Guns for Christmas

Searching for toy guns for his three little cowboys, Tony Woodlief finally turned to a hobby shop.

I was greeted by a gruff bearded man. He could smell the panic on me, like a grizzled sergeant can smell it on a soldier in his first battle. “Something I can do for you, son?”

“Yes. Please. Please, for the love of all that remains good about America, tell me that you carry toy cowboy guns. Just a couple of cowboy guns is all I’m asking for. Toys R Us doesn’t have them, Wal-Mart doesn’t have them . . .” My voice trailed off.

He sized me up, perhaps to see if I was one of those pansy do-gooder Public Citizen types just looking to make trouble. Fortunately I hadn’t shaved, and I was wearing flannel. “C’mon,” he said with a gleam in his eye, “we just got in a shipment.”

They just got in a shipment.

He led me to the back, where he had assembled — and I am not making this up — gun racks to hold all the toy armaments. If Santa ever needed to assemble a commando strike force, this could be his armory.

I was raised in a non-gun-owning family — except for squirt guns, and it took a lot of argument to get those. We used garden stakes to make bows and arrows, a true put-your-eye-out toy. When I was a kid, it paid to be an Indian.

About Joanne


  1. That’s a good story. Weapons should be an important part of any boy’s childhood (yeah, that’s sexist…).

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Welcome to Pink Pistols.
    I believe every woman in the world should be given a Pink Pistol at the age of 11, and be trained to defend herself. The reason for pink is that any man caught with a Pink Pistol would be punished severely, then laughed at.

  3. My quest for toy guns brought me to, a retailer in Houston, TX, that has somehow escaped the ACLU, Diane Feinstein, Charles Schumer, and the Hand-Wringing-People-for-a-Perfect-World. My little four-year-old was using his hands as pistols, or anything else his imagination could turn into a weapon. Got him a great AK-47 replica in plastic and a .357 magnum that shoots rubber bullets at about 5 feet per second. He’s kicking ass and taking names as I type.

  4. Time have changed. Technology has charged. Humans have not. Our children don’t play that much with primitive weapons; they have moved beyond that.

    The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, the apocryphal Wellington quote goes. Gulf War II was won in front of millions of video games. Dr. Tim Grossman, the Army shrink who put out a couple of books on the subject that were a big deal after Columbine, points out that the children are training the same way the Army and Marine Corps train to point and shoot. Grossman sort of disapproves of this situation, believing that only the hired killers from the goernment, you know, the ones who are here to help us, should be mentally equipped to pull triggers and press firing buttons.

    An objective observer would conclude that the U.S.A. is a thoroughly militarized society, to an extent that shames Sparta and Prussia: guns, video games, SUV’s, team sports–did I mention our cinema? As Seinfeld says, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

  5. I still remember my Johnny Seven OMA (one-man army) combination assault rifle/bazooka/grenade launcher.

    Fast-forward 40 years, a friend of a friend’s four-year old who had never been allowed to play with a toy gun still managed to eat his PB&J sandwich into the shape of a pistol, which he then began “shooting” with the usual sound effects.

    Happy Christmahanukwaanzaka. (I wish I could remember whose ad that was).

  6. Yeah– we went the gun route this year, too.

  7. Bart,

    It’s Virgin Mobile. I think the ads are pretty funny, including the little guy sitting on the piano holding a euphonium. (I’m a brass player, it’s a nice touch for me!)

  8. greeneyeshade says:

    ‘thoroughly militarized,’ lou gots? ‘shame sparta and prussia’? i hope you were kidding _ we don’t even have a military draft! (and the military doesn’t seem to want one.) but you may be more right than you knew about there being nothing wrong with being ‘militarized’: since 9/11/01 we’ve had plenty of occasion to think over that quote from orwell about ‘the spiritual need for patriotism and the military virtues, for which, however much the boiled rabbits on the left may dislike them, no substitute has yet been found.’

  9. Richard Brandshaft says:

    Westerns are closely associated with toy guns. In the westerns my generation was raised on, it was understood good guys and bad guys carried guns. The difference was in how one used them.

    Now we’ve gone to “abstinence only education”. Liberals have done for violence education what conservatives have done for sex education.