Thursday, April 22, 2010

Soft in the head

or just plain bonkers?

Ben (about to be 13) has a really nice group of friends at gymnasium, they're all bright kids, in the bilingual stream, several of them with doctor parents, and they are all currently softair obsessed.
Softair guns are replica pistols, rifles and semi automatic weapons that fire plastic balls at a speed of 200 + feet per second.
Ben, naturally, wanted one, afterall, all his friends had one and he wanted to join in the same games. I said no. He asked some more. I said no. He got his friend Leon to bring his round to show me in the hope of persuading me. Big mistake. This thing looked and felt like a real gun (I used to shoot with my university rifle club so I do know what a gun looks and feels like) it totally freaked me out. I said no.

No, there is no way I'm having a gun in my house, no.

Finally Ben understood me. He stopped asking and now seems to think his friends are all a little bit crazy, to be so obsessed, I guess he misses having his friends to play with (he's hardly going to want to tag along when they're out 'playing' war, is he?) but they don't play it all the time and I hope it's like any craze - short lived.

For 20 euros you can buy a soft air gun here, it's not much is it? One of Ben's friends has 5 or 6 different styles of these weapons (but he's only got 2 hands I pointed out) one supposedly keeps his locked in a little safe in his bedroom (so that his younger sister can't get at it) and another can play war at home with his younger brother as he also has a softair gun (at the age of 9...).

I can understand that boys want to play with guns, it seems to be hard-wired into their genetics, along with a liking for football and understanding the rules of cricket, small boys will always play cowboys and indians or cops and robbers, making sticks into guns and shouting bang, it's what they do, their 'raison d'etre'.

What I don't understand is why all these intelligent German parents are letting their children run around playing with guns. You might think that they're German and so born to warmonger? Well I hate to disappoint you but this generation of adults is very much anti war and anti guns, as a direct response to the world wars that they were so much an integral part of, and German parents who I've spoken to about my hatred of this softair craze express their dislike also, and yet they've allowed their children to purchase these guns and to play war games. One of them, a doctor's wife admits the craze will probably only end when there's been an injury (handily her husband is an A&E surgeon) and another admits that if/when her husband finds the gun he will explode (she's pretending it doesn't exist, ignorance is bliss isn't it?)

You see what I mean? It doesn't add up does it? How can adults, who are anti war and anti gun allow their children to play with guns, it's yet another German double standard, they are bonkers, aren't they?!

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