Saturday, 30 October 2010

Words Fail Me - "The Gun Thumball"

I really am lost for words.

Whatever happened to letting kids play with toy guns as a way of them understanding the actions and consequences of using guns? After all, when you've pretend killed killed your best mate for the umpteenth time, it sort of gets boring and you move onto something else.

This thumball just seems to me to be counter-productive. It glorifies the names of guns, without there being an outlet to satisfy the curiosity of those involved. I suspect this is an American invention, which is fine over there as if you want to see what a MAC-10 looks like, even to test one out and see its potential for causing death, once you are old enough you can readily go into a gun store. Over here, it remains as an alluring, unobtainable name, as taboo and cool as illegal drugs, imprinted on the young at an impressionable age.

Anything that is designed from the outset to challenge kids to discuss guns "in a safe and fun way"  is to me totally misguided. Guns are neither safe nor fun.


  1. Education is the cornerstone of the way in which a sensible society approaches issues involving safety. From drugs to drink-driving and from the green cross code to sexual health, visitors to schools are encouraged.

    Why not in the case of guns? After all, while drink-driving has no legitimate place in society, nor does gun crime.

    Legal shotgun and firearm ownership is a completely different matter - if children can be educated about both illegal and licensed firearms, perhaps they will grow into a generation that understands the distinction between the two, recognising the proper role that guns have in recreation and agriculture, while holding a stance against illicit gun use.

    As for your final comment that "Guns are neither safe nor fun", I can only conclude that you have never been shooting and have not had the opportunity to form an opinion based on first-hand experience. Safety is of paramount concern to law-abiding shooters, explaining why it is one of the sports with the lowest rates of accidents.

  2. A subject which remains taboo also remains 'cool', burying one's head in the sand is unbelievably stupid. Get real!

  3. Guns are very safe. they don't point themselves at people or fire randomly without warning. Saying they are not safe is about as sensible and educated as saying a hammer is not safe. It takes an ill educated idiot on the end of it to make it unsafe. That is exactly what we are producing, an entire generation of ill educated idiots that see guns as glamorous fashion or power symbols.

    Genrations gone by and those who are educated about guns see them very differently. they are tools which need to be handled with care, respect and only used in the proper circumstances. The age old adage sums it up 'To a man with a hammer, everthing looks like a nail'. To todays kids who have been fed a diet of hollywood action and first person shooters, a gun can only have one purpose. This is backed up by an unhealthy bias in the media and political debate. Where are the programmes about pest control? Farming and agriculture? Where is the education on gun safety?

    I could go on, but all I really need to say is this. The masses have been sold a lie and lead to believe that guns are everywhere and are evil. The reality is that yes guns are just about everywhere, they are in the hands of law abiding folk who use them responsibly for a living, for sport, for pest control and our food supply would not exist without them. The guns that are in the hands of criminals are few and far between and they only got there through the failings of the police and our government.

    You have more chance of winning the lottery a couple of weeks running than of being shot to death. Not safe and fun? In the hands of the educated, They are both.

  4. "The Rantings of an Unamused Observer"

    Please ad ignorant and ill-informed to that phrase.

    I wont list all your errors in your 08:39 post as I'm going out shooting in a minute but for starters......

    MAC-10's in the US are Title 3 NFA Firearms. You can't simply go into a gunstore and purchase one. You need to have a Chief Law Enforcement Officer sign off,CRB check, fingerprints taken and submitted and pay a $200 tax to the BATFE BEFORE you are given authority to buy one.

    Here in the UK things are slighly different but this may surprise you: There are civilians with authority to possess fully automatic firearms such as the MAC-10 and Uzi.

    As to guns not being fun you obviously have never fired a M1928A1 Thompson sub machine gun on full auto with a 100 round drum attached have you ;)

  5. It is interesting to see the intial response to this product and what is even more interesting is the amount of assumption that has taken place.

    This in its self proves that the product works as it is designed to promote conversation and highlight the fact that we all make choices.

    I would invite Delphius to investigate this product futher as it may give his readers the opportunity to see the future of education as everything is not always as it seems.

    To start this proccess I will disclose that the product designers are in fact British.

