I was driving through my neighborhood yesterday and saw children playing with a toy gun. Suddenly, it was a disturbing sight.
Lest anyone believe otherwise, I am not in favor of the government taking everyone’s guns away. And when I was a kid, we played with cap pistols, though I was never into the western genre, so our play was more “cops and robbers” than “cowboys and Indians.”
In any case, the sight of a kid playing with a toy gun isn’t an unfamiliar one.
But what I saw this time was a little disturbing, particularly in the world we now live in.
It was three little girls and one of them had what was obviously a toy gun: it was bright red plastic, to the point that I would have assumed it was a water pistol except for the fact that when she pulled the trigger, it had a snapping sound of hard plastic striking hard plastic. It wasn’t loud enough to be the sound of a cap being fired; but it was loud enough that I could hear the hammer strike as I walked to my car.
As I passed by, the girls, all of them around six or seven years old, I’d guess, were playing. One of the girls was pointing the toy gun at the smallest of the three. She had pulled the trigger at least twice by the time I got to my car.
But as I drove by, I saw the third girl holding the smallest girl in place while the one with the gun walked up, placed the toy gun at the smaller girl’s temple, and pulled the trigger again.
It was a toy gun. If it was a water pistol, it was obviously empty.
But still: Walking up, placing the gun against the girl’s temple and pulling the trigger?
In the climate we live in, it looked wrong. It felt wrong.
I didn’t stop the car. I didn’t say anything to the little girls. I didn’t feel it was my place to do so. I could have knocked on the door and asked to speak to the children’s mother or father and told them what I saw, hoping they’d put an immediate stop to it. But I don’t know that it was my place to do that either.
But I’ll tell you this much: I really wish the child’s parents would have been there with them as they played; I would like to think a parent would have immediately brought an end to that type of play.
Maybe I see too much violence in the news I help deliver that seeing these adorable little girls playing with a toy that seemed so out of place just resonated more than it should have, and more than it would have for most anyone else.
I’m just not sure about that.