Younger Girl has decided that she's going to be Miss Congeniality for Halloween. Since I persuaded her that a full evening gown would be inconvenient and chilly for walking around town attempting to shake people down for candy, this will be relatively simple: a small fake gun in a shoulder holster or evening bag, and a banner that says "Miss Congeniality." The rub comes, you see, with the gun. I went three places today, looking for a small toy handgun. No joy. There were light sabres; there were foam-padded nunchuks; there were swords and armor; there was a broad array of "spy gear." There were also electronic versions of slot machines and Texas Hold 'Em and other gambling games. What there was not
was toy guns. Apparently all these other forms of mayhem--and gambling--are okay, but shooting play is not.
Can I just say this strikes me as a little, um, shortsighted? When I was five, I asked for--and received--a tommygun with "genuine rat-a-tat action!" (It made a very loud noise which pleased me greatly.) I had cap guns. I even learned to shoot a 22 rifle and a CO2-powered BB pellet gun. And I am, today, pro-gun control; the same imagination that had me running around playing cops n' robbers and spies and all sorts of other gun-related games, plus a fascination with medicine and trauma surgery, gives me a pretty good idea of the damage a gun can do. I am profoundly anti-violence and about the least aggressive person on my block, and I still think that a kid should be able to find a toy gun for her Halloween costume.