Cute Little Shooters

May 3, 2013
Posted by Jay Livingston

In any society, parents must transmit the culture to their children, and the sooner the better.  So elitist, arugula-eating, Prius-driving parents start their kids on Suzuki violins.

But this great diverse country of ours has room for other cultural traditions, so much so that some people talk about a “culture war.”  And some parents, to make sure their kids grow up on the right side of that war are arming their little ones with Suzuki rifles. 

Many of us effete urban liberals found out about these Crickett* rifles only because of the recent story in the news.
It happened in rural Kentucky.  The parents had given the boy the Crickett rifle as a present.

Andrew Gelman, in a post* tinged with irony, sees the incident as validation of Charles Murray’s assertions about “irresponsible elites.”  Murray takes the urban elite to task for practicing virtues like hard work, education, and family responsibility but refusing to preach these virtues to their White brethren lower down the social ladder.  Which is why the US is “Coming Apart.” (Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, Crown, 2012)

In this case, Andrew says, it’s the conservative elite failing to preach sermons about guns and kids to their country cousins (and constituents)
 I assume the senators who voted against the recent gun control bill wouldn’t give live weapons to their kids (or live in neighborhoods in which kids have access to guns at home), but they don’t feel right about restricting the rights of others to do so.

I’m not so sure.  You don’t preach to people who are conforming to your ideas of what’s good.  And apparently, responsible grown-ups in Kentucky and elsewhere see nothing wrong with these mini-rifles.  I expect that the NRA leadership won’t coming out against kid-size guns for kindergarteners but will instead tout its own gun-safety programs.  (I hope they won’t come out with a statement that the only defense against a bad 5-year old with a gun is a good 5-year old with a gun.)

This view from the other side of the culture war is that there’s nothing wrong with guns, that guns are no more dangerous than cars** or swimming pools. You just have to be careful. Sure, sometimes children get killed, but they get killed in cars and backyard pools too.  Accidents happen.  So I wouldn’t be surprised if the some of the senators who voted against the gun bills had in fact given guns to their children or grandchildren.  If so, they probably take safety precautions.  But then again, so do the people in Kentucky. In the coming days we’ll probably hear that the parents are good parents. It’s just that the gun was left standing in the corner, somehow it had a live cartridge in it, and for some reason the mother left her kids alone for three minutes. 

*Andrew’s post has much better Crickett graphics – “The Crickett Club” (like the Mickey Mouse Club, I guess) and “My First Rifle.”   As I write, the Crickett Website is unavailable.  The news story gave them a sudden flood of publicity, and it’s possible the increased traffic crashed the site.  But they also weren’t answering their phone when the press called.  Maybe they became shy about their product.

**Of course we don’t allow 5-year olds, or even 15-year olds to drive.  And drivers must be licensed, and cars must be registered (funny that nobody sees vehicle registration as the first step in the government’s secret plan to seize all our cars). 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The car/license point is slightly iffy. A 5 year old or a 15 year old could certainly drive a car on private property without a license. But, just as unlicensed drivers aren't allowed to drive, unlicensed gun owners aren't allowed to have guns in public. The ages at which you can get a gun permit differs from state to state and gun to gun.