  6. I've used firearms in the past, I'm not anti-gun. But to use some stupid ball toy as a way of discussing guns to me is just counter-productive.

    Guns and their use is not fun. They are a tool and their handling and use should be taken seriously.

    The use of guns as some sort of macho gang accessory should be ended, but the thumball will not do that. We need to change the conditions the kids live in, to break up the conditions that causes these kids to resort to the violence they do.

    We have kids carrying guns and gunning themselves down in our inner cities on a daily basis and this is the best we can do?

    I think not.

  7. "Guns and their use is not fun. They are a tool and their handling and use should be taken seriously."

    I agree with the last part - safety is of the highest importance. However, I disagree with the first statement. I am sorry if you did not enjoy your experience with firearms - perhaps it's not for you. I don't like golf, personally - each to his own.

    Even if something requires discipline, education and respect of potential hazards (DIY, martial arts, hill walking, climbing etc.) that does not stop it from being fun, satisfying or rewarding.

    Re: "We have kids carrying guns and gunning themselves down in our inner cities on a daily basis and this is the best we can do?" I agree, this is not going to solve the problem... BUT we have to start somewhere. Education of the current generation and those yet to come is the only way that gang/gun crime may be understood - understanding is the first step in dealing with a problem.

  8. Stylus:

    Education is not the solution: its the conditions that these kids exist in that causes the problems. Pissing about with some ball in a game doesn't solve anything.

    I'd rather that schools got on with the job of educating kids properly, rather than attempt social engineering. Just maybe, with a decent education the future generations might be able to drag themselves out of mire.

    Lets actually start by coming up with government policy that gives these kids the chance of a job, not condemning them to a life of crime.

    But no, let's bugger about with some toy, that'll make things so much better.

  9. Delphius, in the first paragraph you state that education is not the solution. In the second, you say that it could be... Which is it?

    I'm not suggesting we need a national curriculum "Gun Crime" module, but these are issues to be discussed in the social education lessons.

    For the areas of society where an academic education isn't valued, or appears unobtainable, I don't see anything wrong with emphasising social education. Also, however high the median of your bell curve, there will always be those at the tail end who, as a result of their comparative lack of education, will be less employable. That is just how it is, so any efforts to emphasise right and wrong while providing information about serious social issues seems like a noble addition to their schooling.

    By the way, the town of Whitehaven isn't exactly inner city. I think the idea is to inform kids generally about firearms/shotguns with respect to legal and illegal types and their usage. Maybe one day we would end up with fewer comments such as the ones you see in the Daily Fail, calling for bans that will solve nothing and perhaps more relalistic strategies for dealing with the real causes of gun crime.

    You can't eliminate gun crime overnight, even with an educated population. Without, you have no hope.

  10. Delphius, I would agree with the fact that firearms are tools and their handling and use should be taken seriously.

    A number of poeple would disagree with the statement you made about them not being fun. I would however like to think that all responsible users would identify the potential dangers of firarms and therefore treat them with the necessary level of respect.

    You are also right when you say we need to change the conditions the kids live in, to break up the conditions that causes these kids to resort to the violence they do.

    To do this we however need to change the way we have attempted to address these issues in the past as they have clearly not achived the desired results, hence the development of the Gun Thumball.

    The Ball it's self is a very small part of the educational package hence the suggestion you investigated the product further.

    I little thought for you to think about:

    A primary teacher ask's for a voulunter most of the class will raise their hands excitedly .

    Those same pupils five years later being asked by the same teacher to volunteer, will not even raise their hands. Why?

    You may now be wondering what the point is?
    Its simple at the primary school level of education we historically invite the children to learn. At secondary level we introduce an element of telling them what to do.

    It is strange but we all seem to become defensive when we are told to do something again why is this?

    These are just a few considerations that have been thought about in the development of the Gun Thumball.

    Is it the gun that is dangerous or the person that uses it?

    Is it a knife that kills or the person behind it?

    Is it the drugs that reck lives or thier use?

    When you look into most socially unacceptable issues they all boil down to the choices people have made. Wouldn't it be nice if we could give them the tools to help them make the right choice? The gun Thumball is about these choices it is not about the guns.