My first job was to clean an office complex — back before political correctness ran rampant and a “sanitary engineer” was just called a janitor. After hours of “engineering,” I would ride my bike home to strap on my Roy Rogers gun belt, insert caps in the little six-shooters, fill the Daisy Red Ryder with copper BBs and then look for adventure. I assure you my trusty steed never steered me to any “toy gun buyback.”
But the fun has gone out of childhood. We can eventually pry our grandchildren away from the PlayStation and the iPad, but they don’t possess a natural inclination to forego electronic magic to go kayaking or shoot a BB gun. And neither the media nor the PC police see money or power in kids hammering nails or sewing a hem.
New York Strikes Again
The mantra, “Say no to guns,” has reached screeching, hair-pulling proportions. It’s the message Hempstead, New York, uses to teach children that guns are evil.
“Saying no to guns is important — even toy guns,” Hempstead Village Mayor Don Ryan says. He suggests that, similar to marijuana being a gateway drug to cocaine and heroin, a toy gun is a gateway to suicide and mass killings.
Now called the “Long Island Toy Gun Exchange,” the “kill those toys” movement was initiated by former cop Sean Acosta. According to Acosta, many toy guns, including water pistols and plastic replica guns, can be mistaken for real weapons. Police, who must make split-second decisions, can’t tell the difference.
Kids who visit the village’s offices can turn in their toy guns for “educational toys” and sporting goods. “We don’t want kids playing with guns,” says Village trustee LaMont Johnson. “Guns are dangerous.” LaMont brags that “more than five kids” have already exchanged their toy guns … neglecting to mention that they were provided with the toy guns to exchange for a photo op.
A Fool’s Errand
According to local newspaper Newsday, each child received one “politically correct” toy (supplied by Acosta) in exchange “for whatever water pistols, Nerf guns and other toy guns they [turned] in” during the city’s toy gun buyback.
Acosta says he modeled the toy gun exchange after gun buybacks, which target firearms, hoping to “influence impressionable children against firearms ownership.” As a former law enforcement officer, Acosta should know better; no independent research shows that gun buybacks affect crime or suicide rates.
Other cities have held toy gun buybacks in recent years: Manhattan; Buffalo; Providence, Rhode Island; Rockville, Maryland; and Oakland, California. Buffalo’s organizers bribed children with pizza, then placed the toys in a coffin, pretending to bury them as a “symbolic act.” Rhode Island’s turn-in provided a gruesome foam monster, complete with internal shredder, to crunch toys (a cockroach crossed with a frog, says the Boston Globe).
Next the authorities will provide children with a list of politically incorrect words and urge them to report when friends or family members say one of those words. At that point, you can bend over and kiss your America goodbye.