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Disarming children: start with toy guns

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Just two days after a six-year-old in Michigan shot and killed a classmate this month, my wife took our toddler son to a park near our home. There, a boy about six years old, whom we do not know, pointed a toy gun at our son and pulled the trigger. The gun clicked.

My wife, disturbed, approached the child and told him sternly not to point a gun at anyone. In response, the child disrespectfully pointed the gun at her and pulled the trigger again.

Again, the gun clicked.

In both cases, it did not click harmlessly.

I wish I could speak to the parents of the boy with the toy gun - as well as to others who have given their children toy guns - because this incident in the park offers several lessons.

First, I'd tell his parents: Your child lacks respect for adult authority. This lack of respect directly reflects the upbringing you've provided.

Second, I'd tell his parents: Your child's actions display a recklessness that is distinctly childlike. We cannot expect that a six-year-old will think about the consequences of his every action. That is why the boy in Michigan was not charged with the shooting.

What we can expect, however, is that parents think about consequences. By allowing your child to play with a toy gun amidst strangers, you fail to consider the consequences of your actions, or those of your son.

If you want to consider the consequences of your child's actions, consider this: My wife acted with composure, whereas another parent might not have.


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