Is this vacation over yet? Can I please go back to work?
New York is looking to ban toy guns.
Her voice is impish and feminine, but her gun is menacing. "Give me your money," she says through a ski mask to a bank teller in New Jersey. The teller hands over $3,050, and the robber and another female speed off in a getaway car.
But this wasn't exactly a Thelma & Louise duo. These robbers were 14-year-old twin girls who held up a bank with a toy air-pellet gun this fall.
Toy gun or not, they were still holding up a bank. Shall we ban ski masks, too?
And in New York, the site of many toy-gun fatalities, City Council members have introduced a bill to ban the sale of all toy guns - a ban that has not yet passed anywhere in the US. If the bill is approved, officials think it could help blaze the trail for the state, as well as cities nationwide.
"We recognize that you can't pull all guns off the streets: If people have a criminal mind, they'll make a gun out of a stick," says Bill Wren, deputy chief of staff for Brooklyn Councilman Al Vann, who coauthored the bill. "But the bill is about how [a toy gun] makes people feel. If I feel threatened, I'm threatened."
Yes, if people have a criminal mind they will make a gun out of a stick. So shall we ban....sticks?
How does a toy gun make one feel? I rarely feel threaten when my son has his phasers set to stun. In fact, I feel silly, in a good sort of way.
I don't feel threatened when we are running through the backyard on a hot summer day, chasing each other with supersoakers.
If I feel threatened, I'm threatened. Sometimes it's all in your head, babe. If you take every instance of a kid pointing a toy gun at you as threatening, you have issues I cannot help you with.
"Giving our kids toy guns and then telling them to stay away from the real thing sends a mixed message," says Farideh Kioumehr, founder of the Anti- Violence Campaign in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Alrighty then. I should probably take those knives out of the kids' craft sets. Baseball bats? Weapons. Light Sabers? Weapons. What? You don't think someone would hold up a bank by saying We are not the robbers you are looking for. Put all the money in the bag?
Hey, I have a grand idea! How about we raise our children right? How about we put gun education in the hands of the parents? What a novel idea. We let the parents tell their kids that using a toy gun in the face of a cop probably isn't a good idea, or that robbing a bank using a water gun is the same thing as robbing a bank using a real gun.
Oh, what's that? We shouldn't be letting our kids rob banks? Well, there is the real root cause then!
See, my son isn't going to go out and point a toy gun at a cop or use a toy gun to hold up some little old lady because, well...that's just not how it works around here. But I suppose that when someone does go out and purchase a plastic rifle and then take it out as he is running from a cop for some other reason, we just have to blame the toy manufacturer instead of the kid or the parent of the kid. It's the American way, by god!
Christopher Industrious of Manhattan, who was shopping in Times Square, would support the new ban. "Kids are imitating whatever they see in the movies and on TV," he says, motioning to his 3-year-old son. He says that one time when disciplined, his son "pointed his water gun at me."
Ok, if that's a problem for you, perhaps your son, at 3, should not be watching shows where they are pointing guns at each other. Isn't a three year old supposed to be watching The Wiggles? Do they use guns?
For Maurice Davis, a salesman at Toys "R" Us, his unfortunate childhood encounters with both real and toy guns are seared on his memory. Growing up in Brooklyn, Mr. Davis was forbidden to play with toy guns. But when he was 11, a playmate pointed a toy gun at a police car. The cops mistook the toy for a real weapon, and sprinted toward them, brandishing guns. "I told my friend, 'Just drop the gun!' " says Davis.
Now, standing next to a shelf of oversize paint guns, Davis says, "If they're gonna ban some, they might as well ban them all.
Hey, Maurice? I have a news flash for you. Your friend was an idiot. Too bad we can't just ban idiocy, eh?
Unfortunately, it has become commonplace to try to legislate instead of parent, or allow people to make informed choices. You don't want your kid to have a toy gun? THEN DON"T BUY HIM ONE! But don't you dare tell me that because you are a lazy parent and your kid does not have the brains to know that pointing a toy gun at a cop is a bad idea, that I can't have my super soaker.
Ban smoking, ban guns, ban fatty foods from cafeterias, ban peanuts from classrooms, ban alcohol and consensual sex between adults, ban violent movies and violent video games and scary music. Ban it all.
Apparently, if one person is not smart enough to make their own choices, none of us are.