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2.02.2012

Guns don't kill people, the internet does

This may sound completely paradoxical but I've agreed to let Tio have a gun - a spring loaded pistol that shoots hollow plastic pellets. It's part of a game that he and his friends play using safety glasses and protective padding. Much like paintball with no paint.

I hate guns. I've never held a real gun and only shot a BB gun once in my life. I believe they are a bane to humanity and unchecked gun violence is pox on the American population. So why on Earth would I let him have one? After all, I'm the one who thinks video games are harmful and doles out internet use like a miser giving away pennies. Well, as I said, it's a paradox.

When Tio took me to the gun dept at Walmart to show me, he told me about using one at a sleepover and I thought about him going hunting with his uncle Danny and his fascination with them and figure that maybe he needs to learn how to use and handle them responsibly. So he bought the thing, along with a pair of safety glasses, with the caveat that he needed Grammo and Dad's approval before we opened the package. If even one of them said no, it would be returned.

So why would I approve of something that can be so obviously harmful and yet be so restrictive of the internet and facebook, which are seemingly harmless? Maybe my priorities are screwy but it really shows how strongly I feel about video and internet use.

First off, the gun is real. You hold it in your hand, practice and learn a real skill that requires time and coordination in the real world. Ninety-nine percent of it's use will be on target practice. Second, we live in a land of deer hunters and Tio has already been introduced. Third, this isn't about me and my beliefs, it's about Tio and his interest and ability to use a gun correctly. The true harm of firearms is in their misuse - of which there is plenty - but when used properly and managed safely they pose no threat to mind or body. Teaching him proper use and responsibility will be part of the process.

On the other hand, internet and video gaming is a huge unregulated jungle where violence of man against man is acceptable, even graphically splattered everywhere, and denegration of women common. Almost all video games involve some kind of gun violence and the internet itself, while full up with useful information, is also chock a block with predators, misinformation, addictive activities and unsavory videos. It's too much for an immature mind to absorb and comprehend.

I'd much rather he was outside firing pellets at a tin can.