…With a Fistful of Napalm®

by Crom

I jumped my friends back fence and ran around the apartment complex, keeping low, ducking and weaving. Using a power box as cover I scanned the street for potential targets. I checked my equipment, 2 uzis, 3 hand guns and a small revolver stuffed into my sock, I was ready for action. Quickly making my way over to a grove of pine trees, I slid under the cover of their branches. I spied several of my rivals hiding behind the playground of the apartment complex, using a slide as a shield. Fools. I crept up using a garbage can for cover, and then struck. “BANG, BANG” I screamed, clicking the trigger fiercely. One of my victims was my friend Nd, he threw his gun in the air and screamed “AAAAH” as he did a very well executed somersault. Over exaggerating his death, he shook like he was having a seizure.

This was my average afternoon on a Saturday. Playing “war” with my friend and the kids around his house; most of whom I didn’t know and could take out without feeling guilty. We had a stockpile of toy guns, everything from full autos to Saturday night specials. We were armed like the A team. We’d divvy up the guns and then make our way around to certain positions and have at it. Now the thing is, we all played with guns like maniacs, every weekend, for hours on end. In fact I do recall one of my birthdays was entirely devoted to a massive war that spanned the entire city block on which I lived, including the Co-op next to my house. There were 10 combatants, two teams, no winners. My parents never discouraged my playing war with my friends. They never tried to take away my toys or tell me about why I shouldn’t shoot people when I grew up. I knew that I shouldn’t, it was something I learned as a corollary to respecting other people. My parents were not concerned that I would, with continued exposure to these “war toys”, become a psychotic maniac who would barricade myself in a dairy queen with an Uzi and a grenade launcher when I turned eighteen, and let the SWAT team decide the outcome. Because my parents didn’t assume that my behavior was the result of outside sources affecting my ideals, but that what they taught me. So they taught me not to shoot people, and let me play my games.

Recently I’ve seen a lot of bumper stickers and signs reading “Don’t let children play with war toys”, self-righteous parents who are convinced that owning a plastic derringer will twist their child’s psyche and ruin their lives forever. I think that like most people, these misguided folk have taken an effect and misconstrued the cause. They’ve assumed that children will play with guns, shoot all their friends, and begin to create an association between guns and personal gain. I hate to break it to them, but most of the young individuals that get ahold of a fire arm and then do something stupid with it, are not the result of playing with a water pistol. Criminal intent is somehow always given over to some kind of blameless cause. Of course it was guns, or TV or watching violent movies that fucked up that kid and made him a criminal. Not the fact that his parents beat him with a belt and fed him oatmeal once a day, made him sleep in the closet and never bought him clothes, oh no. Let’s hang the onus on Mattel, for their horribly realistic Pink and Green fluorescent “Zap” gun. Or maybe we should crap on Super Soaker… woo…water.

Listen, I played with guns almost exclusively from ages 6-12, and I gotta tell ya, I’m not psychotic. Some people might argue that, well, perhaps they’re right, but more along the lines of having a messed up imagination, and a lot of obscure adjectives rolling around in my head to verbalize these things. But, I’m not out in the streets looking for a guy who’ll sell me some guns in an alley A LA “Taxi Driver”. So why not? How come I’m not out right now on the streets of Calgary, with an AK47, listening to a police scanner, just waiting to grease some people? Because, my parents taught me not to shoot people. Yeah, it’s that simple. Maybe if you spent less time thinking of shit eating bumper stickers that will be band-aid solutions to problems and then took the time out to teach your kids that hurting other people is wrong, then you wouldn’t really need to baby sit them for the rest of their lives.

You know something funny, if you ask anyone who’s ever played war with his buddies when he was a kid you’d know the one truth of the game. No one ever won. You couldn’t, it was logistically impossible. No matter what you did, however one sided or whatever did to trick the other team, you simply could not obtain victory. SO what did that teach me and my friend? It created an association with war and failure. We believed that by using war tactics, we would ultimately fail. I think that not letting your kids play with guns, just makes them wanna play with them all the more when they get old enough to get them. SO you’re little Johnny goes out on his 18th and buys a shotgun, and proceeds to blow away his best friend, cuz he wants to know so bad what the consequences will be. Well good job John Q Taxpayer, you just created a monster. Maybe we should take a longer, harder look at how you’re parenting, rather then automatically assuming that children have a killing streak in them by nature. Nothing makes me sicker then hearing people talk about how outside sources are ruining their child. If they’re capable of being influenced by such things, then you obviously have no influence of your own over them. Wake up, you’re killing our future.

®: The “Fistful of Napalm” phrase is used Courtesy of The Smyth Estate.

  • …With a Fistful of Napalm®
  • by Crom
  • Published on May 1st, 2002

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