used to represent a musket like Dan’l Boone used to carry. Sometimes I used a pocket knife to improve these pieces’ resemblance to actual weapons.
I even had a kind of armory for all my weapons set up in one of our barns, and I’d go and pick out whichever one was most suited to the type of game I was about to play. My nephews, Terry and John, who were six and seven years younger than me respectively, knew where my armory was but I didn’t often let them play with my “guns.” And then only if I knew about it. I’m sure I was just trying to protect them from growing up to be outlaws.
Apparently, however, Terry didn’t care much for my selfishness. One day I couldn’t find my Chinaberry musket in the armory and began searching all over for it. I finally discovered it broken and lying nearly under the wheel of an old wagon that we had on the farm. I couldn’t figure out how the gun had gotten to its new location, or how the wagon wheel had broken it since this wagon had four flat tires and hadn’t moved in years.
I confronted Terry and John about the broken weapon and found out that Terry had borrowed the gun, broken it, then put it under the wagon wheel in hopes I’d buy the fiction that the wheel had run over it and done the damage. I don’t believe he had thought the whole thing through.
I find it fascinating how boys turn things into guns even if they've not been raised in gun heavy culture. Nate is three and hasn't started with this play yet (we don't have any toy guns in the house) but I wonder when it will begin. Lovely scene capture here Charles.
My brother played with guns all the time. My son never did. They are pretty much the same kind guy.
He was thinking like a kid. Wait, he was a kid...
I had toy guns as a kid. And I am definitely not violent.
Heather, If they don't have sticks they'll just use fingers.
Patti, in my day and age I think all boys played a lot with toy guns.
Alex, Most of the folks I know who played with toy guns aren't
Guns, knives, swords, bows . . . I turned more things into weapons than I can remember. And I haven't buried any bodies in WEEKS.
I played with guns a lot as a kid too (like you, Charles, I had a lot of sticks and old pipes). And my 5 year old son likes gunplay too. He even plays games like Black Ops and Left4Dead (we had to have a good talk about language, but he's surprisingly quick in that area). I think the key is that they are made to understand early, and have it reinforced periodically, that it's all make-believe.
I had cap guns and later a BB gun. Things started turning when I got shot in the face with a BB by a younger boy and it penetrated the cheek very near my eye. Had to be removed by a doctor. Then my cousin shot a bird out of a tree with an air rifle. I pretty much stayed clear of them after that.
Chris, yeah, it's been too long for me too. Next time you visit we'll catch up on our beheadings of the heathen hordes.
Tom, absolutely. I was telling that to my students yesterday. It depends on the parent's response to this kind of play.
Ron, I got hit by bbs from a shotgun during dove season once. one did penetrate the skin although I was able to pluck it out. Hurt like hell
And a story teller is revealed young. . . . (You, I mean)
ALOHA from Honolulu
I love you.
Paper cap and round cap guns, Zebra guns with yellow rubber pellets, Star Trek phasers with plastic discs. All those plus tons of plain old, wooden and plastic toy guns, every boy in the neighborhood had most of them at some point or another. Now,boys can get suspended for a picture of a gun.
Cap guns, pellet guns, BB guns, sticks, I had it all. Was even surrounded by real guns all my childhood, but was never tempted to touch one, not until I was in my early teens and my dad finally took me target shooting. My dad had a few guns, mostly smaller revolvers, but most of the firearms I was around belonged to my grandfather, my mom's dad.
When I was about 6 or 7,my dad made my brother and me guns he cut out of maple and stained the barrel with shoe polish-it was my favorite toy gun as a kid. I think once I had a cap gun, later a bb gun, then a 22 and then a shotgun.
The only gun I played with was a ping-pong ball plastic gun that my dad and I used, to "shoot down" small wooden statuettes from a distance. I remember making my own catapults out of sturdy twigs and used rubber strips from bicycle tyres. I used the slingshot to bring down raw mangoes but with little success.
I had all sorts of toy guns, but my father also taught me about real guns. I got a BB gun for Christmas when I was about 6 and wasn't allowed to shoot it until my father had instructed me in gun safety.
Cloudia, I told Terry and John some whoppers.
Lana, I luv you
The Wasp, and if people think that is making us safer they are seriously mistaken.
Ty, I had a BB gun and started out accompanying my dad when he hunted for several years before I had an actual gun.
Sage, I got a 22 pistol at one point in my childhood, and a 22 rifle. Later a shotgun. When I was 18 I got a .357 magnum revolver.
Prashant, I'd like to have seen the young Prashant with his catapult shooting at mangos.
Keith, I don't remember how old I was when I got a BB gun. 7 or 8 probably.
Charles-up north, guns were commonplace as most everyone hunts. I know of no connection there to guns and violence. P.S. You and Lana are sweet. xo
That's a shame about your gun! I played with toy guns all the time as a kid -- cap guns, water guns, guns that made noise, even many realistic looking assault rifle types -- but I didn't turn out violent at all (yet) and I don't own any guns now.
Jodi, lots of guns down south too. My family were certainly big hunters.
Greg, I do own a couple of guns now, a 22 rifle, and a replica western style pistol.
That is hilarious! Talk about leaving a trail of breadcrumbs.
We had water guns and all kinds of stuff like that - didn't turn us into gangsters. Imagine that.
The idea of the armory is vivid -- I love it. And I've always loved "Chinaberry" since *Tobacco Road.*
I loved guns as a kid. Somewhere there's footage of me marching around and looking like John John Kennedy at the JFK funeral combined with some guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Thanks for the memories ~~!
Riot kitty, not to mention your avatar today! :)
Erik, I loved our Chinaberry trees. The berries provided me with many hours of fun.
It's like the old saying, Lincoln didn't make people equal, Sam Colt did. :)
Our damn nanny society.
All us guys had Red Ryder bb guns, we would play Cowboys and Indians, live, and nobody lost an eye.
Today a nut can get hold of a Kalashnikov and blow his classmates away, the more Nanny State, the more violence.
Seems like parents these days are just about in a full panic about every damn thing. When I was a kid there were lots of westerns on TV and I just used my hand to pretend shoot, "bam, bam!". Last summer here some little kid at school did that, pointed the finger and said bang, bang. Some other (stupid) little kid ran and told a teacher the kid had a gun. Teacher panicked. School was put on lockdown. Completely innocent first little kid was punished and kicked out of school for a week. My fucking god what is wrong with people?
I did make slingshots that were pretty wicked. Never had one since I was about 12. Don't recall robbing any banks or assaulting anyone with a slingshot, either.
Bernard, one of my favorite sayings.
Ivan, it certainly seems so.
Richard, I feel bad for that little kid. It's crazy.
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