(Boston Globe) — Dominic Johnson, a 10-year-old fourth-grader with a fledgling Mohawk, brandished his black, long-nosed toy gun and caressed the muzzle appreciatively.“It’s like a shotgun mixed with a rifle,’’ he said, as his mother, April, told him to stop pointing it at nearby children.
Soon it would be junk.
Dominic joined dozens of children yesterday at the annual Toy Gun Bash in the gymnasium of Pleasant View Elementary School. There, they lined up to toss their toy guns, from dainty purple water guns to camouflage-painted pistols, inside the Bash-O-Matic, a large black, foam creature with churning metal teeth and the shape of a cockroach spliced with a frog.
Prodded by Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, who wore a fuzzy Santa hat, the children stared curiously as the Bash-O-Matic mashed up their guns and digested them into a plastic bin near its tail. “He ate it,’’ squealed one delighted little girl.
’Tis the season for joy, peace, and grinding up plastic, orange-tipped AK-47s.
For seven years, Providence municipal and law enforcement officials have organized the event around Christmastime as a way to raise awareness of the dangers of playing with guns, real or fake. The event is a mix of the macabre and the playful, a children’s version of the gun buyback program in which adults trade firearms for gift certificates.
Yesterday, younger children ran through a rubber obstacle course while officials told the older children the story of a 14-year-old boy who police nearly shot after they confused his air pistol with a real gun.
In exchange for their toy guns, all the children received wrapped presents that were indisputably not violent — dolls, stuffed animals, and board games like checkers.
Some children were not thrilled with the trade.
Malik Hall, a round-eyed second-grader, looked apprehensive as he stood in line with his favorite toy, a thick, blue gun with plastic sword underneath the muzzle. The 8-year-old was furious when his mother, Amanda, told him he would have to give it up. Yesterday morning, he tried to hide it under his pillow, she said. “I’m worried,’’ she said. “He might cry.’’
But when it was his turn, Malik strode dry-eyed and with quiet dignity to the Bash-O-Matic and fed it the gun. When his mother approached, he said nothing.
“You don’t want to talk to me?’’ Hall asked. He looked at her stonily and left to retrieve his gift .
www. weaselzippers. net
Good idea or stupid?
Answer by But_Mommie at 4:06 PM on Dec. 20, 2010
Answer by onemellowmom at 4:09 PM on Dec. 20, 2010
Answer by UpSheRises at 4:11 PM on Dec. 20, 2010
My son has several toy guns and at 8 got his first pellet gun for his birthday. I grew up with them too and have never been shot by the police and surprisingly have never killed anyone. I think this is very stupid and that poor kid had to give up his favorite toy. Craziness.
Answer by Anonymous at 4:13 PM on Dec. 20, 2010
Answer by mom23boys679 at 4:15 PM on Dec. 20, 2010
Answer by AshleyBishop06 at 4:15 PM on Dec. 20, 2010
My boys want to go hunting with their dad one day, so toy guns aren't an issue here. I feel safer teaching them were not to point guns when they are handing something plastic and harmless. I wouldn't make my sons do that in a million years.
However, that's my family. I can't say what's right or wrong for other families.
Answer by SpaceToast at 4:21 PM on Dec. 20, 2010
Answer by LoriKeet at 4:25 PM on Dec. 20, 2010
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 4:58 PM on Dec. 20, 2010
Answer by Mom2Just1 at 5:03 PM on Dec. 20, 2010
Next question overall
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