Around noon on Oct. 17 I was driving up near Columbia Elementary School and was a bit surprised and perhaps offended by what I saw.
On the sidewalk and around the playground I saw four or five young children who appeared to be between the ages of 11 and 14. Most of these children were dressed in camouflage clothing. At least one child had a backpack on and most of them had toy assault weapons. There is no question in my mind that this was simply a group of young kids playing a game with fake guns and no mal-intent to anyone.
The question is; is this necessary? Is this the type of games our children need to be playing? I have children and have spent a great deal of time around schools and have never supported the idea of kids playing with guns, I don’t even particularly like “first person” shooter video games. I am also aware of all the information out there and the studies that seem to say that playing with toy guns does not lead to violent behaviour, but is it worth the risk?
Perhaps there are better games that our children can play; perhaps pointing a toy gun at a child is just not necessary. To date, approximately 70 students have been killed or wounded in the past four decades in school shootings in Canada and significantly more in the United States. Maybe 70 isn’t such a large number compared to what happens in some countries, but if you ask me, even one is too many.
Many of these shootings that resulted in the unnecessary and untimely deaths of our children were done by what were seemingly mainstream or average people with little apparent reason to commit such crimes. Maybe allowing our children to play with toy guns is not such a big deal; after all, this is Canada, a safe and free country. Perhaps this is true, but the truth is, we could find other things to do; things that seemed less violent and certainly more appropriate then pretending to shoot someone’s child at a school.