The recent hot topic of gun control, which comes up stronger and stronger after every horrific incident in this country, needs to be discussed from the perspective of a dad who is against guns, raising a son who lives for weaponry.
We are NYC, Manhattan, pacifistic gay parents. We are against guns. When our son was little, believe it or not, a hot topic in the playground was whether or not to even allow water guns. Yes, we are that extreme in Manhattan.
My entire mind set changed when, at the age of 2 1/2, at a friends Christmas party, my son came out of their basement, after being there for 2 minutes, with 2 guns. A gun in each hand. Not just 1 gun, but 2.
That is when my realizations started to change. Perhaps love of guns/weaponry is an innate thing. I know that is a very difficult idea for many people, but from my anti-gun viewpoint, watching my son growing up and watching his natural affinity for guns, has made me alter my thinking.
He is a typical boy. Denying him guns didn’t work. He would make a gun with 2 of his fingers. Now he can make weapons with just pieces of paper. He does so all the time. It may be genetic, it may be in the straight male code. I don’t know what it is, but I feel it is perfectly natural, this attraction to guns and other weapons. And again, I do not support it, but we need to look closely at this subject because we need to accept that it is innate, and move forward to guide the situation, rather than think it is something we can “fix.”
Boys playing cops and robbers is not something that we teach them, of all the things they see on TV and in the movies, that is what they desire to copy. And regarding video games, my 9 1/2 year old son loves watching his older cousins play violent video games. I won’t allow them in my house at his age, but I can’t deny that he is naturally attracted to that action.
We recently spent a long weekend at Walt Disney World. We enjoyed the Indiana Jones show so much that we saw it twice. My son was begging for a souvenir (no surprise) and finally settled on a pistol, just like Indiana used. If this had occurred after the recent shootings I am sure I would have said no and been able to convince him. At the time I allowed him to buy the gun, I understand it provides necessary role play for boys, he is not looking to go out and one day commit murder. (Footnote, he forgot he has it, and I hid it. I am not beyond manipulation!)
So before you judge, take an honest look at how we are wired as a species. Because while gun control is super important, and one of the hot topics of the day, we cannot deny that there is a natural instinct to be attracted to weapons, most prominently in boys. Once we understand this we can move forward in the most successful way. Living in denial won’t solve the problem, but guidance through honest understanding of our own DNA, might.