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Columns

June 26, 2013

Toy gun buyback? Just shoot me

According to Townhall.com and other sources, Stobridge Elementary School in Hayward, Calif. may be shooting itself in the foot, publicity-wise.

As part of a safety day, the school sponsored a touchy-feely toy gun buyback program, rewarding students with books and bike raffle tickets if they would surrender their evil make-believe weapons.

Principal Charles Hill assures the public that the collected guns will be destroyed and thrown away, but I suspect they will really be used in some well-intentioned scheme. He'll sell them to gangs at a nearby magnet school and try to track them. Call it Operation Fast and Furious But Still Single File.

Hill warns that letting kids be kids and permitting them to utter phrases such as "I'm going to shoot you" desensitizes children to someday pulling the trigger on an actual firearm. Of course the flip side is that restricting the students to 13 years of wandering through the playground and gym shower singing the Barney the Purple Dinosaur theme song desensitizes their classmates to the notion of wielding an assault rifle.

Hill's followers wring their hands and worry what sort of lessons we're teaching by allowing children to play cops and robbers and similar timeless games. Of course the gun buybacks foster a sense of entitlement and train children to go through life demanding, "Give me a book and a bike or I'm going to jam My Little Pony down your windpipe."

The school misses some genuine teachable moments about gun safety while going for an "out of sight, out of mind" approach. ("Today we will learn about silica by sticking our heads in the sand...")

No, guns are not toys, but then neither are automobiles. Perhaps next the school will sponsor a toy car buyback program. And by the time the students get to high school, their Driver's Ed curriculum will consist of being told, "Hand over your Prius and you can have this book: Dr. Seuss's 'Oh, The Places You'll Go-On Foot, You Potential Hit-And-Run Maniac'."

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