Saturday, March 10, 2012

Teaching Gun Safety to Kids



my comment:

I find this issue one of the greatest and most fascinating dilemmas I face. My boy is 8 now, and as I shared here some months ago, has had very little exposure go guns of any kind except the time I let him shoot the air-soft gun at a local carnival.

I tried to use it as an opportunity to teach him some basic safety rules, and I’m happy to report he hasn’t yet turned into a rabid killer or a fanatic gun nut. But, aside from the joke about rabid killer, that is exactly the dilemma, as I see it. I’m not convinced this kind of exposure for young kids diminishes the curiosity. Yet, I can’t bring myself to believe total prevention of all exposure is better. 

This summer we’ll be visiting my family in the States. My nephews in Las Vegas, both in their 20s now, are serious gun enthusiasts. My brother says they’re extremely safety conscious. I’m considering taking my kids shooting in the desert with them, partly as an experiment. It would be an opportunity to put some of my theories to the test, to see for myself how kids react to guns upon first exposure as well as to observe my nephews in action, all under my supervision.

10 comments:

  1. mikeb, are you making a move to the right side, or just trying to infiltrate our secret society of gun owners?

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    1. Hah. The truth is I haven't changed. I want stricter gun control. I never said I wanted to eradicate all guns or never touch them myself.

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  2. This is a good approach. Don't make mysterious hints about guns being magical objects. Show them to be a powerful tool that has to be treated correctly. This is how we can reduce accidental shootings.

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    1. Greg, I'm afraid it's a lose/lose deal.

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    2. Lose/lose? What are you talking about? No one has lost anything because of my guns. That statement is true for the vast majority of gun owners. If you weren't so obsessed with the small number of bad incidents, you'd see that.

      When you go out shooting in the desert, make sure that you have a gun enthusiast with you. Don't be the only adult. And remember, children aren't something to experiment with. Your son will have his own interests, and some of them may run contrary to yours. That's life. My parents raised me as a vegetarian, and they wouldn't even allow me to have a water gun. Now I love a good steak, and I'm heavily armed.

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    3. You're rebelling against your parents? Now I get it.

      Seriously, the lose/lose I'm talking about is the dilemma I mentioned. Teaching my boy to safely use guns is impossible to separate from encouraging him to like them and think of them as the solution to problems, like you do. That's bad. Shielding him and keeping him ignorant is worse.

      That's what I call a lose/lose.

      What I'll do is take the least harmful one and try to do the best I can with it, like I already have with the air-soft experience at the local carnival.

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    4. Don't play psychoanalysis games with me. This isn't an act of rebellion. I make my own choices these days, and I was always interested in the choices that I described. Moving away from one's parents' home, both by geography and by actions and values, is what growing up means.

      For your son to learn about guns is not a loss, unless you live in a fantasy world in which you can keep him from anything that you don't like. You can't. And if he learns about guns and then comes to the United States where he can own them and chooses to do so, that won't be wrong.

      You see gun ownership as inevitably bad, but millions of gun owners know otherwise. Take a step back from your rhetoric, Mikeb, and relax.

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  3. Something a friend of mine did teaching his kids gun safety and how to shoot a gun properly, was to set up some plastic gallon jugs full of water as targets. When they hit the jug and the water spurted out of the holes, he told them that's what happens if you shoot at someone. He also told them that that wasn't a good thing.

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  4. Which of your family is a member of the "Famous 10%"? Statistically speaking, one of them would probably be. Well, if your theory holds any water, that is.

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