A California elementary school held a sort of gun buyback program this weekend for children. The selling point was this: ‘Give us your toy guns, and we’ll give you some books, and a chance to win a new bike!’ According to a local news story, Strobridge Elementary Principal Charles Hill thinks “playing with toy guns desensitizes children to firearms and increases the chance they’ll use the real ones when the grow up.”
To “decrease the chance of children using real guns when they grow up” is, some might say, an overly-broad, and, perhaps unwise end to pursue. The principal’s position seems to reject the reality that is our nation’s necessity for gun-users in the form of police officers, soldiers, and law-abiding citizens. Moreover, this idea doesn’t seem to fit with our legal system as it stands, given that jurisdictions universally provide, via statute, for what is known as “justifiable homicide,” reflecting our society’s view that there are some people that ought to be killed; and, in those instances, the killer ought not to be punished for his deed. So long as it is acceptable, and even desirable to kill – whether it be in war, or in defense of one’s self or home – Mr. Hill ought to rethink taking the absolute position that the next generation needs to be conditioned to despise and fear the tools by which one might take a life when it is right to do so.
Perhaps the lesson these elementary students should have been taught instead is that guns, violence and evil are realities of the world in which we live, and there will come moments in which a good-guy with a gun is the only means by which good may prevail over evil.