Bringing the Co-operative Spirit into Play
Gun Control for Kids: a Modest Proposal

The season of peace and good will has once again been launched with
a blitz of action figures, cool new weapons, and video games on the
cutting  and blasting  edge.

During the Christmas season and through the year, we see children
playing war in the schoolyard. We hear them laugh at the wisecracks
of their gun-toting, flame throwing, missile launching heroes as
they act out ever more ingenious methods of slaughter.

It is common wisdom that child's play is training for adult work
and adult ways of getting along in the world. In play, children
learn about gravity. They re-invent the wheel. They discover that
other kids want to play with their toys. They try out grownup
roles: parent, builder, teacher, nurse, and killer.

We have a choice here.

We can continue to train children in the imaginative use of
violence. In which case, why not make sure the training is done
right?

Have the government follow up on its new gun control legislation by
bringing in regulations on ownership of toy weapons. Start with
registration of all toy guns, tanks, armored personnel carriers,
and death rays. Require all owners to take a course in the
effective use, proper maintenance, and safe storage of their
weapons. Include intensive video game practice so that kids develop
the reflexes they need for a rapid, lethal response to any kind of
challenge. Make this course part of the kindergarten curriculum.
Require annual testing, with scores recorded in each child's report
card.

Or we can choose to educate children in the imaginative use of
peace. 

UNICEF just reported that in the last ten years, two million
children have been killed in war zones. Five million more have been
maimed and thirteen million left orphaned or homeless. In those
same war zones, more and more children are recruited to play
soldiers for real.

Is killing  even the pretend kind  really child's play?


- Maureen Woodall
From December 1995 VICHA Newsletter (Newsletter of the Vancouver
Island Co-operative Housing Association).

Co-operative games allow everyone to take part without feeling
left out, without feeling like losers, and without hurting or
getting hurt. If you would like to share a co-operative game with
us, please e-mail Maureen Woodall: wj045@freenet.victoria.bc.ca