Sunday, 7 September 2014

A perverse opinion

I haven't heard or read it much recently.  Indeed, I haven't seen or heard it all for some considerable time now but there was a time when every other "expert" and many others who didn't claim special expertise warned about the dangers of allowing small boys to play with toy guns.  Mayhap all those experts have changed their minds - or maybe they are just warning about different things.  While they were pontificating, their theory was that boys who played with guns grew into violent men.


Both my brother and I had toy guns and neither of us are violent men.  Although I don't remember exactly, I presume my earliest gun was made of plastic.  Or maybe plastic wasn't around just then.  Whatever, as time went by I graduated to metal guns, metal guns that fired caps.  These were small dots of explosive, like the explosive used in Christmas crackers, glued somehow onto a long strip of paper - always pink - and coiled.  Each coil was packed into its little, round cardboard box about an inch across.  The coil would be loaded into the cap gun, which moved the paper each time the trigger was pulled so that a fresh cap was in place to produce an explosion when struck by the hammer.  I suppose a box of caps must have cost about a penny.

Thus armed, we would play violent games of cowboys and Indians.  Not only were we violent, but we were incipient racists as well!  Naturally, when one of us was shot, he would collapse onto the ground, dead - always assuming the casualty agreed that he had been shot dead. 

"You're dead!"

"No, I'm not."

"I just shot you."

"You missed."

And so on.

Of course, we were encouraged in these violent games by watching films about such heroes as Buffalo Bill and Roy Rogers.

A year or two later, my brother had a model field gun and I a model anti-aircraft gun.  Both of these toys could actually fire missiles.  Matchsticks broken in half were ideal.  We would each build a barricade - about eight feet apart, and hunker down, firing half matches at each other.

I really cannot imagine what my mother was thinking, allowing us to play such violent games.

Nowadays we are warned that children playing violent video games will grow into violent adults.  Just like my brother and me.


Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

I agree; yet, somehow, Britain seems a more violent place now. Can't you buy caps anymore??!

joeh said...

I loved my cap guns and we played exactly the same as you. I have never fired a real gun and have no desire to fire one.

It is now frowned upon for a child to point his finger and go "Pow, pow."


(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Pot metal... they were made from pot metal.

Sarah said...

I'm a big fan of children being children and getting outside and running wild.

I spent my childhood building dens, climbing trees,